Philippines Ministry July 24-28, 2003
Early this morning, I flew in from Shanghai, China to a location about 1 1/2 hours north of Manila. After a little rest, Filipino Christian friends are picking me up at 9am. We have a big day ahead of us! We are planning to drive about 4 hours to a remote area south of Manila.
Dear Prayer Supporters,
Thank you so much for the time you spent in praying this past week when God brought this ministry to your mind. This was a great missions trip, busy with traveling and preaching almost every day. Several were saved and many Christians were encouraged with God's Word. I know that your prayers made a difference. I am just glad to be a part of what God is doing in His kingdom, and it is a pleasure to partner with you!
Our destination? "Word of Life Bible Institute." My objective? to encourage a missionary family and preach in chapel this evening.
2 1/2 years ago, Bent and Shelly Parschauer, with their two sons, Silas and Titus (SI and Ti), packed their bags and moved to the area pictured above, and built a home.
It is great to see Brent and Shelly again! We went to school together at Tennessee Temple University 10 years ago. Today, they are raising a godly family and working together with others to influence Filipino young people for Christ. Shelly is a homemaker and Brent teaches the course, "Christian Character" to about 40 college age students who are studying for the ministry.
After a great dinner at the Parschauer home, I have just finished speaking in chapel. Our topic: "How to be sure I do not marry the wrong person." We learned from the Bible about being content as a single person, and learning to recognize my future life partner if God should bring him or her to me.
Pictured here with Brent are two nationals, Glenn and Pastor Rex. They were two of my traveling companions. Glenn does a remarkable job in the scheduling of meetings for me and many other imortant behind the scenes matters in the ministry. Pastor Rex has also become a good friend and there is more about him later.
It is time to make the drive back home now. We will get back around midnight. A long day, but well worth the effort.
Tonight we are having a fellowship dinner with several churches. About 400 - 500 people have come together for a special service to honor pastors of the area. I am privileged to be one of the speakers, along with Pastor Ezra.
I speak for a short time and encouraged church members to honor their pastors by giving them the special present of "Time." By doing jobs for the pastor around the church and around the pastor's home, it can free up his time to be devoted to "Prayer and the ministry of the Word" as stated in Acts 6:4. The church members agree and the pastors seem to really be encouraged by this.
After the service, Pastor Tony Horn and I hop on his moped and ride to the hotel for some fellowship time. Last year I met Tony, shortly after he and his family had moved here from the States.
This is a great time to encourage each other in the ministry. We also are doing a little "brain-storming" about possible solutions to challenges that he is facing in his ministry to the Filipino people. This is valuable time together. Tony also says that the real "heros" in the ministry are the people who give money from the States, and do not get to see first-hand the lives they are helping over-seas. Personally seeing what God is doing is such a privilege.
Today, we travel to one of the poorest areas and see several people get saved! I am going on visitation with two Filipino Christians. Their strategy has been to start cell group Bible studies in the area. Every day, they have cell groups meetings in different parts of this "neighborhood."
The pastor and I walk from home to home meeting and praying with people he has been building relationships with. In one home we spend a considerable amount of time. The family members are all Christians, except for the husband (and father). He is happy to have me lead a Bible study for his family, however.
I open my Bible to Luke 18 and share the story of the blind man coming to Christ. At the end of the study, "Ramone" decides that he, also, wants to come to Christ! So, I have the privilege, through the interpreting pastor, of leading him in praying. He was truly excited -and so was his family. The pastor told me that he had been building a relationship with this man for about 1 month.
This pastor had put in the time that made the difference. I just happened to be there for the new birth. It was a reminder to me about the importance of friendship building for the kingdom.
About 15 kids, pictured to the left, also pray to be saved. Pastor Manson (in the background off my left shoulder) interprets as I explain to them Romans 10:9. I encourage them to think about what I said and then come to the pastor if they want to get saved.
To my suprise, they want to pray right now! Being concerned that they really understand what they are doing, I pull out of my pocket 100 Filipino pesos (the equivilent of $2). I ask, "Who would rather have 100 pesos, instead of praying?" Now, this is a very poor area. But even so, there are no takers. Together all the kids say, "No!" So, through Pastor Manson interpreting, I lead them in a prayer to be saved. These kids are really excited.
We have one more stop before we leave: Saturday's cell group Bible study. This group is led by Pastor Henry, one of the men by the window. Notice, the other man under the window. That is Ramone: the one who just got saved earlier today! He has already been plugged into a discipleship group!
This next month is exciting for the groups of Christians in the village. All the cell groups who have been meeting will come together and begin their first church service. Wow! God is growing His church, and it is neat to see! In just a few moments I will be introduced to speak. I am encouraging them from Luke 19.
This morning I am at Clark Field Baptist Church, pictured here with Pastor Chris, his wife and other members.
This was my second time speaking here. It is a church of 200 people with a Christian school. I am speaking from Genesis 2 and 3 on the subject of marriage.
At the end of the message couples are encouraged to make the decision for a godly marriage, and three people indicate that they have prayed to be saved!
Tonight, I am at Calulut Baptist Church. You can see just a little of the large screen to my right in the picture. It has been arranged at both churches that my notes would be displayed with the "Power Point" program. Also, the listeners have hand outs with fill in the blanks.
After the service, the pastor (pictured left) expresses his joy concerning how God has spoken to him about marriage through the message. In both services, God has blessed in a wonderful way. It has been obvious that people back home are praying. One of the difficult things that I face is being tired from the time zone changes. But in every opportunity to speak, amazingly, I feel refreshed!
This is my final day in the Philippines. We are on the road again. This time it is with Pastor Rex. He is taking me to see his church meeting place. On the way, we stop by homes and meet some of his church members.
This family has invited us for spaghetti. It is the birthday meal for this little boy seated beside me.
Finally, we arrive at the meeting place for Pastor Rex's church. On Sunday he has about 50 - 60 members. There are three challenges he is facing, however:
1) When it rains, the roof leaks in places and the wind blows the rain in from the sides. 2) There is barely enough room for the people. 3) When the people pack in for church, it is extra hot!
So, what is the solution? God provided the money for them to purchase a piece of property next door. The plan is to put up a large roof (we might know it as a pavillion/car-port like structure). This will allow more than 60 people, and the roof will come down at an angle in such a way to keep the rain from blowing in. In a future phase, walls could be built. Pastor Rex has had the cost quoted at $1400.
The church is at a very strategic location since there is a subdivision being built right across the road. If you would like to help with this project, please send me an email. I can make sure the money is given to their church.
Pastor Rex is a quality individual with a heart for the ministry. As we drive around together and stop in homes, I can see that he is also a very loved pastor. I, personally, am praying about how our family could be a part of helping to get his church roof up. If God should speak to you about contributing toward this, please let me know.
This past year, he has built a church building, and there are about 60 members. We have become good friends now and enjoy talking together about what God is doing in our lives.
Again, thanks for being a part of this ministry through your prayers. I look forward to our next time of working together in God's kingdom.