Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday April 9th 2008

The lowest servants in the house...
Beginning with praise and worship through song and ending with hugs and handshakes, this morning we served those who serve. We equipped Pastor's this morning at a weekly gathering of about 30 local area pastors. Our two pastors (Will and Sarnaa) equipped them with discipleship training with talks that challenged the pastors to utilize their youth in building their churches and to raise people to be leaders.

The ladies had a special time of encouragement and fellowship together in God's word. Where they also gave talks and challenged the women leaders and pastor's wives in discipleship and raising up young women who will lead and build up others.

As these pastors gather here weekly, we were welcome as those from "Dr. Stanley's church" in Atlanta. We sat with the pastors, prayed with the pastors, and was also equipped by Dr. Stanley, via DVD, with the pastors.

The look on those pastors' faces when we presented the signed copies of "Living the Extraordinary Life" said it all. Each pastor went home with a signed book, a set of CD's, a creative evangelism method, and equipped to begin discipling their young and old. Although these pastors face the same level of poverty as their people, they remain optimistic, and joyous. They desperately need your support.

Huge welcoming...
We journeyed from the pastors seminar to another part of town where over 100 children were ready to greet us. And greet us they did. As soon as our van pulled up, we heard almost 200 little voices yelling "They're here!" These children were ready and many prayed to receive Christ once the gospel was presented. The pictures tell the full story:

Tuesday April 8th

We truly served the greatest in God's eyes. Today was a surprise. We didn't have anything originally planned for the day and an opportunity arose. A small house church in the area we were staying in, that was founded by our host missionary's language teacher, wanted us to come and help them reach the young kids in the neighborhood. Many children came out.

We worshiped through song, we danced, we put on a puppet show, and we told stories. Today was the day that God really clarified the message he wanted us to preach going forward and it is: "With Jesus in your boat, you can smile at the storm." Or to put it another way, "Always trust Jesus!"

Today is an answer to our prayers, our team is together in focus, in love, and a passion to reach and to teach. But today was different, we were all together and knew exactly what needed to be done and everyone stepped in and pulled together. We had the quickest stage setup, the most organized program, and God honed our message clearly.

God honored our efforts through the many who prayed to receive salvation, and discipleship was reinforced through a spur of the moment creative show.

When it was all said and done God had used us up for the day. The team went for lunch, out to a new area of ministry opportunity where the door was closed in the last hour, and we went back to our guest units to rest.

What is so refreshing about our work here is the abundant gratitude of the children and the adults alike. The ministry we did today helped that church understand how to reach the lost on an ongoing basis and how to creatively disciple their young children.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday April 7th 2008

Prisoners need your touch...
Our ministry started today visiting the city jails in the poorest areas of Metro Manila. The prisoners were elated to see us and were very receptive. At the first prison for adults we went in to assist in the work of Pastor Fred, a minister who disciples the adults in this prison. It was a huge help and encouragement to assist this long time prison ministry pastor who works for free, supported by his family. The four women on the team had the honor of speaking with the female inmates in a very small group of 20. The women in the adjoining cells were able to hear the truth of the gospel and the assurance that with God nothing is impossible. Their two hours of studying God's word and singing concluded with prayers on their knees.

Leaving there we went to a Juvenile facility that focused on rehabilitating young teen aged prisoners. We helped in the ministry there in the on-going evangelization and discipleship of those students as they went through rehabilitation. We performed three of our puppet skits and Richard got the boys loudly praising God in song!

What was a tremendous encouragement for this visit was the wide open receptiveness of both the prison staff and the prisoners to our ministry. Many received Christ, and others were encouraged and trained to disciple other teens in groups.

The prisoners and the pastors ministering and discipling these students and adult prisoners deeply need our support, and our ongoing training to effectively raise salt and light believers. One of the biggest needs Pastor Fern expressed is having Dr. Stanley's messages translated into the Filipino language.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday, April 6th 2008

Sites and sounds and recap of the day...
The Philippines is a very religious place of peaceful and happy people. There is a very wealthy business district where buildings scrape the sky, and condo developments rival even the best of Atlanta or New York. We received a warm welcome similar to family members, and we were handsomely greeted by the pastor's wife as we came in. We went to a church service in this part of town that was very refreshing. someone opened the door to greet us, and spaghetti, rice, and fried chicken were on the menu. The people were excited to hear about the missionary work we were about to do. Afterwards we ate at McDonald's, whereUnlike McDonald's in America, the proportions were small, a small drink in America was medium here.

