| Dear friends | Please pray for the following | July 8 | July 9 | July 10 | July 12 | July 13 | July 14 | July 15 | July 16 | July 17 | July 19 | July 20 | July 21 | July 22 | July 23 | July 24 | July 26 | Here are a few quotes from our debriefing |

 

Per-tour update. This is a copy of Pastor Mongens' letter that he sent out. It very accurately depicts our need for your prayers as we prepare to leave for Manila. Those of us from FEC Glendale just returned from a wonderful retreat where Steve Torgerson reminded us that we need to be disciplined to be useful for God but that serving Him is not easy, so keep remembering us in prayer.

Dear friends,

As we celebrate July 4, we are reminded that the freedom we enjoy comes at a tremendous cost in the lives of those who fight on our behalf. May we learn to cherish this freedom.

As a reminder, in two days our church association youth singing group "Vision" will begin our 20 day short-term Missions trip to Manila, Philippines.

This tour, please pray with us that all the young people will be deeply spiritually challenged to step up for the kingdom of God. We have decided to limit our ministry in private Christian high schools and have opted to do, among other things, visit orphanages, children's charity wards in hospitals, partner with existing ministries among the poor, including an incarnational church in the city dump, do small team on-the-job student evangelism with a church that ministers in the "University Belt" (surrounding 10 universities) and with ministries that work with street children.

We have allotted multiple times to debrief. The goal is for Vision members to learn to "See with Jesus' Eyes."

18 young people (9 young men and 9 young women) will be traveling with our director Marshall and Meiring Huang, then Abigail and myself.


Please pray for the following:

1. Journey mercies -many of the Vision members are on their first tour and overseas trip. Pray for health, against illness, weather that may be hot and humid with monsoon flooding, food adjustment and protection against air-borne diseases.

2. Pray that all of our spiritual eyes will be open and that we will see with Jesus' eyes (Matthew 9:35-38). May some of them come back and make life decisions to spend their lives for the advancement of the kingdom of God.

3. Spiritual warfare: I believe that Satan is not happy when God, through us, breaks into his realm. Last Saturday, two of our Vision young people were in a big car accident not of their fault. Both members (who are siblings) came away unscathed but with major damage to their car. Pray for a clear path.

Thank you for praying with us.

Mongens

Friday, July 8
We had a safe and uneventful flight to Manila from LA. We thank God that even though it had rained for two days here, it was dry and fairly cool when we arrived so we had no problems loading 19 Balikbayan boxes on the truck. We got in to the hotel which is very nice and clean and got to bed about 2 AM.
Uncle Marshall had to learn a lesson about delegation. When John Ngai asked the girls to get on the bus, he complained that there were not enough guys to watch the luggage and move it to the truck, but all went fine, so U Marsh has to apologize to John, a good lesson in humility for him.
Later today, we are going to the Smokey Mountain, the garbage dump where we will meet a Chinese Pastor who moved his family to the dump to minister to the people who live there. May we learn from his willingness to minister like Jesus to the people in need.




Saturday, July 9

We encountered out first minor problem yesterday. The hotel we are staying in was suppose to provide us with one van we could rent, but we found out a few days ago, their van was in an accident so it is not available to us so we have to scramble for transportation. Fortunately, Pastor Mongens' mom loaned us their van yesterday so with the church van, we were able to go to Payatas, one of the garbage dumps in the afternoon.
Pastor Ranier Chu met us at the hotel. He and his family lived there starting 10 years ago, even though he is a lawyer and his wife a doctor. A few years ago, he moved out and is getting a D.Min. Pastor Ranier gave us a quick briefing of the conditions at the dump. When we drove to it, we passed an open dam, which stores all of Manila's drinking water. This water supply is located only about 300 yards from the dump site with all its toxic wastes. Our first thought was why would anyone want to live here, behind a 200-foot high mountain of trash, but it was not as bad as the Cambodian dump. There are actually many small communities and churches all over the dump. A church building has been erected and Pastor Fred and his wife live here. Pastor Fred is quite a business entrepreneur, and creates wealth for the community buy buying these recycled wastes and sorting them and trucking them to a buyer and seller of this material for export to China and other places. The people living here with their families collect plastic bottles and aluminum cans for ten pesos (about 20 cents) a kilo. The prize product is copper wire from old electric buildings at about 150 pesos a kilo. Old brass faucets are also prized. We met about 30 members of the church and sang a few songs to them and talked to them.
One lady named Gloria was delightful and happy, excited about the children she is teaching. An older man is a worship leader, using guitar (their keyboard burned out a while ago) and he was so happy we visited them. The children are wonderful, playful and happy. There are dogs all over the place, which helps guard the "treasure" of recycled wastes from thieves. This church has about 50 adult members, and their offering is about 500 pesos a Sunday (about $9)). Yet, this is a richer community, whose members are able to work 6 days a week recycling and they even feed the poor(er) once a week. The have a coop to buy medicine in bulk to save quite a bit for the people living there. They showed us what living the incarnational life is all about. We gave two boxes of clothes and toys to Pastor Fred to distribute and bought 40 warm sodas to share with the church members and children. They were so happy and grateful.
The contrast between the rich and poor is fantastic. We ate dinner at a mall near the hotel for about 110 pesos each person, so 5 of us ate the equivalent of a Payatas Sunday offering. We saw the prices of a shirt at Nautica in the mall, priced at 3000 pesos. But though they had money at the mall, there was little of the joy of the church members at the dump.
Today, we are meeting with Ching Ngaihte, our FECA missionary and going to another urban poor site and singing. Everyone in Vision is healthy and well, praise God.




