I mention at the outset my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to write concerning our mission work here in the Philippines. It is encouraging to know of the interest the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore has shown, and continues to show, in our work. A special word of thanks to the youth for asking me to write for their magazine. I trust this summary will help you know what labour the Lord has given us the privilege to do, and enable you to pray for us and our work with understanding.
Development of the Mission Field (1995-2001)
Initial contact with believers in the Philippines came through correspondence which was received by the Evangelism Committee of the Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, Illinois. This was back in the early 1990’s.
When it became apparent that the Lord could very well be giving our churches an open door, Evangelism Committee passed on the correspondence to the Foreign Mission Committee.
The FMC subsequently sent a total of seven delegations to the Philippines over a period of five years. These delegations (either two ministers, or a minister and elder) met the many contacts throughout the Philippines with a view to becoming better acquainted with them, finding out about their interest in the Reformed truth, and determining whether the Lord was indeed setting before our churches a place of labour.
The fruit of these visits was that Synod 2001 of the PRCA approved the recommendation of the FMC to declare the Philippines a mission field. Synod also approved calling and sending a missionary. Doon Protestant Reformed Church (in Iowa) was appointed as the calling church for this mission field.
Past Missionary Labours (2001-2009)
Rev. Aud Spriensma accepted the call to serve as missionary in the Philippines in the fall of 2001. After a time of preparation, Rev. Spriensma and his family moved to the field in early 2002. He laboured here for five years (2002-2007). Through the Lord’s blessing on that work, a church was instituted in 2006 – the Berean Protestant Reformed Church in the Philippines.
From 2007-2009, Doon PRC continued the calling process for a missionary to replace Rev. Spriensma. In the meantime, the PRCA was able to provide ministers to preach and teach, for periods of a few weeks at a time, in the Berean PRCP during its vacancy.
Synod 2008 approved calling two missionaries to labour together in the Philippines. Soon thereafter, the Lord provided two men to serve as missionaries. Rev. Richard Smit accepted the call in January, 2009. My acceptance was in April, 2009. Each of us then spent five to six months in preparation for the work and move.
This included taking missions courses, doing extensive reading in missions, and beginning to learn the Philippine language, Tagalog (something we still continue to do).
Rev. Smit and his wife Tricia and their eight children moved to the Philippines in July of 2009, and my wife Sharon and I moved here in December of that same year. We live near each other in Antipolo City, an eastern suburb of the city of Manila. This puts us close to Faith Academy, the school where the Smits send their six oldest children.
Current Missionary Activities
Rev. Smit and I, with the approval of Doon PRC and the FMC, have divided up our work in the Philippines along the following lines.
Rev. Smit focuses upon the work in the Berean PRC. He preaches there every Sunday, teaches all the catechism classes, leads the weekly Bible study, does pastoral work, and presides at the consistory meetings.
My work involves preaching and teaching in three different places. On the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, I preach and teach in the First Reformed Church in Bulacan (about two hours from home). On the 2nd Sunday (and 5th, if there is one), I bring God’s Word to the saints in the All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Gabaldon (about 5 hours from here). And on the 4th Sunday of each month, I preach and teach in the Christian Faith Ministry in Batasan Hills (about 1 hour from home). Needless to say, Sharon and I cover quite a few miles in our car.
In all three places, I preach on the Heidelberg Catechism. In Bulacan and Batasan Hills, I also lead a study of the Church Order of Dordt. In Gabaldon, I have the opportunity to teach a Bible History catechism class for the children, and in Bulacan, a class on the Belgic Confession of Faith for the young people there.
While this is the general division of our labours, Rev. Smit and I also assist each other in our work. We occasionally do a pulpit exchange. We regularly consult with each other about our work. We both correspond and/or visit with various other contacts we have in the Philippines. And we work together in some other areas of the work of missions here, as well.
One of those areas is 7M. This acronym stands for “Metro Manila Monthly Monday Morning Ministers’ Meeting.” Our 7M meets twice a month. Its purpose is to provide instruction for present and future ministers. Rev. Smit and I lecture in Reformed dogmatics. Rev. Smit has covered introduction to Reformed dogmatics, and I am currently providing instruction in the loci of Theology. When that is complete, Rev. Smit will lead the men in a study of Anthropology. We have two pastors and one student for the ministry attending these meetings.
Another area in which we work together is that of seeking to establish a federation of Reformed churches here. At this point in time, the First Reformed Church in Bulacan and the Berean Protestant Reformed Church have as their desire and goal to form such a federation. With a view to this, we are especially providing instruction in Reformed Church Government through a study of the Church Order of Dordt. The two congregations also seek to come to a better knowledge of each other, both on an official as well as on a personal level. With that in view, we were able recently to have a combined outing for the youth of both churches, something the young people very much enjoyed. In fact, some were asking when the next one would be.
One more work and goal we have before us is to assist the Berean PRC in their desire to establish a sister church relationship with the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. We discuss this matter regularly at the Berean consistory meetings. Rev. Smit has also given instruction to the Berean congregation concerning this, with lectures on the principles, practice, and necessity of establishing such a relationship. We do not know yet when this relationship might be established, but are thankful for the desire as well as for the opportunity to work toward this good goal.
I should mention one more thing, and that is that the Lord has given the Berean PRCP a student for the ministry, Bro. Vernon Ibe. Currently he is studying in the Protestant Reformed seminary in Grandville, Michigan, USA. Later this year (beginning in July), he will be having a six month internship with Rev. R. Van Overloop in Grace PRC. He is looking forward to this part of his preparation for the ministry. But he is also looking forward to completing his studies with a view to returning to his home country and taking up the work of the ministry here. We too eagerly anticipate his return – Lord willing, in 2012.
If you are interested in more information about our work and life here, including pictures, feel free to browse the blog Sharon is doing. See www.kleynsphilippines.blogspot.com.
We covet your prayers, and assure you that you are remembered often in prayer too. May God’s blessing continue to rest upon us as we, with you, strive to give a good witness to His glorious truth in Southeast Asia. Truly the harvest is plenteous. Surely the day of Christ’s return approaches quickly. What a joy and privilege to be used of our Sovereign God for the spread of His Word. May the Lord keep us faithful and prosper our work with a view to the ingathering of His elect and the coming of the great day of Jesus Christ.
Written by: Pastor Daniel Kleyn | Issue 7