At the orphanage...
The Philippines is also a land of contrasts. The other side of the street is third world. A place where houses are cobbled together with whatever scraps can be found, and the water supply for most can also be the sewage. Here we ministered to poor youth in an orphanage and church in an impoverished area of town. Many youth prayed to receive Christ there.

On the street...

The streets are buzzing with the sights and sounds of fast whizzing cars and the popular mode of transportation among the poor, the Jeepney. The Jeepney is a remnant from the by-gone war days. It is basically a converted, very creatively decorated, WWII era Jeep. The Jeepney drivers have one thing in mind, getting their passengers from one place to the next even if that means running you off the road.

Traffic here is quite scary from an American perspective. People here drive extremely aggressively. If you want to get into a lane just move the cars in the adjacent lane into the next lane.

The Filipino people...
The Filipino people wherever you find them are receptive and always happy to talk and hear about Jesus. The Filipino people seem to be convinced that Jesus is the answer and the solution for everything. In fact, just to prevent people from peeing on a wall outside the home, they paint a picture of Jesus.

We ended the day, taking in the sights, and smells of a Filipino dinner and praying about tomorrow's activities.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

We have arrived!

After 25 hours of travel, and 4 international airports the luggage, the supplies, and the entire team have arrived safely in Manila at 1am Sunday Morning (that's Philippines time, which is 1pm Atlanta time on Saturday)

On the way to Seoul - This mission started before we got on the plane...
In Los Angeles - We've had an interesting trip, a four hour layover in Los Angeles. We stopped to eat breakfast (actually lunch for us) and the check out clerk asked about our trip, she also is a christian and was excited to hear about our mission. She asked us to pray for her friend who is dying from cancer and does not know Jesus.

Somewhere over the Pacific - After flying several hours on a plane set for Seoul, South Korea we encountered a Korean flight attendant who somehow knew we were Christians and shared that she also is a Christian. She asked about our trip, we told her what we were doing, and she told us her dream of being a full-time missionary and her mission as a flight attendant. She asked us to pray about the salvation of her in-laws to be and her forth-coming wedding.

We ate the world's best omeletes in L.A., ate Bi-Bim-Bab en-route to South Korea, and witnessed to people aboard the final plane to Manila.

In Manila - When we arrived we were greeted with open arms, immigration welcomed us big after finding out we were coming to do ministry work. Custom's flagged us through and we met our host Gloria at the outside of the airport and are now at our guest units.

Later this morning we go to church, then to minister at a Christian school. Keep us in your prayers for rest, renewal, and to walk in the spirit as a team.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Philippine Country Analysis

Climate and Natural Resources

  • Giant sauna identical to South Florida weather
  • Tropical marine: rainy and dry seasons
  • Summer monsoons bring heavy rain (May to October)
  • Cooler and dryer air (November to February)
  • Average temperatures: 78°F/25°C to 90°F/ 32°C;
  • Humidity is 77%; Annual rainfall: 5,000 mm.
  • Sit astride typhoon belt; July to October especially hazardous for mudslides
  • Timber, petroleum, cobalt, silver, gold, copper, salt

Population and Society

  • According to the 1996 census, the population was just under 90,000,000 people.
  • The Philippines is a very youthful society with 57% under the age of 25.
  • There is a 95.9% literacy rate.
  • 2 million U.S. citizens reported Filipino ancestry.
  • The Philippines is a very diverse nation. Malay’s, Indonesians, Chinese, Hindu’s, Spanish, Japanese, American’s, and Muslims live in the country in large numbers.
  • It is the 3rd largest English speaking country in the world. Only behind the U.S. and U.K.
  • Although, there are over 70 major language groups and over 500 dialects.

Religious and Spiritual Climate

  • 82.9% Roman Catholics
  • 5.4% Protestants
  • 4.6% Islam
  • 2.6% Others (Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh Day Adventists, Aglipayans)
  • 2.3% Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ)
  • 2.2% Evangelical Christians

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Team:
(from left to right) 
Sarnaa Archie, Will Turner, Ingrid Forbes, Jackson Thomas, Dale Thomas, Drew Rios, Elena Chappell, Richard Carr, Kristen Downing, Susie Kay Goebler