June 3 Day One
Sissy and I left 10:30 AM from Greenville to Chicago. Flight leaves Chicago for San Francisco. Tonight meeting at 7:30 at South San Francisco to present the work of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Tomorrow flight departs SF at 1:45 for Singapore via Hong Kong.
June 6 Day 4
For some reason what I posted June 4 did not save. The meeting Wednesday night at New Covenant OPC in South San Francisco went well. There were about 25 people present from four or five congregations. Dr Ryan McGraw, our newest professor and his family were there. Before the meeting my wife and I had a delightful dinner with the pastor of the congregation, Erick Erickson and his wife, Cathy.
We flew from San Francisco Thursday afternoon to Singapore via Hong Kong. The flight was delayed, but by God’s grace we made our connection. We arrived in Singapore 12:30 AM Saturday. The associate pastor at the church met us and took us to the flat where we are staying. We had a good rest. One of the ladies from the church took Sissy to buy some groceries and I took a long walk. Tonight we are having dinner with Dr. Wally Tow, a world famous obstetrician and pastor, who is has helped start 20 congregations. We are very excited to get to get to know him (look him up on the Internet).
Tomorrow morning, I am preaching on Psalm 100 on the Nature and Purpose of worship and in the evening on Exodus 20:4-9 on the Rule for Worship.
June 7 Day 5
Outside waking up at 4:15 AM, we had a delightful day. The morning service at Pilgrim Covenant Presbyterian Church was at 9:30. The church meets on the seventh floor of an industrial complex. The great majority of the congregation is of Chinese descent. Over 70% of Singaporeans are of Chinese descent. They speak Mandarin as well as English. There are three ethnic groups here: Chinese, Malaysia, and Tamil. In school one studies English and the language of his ethnic origin. Because of its Chinese constituency the church has a keen interest in the spread of the gospel and the Reformed Faith in China. In fact. A pastor and elder from a church in China are here this week for the conference. The congregation seems to be very spiritually minded. We met a number of delightful believers. The evening service was at 5:30.
I had intended to tell a bit more about the church last night, but I was falling asleep. The congregation started about 16 years ago under the leadership of Pastor J. J. Lim. The associate pastor is Linus Chua. They hold to the Westminster Standards and exclusive use of Psalms in singing. The congregation has about 200 members.
Today we had lunch with Dr. Gideon Ng and his wife Eunice. Gideon is a medical doctor and a distance student with Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. We were joined by Mre. Arthur Koh and his wife Priscilla. The two gentlemen from China, a pastor and ruling elder who are very godly. The pastor came to the Reformed Faith by reading Calvin’s Institutes, a’Brakel, Thomas Watson’s Body of Divinity, and the Westminster Confession. Needless to say, we had very refreshing fellowship.
Later in the afternoon, Gideon and Eunice drove us to China Town. It was a fascinating experience. We sampled Durian, which many call the queen fruit of Singapore. It is has a pungent odor and is best eaten with a plastic glove because the odor stays on the hand that handles it.
Tonight we have enjoyed a quiet night in the flat. Tomorrow we drive to Malaysia for the conference. Please pray for me as I speak 6 times on the topic of the Lord’s Day.
We got in too late last night to write. It is 11:30 Wed. morning. We arrived at the resort about noon yesterday. It is only an hour’s drive from Singapore to this resort in Malaysia. The conference is at the Le Grandeur Palm Resort. I do not know yet how to post pictures to this page so check out our Facebook accounts for pictures The hotel is beautiful; colonial style. the lobby and much of the eating area is open air. The architecture is such that it stays fairly comfortable. The rooms, the eating area for our conference, and the meeting room are air conditioned.
They put us in a deluxe suite: master bedroom up stairs in large loft, includes a study; downstairs there are a coffee bar, living area, dining area, and half bath. Decor is colonial with a lot of beautiful woodwork and parquet floors. We are spoiled; my wife says she has graduated from being a princess to being a queen..I am in trouble.
Pastor Linus Chua gave the opening address on Leviticus 18:1-5. it was very edifying. I preached last night on Isaiah 58:13-14: The blessings of the careful observance of the Sabbath. Afterwards there was a thirty minute time of prayer.
We had a good night’s rest and were up this morning at 5:30. Family worship is at 8 AM. Pastor Higgs, a retired pastor from Australia, spoke on keeping the law out of gratitude.I preached at 10 AM on Gen.2:1-3, the Institution of the Sabbath. Now the people have broken into 8 small groups to discuss the first two messages.
There is free time and some group activities this afternoon. My third message will be at 7:30 tonight on the Fourth Commandment.
The people are very spiritually minded and exceedingly kind and gracious.
Last night’s message was on the fourth Commandment. I sought to establish that the prohibitions were God’s provision, giving us the room and liberty to enjoy the privileges of the day. The message was well received. Again afterwards was a assembly for prayer. Three men lead in prayer. last night one of the men was the ruling elder from China. He prayed in Mandarin. A young man from the congregation translated. What a joy to be led in prayer by a godly, reformed elder from China.
This morning devotions were led by a young man in the congregation who aspires to the ministry. He spoke on Judges 1 and dealt with the temptation to alter God’s commandments. I thought he did a good job.