Sunday, July 10

One of the impressive things we say at Payatas was a little girl (maybe 10) eating a snack of 3 BBQ chicken heads on a stick. She ate one, gave one to her sister and the third to a friend of hers. Even though they are ridiculously poor, the children are generous and loving, much more so than those of us in the States. We also saw how much work trash produces to the poor. Vision in Glendale has a recycling can which is often more filled with garbage than aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Maybe that is because the can is not clearly labeled but more likely because we are too lazy to walk the extra steps to the back of the CE building to throw our recyclable away. When Vision returns, we are going to buy a three trash bin with clearly labeled and has a real trash bin conveniently located next to the recyclable and encourage more people to save the earth and create real work for others (recycling industry).
Yesterday, we went to a daughter church of Jubilee Church located in a "gated" community of very rich Chinese businessmen with huge mansions at Malabon. However, located just in the middle of this community are thousands of urban poor living in shacks (but at least they have running water). This church has members of the very rich and very poor sitting side by side, not unlike the situation when Romans and slaves worshipped in the early church. We passed out tracts and invitations to the poor in the heat of the afternoon, draining most of us and Josh was pretty sick. After the tracts, we rested and prayed for at least 5 souls to be saved at the concert that night. We sang on a covered basketball court while the rain poured down. Pastor Mongens gave a powerful half-Tagalog half-English sermon, and there were about 9 decisions, although some of them seemed to be Christians already so only God knows how many hearts were really changed, but we praise Him for a good meeting. We came home drained, but this morning, we are all revived and even Josh seems much better with no fever and only a sore throat and everyone else seems OK.
One more thing, we got a call early this morning from Angel Huang (our main contact in Manila) that her house was on fire and asked us to pray. We found out it was only her garage and everyone is fine but we don't know the details but she is not able to join us today, just another distraction from the enemy, so keep praying.
Monday, July 11 Sunday was a long and busy day. We spent it at an urban poor (slum area) church located not far from our hotel with Ching and Thang Ngaihte at a place called Welfareville. Unlike the church Sunday night which is supported by the rich Chinese community and the Jubilee Church, this one is very poor, meeting in a room about 10 by 14 feet with no A/C. Pastor Larry is a Filipino Pastor of about 30 something with a wife and two kids. They combined their two services and rented a tent to put in the square for this event as we sang and Mongens preached at the Sunday morning service and in the afternoon outreach. There are about 50 members in this church but a good number are young people in their teens and twenties, including a young man of 24 named Fred, who finished College and is going to Bible school. Their worship is dynamic and heartfelt, in spite of poorly tuned guitars, a rented sound system which is in poor condition and children running around. They really worshiped God and focused on Him alone.
What is really interesting is all the noise going on around them in the middle of worship. When we sang, there was a cockfight with all the crowd roaring about 10 feet from the porch we sang in. There were children all over the place, just like one would picture in Jerusalem when Jesus taught and preached. There were about 70 people there at the service and another 40 or 50 curious passerby. After our first song, the cockfight was mercifully over and many of the men stood to listen as we sang several more songs. After Pastor Mongens' message, there was ministry time as we prayed for about 15 people who asked for various prayer needs. We left to get some rest and returned at 4 PM to join their youth in passing out invitations to our concert that night (starting at 5 PM). The sky was gray and threatened to rain as we started about 5:40 PM with their worship team. We when started to sing, it started to pour so that U Marsh had to move to avoid being showered by the water streaming down between a crack in the flap of the tent. We had prayed for 15 conversions, and there were 14 adults and numerous children who stayed to give them names to the church elders to take their names down for follow-up at the end of the service. So far on this trip, each time we had to walk outside, the rain stopped for us. Our God is the one in control of the elements. We came back very tired and stopped at Jollibee (Filipino McDonald) for a quick bite, and John Ngai ordered too much food. But God had a great plan for the leftovers. As we pondered what to do, God gave us the wisdom to call the church at Welfareville and some young people walked to the restaurant. They were so happy and blessed to be given so much food and drinks. We returned to the hotel about 8:30 PM and celebrated Joseph Hsiung's birthday with a cake, and gave the rest to the hotel staff. They were again so happy and we were happy we could be a blessing to them.
Monday morning, we went to GK777, an organization sort of like Habitat for Humanity, which is trying to build homes for the poor while being holistic in their approach. However, this mainly Catholic organization partners with Muslims and Buddhists, but does a very good work in helping the poor. Their goal is 700,000 people served with 70,000 homes in 7 years and they are in their second year. We went to one of their projects close to our hotel where they took a high crime area and started to rebuild there. We gave the children toys and played with them. This afternoon we are going to Jubilee to practice and take it easy after 3 and a half days of hard ministry. Thanks for your prayers.




