2013 Gen. Santos – Tammi Wenzig

All God’s Sons

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

As our team traveled from church to church through General Santos, the southernmost city in the Philippines, an amazing number of people came out to our services! Children and young people flowed through the streets, some in school uniforms and many in rags. Even in tribal villages far from the city, God made it clear to us that He’s got big dreams for the next generation, and He was sending our team to call forth their destinies.

The first night at Spring of Praise Church with Pastor Dan Fredeluces and the whole ministry family began with anointed worship and ended with a fire-filled altar call. From the first verse of the first song, my tears started flowing. For those of you who know me, you know that this is no small thing. I had just returned from the USA a couple days before leaving for GenSan and I had missed New Philly ‘s extravagant worship for a month. But these students and young adults led everyone in that sanctuary into an anointed time of worship and, for me, it was like a drink of water in the desert. Pastor Myunghwa’s then preached that God is sending Filipinos out to influence other nations and cultures like no other people can. When she challenged people to respond to this message, the altar was full! I have never seen children fall under the power of the Holy Spirit before, but from elementary students to the young adults—no one was holding back. It was very clear to us that God is highlighting the Filipino youth for His kingdom.

God’s vision for the youth was solidified in our hearts as we saw children and youth pouring into services and responding at the altar at every church where we ministered. At one particular service on Sunday evening, we drove up to a completely dark compound that looked empty. However, as soon as we stepped out of the van, a huge crowd of children greeted us with hugs, songs, and love. God loves these children and He loves us. And only after only a few minutes of crying out for God to restore power to the building, the Lord turned on the lights! When the children poured in to fill the seats in the large sanctuary, their hunger was incredible. Many stepped forward for the altar call, from the little ones to the tougher boys who at first seemed too cool for it all, along with the adults. They were all responding with childlike hearts to receive the faith Pastor Myunghwa had preached about. That was only our second day and still just a glimpse of what the Holy Spirit had in store for the rest of the trip.

After the whirlwind of ministering at multiple churches each day and seeing so many young people touched by the Spirit, we began the retreat at Faith Bible College. We were excited and expectant to see how much God would pour out His Spirit on these pivotal students over 2½ days! To give a brief background, these 55 students are first challenged at youth camps led by Pastor Ching to follow their call to ministry. They then live and learn together in a 3-year program at Faith Bible College and train for the ministry of the Lord. The students come from tribal groups and many face persecution and rejection from their families for leaving their tribes to follow their call. During the retreat, many were set free by experiencing and understanding the Father’s heart. They were established in their identity as sons. They received inner healing and new vision, were set free from unforgiveness, and were able to walk out in confidence as individuals! Just as God had clearly shown us from the beginning of our trip that He has big dreams for the Filipino youth, He made it clear that the students of Faith Bible College were being set apart as ministers confident in the Father’s love and in their identity as heirs of the kingdom. God loves the young people of GenSan and He’s setting them free to love the Filipino nation as well as the world through them!

I’ve been on mission trips before where we bring what the native people “lack”, where we take lots of group pictures, and feel good that we helped. But this trip was completely different! We partnered with pastors, leaders, teachers, and students—it was not an “us” and “them” mentality but a beautiful unity in spirit for what God is doing in the Philippines. As we drove away from each church, we left with full faith and hope that what we left behind was a congregation with a greater revelation of what they already possessed in Christ. Our team simply came in obedience to God to uncover what was already theirs and give them the opportunity to say “YES!” to Him in order to receive it.

When God’s people obey Him to go to the nations, there is supernatural grace and blessing that is poured out. Looking back at our schedule, we should have been tired, but since the Holy Spirit was doing the big work, there was no striving on our part. We also had the joy of planting and watering the fertile soil as the faithful native pastors had already ploughed the ground. And as we watered, the overflow splashed on us! In the midst of ministering, God showed me more deeply His Father’s heart for me. He spoke accurately through me and allowed me to see His children as He sees them; He also allowed me to connect deeply and feel love from the Filipino people from whom I had encountered mostly walls before. As we spent more extended time with the students at Faith Bible College, there were a few girls I got quite close with and when it was time to go, I loved being able to hug each one of my special girls on that last day and follow their “I’ll miss you” by looking into their eyes and saying “you have everything you need and I’m so excited for what the Father has planned for you!”

It’s true, we took clean water to a village in great need; we prayed healing over a boy who couldn’t walk without support and watched him try the new strength in his still-crooked legs as he smiled from a beautiful face that had been lifeless before; we saw the gratitude of our ministry partners as they received our love offering. However, what we really left behind as we flew back to Seoul was the assurance that the God we worship is bigger than every need and He’s ready to pour out his gifts on them. I loved not being the “saviors” coming in, building a house, trying to share a culture that has no place in their world, or give anything that pointed back to us. Instead, we watched as the Father broke down walls of fear, doubt, and hopelessness. When we left, they had more of Him and less of us—just as it should be!

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