Sharing Village Journeys

Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread 2017

ub 2017Brethren from Church of God Imus, and Manila (COGSV) held its combined Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread celebration in a hotel located in Pasay City, Metro Manila on April 11, 2017.

Four elders/speakers were slotted to speak for the whole-day assembly. The morning service started with a prelude music followed by an opening prayer by Atty. Max Noble. Mr. Raul Hipe spoke on the importance of "bringing of offerings" both in its biblical-historical and future fulfillment as exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ and magnified further in NT epistles. While Mr. Dave Garalde expounded on the importance of "unity in the body" as exhorted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11.

Mr. Robert Torda and Mr. Cesar Lumbuan spoke in the afternoon, both expounding on the importance of our calling in relation to our "deleavening" and our future destiny, glorification in the kingdom of God. The messages were interspersed with hymns singing by the whole assembly led by Mr. Gilbert Deboma and Rey Coria.

The services were also graced with special music offerings by the children and teens entitled "Highly Exalted", a fitting Passover tribute to the selfless-sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the afternoon, a choir of men and women accentuated the service by singing "The Servant's King". Both music offerings were directed by Ms. Gina Constantino.

Overall, the combined services were attended by 45 brethren and families coming from as far as Nueva Ecijah, Zambales, Indang Cavite, and one came from Melbourne, Australia. Lunch of steamed rice, soup, chicken, and vegetables, with fruit dessert were served promptly on the table, with unlimited supply of hot coffee and milk for the duration of the service. Brethren also shared home-made unleavened bread. Hotel accommodation and advance reservation was made possible through the assistance of Mrs. Brenda Coria and Mrs. Vivian Hipe.

Truly, this is one of those feast days where the psalmist King David described as "good and pleasant"!

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore."
- Psalm 133

A Family’s Testimony: The Big Wave

deboma1My family lives in the town of Botolan, province of Zambales situated in the coast of a little north of West Philippines Sea. We frequent the sea during Sundays in summer for swimming and for some sea breeze when kids including me have coughs and colds. Sometimes we go there during Sabbaths to catch the beautiful sunset.

During rainy season, it is not advisable to swim because of the big waves that might overwhelm you and can pull you away from the shore by undercurrent waves. Numerous stories of people drowning in that sea where bodies were found in the neighboring towns serve as warning for those attempting to have a swim during rainy season.

It was November 6, 2016 when my sons Stephen 13, Juan 12, Shadrac 7 and Luke, 4 and I agreed to go for a swim by the sea as all of us have coughs and colds. My wife Ann did not come with us as she was finishing a school project for Shadrac.

It’s been a while that we had a swim because every time we go to the sea after a rainy  day or night, big waves greet us.

So as we arrived by the coast, everyone got excited as the waves are not that big. We also saw three kids swimming maybe of the age of Juan. It is a kind of a go signal for us to take a splash in the waters.

I held Luke and Shadrac in a close distance to us in the shallow part and the two older boys looking for some bigger waves went towards the deeper part. I constantly yelled at them not to go farther as they might be overwhelmed by the waves especially when they are at the deeper part. Everyone was enjoying the waters and the waves that are hitting our bodies. As everyone was having fun, I noticed but ignored that there is a kind of a pull to the deeper part after a wave passed.

At one time, Luke and I were by the seashore and my three sons were still swimming at the same distance as the three boys we met when we arrived. Again I yelled at them to come closer by the shore.

After some time, the three unknown boys approached me and one of them said “Uncle, I think they are drowning, they are in a deep part and they cannot move!” Immediately I gave them Luke asking them to take him further from the shore and not allow him to come near the waters. Then I rushed to my sons to the deeper part of the sea, repeatedly uttering to myself, “Father help us!”

At first I saw my three kids in one place, but as I was approaching at about 5 meters from them, I saw Juan slowly drifting away from Stephen and Shadrac to the deeper part. I doubled my effort to overcome the waves so I can be with Stephen and Shadrac. They were holding each other, and as I reached them, I grabbed Shadrac and pushed him to the shallower part so his feet could reach the sand and walk towards the shore. Free of holding Shadrac, Stephen was also able to move for the shallower part.

