October 29, 2013
Rhema Christian Training Center (RCTC)
Tarlac City, Tarlac, Philippines
ccm Cross #0054
GPS/DMS 15.4755° N, 120.5963° E
Additional pictures after the Testimony:
3398/9 cdd God Said Go
Cyber Daily Devotion
Volume 14 Number 224
Today’s Author: Pastor Bill
Scripture: Matthew 25:21
“Well done, good and faithful servant” NKJV
How could a good ole farm boy from rural Northern Minnesota possibly hear the voice of the Lord? My name is John Cedergren and together with my wife Betty this is our Cross testimony of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done in our lives.
I grew up on a rural farm in a small community 90 minutes North of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was 30 degrees below zero the day I was born into this world. My parents should have known the Lord had something special for my life. My schooling was in an old fashioned — one room for all — school building. When reporting for first grade I was the only one. My teacher promptly graduated me to second grade and by default I was younger than my classmates throughout all my school years. I was always defending myself against the larger bullies and learned to give a good punch. High school was less traumatic.
After high school I stayed with my family on the farm. Our hangout was the bowling alley – roller rink – saloon. Every evening was spent there with my friends. Here also was where the town drunk hung out. Watching him instilled in me a desire to never drink or smoke. The Lord’s hand was ever present in my life but I had no clue!
At age 22 the Korean War was raging and rather than be drafted by Uncle Sam I volunteered. The military promised adventure but soon it was just a spit and polish boring detail. I volunteered for an innovative new outfit and found adventure and my place in the military. I spent the remainder of my Army time in the 10th Special Forces Group Airborne. The Army taught me how to defend myself with my bare hands, blow things up and skillfully wage war while jumping out of airplanes.
My return to civilian life brought me back to the farm, the roller rink – bowling alley – saloon. I had joined the Army looking for adventure and certainly found it.
Now it was time to settle down and work for the Minnesota based 3M Company.
Soon I met my future wife Betty and we were married. It was the hottest day of the year in 1955. Our first child Mark was born in April of 1957. Alan in July of 1959, and Karen February of 1961. The Lord truly was smiling on me without my knowledge.
We attended the local church with our three children. What happened next changed all our lives forever and took us on a more exciting journey than the military ever could — it even continues today — with more excitement, adventure, enjoyment and fulfillment than could have ever been imagined.
In 1965 I resigned my job and we committed to a three year missionary tour in Liberia, West Africa. We were missionary helpers and house parents for 20 children. We spent 3 years there and returned to North Branch, Minnesota to raise our children.
For the next 11 years I loaded groceries on to a cart and pulled them to the trucks so they could be delivered to different grocery stores. I was not happy with the job but, hey! The money was good and provided for our growing family.
Then we were at a church meeting where the speaker was introduced and the Lord did an incredible thing to get my attention: As the speaker was introduced his face began to glow.
The sun was behind the speaker and his face should have been in a shadow. I sat up in my seat and said to myself “WOW”! “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” At that a voice came to me and said, “He is going to speak on my Holy Spirit today, listen to him.” Betty never heard the voice — just me. God was showing me the WAY. Once again the Lord’s hand was ever present but I still didn’t have a clue.
That meeting ended with my prayer, “Jesus I don’t even know if you are real but, if you are do something with me today, because I’m dying, I’m dying.” My prayer was answered on that day and Christianity became real in my life. I was born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit.
I became a sponge reading through the Bible and studied the New Testament every chance I had. I could not get enough of the Bible. I gathered my children together and led them in a prayer of salvation and introduced them to the Holy Spirit. God began to function in my life on a regular basis and my faith began to grow. Healings started to take place when I prayed for others. Every day was an exciting new adventure. God is so good. And I was finally beginning to understand that the Lord’s hand had been ever present in my life.
The next ten years of my life felt like I was walking on clouds. Along the way we met Virgil Howell (ccm Cross # 50). He had been spending one month a year in the Philippines for the past 15 years.
In 1981 my daughter Karen and I decided to attend a Bible school while my wife Betty would teach elementary school supporting our decision.
Bible school went well and in January of 1982 the Lord spoke to me as clear as anyone has spoken and said, “Don’t go to school next year, go to the Philippines, and build a Bible school for Me.” I said, “Yes, Lord.” That afternoon Karen asked Betty, “Mom, what do you want to do next year.” Betty responded with, “I want to be in the Philippines.” That settled it we had confirmation. God’s word with confirmation is better than Gold.
The Lord works in mysterious ways and why he picked me for such a task as this I will never know. Clearly there were many, many others way more qualified — January 3, 1983 we arrived in Manila, Philippines.
We left for the Philippines with $150 dollars cash. GOD said GO! What else could we do? Once in the Philippines we found a property that was abandoned with many outbuildings. With next to nothing in our pockets and no monthly support — in faith we signed a contract. From that month on at least $450.00 per month came in to support the beginnings of the Rhema Christian Training Center (RCTC).
Our first class started with 35 students in 1983 and we graduated 9. Each year the school grew. In 1988 we left the rented property and purchased our own property. Over the years we added buildings as more and more students arrived.
Today Betty and I are in Tarlac, Philippines celebrating our 30th year for RCTC and the graduating class is 43. Over the years more than a thousand graduates have been dispersed by the Lord from RCTC. More than half in the Philippines and the rest in China, the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world.
Just think of what God has done with this good ole farm boy and his family from North Branch, Minnesota. We’ve lived in Africa three years. In the Philippines twelve years and in Macau, China for 5 months. Been to almost every country in Western Europe, Montenegro, the island of Pag, Yugoslavia, Mexico, and Guatemala. Rode a train from Beijing to Hong Kong. Been around the world twice. ALL BECAUSE GOD said GO — and WE SAID, YES LORD!
John and Betty’s favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” NKJV. It is not only their favorite Bible verse but they have lived it all their lives.
This Cross planted means for John and Betty a bright shining light for Jesus Christ as people drive into RCTC. Jesus died for you and me that we might live and this Cross represents commitment to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Father thank you for John and Betty Cedergren and those like them — who take a giant step of faith — and walk where worldly “wise men” fear to tread. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Ceso welded and built the Cross — here he is
cutting steel to make way for the plaque
The entire Cross was hand sanded in
preparation for painting
One coat of primer to prevent rusting
followed by two coats of paint
Moving the completed Cross into position
Students and faculty look on as
the concrete mixing process begins
“FIRE IN THE HOLE”
Plaque “Giving God Glory” over
John (84) and Betty (81) Cedergren
retiring from Christian Service
A Nara Tree Cross was also planted.
The Nara Tree is the national Tree of the Philippines.
John wanted this additional Cross planted
“Giving God Glory” for all his years
in the Philippines
Removing the Nara Trees from the jungle.
Attaching the cross beam to the main beam
The main beam had a bit of a crook in it
Lifting the Cross
“FIRE IN THE HOLE”
Each student who helped us plant the Nara Tree Cross
wrote his or her name in the cement in honor of
Sir John Cedergren