Tuesday, July 12

A comment on yesterday's update about GK777. We will be visiting another GK777 project next week so the issue of how to do social concerns while being evangelistic and being unequally yoked is a question each member in Vision needs to think out for themselves. These young people in Vision will be the future leaders in FECA. Monday afternoon, we went to practice and spent some time thinking over what we have seen so far in Manila. Angle's father, Mr. Huang (U Marsh's uncle) invited the whole group out for dinner at a very nice restaurant. After seeing the poverty, we felt somewhat uncomfortable sitting at a fancy restaurant being waited on and eating great food (crabs among other things) so this is something we will also need to process.
Today, we visited a very unique poor village, actually three villages located about 45 minutes from our hotel but in an environment completely different from Manila called Cogeo. These villages are located in the middle of a tropical jungle (it feels like). We had to hike down a ravine, and cross a 5 foot river to reach our first village which is on the other side of the river. Gloria slipped trying to cross and fell halfway in to over her waist but the water was warm and fairly clean. Our first task was to wash the village children (about 15) by scooping water from the river. We were guided through the process by a 6-member short-term team from OMF who were all also from various parts of the US. These young people are about our age, but they have been here for 5 weeks, some living in the Welfareville and others at another urban poor site (no A/C, flush toilets or showers, etc.). Their dedication inspired us.
At this first village, U Marsh and A Mei talked to the adults, then they were joined by the rest of the group who by now had finished washing the children so we sang a couple of songs in the shade of some trees. Mongens then preached a short message (in 95% Tagalog). Praise God, 10 adults, including the village elder, a man of 60 called the gatekeeper, accepted the Lord. Pray that this will be start of turning the whole village (only about 40-50 people or so in the village) to Christ. We then passed out toys and some snacks we had bought and hiked further up the mountain to the next village where OMF has a small schoolroom. Just as we stepped into the shelter, the heavens opened and rain poured out for about an hour. We ate our lunch there, thankful for God's perfect timing. We then listened and prayed for the volunteer pastors who come here once a week and the OMF teachers. The rain stopped about 2 PM, thus giving us perfect weather for our 3 PM concert. We sang on the shelter in front of the school. About 100 or more from the three villages showed up. Most of the crowd were children. We sang, did our skit and the local volunteer pastor, Danny preached while Mongens rested. Almost everyone in this large group prayed the sinner's prayer so we don't know who really believed, but God knows and we are confident this is the start of a spiritual revolution in this area. As we left, Abigail slipped on the mud path and injured herself. We returned to shower and clean up, grateful for the place we are staying and marveling at the 6 youths with the OMF team who are showing us incarnational Christianity by their willingness to live among the urban poor for 6 weeks this summer.



Wednesday, July 13

This is a quieter day of ministry for us as we only visited Asian Theological Seminary (ATS) and sang a concert and talked to some of the international students there. ATS is where Ching and Thang Ngaihte teaches. We had a good concert there for their chapel service and a good time talking to students from Miramar (Burma), Malaysia, Solomon Islands, Germany, Indonesia, Korea, and Outer Mongolia. These students described what is going on in their country and shared prayer items. We prayed for them. The man from Indonesia is interesting as he has been doing ministry in Acea for the past 6 years and even went back earlier this year after the Tsunami because of the openness to Christ there, but also because of problems with the Muslims because of these conversions. We asked him about the veracity of the story circulating in the internet about this church that had to go up the mountain to celebrate Christmas before the tsunami hit and he said he could not verify the truth or falseness of that story. After ATS, we returned to the hotel and are going to Jubilee Church this evening to teach English to the Mainland students.
Since we have been here a week, let me tell you about where we are staying, the Kabayan Hotel. This hotel is one of several owned by the son of the former Hotel King of Manila. Hotels here are notorious for being rented for 3 hour intervals for trysts, but when the son took over, he became a Christian and God convinced him to change the hotel operations, so he gave up all the profits of the shady side of hotel and resolved that his hotels would be used only by married couples and families. God has blessed him and the hotel we are staying is aimed for Filipinos who work abroad and return for a short time. It is very clean and very functional as well as economical (we are averaging about $8 a day per person including breakfast). The top floor (9th floor) is used a prayer floor with individual cubicles anyone can rent for 30 pesos (about 55 cents) an hour to have a quiet time to pray and meditate. It also has a meeting room we sometimes use for group worship (at 300 pesos, about $6, per hour). We hear the staff having their worship and devotions when we come down for breakfast. We feel very peaceful staying here. As a consequence, we are all reasonably healthy. Only Victoria, Sarah and Long have slight colds while Josh is perfectly well. He insists he never had a fever a few days ago, only a sore throat. While food here is rice and meat with very little vegetables, we are freely supplied with juice, fresh bananas, papayas, mangos, and mangostein to keep our system running well by Angel and other "angels".