Although still struggling, thinking now that their chances of going to the shore for their safety have increased, I gave back Shadrac to Stephen so I could go for Juan. As waves and the pulls are getting stronger, remembering the incident where Jesus Christ was in a boat with His disciples and He calmed the sea, I prayed “Father God, you can calm this, please calm the sea!”

As I was about to face the direction of the deeper part to go to Juan, I saw a big wave approaching, with a little disappointment on my  part because I already hoped that God would immediately calm the sea after my prayer, I again uttered “ In Jesus Name, please make this stop!”

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Sabbath: A Promised Rest

qa sabbath04If only mankind realize the staggering and amazing future God has prepared for him; will he at all consider and begin to obey Him? But what is man that God is even mindful of him?

Hebrew 2:6 What is a man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him?

Mankind is the last, the foremost and crowning glory of God’s physical creation. That segment of time God made His spiritual rest ensued the creation of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were created outside of God’s rest. The seventh day was the first new day that welcomed them, the first evening and the first morning.

And they entered God’s rest – their very first Sabbath together with God. It was a time they sought answers to the questions of life. There God revealed who they are; who God is; how and why they are. God revealed His laws. One such law proved to be a test command for Adam and Eve: the food law. God specified what can be eaten and what can’t be.

Genesis 2:16 The Lord commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat

17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

Time elapsed, and Adam and Eve transgressed God’s Law: an action equivalent to designating themselves as one of the gods – to know good and evil.

Genesis 3:22 The Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.

They assigned to themselves the choice of what was to be eaten. They decided for themselves what is right and what is wrong. They did not believe God but took the word of a mere serpent.

Quite similar situations and choices confronted mankind all throughout history. The sad part is that people take the word of just another man or follow one’s own line of reasoning rather than believe God.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

Consequence of the sins of Adam and Eve was the truth God told them. They were taken out of God’s rest, out of God’s garden, to the fields where the tree of life is beyond their reach.

Genesis 3:22 The Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever 

23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

God cursed the ground and not Adam and Eve.

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Nanay Lilian’s Grandchildren

“Zambales Trip 2009” - Ralph and Arielle Hipe had the whole blue sky above them when they went home with their father and mother to Botolan for a week, so even if ricefields were covered with sand and mud, and the shallow pool from which horses used to drink is now a widened riverbed carved by the rushing current, their grandmother Nanay Lilian Deboma, gathered all her grandchildren who were, just yesterday it seems, babies passed from one pair of loving arms to another. See how they have grown in this video crafted by Ate Vivian Deboma-Hipe and her “family production staff”...

Video Series: Botolan, Zambales 2008

Visiting the Relatives - Ralph and Arielle discover a bushel of passed-on secrets, inherited quirks and hardworking legacies during their adventure into the family tree, or in this case, the family landscape, as revealed in video assembled by their mother Vivian Deboma-Hipe, the firstborn of her branch of the clan...

“Bucao River Meets South China Sea” - the ceaseless waves of the sea can do nothing but embrace the outward current of the cool rushing river... 

“Home on the Zambales Range” - a slice of life where steadfast living faith, wisdom and love’s resourcefulness, resilience, fortitude, humor, are not alternatives, but necessities...

“Pikon” – Grownups always have fun teasing the little ones to bits, in this case the smart and quick-witted brothers Stephen and Miguel, whom we get to see only a few times a year, but watch how the “pikon” one comes up with the last laugh here! 

“Song Service, Botolan” – Each of the families kept the Sabbath at home on December 27, as the Debomas and Hipes did in this video taken by Vivian Hipe...

 “Yellowfin Tuna” – treasuring an afternoon’s catch of the luminous dark metallic blue species, here on the coast of Botolan, Zambales...

“Botolan Coast” – Wrapped by chilled amihan winds during an uncommonly long “non-working week” at the end of 2008, a lovely spur-of-the-moment reply to the long-standing invitation to visit the family of Mr-s. Gilbert & Ann Deboma at the Deboma ancestral home in Botolan, Zambales (west coast of Luzon, Philippine Islands), coinciding with the annual homecoming of Mr-s. Raul and Vivian Hipe, and children Ralph and Arielle... watch those waves take back as fast as it gives...

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