We are pleased to announce that we have a new blog writer. Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church (Doon, Iowa) has agreed to assist Rev. Clayton Spronk as a fellow writer for the RFPA blog.
Rev. Engelsma is currently in the Philippines as part of a delegation from the Foreign Mission Committee. He has agreed to submit a series of blog posts on his work and activities while he is there, so that as you read you can become familiar with our new writer. His first post is below.
We look forward to adding Rev. Engelsma as one of our writers!
Dear family (by blood and by faith),
I thought it might be nice to update you from time to time on what's going on with our delegation visit to the Philippines. For those who aren't aware, every year Doon PRC, as the calling church for our missionary, and the denominational Foreign Mission Committee send a joint delegation to visit the field. This year I was sent as the delegate from the Foreign Mission Committee (although I am also Doon's pastor), and Doon sent one of our deacons, Lee Hoekstra, along with his wife Joann.
Much of Thursday/Friday was a blur of travel. We left out of Sioux Falls early Thursday morning. After a brief layover in Minnesota, we chased the sun across the Pacific for twelve hours to Tokyo. From there we skipped south to Manila, where we met Rev. and Mrs. Kleyn at the airport. After an hour or so on the busy streets of the city that never sleeps, we arrived at the second missionary house where we will be staying for the next two weeks. In all, we spent about 26 hours in travel. Exhausting.
Before I crashed in bed that night, I set my alarm on my cell phone. It wasn't necessary. I was awakened by the Filipino alarm that has awakened so many before: the crowing rooster next door. Today (Saturday here) we enjoyed some time visiting with the Kleyns. We also went for a drive to see parts of the city and taste some local cuisine. All was very good. My seminary professors will see this as fruit upon their efforts to mold me from being a "selective" eater. We also were able to visit briefly with Rev. Vernon and Melody Ibe and their three adorable boys. Having spent a number of years in seminary with Rev. Ibe, it was good to see him again, now on his home turf. After he graduated in 2012 from our seminary, I remember wondering if we would ever see each other again. I don't think I ever imagined seeing him so soon and under these circumstances. It was a real joy.
One thing that struck me in our travels was the differences in language and culture in the United States, Japan, and the Philippines. On several occasions I found myself thinking about the tower of Babel and the effects of what God did there. It's fascinating to see the differences in language, food, clothing, transportation, etc., and how this serves in the counsel of God to accomplish the scattering and separation of the nations. But it's also fascinating to see how God uses this to gather to himself a diverse body, made up of many different parts, but all united as one in Christ. How beautiful will be the sound of these many different tongues harmonized in glory in praises to the Lamb!
In the love of Christ,