Philippines Diary – Note 2 – 2013

Dear family and friends,

We pray you are all well and full of joy. We want to say hello to you and tell you a little more of our journey with the Lord here in Philippines and to meet some of the characters we have met and enjoy the Christian faith with, who do so much good work for people and the Lord in the most unassuming ways.

Our Sta Lucia Project

Sta Lucia is in an area called Magalang, about 15km from Angeles city the place we live.  There are quite a few area’s here in the Philippines and in particular Papanga the state we live, termed ‘Resettlement’ which are dwellings set up by the government to re-house people after natural disasters. Magalang is one such area which has ‘resettlement areas’ established to re-locate the people after Mount Pinatubo Volcano erupted in the early nineties which devastated the area, killing many and making thousands homeless.  Of course time has healed and the local economy has since recovered and local people such as my wife can now purchase some of these properties as privately owned homes, hence our project in Sta Lucia.

We got to know Sta Lucia through a friend we met at a united Churches gathering in Angeles, she took us to her home and many other places in the area so we got to know some of the community.  It’s a working class area, for those fortunate to have work and has a cross section of religions of predominantly Roman Catholic, then other Christian denominations, Englaise Di Christo, Muslims and Jehovah witnesses plus some others.  Like most Christian communities it includes the denominations of Baptist, Methodist, Born Again and Seventh Day Adventists etc.  One thing that became quickly clear was that many people were not going to church for whatever their reason.  So we decided to buy a very small place for less than 1800 pounds to set up our first Christian project in Philippines.  It will be part of our ministry named  ‘God Ministry (GM)’.   We will focus on five things that are easily done from a home base:   Aquila & Priscilla (friends of Paul) were tent makers (people who needed to work), who could be said to be the first house group working from home. Romans 16:3-5.  

Our vision is: 

  • Open the front room as a 24/7 prayer room equipped with bibles and Christian books.
  • Have a weekly bible study group and lead weekly Alpha courses (over 12 wks) for all to come.
  • Have monthly fellowship gatherings with guest speakers. (like a breakfast meal on Sat morning)
  • Help people to go or get back to church and be part of a church family for their spiritual growth.

We are self funding and all we do is free, occasionally we do get donations who like what we do so help out financially but they are voluntary contributions, we never ask, only pray.

Please pray that this project will help and inspire people to find the Kingdom of God in their lives. 

Street Evangelising

Street Evangelising is the love of a street evangelist by the name of Marr.  He befriends the homeless who sleep in shop doorways that carry their possessions with them.   Marr takes the Gospel to them and when an opportunity arises he gets them to go to church.  Quite often when we attend church gatherings with guest speakers, many churches put on free food, Marr grasps the chance with this incentive of a free meal to get them to church, both Dal and I smile when we go because we know Marr will turn up with a street friend or two,  God Bless him.  You see Marr recognizes as we do, that there is such power in the name of Jesus especially where many gather in His name.  We are learning a lot from Marr, he is always there at Saturday Dawn watch prayers gatherings at 4.30am, when it finishes at 6am we have our hot bread roll and coffee and then set off with Marr to go and pray with different people in need.  Marr is an electrician by trade so is helping us to rewire the property in Sta Lucia.

Picture above on the left is a typical shop doorway where people sleep.  Marr is the man in white trousers with the hat.  The man in the yellow shirt and white hat is Reygie Flores a pastor/evangelist, he is talking with Mary Ann who Is behind the man in the red shirt just slightly obscured, in her arms Is Mandy her 18month old daughter. The man in the red shirt is Danilio.  The two ladies on the right are Yeolly and Innocense friends of ours from Sta Lucia who wanted to come and just pray with us.  Mandy, her child and Danilio are the ones who live under an umbrella in the shop doorway.  Of course living rough in Philippines does not have cold weather conditions to contend with, so it is somewhat easier than in the UK in cold weather times, but they have the problems of course with cockroach and rodents.  Danilio himself was subject to a brutal attack by drunks/drug addicts and left him brain damaged which has affected the one side of his body.

Dal and I go by from time to time and just sit with them to pray and/or take them a little food.   Thank you Marr for having such a great heart, in ministering to many homeless people

Ellar

Ellar is another unsung Christian worker who tirelessly spends much time in distributing Christian literature to churches and individuals, also advises them of future Christian events and seminars to increase our knowledge in the Christian faith and join in fellowship.  Not only does he keep us updated but carries out research on the literature so he has good knowledge of the publications and contents.  Ellar is affectionately known to us as the Christian Postman, God Bless his heart.

Our friend Ellar has eight brothers and sister and is the son of a retired Baraquay Captain, which is a local government official that controls particular areas of cities or rural areas, similar to our county council heads in the UK, the extra duties the Captain has here in the Philippines is to act as an arbitrator to help settle family, social and basic legal disputes. Ellar has a vast knowledge of the area and seems to know much that goes on especially with churches and knows nearly all the Pastors.  He is an invaluable help to us in so many ways.  God Bless him.

Visiting Churches

Visiting a local Church with Pastor Jun and wife Susan Galicia.  Their church known as ’ New Jerusalem’ in  Pampang is a church plant from a much bigger church group called COGIC here in Angeles City.  The New Jerusalem Church is very humble with about twenty five members present, it has a concrete base, two open sides and a bamboo back covered with a heavy drape curtain, the roof and pillars are a wooden structure with corrugated tin.  They meet for Sunday morning service with a communion service monthly and each week they have a bible study.  They have no musical instruments but make a rhythm by tapping on a wooden box that the worship leader sits on, their worship songs are hand written on a handmade wooden flip chart.  Their service consisted of opening prayers, worship songs, testimonies; the Pastor normally shares the word, but graciously on my visit allowed me to give a biblical testimony.   The service ended in prayers, news items and a final blessing, very nice, God Bless them.  We have in our minds to go back soon with a musical instrument.

Easter Repentance and crucifixion

Every day for a month before Easter Sunday, as an act of public personal repentance, there is a spectacle in Angeles City where young men go through the streets bare chest/back wearing black hooded masks, are bare footed whipping themselves with leather thongs, chains and heavy knots are at the end of each of the chained thong strands, having about six strands to each whip, some wear chains and shackles on their ankles.   They actually draw blood from their backs an enactment of when Jesus died for us on the cross, if you get too close to them when they parade by you will be spattered with their blood as Dal and I were.  Many of the men seem to be drugged or under the influence of alcohol.  Other men drag large crosses on their backs also as an act of repentance.  With the sound of the chains, the whipping, the sight of blood, the black hoods with people laughing and drinking, it is an unnerving and unpleasant sight.  At the end of the month on Good Friday, the whole show concludes with a mock crucifixion of Jesus plus the two thieves on either side, they are actually nailed to the crosses but their feet are on small platforms on the crosses so to support and take their weight.  It is conducted on a small hill for effect, lots of Roman soldiers are present wearing full authentic uniforms, many large speakers broadcast sound effect of dramatic music with thunder, noise and they use power water hoses for the thunder storm, it is all very dramatic.

Diary note conclusion

This maybe is not the best way to end the diary note, but the reality remains that Jesus did actually die for us all, so we may have life, John 3:16 He gave his life for us.  Three days later he arose, to remain with us for ever more.  Amen.

Although it seems there was no obvious or immediate fanfare on the resurrection of Christ, except to the few, it was only later that great jubilation and joy was experienced by His followers.  Now of course it is so robust and joyful in our hearts, even though it all happened over two thousand years ago,

Our task is now to go and finish His work as He wants us to doMatthew 28:18-20 And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Hope you enjoy this diary note.

Farewell for now.  God Bless.

Love

Jim and Dal

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