Tidings of Comfort and Joy

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SMO held a special Christmas Fellowship to eleven poor families of farmers who help cultivate, plant, and harvest our small sugarcane field at SMO Promised Land in Murcia. Our National Director, Nenita del Mundo, gave the Gospel message, followed by giving of grocery packages in time for their New Year’s Eve celebration.

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We praise God for using one of our alumni to provide the gifts. Indeed, it was a moment not only to bless our famers with the gifts but also an opportunity for them to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The fellowship was held on December 30, 2016 and this is second year where the farmers and their families have this kind of activity.

Also, during the SMO Camp Forever 22: Metamorphosis, part of the special activity students had was an opportunity to visit families in their homes to sing Christmas carols, share the Gospel, and give Bibles and gifts. We thank God for Zion BP Church in partnering with us in this activity.

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Bible Interns in Action

Our ten SMO Bible Training Institute third year students have been in Internship Training in various parts of the country since July, 2016. Their 8-month training hopes to expose them to real life hands-on church ministry which will better prepare them in their vocation. Here are some of the things they do in their respective areas:

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Elen (right) meets her students at a parsonage for Bible study.

Elen Arzaga is assigned in Sta. Mesa, Manila and is handling Bible studies to students from two campuses, Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology and Polytechnic University of the Philippines. The students regularly visit the parsonage where Elen stays and there she meets them for Bible studies. On weekends, she is involved in Children’s Ministry in Tondo together with Pastor Carlos Novisteros.

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Keniel (top photo in red), Ismael (bottom photo in white)

Keniel Tonggoy and Ismael Agno have regular Bible studies to university students of Southern Luzon State University in Lucban, Quezon Province, every Monday and Wednesday (morning and afternoon); and to senior high students, every Friday (morning and afternoon). On weekend they help a church in Antimonan, Quezon Province.

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SMO National Director visits our interns assigned in Tacloban City, (l-r) Mark, Wilmar, Jonas, and Junefer

Our four interns, Jonas Escobar, Mark Esparagoza, Wilmar Mariveles, and Junefer Oyanib are doing internship in Tacloban City, Leyte. Throughout the week they conduct Bible studies to students of Central 2 Tanauan Elementary School, Antipolo Elementary School, Lapay Elementary School, Salvador Elementary School, and Eastern Visayas State College. Several families in Brgy. Maribi are also being visited for Bible studies. By weekend, our interns serve at Jesus Christ Transformed Church.

In addition, the interns also assist in the spiritual needs of 12 poor families who are beneficiaries of a housing project carried out by an international organization Word and Deed. The homes of these families were destroyed by Yolanda, a powerful storm that hit the province a few years ago.

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Primen plays the guitar as he leads a children’s song.

Primen Arzaga is doing church ministry at Faith Bible Christian Community Church in Markina, Metro Manila. He is handling Bible studies to children, youths, and even to families when he does home visitations. Sometimes, he is tasked to either lead in worship or preach in Sunday services. He is being mentored there by SMO alumni Pastor Rodney Necesito.

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Glory (center in right photo), meets her students in a fastfood restaurant.

Glory Mae Donasco and Kimberly Jane Agno goes to Bulacan State University in Malolos, Bulacan to meet with students and have Bible studies with them. Since they do not have a permanent place to gather, they meet and stay with the students in study areas and sheds. The students they usually meet study courses in Food Tech, Communications Technician, Electronics, and General Engineering.

Camp Forever 22: Metamorphosis

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For the 88 youths who joined Camp Forever 22: Metamorphosis, it was more than the usual youth camp fun. The feedback from the campers were very encouraging and hopeful:

“I learned how important it is to connect with God and to seek His forgiveness for the sins I committed.” – Edsel

“Because God is great I need to trust only Him for my salvation.” – Mark John

“God’s Word hit my heart hard. I realized that my actions have displeased Him greatly.” – Jan Jan

“To love God more that I love myself is the one lesson I will remember. I cannot change by myself, I need God. Apart from Him, I can do nothing…I know that change for the better is a gradual process and it is not easy. But nothing is impossible with God.” – Jobert

“I am made aware that sinning should not be made a habit. I should confess it to God and surrender my life to Him. Jesus alone can change me.” – Anonymous

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Camp Forever was held on December 26-30, 2016 at SMO Promised Land in Murcia, Negros Occ. This is an annual evangelistic youth camp organized by SMO Bacolod.

During the camp, the youths joined early morning small group devotions, listen to morning and evening challenges, participate in group dynamics that teach valuable lessons on unity, cooperation, and how it is to be a good leader and a follower or team player. They also participated in presentations that include acting and singing.

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As part of tradition, the youths were divided into four teams that were named: Advengers, Cross Aiders, Eagle’s Eye, and Zion.

For the first time in Camp Forever, 14 Singaporean youths with their leaders, spearheaded by Bro. Darrel Tan, participated; they represented Zion Bible Presbyterian Church, one of SMO’s ministry partners.

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Our speakers include our alumni, Raymie Villanueva, Anjo Tejamo, and Xerwin Ceballos, SMO-BTI faculty, Pastor Darryl Roque and Pastor Aeron Caldeo, and Zion BP Church staff, Bro. Darrel Tan. The Afterglow Singing Ministry were guest singers in one of the evening presentations. SMO National Director, Nenita del Mundo also gave a challenge to the youths to consider studying at SMO Bible Training Institute in the future.