Thursday, July 14

Abigail had slipped on Tuesday and bruised her arm but X-rays showed no breakage so we thank God for that. She stayed at Mongens' mom's home but today, she appears to have caught the flu, as she is achy all over. No one else is sick except for some minor throat thing.
This morning we visited Chinese General Hospital where we visited 4 years ago and is where William (Pinky's husband and former FEC Glendale member) works. We first visited the senior ward where there are about 25 elderly men. These men have to be over 65 and have no family to care for them to qualify to stay (for free and receive medical treatment as needed) here. There used to be a Cantonese section and an Amoy section with over 60 patients. (The women stay at a different hospital.) We sang to them and prayed with them while a smaller group went to visit those who are too weak to walk downstairs to where we sang (about 7 of them). We then went to the charity ward where we sang to the patients waiting to be seen and gave toys to the children in the wards. We also went into the hospital proper and went to the pediatric ward where we sang to 6 children and their parents (usually their moms and prayed for them). Dr. Nelson Lim, a surgeon and a friend of William was our host and he had also brought some local missionaries with him today to share the Gospel with those waiting to be seen. We need to pray for them, as there is a strong push from the Buddhist charity groups to take over and displace the Christian charities. After lunch provided by Dr. Nelson, we walked through the Chinese cemetery, which is located just behind the hospital. There we saw huge buildings, some two stories tall, with air conditioning and some equipped with bathrooms (for visiting living relatives tot he gravesite, not the dead). What is ironic is that just behind the cemetery wall are thousands of urban poor living in squalid conditions with open sewers while the dead have houses with marble floors and A/C. May God have mercy on us.
Later this afternoon, we will have a time to share what we have seen and then be invited out to dinner by Auntie Elsie's siblings at their brother's restaurant. We also need to process this seeming contradiction of eating nice food while the poor have barely enough to eat. Should we turn down all these invitations or can we use these occasions to share what we have seen? Actually, we all live in such ridiculous comfort every day that "learning how to live simply so that others might simply live" is a very difficult lesson for us to learn and apply.




Friday July 15

Yesterday afternoon, we discovered that Sarah and Long, who hold Hong Kong passports have visas that allow them to stay only for 7 days in the Philippines instead of 21 days like the rest of us. Mongens kindly went with them to the immigration office to get a 14-day extension. But when they arrived, bureaucracy being what it is, they had shut down their computer and could not tell them what the additional fee was for rapid processing, but they did get the OK to stay since they had applied for extension in time. Praise God for our discovering this problem just in time.
This morning was a quite time for us so when Mongens and Sarah and Long went back to the immigration office, the rest of us spent an hour in silence in individual prayer cubicles on the 9th floor, drawing our life timeline and praying for healing in hurt areas and that God would show us what to do in the future. Most of us thought the experience was worth the time spent and that an hour was too short.
By lunch time, Mongens et al returned with good news that they were not charged exorbitant fees for the rapid processing and they were able to return (a third trip) at 4 PM to pick up their paper work so they are now legal. The rest of us went to Balik-Balik, another urban poor project by the railroad tracks. We followed the local Pastor (Denny, whom we met a Cogeo) and a few of his leaders into the neighborhood to pass out invitations and tracts, and went to a distant site to pray and claim this area where a Bible study has been started by Pastor Denny. We then took the trolley back to the church site. This trolley is a hand pushed cart that takes 8 riders for about 7 pesos each. The trolleys costs less than 3000 pesos to make and the church loans the money which is paid back slowly by the operators, sort of a mini-microloan. It was fun, kind of like a ride a Disneyland. After a slight rest, we gave a concert in a covered basketball court just off the street. The church rented a sound system which was very much needed since the traffic noise was very bad, actually worse than Welfareville, where the cockfight place on Sunday. Because it had rained heavily at noon, the air was slightly cleaner and much cooler than usual so God prepared the situation for us. We had prayed for 7 conversions, and even though it was terribly noisy with over a hundred kids running around, when Mongens gave the invitations, 11 adults stood to accept Christ and maybe 20 children, praise God! We then ate a noodle shop and returned tired even though it was a short ministry day. By the way, Chi (and his wife Tami from FEC Arcadia) who is here to teach a short course at ATS went with us, but they are still quite jet lagged, having arrived last night. Health wise, Victoria has nasal problems and Alex's stomach is a little upset so they did not join us this afternoon.



