| Dear friends | Please
pray for the following | July 8 | July
9 | July 10 | July 12 | July
13 | July 14 | July 15 | July
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Welfareville and some young people walked to the restaurant. They
were so happy and blessed to be given so much food and drinks.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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].