I preached on Exodus 31:12-18: the Sabbath is a sanctifing sign for the people of God. Afterwards I answered questions for an hour.
I had a treat this afternoon. I played golf on a beautiful course. had hoped to play 18 holes, but was chased off the course after 9 holes by a thunder storm. I only wish my Golf partner, Dan Fincham had been with me.
Tonight my fifth message is on Jesus and the Sabbath, from Matt. 12:1-13.
In the morning, the sixth message is on Colossians 2:16, 17 and Heb 4:9, 10, the change of day. Afterwards,we return to Singapore.
The conference wrapped up well. God was very gracious. Arrived back at our flat in Singapore Friday afternoon around 3. We relaxed. I walked about 5 1/2 miles. Saturday, Arthur Foh, who has become a good friend, took us to lunch and then the botanical gardens. We did an exhibit called Mountain in the Clouds. It is a dome in which there is created a mountain habitat that is onely found in about 2.5% of the earth. It was fascinating.
We enjoyed another quiet evening in. Today busy. I preached in the morning at Bethlehem Bible Presbyterian Church. The church is a Tamil (East Indian ) congregation. It was started by the father of Jemima Chinnavan. Jemima’s husband, Jegar, is a graduate of Greenville Seminary. Her brother – law is one of the pastors. I preached on the beauty of God’s grace from 1 Cor 1:30, 31. It was translated into Tamil. We had wonderful fellowship and a long visit with Jemima’s mother and sister.
Tonight I preached again at Pilgrim Covenant. Such as.remarkable congregation. I preached on God’s Goodness from Exodus 34:5-10. The Lord was pleased to.bless both sermons.
Tomorrow, we pack have outing with Gideon Ng and his wife. Gideon is studying at Greenville by our distance program. Then supper with the pastor J.J. Lim and his wife Amy. Our flight leaves at 11PM for Rome via Frankfort. we arrive at Rome, Lord willing, 9:50 AM Tuesday.
Pardon my silence. The days have been long and Internet service spotty. We arrived in Rome about 9:30 AM Tuesday. Arrive in Viterbo around 1PM. Viterbo is an old papal city. In fact one pope was elected here. I really enjoy waking around, exploring. The Jasmine are in full bloom and are all over the old city inside the walls. Tuesday morning Mike, Ivana (his bride of almost a year), my wife and I drove north to Rapallo. Rapallo is about 18 miles down the coast from Genoa. The region is Liguria and it is on the gulf of Tugillia. Also not far from Monoco. In fact, the area is called the Italian Rivera. All up and down the coast beautiful pastel towns and villages. On Wednesday afternoon we explored Rapallo. Western at a restaurant that is joined to a hotel where Hemingway stayed. He set his short story “Cat in the Rain” at the hotel.
Wednesday we toured La Cinqua Terre (the five villages). They are connected by paths (which are impassable because of mud slides) and train. Each is distinct and all are beautiful.
Friday we went up the coast to Portofino (truly Rivera, you would not believe the yatchs), San Fortussio (spelling?), a very old monastery, which we toured, and Romogli, where we had supper. From Romogli, we could see Genoa. Today we drove back to Viterbo and have been resting.
Prayer meeting in the morning is at 10 and worship afterwards. I am preaching on Isaiah 58:13, 14, on the glorious promise attached to the the Sabbath.
The church here was originally a Brethren Congregation, pastored by Mario Forieri. Under the influence of Paddy Cook, Mario , who is a chiropractic doctor became covenantal and led the church in that direction. Since he was not ordained, he began to study with us at Greenville through the distance program. Occasionally he would come to campus to take an intensive course. Nine years ago, my wife and came over to preach and serve the Lord’s Supper. I knew that Mike Cuneo had a burden for Italy and with Mario’s approval approached Mike about coming. After praying about it and visiting, he committed to coming. He has been ordained even and sent out by Calvary Presbytery. The work is under the session of Calvary PCA, a congregation in Calvary Presbytery. I and Dr Nick willborn are on the session to oversee the work.
Mike has been here six years; my wife and I have been coming for four years. I preach a conference for the church, visit the families, and spend time with Mike. Three years ago, I started a conference for the Students, alumni, and friends. This year we we are having our third conference (we skipped year two).
We now have seven families and one lady. Three couples have been converted (Mike will baptize the third couple the weekend of the conference.
Pray for this work and the work of this week
Morning service went well. Mike led the service and Mario translated the message. The feedback I received was good. Afterward, most of us went to Gianni’s and Adanella’s for lunch. See my wife’s Facebook page for pictures of trip:sissyfloydpipa.
Just experienced one of the greatest days in my life. But I must not get ahead of myself. I tried to catch up last Wednesday, June 24 and somehow managed to lose all the new post.
On Monday Mike and I had two pastoral visits the first one was with Gaetano and his wife Lucia. They had been baptized and made profession of a short time before my wife and I came last June. We had some very good fellowship with them. A few months after we returned to the States, they left the church to join a charismatic church. We continued to pray for them and I sent word inviting them to the conference. They asked to meet with Mike and me. At our meeting they indicated they wanted to return to the church. They seem to understand that they should have left the way they did. Pray for them that they will settle down and that there will be genuine reconciliation.