Saturday morning, July 16

The rest of the team is off the GK777 (a different site), a Muslim community to sing and play with children and meet the families in this community. Victoria and Fiona are fighting sinus problems so they are staying back to get more liquids. U Marsh and Tiff Pang both ate something bad last night and are staying back this morning so they also do not get dehydrated and all will be going to the Youth Gospel Center this afternoon. John Ngai will be preaching as well as Vision singing this PM.
Two nights ago, Auntie Elsie's siblings invited us to their brother, John's restaurant for dinner. John personally woke up at 4 AM that morning to go to the market to buy live shrimp, crab, and fish which they served us that night. The food was fabulous and his personal show of service and love to us showed us another way in which God is blessing us. He could have sent his servants to the live market, but he chose to lose sleep and go himself. This is in contrast to last night noodles at this Chinese fast food restaurant. U Marsh said his last two won ton had a smell of ammonia when he bit into it, but most of the won ton was good. Anyway, he and Tiffany need to expel all that bad stuff, so praise God that most of the group is still OK. A comment about the trolleys we took yesterday. By riding on the trolley at 7 pesos a head, a full load would earn the pusher/drivers 56 pesos or about 13% of a minimum wage income for the day, which is s lot of money for that area, so by riding instead of walking, we felt we were helping the local community financially.
We also took a love offering among Vision to give to all the poor ministries we have done this first week, all of them coordinated by Ching Ngaihte. We were going to collect an offering at the end of tour, but our hearts were so moved by what we have already seen that we decided to do a mid-tour collection and a final one later. Praise God, we collected over $900 (about 50,000 pesos) designated for these pastors. Ching is going to administer the money, for example, the money to Arthur, who is going to ATS, will be paid directly to AYS for his seminary training instead of to him personally. We don't want to tempt them with such a large sum that they might want to use the money for other purposes.




Sunday, July 17

The GK777 project turned out to be quite similar to the other GK777 project we visited a few days ago, rebuilding a community that is run down and crime ridden with new houses, and do it holistically, so that their lifestyles will change, they will learn to upkeep their new homes, or else it will run down in a few short years. It was very hot and Joseph led us in three songs and we returned in only an hour and a half, exhausted already. After lunch at McDonald's, during which it started raining heavily, we left to go to Youth Gospel Center (and of course the rain stopped by the time we left). We sang and John Ngai preached for about an hour where he spoke of the need to forgive and not harbor resentment to a group of about 40 young people (College age). One of the young ladies was in high school four years ago when we sang there, she accepted Christ shortly after that and is now a leader in the group here, so that is really encouraging to us to see we have left a legacy, at least in one life. About 1o people prayed for forgiveness and a change in their attitudes. After the program, they gave us each a gift, a package of dried mangos and served us a snack of dim sum. That night, Auntie Elsie's sisters invited us out again to Gloria Maris, a large fancy Chinese restaurant where we ate, with some guilt wonderful food and fully enjoying the vegetables and fruits, including lots of smooth, luscious mangos.
The mangos must have been too much for this morning, over half the group has sore throats and horse voices (mangos are "hot" and together the with hot sun, made us more susceptible to colds), but no one is seriously ill. We went to Chinese Bible Church of the Philippines, where we sang at their second service at 9 AM to an overflow crowd of over 300. This church is attended by many of Pastor Mongens and Abigail's friends and also by Betty and Jack, Elsie's sister and brother-in-law.
After the service we rushed over to New Millennium Evangelical Church in their new church building, a luxurious 7-story structure with a sanctuary sitting about 900 people and a state-of-the-art sound and projection system. That church building must have cost 200 to 400 million pesos to build ($4-8M) with a rooftop baptistery, a top floor containing 6 apartment units for the Pastoral staff to live, a choir room any of our FEC churches would love to have, and a kitchen that also serves as a cooking classroom, with mirrors that show what the cook is doing on the cooking counter. We noticed their Sunday offering last week was 120,000 pesos, a stark contrast to the 600 pesos of the church at the poor villages, and Sunday school rooms that are 4 to 10 times the size of the Welfareville church. The leadership invited is to lunch at one of their adjoining conference rooms. Stephanie Lim and Jaspher Goundlong left us to visit relatives while the rest of us returned to our hotel to get some more rest and hopefully kick the minor colds most of us have. We will get together later to do some more debriefing and sharing. Tomorrow is our Sabbath day, and we will visit Villa Escadero, a resort place about 2 hours from our hotel. Each person is paying their own entrance fee (about $14) for this "vacation" activity.




Tuesday, July 19

Yesterday was our "day off" so we don't have much to report. U Marsh and Aunt Mei were trying to recover from their head colds so they stayed back and were picked up by Esther and Jim, Auntie Elsie's sister and brother in law and. They ate chicken congee and noodle soup for lunch and dinner respectively while visiting their home so they are much better today. Everyone else went to Villa Escadero, a resort location that preserves what the Philippines used to be like, lots of natural growth, a clean stream that we could go boating in (the boats are long strips of bamboo tied together and sinks so your feet get all wet when you sit in it), a swimming pool, etc. and it was quite empty so we had the whole place almost to ourselves. The drive there in traffic took almost three hours and it was raining when we returned so it took just as long. During dinner at a Thai restaurant in a mall, Tiff Tan felt sick, but she recovered quickly and this morning is just as ready as ever to participate in going to Sister Pat's ministry for children. Pastor Mongens is going to rest up and prepare his messages so he is not join us today until dinnertime.




