Presently, it is Saturday afternoon, and our five-day long “Preacher’s Training Class” at the Church of Christ in Cebu City is now complete. Classes were held from Monday-Friday, April 6-10, 2015.
The Basic Bible Doctrine Workbooks (Vol. 1-4), by Robert Harkrider served as our study guides. The first includes a survey of the Bible, explains undenominational Christianity, and discusses New Testament worship. The second focuses upon how to study the Bible, how to establish Bible authority, and the mission and work of the church. The third examines various popular doctrines: the Holy Spirit, the One Baptism, and Calvinism. The forth continues this theme, addressing Premillennialism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Armstrongism, and 7th Day Adventism.
Lectures were presented by brothers Ron Halbrook and Mark Mayberry, accompanied by two Filipino preachers: brothers Lordy Salunga, of Angeles City and Jonathan Carino of Cebu City. These are good and godly men whom I hold in high regard. We were assisted by Jack Jacko, who is also a faithful preacher, good friend, and diligent worker in the Lord’s vineyard.
We assembled at the Church of Christ, Cebu City, which is located in the Central Visayan Islands of the Philippines. The brethren assemble on the 2nd Floor of the LUYM Bldg., located at the corner of Osmena Blvd and Plaridel St. You can find this approximate location on this Bing Map: http://binged.it/1PvVZ04
Students and teachers faced a grueling schedule, with classes lasting from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with a single break for lunch, and occasional 5 minute breaks scattered through the day. Personally, my schedule was almost non-stop, involving continual activity from 6 a.m. until around 11:45 p.m., when I collapsed into bed. Ron and I both present 3-4 lessons per day. Lesson preparation takes up most of the remaining time. Eating and exercising, etc. consumed the remainder.
From previous trips with Ron, I learned the importance of regular exercise during such long days. While it might seem counter-intuitive, running 10 km on the treadmill in the hotel exercise room was, for me, essential in maintaining such a difficult schedule. The only time for such was from 10-11 p.m. After a quick shower, I collapsed into bed, slept through the night, and woke semi-refreshed.
Brother Ramon Carino, the 90 year old father of Jonathan, set a wonderful example for the rest of us. Despite being physically frail, he and his sweet wife set through the entire sessions each day, listening attentively, responding to the speakers, taking notes, and only occasionally falling asleep.
I say this as one who also occasionally struggled to stay awake. For me, exhaustion set in around 6 p.m., during Ron’s final teaching session. Each of the teachers usually work on their next class while another is teaching. In my case, several times, I was working on my next lesson, preparing my PowerPoint slides, only to fall asleep in mid-sentence, and wake up a few minutes later to find that I had been continually holding down a letter keyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy or otherwise typing gobblygook. One night, I fell asleep in my chair, and was oblivious to the fact that the class had been completed, and the students were filing out of the room, walking past me, smiling, and in some cases, taking pictures of their somnolent instructor. Some of these will probably end up on Facebook…
Having previously participated in several preacher training classes, Ron and I agree that this group evidenced a commendable spirit, listening, learning. I gain as much from them as they gain from our efforts. I was especially encouraged by their sincere desire to better understand the Scriptures, their willingness to sit and focus for such long hours, their good and thoughtful questions, and their repeated expressions of appreciation: for our willingness to come and teach them the Truth, and for the Bibles, books, and other study materials that are provided by generous brethren in the USA.
Well, I could continue, but I need to get ready to leave. Ron and I are sharing supper with Jonathan Carino and his family. Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day. Ron and I will each preach at two separate locations. On Monday, we fly to Manila, and then on to Tuguegarao City, where we will work with brother Rody Gumpad, presenting a series of lessons for brethren in Cagayan Valley. May God bless you all. In Christian love, Mark