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During a video chat with one of my sisters, we were talking about how the BCCL ministry is doing and she suddenly said, “I still can’t believe that sister Mayette is gone.” We have recently lost some of our students as well, and it got me reflecting about how life can be so fleeting. There is indeed a season for everything, and in the midst of this pandemic we should make the most of every fleeting opportunity that God gives us to make Him known wherever we are.
First Course in 2021
We rejoice in the Lord for another successful video class (The Pentateuch) last January 11–26, 2021. It was very challenging for everyone: the teacher, from Texas, who had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to interact with the students online; the staff, who had to make sure that classes ended on time each day and that health safety protocols are observed; the students, who have a curfew to keep up with (10:00 p.m.) due to COVID-19 restrictions in the area; and me, who had to stay awake until 5:00 a.m. to oversee the classes remotely and make sure that things went smoothly each day.
The classes ran for ten days. There were mostly good days but also some bad days when the internet was too slow for the teacher to even connect with the class online, or the laptop we used was just too slow to play the videos because of an old operating system. We are trying to upgrade these right now. But overall, thanks be to God for His guidance! We’re ready for the next class on February 8!
Loss of Two Former Students
We grieve the loss of two students who have made a great impact where they served.
Marivic Matsumura was the wife of a Japanese pastor. She would attend classes at BCCL when she visited her family in the Philippines. In her desire to complete her training, and to make it available for her husband as well, she requested if we could do the BCCL training in Japan at her church, but it was just too expensive. She was an evangelist who was so passionate to share the gospel to everyone she knew in Japan and in the Philippines. Some of her ministries were teaching English to Japanese kids and Bible distribution in Mito City, Japan, where she lived. She died of hemoptysis December 31, 2020, and is survived by her husband, Haruhiko, and a very young daughter named Sofie.
Efren Dichoso was a pastor for thirty-five years. He was a very influential and respected church leader in Albay province. He discipled countless believers and mentored many church leaders; others became pastors themselves. He was a very passionate church planter and a loving father. He told the staff late last year that he wanted to finish his training at BCCL this year. But he victoriously finished the race that God has marked out for him instead. He called pastor Efren to glory instead. His wife and daughter have also been attending biblical and ministry training at BCCL. He died of an infarction brainstem stroke January 30, 2021. He was only 59.
We were able to distribute two more batches of relief packages to typhoon victims at the end of last year. By God’s providence through generous individual donors, we gave out some twenty packs of food items for families last December 24 and gifts and toys to forty kids last December 25. A BCCL alumna, now a teacher, identified and coordinated with communities in dire need of help. The BCCL staff packed the food packages as part of our outreach ministry. This has been a regular year-end ministry for BCCL since strong and highly destructive typhoons always hit the area every last quarter of the year.
A philanthropic organization has sought my help for a contact in Catanduanes (another province in the Bicol region where 13,000 families lost their homes to a big storm in November). Our missions teacher, the same person who has been distributing these relief packages for BCCL, will be coordinating with them to help distribute much needed aid by March 2021, God-willing.
- For safe and successful face-to-face video classes at BCCL.
- For the families of two of our students who are grieving their loss.
- For Filipinos coping with natural disasters and great losses due to the pandemic.
- Overcoming the many challenges of training remotely.
- Students who have made an impact for Christ where they served.
- Provision to help typhoon victims.
There is a time for everything; and a season for every activity under the heavens.
ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
BCCL – A. Claire Marker, Director
J. ESTEVEZ STREET GUEVARA SUBDIVISION, LEGAZPI CITY 4500, PHILIPPINES
521 VIRGINIA AVENUE LODI CA 95242