Philippines Diary – Note 1 – 2013

Hello dear family and friends, Don’t fall off your pews folks, but it’s me at long last with my (our) first diary note since returning to the Philippines in Dec 2012 to be with my wife Adalia (Da) and to continue our small ministry.

Married life with Dal

Married life is really good, doesn’t mean to say we don’t have differences at times especially relating to our two cultures, but with having Jesus in the centre of our life together, harmony always seems to prevail quickly, we put Jesus before each other. Being a Forester of the Dean I can be a little awkward and stubborn at times, ha ha, but Dal is a wonderful little fire brand herself and stands for no nonsense. She is a wonderful seeker of souls and has a gift in getting people to Church, she loves visiting people and sharing time and praying with them. She always has a bag full of sweets, or 3 in one coffee (milk & sugar & coffee) or simply bread rolls called pandesal to share with people. You can buy pandesal fresh twenty four hours a day from hundreds of small bakeries that are everywhere so one is always close by, they are small bread rolls a little sweeter than our bread in the UK.

An amusing story of Dal my wife

Sometimes she drags me out at 10pm at night to go and visit someone who is not well or needs company. One evening recently we were in Church, her phone vibrated and there was a message to say Savant an Indian/Australian friend of ours had just arrived in from Malaysia, he is struggling with a severe back problem and was on his way to Korea to have a spinal operation, Dal said, come let’s leave the Church immediately and go to see him, he needs us more at this moment, and so we did, it was quite a distance away so we caught a jipny (form of public transport) this was about 8pm on a Sunday evening. We stopped off, collected a friend of ours, who Savant also knew and went to see him in a place called Tiger Hotel, Checkpoint, Angeles City.

Savant is a great guy and although we could see he was in pain, he still took us for ice cream, during conversation Dal said, “come on”, let’s go to Church (9.30pm) for healing prayers, we all agreed and at 10pm set off. Pastor Erwin (Filipino/American) friend of ours always gives a late night service on a Sunday, so off we all trooped for prayers and in particular healing prayers for Savant. We finally got home at 1am. This story reminds me of how God brought so many people together in healing Naaman the army captain who had leprosy, starting really with a humble captured servant girl who was not even given a name in the scripture, but who set the seed to lead Namaan to prophet Elisha 2 Kings 5:1-19. We pray that Savant will also be fully healed through the name of Jesus Christ. This is just one of many stories to tell of Dal of her caring and kindness to people.

Our Ministry in Philippines

Whilst I was away in the UK for part of Nov/Dec, Dal, continued with her walk in faith with the Lord and kept things going in our small ministry activities of:

  • Attending and being in support of four bible study and prayer groups.
  • Keeping 24/7 prayer room open at our home (not continuous prayer yet) but having it open for anyone to come as they wish. Bibles/Christian books are available to read and fresh water to drink, as it says in (Mark 9:41)… anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Jesus… The place is unmanned so people can just come.
  • Attending three churches on a Sunday and encouraging others to join especially family members.
  • Sharing the Gospel with others.
  • Fellowship gathering’s with churches and individuals, and generally just supporting people.

Now we are together again we involve ourselves also with:

  • Leading bible studies.
  • Prayer walking.
  • Weekly involvement with AUCCAM (Association of United Christian Churches of Angeles City & Mabalacat), like our Churches Together that operates in UK (explained in more detail later in these notes).
  • Sharing the word and giving biblical testimony on request to any church or group.
  • Leading prayers and sharing the word at business gatherings, any time.
  • Evangelising when and where we are led.
  • Visiting the sick in hospital’s and homes of people, who want prayer and fellowship.
  • Leading Alpha (meaning of life) courses training leaders in churches to run their own course.

As you will see from above our ministry is simple and is in support of churches.

Open Heart Ministry International

Our main Church is with One Heart Ministry International, our Pastor is Pastor Joey Milarpis, he works hard at being a good shepherd to us all. It is an evangelical, full Gospel church. We are very happy there and privileged to lead their church intercessory prayer group on Sunday mornings at 8am before church starts at 10am, also at other times during the week.