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Our Speakers (from left to right): Raymie Villanueva, Anjo Tejamo, Pastor Aeron Caldeo, Xerwin Ceballos, Pastor Darryl Roque, and Darrel Tan.

SMO Bacolod Coordinator and Camp Forever Director, Pastor Elmer Genol, expressed his deep gratitude, in behalf of the ministry, to alumni and ministry partners who supported in prayers and financial contributions. Most of the contributions that were received went to cover for the registration fees of the campers (who mostly come from low income family). He also thank the staff, SMO-BTI students, and volunteers who tirelessly worked hard all throughout the camp; to the speakers who prepared well in giving a Gospel-saturated and Christ-centered messages; and to God Who powerfully worked in the lives of the staff, youths, and others who were involved.

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Team Games and Group Dynamics

Repairing Difficult Relationships Seminar

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“God tells you that your biggest problems come from your heart. When your heart is not right, you have big problems;” this is the main idea developed by Christian counselor and writer David Meengs in a two-day seminar Repairing Difficult Relationships held at SMO Youth Center on November 14-15, 2016.

Meengs used Matthew 15:18-19 as a starting point of the seminar; the Scripture passage says, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”

Meengs also explained that in the Ten Commandments, the first four of the commandments focused on loving God, with the last six on loving others; loving self wasn’t even mentioned in the commandments. He makes a point by saying that this should be the order: first, love God; second, love others; and third, love self. He said, “The world today questions the order of the commandments. The world fully teaches that the love of self is the most important need of every human life, even ahead of loving God and others.” Once the order is not followed, problem in relationships ensues.

Meengs, who is with Biblical Counseling Worldwide, is active in prison ministry in Michigan, USA. He shared his personal experiences in counseling to different kinds of people with different and complex problems. One of the books he wrote, Coming Out of Depression, has helped a lot of people in having an understanding about themselves and their need of Jesus Christ.

Those who came to the seminar were blessed and encouraged. A guidance counselor of a Christian school made a commitment to use Biblical counseling to his students and a Christian couple is prompted to start visiting a drug rehabilitation center in their area and be involved in giving counsel to the patients.

The attendees also received several books, authored by Meengs, for free.

A similar seminar was also conducted in Rizal province in Luzon to teachers, laypeople, and pastors on November 17-19, 2016.

Meengs compiled his messages on the topic and published it in a book this year. He dedicated his book to Student Missionary Outreach and two other faith-based organizations in India and the Philippines.

God’s Grace: From East to West

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My “missionary journey” in the United States for three months (July-September, 2016) has been an intimate, worshipful experience with God.

Firstly, experiencing God’s protection…from Manila to New York to South Carolina, to Michigan, Chicago, Arizona, Oklahoma to Los Angeles, not to mention other cities in-between, I see His mighty protection and deliverance in miles and miles of travel in land and air. God has placed wonderful brother and sisters in the Lord in the right place and in the right time. Fetching me from the airport, bus and train stations, and driving me around from house to house and church to church, God has indeed aided us for safe journeys and travels. He is also my health; blessing my body with enough strength to endure the tiring activities and varying climate.

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Secondly, embracing God’s presence…Joshua 1:9 has been so clear to me in this journey. It says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Whenever I am tempted to see my limitations, incapability, shortcomings, or my fear of facing big crowds and talking to intelligent and different kinds of people, God’s presence served as a gentle rebuke to me. He reminded me that everything is not about me, but about Him. He sent me there for only one reason which is to proclaim who He is, and the great things He is doing in the ministry in the Philippines.

God’s presence gave me the courage, boldness, and wisdom to give His message to His people. I, myself, was amazed to see and experienced firsthand, how God can use a weaker vessel like me to accomplish His purpose. It is not indeed by man’s might, strength, wisdom and power, but it’s all by His Spirit. Nothing is impossible with God if only we submit and allow Him to work out His power in our lives.

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Thirdly, enjoying God’s provision…He has provided my every need in this journey through His people. Expenses incurred in travel, food, and accommodation has been met by God. The generosity, kindness, and hospitality of His people have been greatly manifested in this journey. God amazed me.

Twelve states in three months. It has been a blessing to visit individuals, families, and churches. It’s encouraging to see all of them faithful in their walk with God. And to present the ministry of SMO and share the Word has also been a privilege for me. This journey has reaped more prayer warriors for the work of God here.

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My husband and former SMO National Director, Pastor Renato Del Mundo, used to do this kind of “missionary journey” in the US. Once I joined him and we had good memories on that trip. It was six years now since God took him, and I prayerfully considered resuming this journey again. God has granted it and it has brought about rich memorable, meaningful, and fruitful experiences.

I praise God for letting me experience Him in this journey. His grace is amazing.

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SMO Celebrates 39th Year of Youth Ministry

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JESUS CHANGES EVERYTHING is our Anniversary Theme this year with SMO alumni, Bro. Roy Vistar, preaching the Word of God.

Students from various schools and churches, and some our our alumni joined the celebration. Song numbers from the Afterglow and SMO Bible Training Institute students added to the meaningful event. The SMO-BTI students also showed their creative side through Verse Choir and Musical Skit.

SMO began in Metro Manila on August, 1977 as a Christian youth arm of a group of churches and has expanded ever since in various provinces as Gospel partner of Christian churches in the Philippines. SMO was founded by the late Rev. Antonio Ormeo, his son, Rev. Edwin Ormeo, Atty. Mena Taganas, and Lolly Robles-Burgess. SMO’s national office is now located in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental under the leadership of National Director Nenita S. del Mundo.