Wednesday, July 20

Yesterday, Ching and Tami as well as Abigail joined us to visit Sister Pat's ministry. Pastor Mongens stayed back to pray and prepare his messages for the remaining time we are here. Later today, we will be singing two sessions in the morning at a secular school whose principal is a Christian and after lunch at Gideon Academy, a Christian school who wants us to preach a message to evangelize the non-believers there.
Sister Pat, whose name is Patricia Capwell, is an ex-school principal from New York who also worked among the American Indians before she felt of the Lord to come to the Philippines for a short-term ministry of 6 months. That 6 months stretched to 10 years, and now 16 years. Her ministry is an amazing story of faith. She says she never solicits funds, just prays and God provides. Her ministry is similar to FECA\s three focuses on Spirituality, Social Concerns and Missions and is called IFL, Institute of Foundational Learning. When she started when the earthquake hit northern Luzon in 1990 and she went to help deliver supplies and rebuild houses, starting a school for the displaced children. The story sounds very similar to the tsunami problem but on a local scale. Then someone donated a plot of land in Laguna, a province south of Manila about and hour and half away, which is the site we visited. There, she developed a model farm on a 100 square meter plot (about 35 ft. by 35 ft) growing all kinds of food and animals in that small plot. That has become the model for the Philippine government to teach the local how to grow enough food to sustain them indefinitely (like teaching a man to fish instead of feeding him) using 100% organic methods and no artificial fertilizers. This model has been exported to Ching Mai in Thailand and several other SE Asian countries want to import it. The food project is called F.A.I.T.H., Food Always In The Home. On the same land, she also has started a school with 200 students and 100 permanent live-in students, from 1 year old to College age. The school is through High School and they support students to College, for which they sign a contract to come back for two years to serve (and hopefully serve full time after that). The compound grows enough food to serve the whole community. The children are taught school, farming methods, as well as the Gospel lived out in the lives of the teachers and volunteers. She has just been asked to go to India and start 100,000 schools among the poorest of the castes in India. We could see God's hand in leading Ching here as she immediately invited Ching to join her and her team to India. Spiritually, the high school students all have to spend two weeks in the summer on a missions trip (along with the other things they learn). One girl talked about having to walk 3 hours to the village they minister in and three hours back getting "home" at 1 or 2 AM in the morning and starting at 9 AM the next day. She was so happy she could serve God in this way. Sister Pat invites anyone who wants to join a few hours, days or months or years, to contact join her ministry as all her staff are volunteers, who live there and eat the food grown there. A wonderfully holistic and wholeistic ministry.
In the evening, Belen Lim, one of our coordinators for this trip invited us out to dinner. Since her parents and her brother are all gravely ill, we had a chance to also pray for her. Belen was the one who has worked with Sister Pat for years and introduced us to this ministry.




Thursday, July 21

A few more interesting facts about Sister Pat's ministry that stuck with us. 1. Her ministry is often called upon by the Filipino government when disaster strikes (like a typhoon) because her team knows how to bring relief and survive. They would helicopter her team in with supplies and leave them, knowing they can teach the survivors how to live and rebuild. 2. An example of how they pray and God answers is the example of a little girl who we met with her arm in a sling. She had broken it (it turns out in 3 places) a little while ago and they brought her to the doctor. It was going to cost 10,000 pesos to fix the arm, money they did not have, but after prayer, the doctor decided to do it for free. 3. The 100,000 schools in India is a BHAG, Big Holy Atrocious Goal in Bob Buford's terminology, something so vast she cannot do but only something God can do and accomplish. As Sister Pat said, I could maybe start a handful of schools, but thousands, that is only what God can do and receive glory from it. PTL.
Yesterday, we went to two schools, PIQC, Philippine Institute of Quezon City. The English Principal is a Christian and yesterday was the one day in the year they have Christians come in to evangelize (Catholics and Buddhists also get one day a year). This lady, Angelina turns out to be the younger sister of Auntie Abigail's classmate. There were about 400 high school and 6th grade students there. Victoria shared her testimony and we did our program and Pastor Mongens preached. About 40 or more students raised their hands to accept the Lord in a school of maybe 15% Christians. PTL. In the afternoon, we went to Gideon Academy and presented two programs. This school was started 20 years ago by the United Evangelical Church of Pasay City, a church Mongens interned many years ago, so it is a Christian school. The church is actually a "cousin" to our FEC churches, since her "mother" is Rev. George Chua's church (as is Jubilee Church, New Millennium Church and lots of other churches in Manila). The first group was about 500 elementary school children, and Tiff Tan shared her testimony. Pastor Mongens felt out of his league, so Joseph Hsiung preached a wonderful message using the Vision Prodigal Child skit to illustrate the point of God's love. The second service was to the about 200 high schoolers and presented our "normal" program. Here about 10 indicated their wish to accept Christ and a few more to live like a child instead of a servant as the older sibling had done in the parable. So we praise the Lord for all these decisions.