The second visit was with Angelo and Laura. They are coming to make profession of faith and to be baptized. they have a wonderful testimony.
Monday night, Mike, Ivana, Sissy, and I had dinner with Mario and Clara and their sons Danielle and Stephano. We had a great meal and delightful fellowship. Tuesday afternoon Mike and I drove to Cuimpano airport in Rome to pick up Will Gibson, from Wales, and a friend from the Netherlands. Although neither one is a minister, they flew in for the fellowship of the conference.
The conference started Wednesday afternoon. In attendance, in addition to Mike and Ivana, Will, Sissy and me, were Murat Ozertekin and Matt Lamos from Ghent, Belgium, Tony and Kathleen, Greenville Seminary, via Austria, Alessandro Piccaglia from Bologna (a prospective student), Paddy Cook, from the states, and Joel Rinn, from Verona. Mario joimed us on Thursday.
We opened with a time of getting acquainted and a season pf prayer. I preached on Romans 15:30-31 on prayer. Following discussion, Paddy did a presentation on Evangelism and the distribution of books. Evening spent in fellowship.
Thursday morning Tony Curto gave a presentation on Eschatology and Confidence in Evangelism. You can listen to the foundational material in the lecture posted on this site. He then preached on Isa. 56 and Matt. 28:18-20. After lunch, I lead a discussion on Parish Evangelism and gave a presentation on Discipleship. Thursday night I was suppose to speak to the church on tithing. But Mike and I thought since we had so many countries represented (7 counting the US) to have reports on the reformed congregations and works in Europe. we had, five presentations: Great Britain, Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, and Austria. I think it was a great encouragement to our little congregation.
Friday morning, with just men present, we discuss pastoral problems and have a time of prayer. Then the women joined us and Mike preached a concluding sermon from Matt. 9, Jesus command to pray to the Lord of the harvest to thrust laborers into the harvest.
The Lord greatly blessed our time. we look forward to next year. We agreed to deal with scripture in light of problems with Romanism and Charismatic movement.
Friday night Daniel and Casey Houseworth arrived with their children. Daniel is a civilian working with the Navy in Naples I have known the Houseworths since 2005. They have united with our congregation here and come up quarterly. They came up this weekend for the conference. Saturday morning Mike and I did a pastoral visit with the family. They have six children, three of which are communicant members.
The conference began Saturday night. Three of those who came for the ministers’ conference stayed. we had twenty-five in attendance. At first session I preached on Male Piety and the second, on Female Piety. afterwards the mission hosted a pizza supper for those who were there.
Now today. we had forty-five in attendance. Earlier in the week, I met a student from the US who is a christian. I invited her; she came and brought three friends. Then a friend of mine, Rachel Knight, who is in Viterbo to play for an opera festival, came and brought a friend. she did not know we were here, but came because the church had been recommended. But in addition to those six, the seven Houseworths, and four other non Italians, all the rest were Italians, with a number of non-christians present. In the morning service, Mike Baptized Angelo and Laura and we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. I preached on Job 1:1. We had a delightful fellowship meal, with almost everyone staying. At the second service, I preached from Gen. 2:18-25 and Col. 3:18-19 on Christian Marriage. Was able to make much evangelistic application, since some present were or had been committing fornication. it seems that some people are under conviction and are tender to the gospel. Pray for them.
It is hard to believe that our time in Italy is almost over. Tomorrow night, we fly to Great Britain for phase three of our trip.
Flight to England went well, but because of my bad planning, we flew into Edinburgh and not Newcastle. We arrived at the home where we were staying at about 1:15 AM. We stayed with a delightful couple, John and Julie Winch. They have four children and John is an elder at Gateshead Presbyterian Church (EPCEW). The church is the host for our extension site in Great Britain. The pastor is Dr. Bill Schweitzer. Gateshead is in the Northeast of England beside Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Currently, the seminary has three students enrolled at Gateshead: Benjamin Wontrop, Nathan Hilton, and Benjamin Mitchell. I taught my course on Reformed Worship (twenty-six hours Tuesday through Saturday). A number of people from the congregation attended some or all of the class. Benjamin Wontrop and his wife Anna will be on campus in Greenville this year for his year year of study. Sissy and I really enjoyed getting to know the students and the wives of the two married men. We also had good fellowship with pastor Schweitzer, his wife Pam, and their children.
I preached at both services on the Lord’s Day. We had a wonderful time with the congregation.
Thursday afternoon, we went to the Cathedral in Durham to see the exhibit of the original Magna Carta (June 15 was the 800 anniversary). Friday, we went to visit the monastery at Lindensfarne. Monday, before driving to Cambridge, we visited Jarrow to see the monastery where Bede was. The original seventh century church is still intact and being used.
In Cambridge, we are staying with our dear friends, Ian and Joan Hamilton. Ian is pastor of Cambridge Presbyterian Church (EPCEW) and a member of the Board of Trustees of Greenville Seminary. We will, Lord willing, enjoy some rest. I will preach Sunday morning and we fly home Monday.