Another two churches we visit on a Sunday are All Nations Harvest, Pastora Analyn Yaras where we meet at 6.30pm on a Sunday evening and 5am for early morning prayers on a Friday. Pastora Analyn has a great heart for Jesus and her flock. Another is Hope Angeles Church led by Pastor Erwin Cabalang, meets at 9.30pm on Sunday evening. They are a young church plant of 2-3 years ago and aimed at young people working in shopping malls who find it difficult to get to normal church times. They are also looking to mentoring college students on their journey from being a student into a career life. Pastor Kevin Sanders is an American Pastor who is also involved with Pastor Erwin and supports in preaching, both are inspiring Pastors. Pastor Erwin runs a mid week bible study based on Rick Warren’s ‘Purpose Driven Life’ and ‘Purpose Driven Church’ as a follow up study. He also showed interest in the Alpha Course as a foundation study course for the future. We love to support by attendance in the latter two churches of Pastora Analyn and Pastor Erwin and in what they do. We keep all three churches informed of our loyalty to Pastor Joey as our adopted main church, to hopefully avoid any loyalty issues that may arise.

Sharing the Gospel

Both Dal and I are emotional Christians and are not too heavy into deep theology, albeit I do read and use study bibles and reference books, especially when preparing for sharing the word. In these diary notes there are included some bible references, where we have been inspired or to give biblical relevance to what we do. We also believe that anyone can do likewise or more, as really it is just giving time to people and sharing our own testimony and sharing the Gospel to helping others.

We are not trying to be clever and certainly not involved in building churches, but we try to compliment churches through our work, by leading people to join church families where their walk with the Lord can continue under the guidance and leadership of the Pastors and Church Elders. Read Acts 1:8 and the ‘Great Commission’ Matthew 28:18-20. We simply lay the seed with people and let the Lord water and grow. Mark 4:26-29 – The parable of the growing seed.

Our Tricycle

We are now the joyful owners of a silver tricycle with sidecar to help us in our calling. As most of you know when in India I wore orange clothing (as inspired by Sadhu Sundar the great Christian convert) as a way, that when people saw me, a white haired fair skinned man wearing orange, it was to remind them simply to stop to pray and say thank you to Jesus for His presence and all that he gives us, if they wished to stop me to pray with them, then I would sit on the side of the road to pray and read the Bible with them. In the Philippines there is no past Sundar Singh, but God showed Dal and I a way we could do something similar in the Philippines, hence a silver tricycle with side car to remind people to say thank you to Jesus for being there for us all, if people want to stop us to pray with them, we would be honoured and delighted to sit on the side of the road or where ever and pray with them. Thank you Lord. James 4:10 – Make yourself humble in the presence of the Lord and He will lift you up.

A lesson to learn

An amusing story happened a week or two ago. There is a lady we have come to know, like and love, she is quite a wild character, has been a heavy drinker in past time and has been married quite a long time, but not in the true sense of the word but does support her husband who now has severe health problems. Through bible study she has re-discovered her faith in Jesus which is great and her life has now changed, we meet her weekly and she now has a Bible study at her home. A few weeks ago in conversation we talked of evangelising and going to drinking bars and dens of iniquity to quietly pray and if given an opportunity, share the word of the Lord to those that we would be led to by the Holy Spirit. She got very excited about this and said she knew many heavy drinkers, strippers, people who were lost, and places of ill repute. She was however confused as how to share the word with these people in such as bars! We talked about it and agreed we had to be sensitive and not just rush into a bar, throw up our hands and shout, “it’s now ok I have come to save you with the Lord Jesus”, if we did, we would probably be rightly thrown out or worse, it’s not about judgement or criticism of others but about caring, loving and showing our relationship with Jesus. Drinking alcohol is the individual(s) own choice and not our business, their conviction with the Holy Spirit will come later to resolving their problems, if they chose to. We are not solely talking about people who have a few drinks, but those who simply let drink, drugs and vices control their life, destroys themselves, those close to them and lose values of life itself.

The following week we tried it again in a different area, this time our friend could not resist but immediately and enthusiastically went to people that recognised her, she jokingly told them straight that she was learning to be a pastora (pastor) and they needed to be saved, she also introduced Dal and I as evangelists, which is true but we cringed on both accounts, not because we were ashamed in any way of what we were doing but because we thought we would not even have a chance to at least have any form of conversation to build relationships with the people. But you know, her character and straight forward approach worked for her, the people could not believe it was their old friend who used to drink heavily and have fun with them, but they were so happy for her and we knew then that she had sown some good seeds. That is why it was “A lesson to learn” whereby we feel it was God using the person’s character and the Holy Spirit all working together that had the right effect, not what we think, thank you God. Thank you our friend, we feel you have a great ministry ahead and will touch many lives; God has cast you out to save souls in your own way. We finished the evening street evangelising outside a mini supermarket at 1am in the morning. We discussed also how to keep good safety precautions in what we were doing, for example; to meet people in public places and not take them to your home, give a telephone number but never an address to contact you, do not be tempted to indulge with their drinking habits, use wisdom and always pray before doing any activity. Philippians 4:4-7 Prayer and petition. For protection put the armour of the Lord on Ephesians 5:10-20.