Friday, July 22

Yesterday, we left in the morning to go to Philippines General Hospital (PGH). Since most of us had slight colds and coughs, we all wore masks so we would not catch new germs or give them. We went up to the third floor where there were over 50 children with at least one parent there. Most of the children were there for follow up visits after being treated for leukemia, but there were several whose cancer had spread and one girl with stage 4 lung cancer. Our hearts were moved by the scene, so many in need, many with no hope. Jesus looked at Jerusalem and wept and said how He wanted to put them under His wings but they would not; and so we felt that way too. We sang a short program, which was much, appreciated, for everyone paid serious attention. We did the Prodigal Child skit, with Abigail translating, and then U Marsh summarized the story and asked Abigail to pray the sinner's prayer and for anyone who wanted to repeat it. There were many people praying. After this, we passed out toys to each child and a few healthier ones went to the wards and emergency room to pass out toys for those who could not make it. Meanwhile, the rest of us stayed and prayed for individuals who wanted to be prayed for. We left about noon to be invited by John, Auntie Elsie's brother, to lunch at a Japanese restaurant near our hotel. We then returned to get some rest.
By late afternoon, several felt sicker, especially Tim who stayed behind at night when we went to Victory Outreach at the University Belt, one of several Filipino churches which is really growing quickly. They had just started their Thursday night Youth rally (maybe a month ago?) and there were over 300 youths there. Their worship was loud and energetic, with many dancing as they sang (including the worship leaders). We sang one song, and the Pastor preached on the love of the Father based on the Prodigal Son story. We went home tired but refreshed to see how God is moving.
This morning, Tim, Alex, and to a lesser extent, Fiona and Gloria stayed back at the hotel as they all had stomach problems. Tim had not only bad stomach but body aches. Auntie Elsie's sisters, Esther and Betty came to the rescue again to take care of them all day and feed them gatorade, congee, tea and toast. All were better by evening except Alex, but he should be better tomorrow. U Marsh and Auntie Mei went to visit his Aunts, a 97 year old and an 85 year old who is suffering from Parkinson's and his 93 year old Uncle, the composer of many pieces of music who is doing quite well. The rest of the group went to Victory Outreach to join their youth in visiting some of the campuses. Because of our schedule change, we did not see too much but got an idea what campus life is like here.
In the afternoon, we all went to a Chinese school where we presented a program to about 500 3rd to 6th grade students. The principal is Buddhist, and said we could do what we wanted since "all religions were good for the kids". The program went well even though we were missing 4 singers and most of us had bad throats), the principal went from critical at the beginning, complaining about our lack of "formal uniforms" to enthusiastic about our presentation. Echo gave her testimony and Joseph preached as he did the other day, but this time gave an invitation. So many hands went up we could not keep track, maybe 100 made decisions for God. A local branch of United Evangelical Church (one of our "cousin churches") had their Pastors there and will do follow up as they can. (Dillon's dad's younger sister is the wife of the senior Pastor at this church.) At the second service for High Schoolers, Jaspher gave his testimony and Pastor Mongens preached and about 15 raised their hands to accept the Lord. We then rested at the church nearby the school, and went to Ching and Thang Ngaihte's for a wonderful dinner prepared by Ching and Pinky's mom. We returned to the hotel about 7 PM for an early night of rest since tomorrow is early, music camp at Jubilee Church. Please pray for all these decisions, at PGH, at Victory last night, and at the non-Christian Chinese school this afternoon, that God will not let any slip away and miraculously follow them up even though we are not able.




Saturday, July 23

We spent all day at Jubilee Evangelical Church (JEC) today. From 8 AM to 5 PM, Jubilee had their music seminar day, attended by about 40 people, some from the JEC choir and others from other churches including one from a Catholic Church. After worship, U Marsh talked about "what music honors God", with Vision demonstrating his points by singing some of our songs Pastor Mongens then gave a powerful message from Psalm 24 about worship from a Pastor's point of view. There were workshop sessions on church music history and hymnology led by a Pastor-musician from a Filipino church and an interesting session on vocal health, led by a young Doctor specializing in throat and voice, who is also a singer herself. After a short rest, we then had a joint choir practice with the JEC choir as we are going to sing "Majesty and Glory" and Huang Chen Mou's "God Is Love" together at two services on Sunday. We then ate a small supper and fellowshipped with the Mandarin Fellowship group and sang 3 songs to them. This group of about 20 is mostly students from the Mainland who are here to study. They have wonderful stories of how God saved them (those that are Christians) and how they see God using them to minister to other China students in Manila. We then returned to rest up for Sunday.
Tim is well, but Alex, Victoria, and Gloria are still somewhat sick so we left them at the hotel. Meanwhile, because Belen Lim's dad passed away last night, Mongens and Abigail and Ching went to see and comfort Belen and pray with the family in the late afternoon.




