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Archive for January, 2014

Philippines Crusade Outreach

Philippines Crusade Outreach – 2013

 

I am still excited about how God worked with our team during our November 23 – Dec 2 outreach and crusades in Lasam and Lal-lo, two municipalities in the province of Cagayan, Northern Luzon, Philippines.

 During the six evangelistic crusades, the team of six Americans and eight Filipinos flowed seamlessly in the Spirit. We ministered the Gospel to 1,960 men, women and children. Ninety four percent (1,834) prayed to receive Christ!

 Our flight from San Francisco to Manila was smooth. We arrived in Manila at 3:40 am, but the next flight was delayed and we spent the 9.25 hour lay over in the airport – eating, reading and talking.

 The flight to the Tuguegarao, the Provincial capital of Cagayan was a joy. There were beautiful cloud formations and soon we were flying above the 200 mile long Cagayan Valley with the Cagayan River filling large and small rice fields on either side. This awesome Valley is ringed by mountain ranges on the east, west and south, crowned by 8,091 foot Mount Sapocox. The river’s three mile mouth empties into the Pacific Ocean, only fifteen miles from the Solomon Hotel in Lal-lo, our ministry “Headquarters” for the week.

 After a 1.5 hour van ride from the airport, we arrived at the Hotel at about 3 pm on Monday, December 2. We were very glad to see Cedric and Joy our amazing crusade coordinators and the leaders of the Good Shepherd International Fellowship Asia Foundation. It was also nice to take a shower and change our clothes after traveling for 26.25 hours. At 3:45 pm we we off to the first crusade site.

 From then on, God’s blessings were continually evident. Pastor Henry, the local crusade coordinator and the other local pastors did a great job in preparing the way for us. On Tuesday we proclaimed the Good News in a general assembly at an elementary school. On Wednesday we shared Christ with all the students at an high school called Lasam Academy.

 It almost blew my mind when the Principal of the Academy asked Cedric whether we would like to share in each classroom or have a school-wide general assembly. Cedric chose the assembly, and 630 students lined up and intently listened to the Gospel. It appeared that all the students raised their hands to receive the Lord. All this happened in less than 45 minutes! It was so easy.

 In a visit to the Mayor’s office of Lasam, we shared with and prayed for the City Councilors. One distinguished-looking lady Councilor shared with me how she became a Methodist. She also attended one of the crusades and came forward at the altar call.

 On another morning we prayed with Lasam’s police chief and his officers. During the morning outreaches 769 people prayed to receive Christ – a total of 2,603 for the crusades and morning outreaches.

A barangay (village) captain and/or some of the barangay Council persons were present at almost every crusade. Some responded to the call to receive Christ or to be prayed for personally. All willingly received prayer for them as a group.

 By the end of the outreach, 17 brand new-believer Bible studies were established in the barangays, including one at Lasam Academy! In one barangay, a brand new church started because of a single crusade. Word of these crusades spread beyond our time in the Philippines. In recent emails, Cedric and Joy told me two additional Bible studies that were established — one by a teacher and another in a barangay we did not minister in!

 Even the weather conditions worked to our advantage. It was the monsoon season in this region; the clouds and rain created perfect temperatures for us, never going much lower than 70 degrees or higher than 80 degrees.

 The Lord had told me that the trip was really going to benefit the members of our American team — and His word came to pass. The team members — my wife Nancy, our daughter Rachael, Terry, Mollie and Jillian — got along remarkably well considering our different personalities, the age range, limited missionary experience and the inconveniences of travel to and in a developing nation.

 Every team member grew more confident with each crusade. All handed out flyers from house to house with Filipino church workers, inviting the people to come to the crusade that night. All the members prayed for a line of people that came forward to be healed and for other needs.

 After the opening prayer at 5 pm each night, the outstanding worship team played for about 45 minutes. They “cleared” and energized the venue with God’s presence. As each team member felt ready, they had the option of greeting the people for five minutes, giving their testimony for fifteen minutes or preaching the main evangelistic message for twenty minutes. Each message was translated into Ilocano.

 Some team members had special ways to serve the people. Jillian was remarkable with the children — within a minute of arriving at the crusade sites (usually a covered basketball court with a stage), the children gathered around her. At the first crusade she had a dozen or more children playing a group game. She even made a new “best friend” with a girl her age.

 Rachael was great at greeting the crowds. She was her real self — positive, flamboyant and effective. Nancy preached the main evangelistic message at the last crusade. It was her first ever evangelistic message to a group (to see Nancy, Rachael and I ministering together was vision I’ve had for over 15 years).

 Terry may have been the team member most impacted by the outreach. Before his wife died Terry loved to witness and pray for people he met. I knew that if he came to the Philippines this ministry would be rekindled – and it was! In the Philippines the other team members often wondered where he went. We even developed a group saying “Where’s Terry?” — only to find out he was witnessing and praying for another person.

 Terry told me with tears that he understands more about missions and “will never be the same.” He was impressed with the Filipino team’s “professionalism and love”. He was “deeply touched” and grateful to “Cedric and Joy, from the bottom of my heart”. Amen!

 Terry shared a very transparent testimony of his struggles and how the Lord has helped him. He said that telling his story during the outreach was a high point for him, because it “opened him up” and was sure it “really helped the hurting people”.

I enjoyed sharing with the members of the Lasam pastors group and praise God for how he guided and anointed us all including Bishop Jun, my outstanding interpreter when I preached five evangelistic messages.

 The outreach was not without challenges. Your prayers made a difference along with the fasting and prayer of the Filipino pastors and their congregations. We all stood in faith when Mollie’s mom caught pneumonia the week before we flew to the Philippines. She was scheduled to watch Mollie’s boys; Mollie found someone else to stay with them less than 24 hours before we flew out from San Francisco.

 Some of the trials were relatively minor: my camera “disappeared”, Terry got sick near the end of the week, I battled a flu for a week after we returned and most of the team experienced exhaustion and jet lag.

 Other trials were more difficult to endure. Our return flight to Manila was canceled due to rain. This cost us about 24 extra hours of waiting and over $300. We had to call the three pastors back to the Tuguegarao airport; they were already on their way home and 40 miles to the north. They sacrificially spent the rest of the day with us, until we began our 11-hour bus ride to Manila. A bonus waited for Jillian in Manila: During our long lay over there, she enjoyed cruising the street markets for bargains to give her brothers and window shopping at the largest mall in Asia.

 Your prayers helped saved the lives of Cedric and Joy (our coordinators), Grace (the administrator and lead singer), Jun (the chief interpreter) and the van driver — on their 12 hour drive home to La Union Province — the van’s tire blew out when the driver was going over 65 mph. The tire was completely shredded, but the van did not flip over and no one was hurt. PTL.

 I trust this report encourages you and shows you how significant your giving and prayers are to the work of the Kingdom. Thank you!

 Arthur

Assistant General Superintendent

 

 

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