Please understand, the foregoing is not a judgement or criticism in any way of people who drink as it is their personal choice. We have many friends who drink and smoke and we love them dearly, but I have witnessed a lot of problems in my own life that resulted in poor moral decisions and have watched others suffer also, so I know from first hand experiences how destructive drinking and addictions can be. Having Jesus in my life brought me into the light from darkness, so we want to bring this free gift to others. Christianity is not about religion, it’s about having an honest relationship with God through our saviour Jesus Christ. Ask yourself “What is your purpose in life” and “what happens when I die”!

Hospital visit

One evening we went to a Bible study, at the last moment the normal venue at Angeles University was changed to the ‘One Heart Ministry Int. Church’. The actual Bible study was shortened that evening to do church cleaning work in preparation for the shortly to open new church premises. A friend informed us all, she needed some help as she had just come from the, Sacred Heart Hospital, where a friend of hers had severe liver and kidney failure and the normal medical supply of oxygen and medication had ceased! Either because of no more money or no hope, he needed help.

A group of us skipped the cleaning and went to pray with the man as he was alone. When we got to the hospital Brian (the man’s name) was in a coma and breathing with what appeared to be an uneasy state of peace. He was an Australian who had lived in Philippines for sixteen years, had no family except for two sisters in Australia but they could not afford to visit him and was not able to have his remains flown home if he died because of cost, so they had communicated they would wish him to be cremated. Brian had no money apparently, and the basic hospital fees were being paid for by a Good Samaritan friend which is maybe why oxygen and medication had ceased because of cost. There were two local people there who were paid as the basic cost to be with him out of kindness and for him not to be alone. A month before Brian had been a heavy drinker, he was in his fifties and for all sense and purposes was alone. He was not a Christian and his life revolved around alcohol.

Although Brian was unconscious we prayed for him, read scripture and talked of its meaning. We stayed with him for about three hours and said we would return. We have no idea if he heard us or not, but we pray that he received Jesus into his life at the end. At 4.35pm the following afternoon Brian passed away. He received the greatest gift of life from his friend who came to the church and brought us all to his bedside to pray for and with him. God rest his soul. A few days later we visited the boarding hotel called Ponda Rosa where Brian had lived his life for the past sixteen years. We informed some of the people we met at the hotel about him. They all knew him said “Brian was a nice man”.

The Lord brought many different people together from different walks of life to be with Brian that night, so he had company and he will thus be remembered by many even though many of us never met him.

Auccam

(Association of United Christian Churches of Angleles City and Mabalacat) this is an association that is trying to bring together all Christian churches for fellowship in Praise, worship, and to pray together, similar to the movement of Churches Together in the UK. Roman Catholics are not part of AUCCAM at this time and some Churches have not joined due to what they see as politics! There is a weekly meeting on Tuesdays for all Bishops, Pastors and other church representatives of the denominations who have joined. Every Saturday there is an open air gathering at a place called Astra Park, in the centre of Angeles City when all people are welcome to join in John 17:11-12 and Ephesians 4:1-6, a different pastor from the churches share the word of God for half an hour, it starts with keyboard and the singers are there for worship. We gather at 4.30am and there are normally about one hundred and fifty that gather. It finishes with prayers at 6am when we all have coffee and hot pandasal (hot small bread rolls) and have fellowship before we go about our daily activities. Its uncontrolled worship to God through Jesus, it’s like the giving of first fruits of the day to the Lord which we know he loves and is so special.

Auccam also organise fellowship retreats for any of us to go to if we wish, it normally involves an overnight stay with two days of various scripture teaching, cost 700 pesos (Apprx £12 each) including all meals. Normally they are convened at a place called Peniel (Face of God) which is high up in the hills, it is solely used for Christians and is a very peaceful place. It was the vision of a husband and his wife, it came to the wife in a dream twenty before, to establish a place to help people who stuggle with God, like Jacob did and where the name Peniel is mentioned, Gen 32: 27-31. e are truly blessed to be able to go to such a place.

Summary

These are just a few stories of the Philippines, our life’s journey with the Lord, with each other and of “God Ministry” which is our small ministry of prayer and evangelising.

God Bless you
Your friends in Christ Jesus
Jim & Dal Fisher

Remember, if you see someone today without a smile, give them yours

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