Sunday, July 24

This will be our last update from Manila. After we get back, a final update will be sent and soon after, an edited update of all the messages will be put on the feca.org website.
Today, we sang at two services at Jubilee Evangelical Church, our host church in Manila. They provided most of our transportation needs with their church vans (supplemented by vans from Mongens' mom, Esther's friend, and Belen's van) while we were here. They also provided us with fresh fruits and bottled water occasionally. Their first service starts at 7:45 AM so we had to leave our hotel at 7:30. At both services, we sang 15 minutes by ourselves, Mongens preached on Psalm 100, and our combined choir sang the two songs we practiced. We then had lunch with some of their church leaders, and had a fellowship time with them, singing and having a good time. We then started our debriefing from 2 PM until 7 PM. After a quick dinner, we then went to the funeral parlor where they had a memorial service for Belen's father. It is customary to have 24-hour viewing and three services (or more), one per day, before the burial. When we arrived at the funeral parlor, the meeting room was standing room only, and we had to wait outside in the non-A/C hall until we were to sing at 8:45 PM. Fortunately, the service was right on time and we sang "God Shall Wipe Away All Tears" and after the benediction, we sang "The Lord Bless You and Keep You". We then returned to the hotel.
During the debrief time, several people mentioned the experience at Welfareville, including their worship time (where the cock fight was when we sang our first Sunday morning here) and Sister Pat's ministry as the most meaningful of our various ministries here (Cogeo was also mentioned several times). We will certainly talk about this at Home Concert on August 20.
Tomorrow is our last day here. We plan to debrief from 9:30 AM until we are done, then have a short worship service of our own followed by communion. We will then give everyone time to go shopping for souvenirs at a Balikbayan store that Belen arranged to give us a 36% discount on everything we buy. After that, Mongens' mom and family are planning to invite us for our last supper here. We will then return to pack and catch some sleep before leaving for the airport at 5 AM Tuesday morning. If everything goes according to plan, we will see some of you at LAX around noon Tuesday, LA time.




Tuesday, July 26

Most of us arrived back in LA with no problems, although we were a little late arriving due to our connection from Japan leaving late since a typhoon was heading for Tokyo. As with everything else about the weather, the timing was just right as the storm was due to arrive shortly after we left Tokyo. Sarah, Long and Victoria went to Hong Kong a couple of hours after we left; Fiona went to Korea, and Mongens, Abigail, and Stephanie stayed in Manila for a few more days. Victoria lost her ipod so several prayed for her. It was recovered on the bus that took us to the airport a few hours later, another answer to prayer.
We received an email from Ching after we got back. I am including part of it as it follows-up on our visit to Cogeo. "Hope you arrived safely and rest well. After we drop you off I went to Cogeo, the Warai Village and Kamandag. At Warai Village, they come together at the same place where we had the meeting. The village leader also very happy. I gave your shoes saying, "God's faithful servant is giving you his shoes, so whenever you wear this shoes, the ground you steps are holy ground'' he was smiling and very happy. Two of the ladies gave testimonies saying since the team come, my heart really change, I decided not to play cards and gambling anymore but continue to trust in God. Pray that God will give us strength. I was so please to see them hungry for the word of God. The baby we pray was heal and they were very happy to see us again."




Here are a few quotes from our debriefing:

  • I'm considering coming back to help with Sister Pat's ministry to help out. I'm still praying about it.
  • I have never seen God's physical manifestation of the rain [in answer to prayer]. It's so timely, over and over again answering our prayers. God knew exactly what we needed. At Welfareville, God made the space and everyone worshipped. Worship is so much more than music.
  • I saw so much that God has revealed to me. I can't say which is my favorite. I tried to hold back tears, not with fear but with joy. This tour is so God centered. His presence is so there. Many things I would have difficulties with I learned to really trust God and let things happened.
  • Mongens spoke about the prodigal son. I am like the older brother. My whole life has been busy and being a slave. I did everything and did them right. I was the son who stayed at home but was totally a slave. I'm the son of the king but I live like a servant. At the prayer room, I was able to slow down to be with God. The first time in forever that I actually spend time with God to be quiet before Him. All my questions were answere../home.htmd in the prayer room by God.
  • The highlight was going to Welfareville. I remember walking up and thinking where is the church? I'm hungry, tired, and sweaty. It's noisy. How can people worship like this?
  • I like Welfareville. The lead worship leader was not distracted. Sister Pat was amazing. It's a blessing from God. She opens her heart to be like a mother for the children.
  • [My] highlight was going to COGEO and the villages. I'm not sure why. I haven't figured it out yet. I was admiring the beauty of it. Part of me wouldn't mind living away for awhile. Part of me wanted to be there, to live there. Some of us wouldn't mind living there for a short time. Right now I wouldn't mind living there for 6 weeks [as a short term missions].