2015 Manila – Mark Yu

A Kingdom Exchange

Right after Christmas, from December 27th to January 3rd, New Philly sent me to the slums of Metro Manila, Philippines. It was such an incredible honor ending 2014 and welcoming in the new year ministering with the people of God. As we traveled from church to church, worshipping, preaching, praying, and ministering, God was doing a supernatural work. We saw physical healing, inner healing, hearts recommitted to Christ, salvations, and the Spirit of God touching so many. But they weren’t the only ones receiving. Little did I know that God was doing a deep work in my own heart as well.
Throughout the week God used us to minister with wisdom and boldness. Every time we opened the altar, the majority of the congregation responded. The Spirit of God came and touched them with His glory at every single service. But the most powerful times that I witnessed were when the team led in showing honour.

One of the first churches where we released honor was at Pastor Ezekiel’s Maliksieh Church, located deep in the slums where most homes were built on bamboo stilts on the edge of the ocean. The whole neighborhood was ridden with trash, homes were made out of trash, and there were so many young children. The one room church was packed mostly with these young children and after we ministered, we had a salvation altar call where the majority of the children responded to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! There was deep joy in our hearts as we prayed for every single child before we closed the service and loved on them with hugs and snacks.

After the children were dismissed, the team decided to do a foot washing ceremony for all the leaders of the church. We told them that we wanted to honor them for all their sacrifice in reaching out to the slum children and their families for the sake of Christ. We shared Romans 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” The leaders were stunned as they had never been formally honored in such a way. One by one we washed each leader’s feet and prayed and prophesied over them. And the Holy Spirit did a deep work in each person. Many tears were shed and the leaders were not only honored, edified, and encouraged, but their souls were refreshed and revived.

Right after the foot washing, we broke out into spontaneous praise. The pastor of the church, Pastor Ezekiel, had been playing a song as we were washing the feet, and we all began to extravagantly worship for a good while. God was so pleased with what had happened and His presence was so thick in that small room.

After we worshipped, Pastor Susy had the team and the leaders of the church pray for and honor Pastor Ezekiel and Pastor Norma, the main pastors of Maliksieh Church. The pastors got on their knees as the church leaders surrounded them and laid their hands on them. Aafter praying altogether, Pastor Susy closed by powerfully honoring Pastors Ezekiel and Norma. During that time, I was reminded of the passage where Jesus stands for Stephen, the first martyr for Christ in the Bible. I felt that as Jesus honored Stephen for sacrificing his life for the sake of the Gospel, Jesus was honoring the pastors of Maliksieh Church, for committing their lives to serve the people of the slums for the sake of the Gospel.

Again and again, we honored the pastors of the various churches we visited, and slowly God began to bring up some heart issues I had been dealing with in recent months. I have been serving in the church since I was 11 years old, ranging from children’s ministry to worship ministry and even church cleaning. I had recently realized that I had some bitterness towards God as I felt as I gave my whole life serving in the church, but wasn’t satisfied with the fruit of my current ministries.

I was frustrated because I felt as I was sowing and sowing, but was not seeing fruit I desired. I had seem glimpses of glory, but I knew there was so much more in store. I remember crying out to God one night, “I gave you my youth! Why don’t I see your blessings in my life? Why don’t I see more fruit? Why am I not satisfied?” But God opened my eyes to all these pastors (some in their 20s), leaders (some in their teens), and others serving in these churches (even 4 year old children putting away foot mats after the service), without complaint. They were full of joy in even the worst conditions, and doing everything for the sake of the Gospel, while getting little to no pay since many of the churches have little to no income. At that moment I had to examine my own heart. Why do I do ministry? Was it for the praise of men? Was it in expectation for God to bless me as repayment?

God used one of the local pastors to answer these questions for me. Pastor Joseph, who travelled with the team for the whole week, had pastored a slum church for 19 years- ever since he was 20 years old. Before that he was a slum child who was radically changed after encountering Jesus, and who began serving the church at a very young age. The first church where the team ministered was Pastor Joseph’s church. It is such a vibrant and beautiful community. At each of the services, Pastor Joseph was engaged, interceding for our team, and supporting us in every way. He didn’t have to, but he wanted to. His heart was to see all these churches revived and renewed. He was committed to the local church and had given his life for the sake of the Gospel.

After watching Pastor Joseph traveling with us all week, going home every night to tend to his wife and four children, and returning early morning the next morning, seeing his zeal for the Lord day after day, I recommitted my life for the sake of the Gospel. My heart shifted. My heart posure changed from asking, “Where are the blessings?” to declaring, “However many years you want me to serve, Lord!” I know that God will bless me, and I know that as I continue to be faithful to where the Lord calls me to, I’m storing up treasures in heaven.

The Manila team wasn’t just sent to give and minister, but also to receive. As we ministered with fire and zeal and empowered the local churches in Manila, they blessed us as well. We were empowered by their testimonies of giving up their lives for the sake of the Gospel, serving the church from a young age and being faithful in all areas of service, all while living with little no resources, fully trusting in the Lord to provide. It was a beautiful and empowering exchange.

2 Timothy 4:1-8
1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2, Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

I’m excited to see what God is doing in the Philippines. I am excited to see what He is going to do in me and through me. I want to live every day having that expectation until the day comes where I meet Jesus face to face. At the end of my life, I want to be able to say that I have fought the good fight, and I have run the race, and kept the faith.

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