2015 Manila – Susy Park

Into Marvellous Light

Eight days in Manila. Twelve worship services in eleven different churches. Home visits. Physical healings. Filling of the Holy Spirit. Deliverance ministry. Receiving the gift of tongues. Washing the feet of church elders. Fellowship and prayer with native church leaders. Praying for youth. Salvations. Candle-lighting New Year’s Eve service. We had an intense mission trip to Manila, ministering in different churches in the outskirts of the city, where native pastors were empowered to disciple leaders and plant churches. God is moving mightily in the Philippines. I wanted to thank you for sending out our team with so much prayer and support. Thanks to you, our team was able to go and partner with local ministries, and we saw great fruit from this work! We felt the supernatural favor of God through your prayers on the field. Just to give you an idea of the fruit, there is one moment in particular that I’d like to highlight from this trip.

Christlife Prayer Ministry Church in Maliksi

We got out of our van into a small parking area on the side of a road, and proceeded to walk down a narrow concrete pathway leading us to a small community in the province of Maliksi. Pastor Ezekiel, one of the native pastors we were partnering with through Native Partners in World Mission (NPWM), said that it was the congregation that he personally shepherds—the poorest community within their church network. He warned us of the smell of sewage and garbage. After a couple of minutes of walking, the concrete ridge gave way to web of rickety bamboo walkways suspended over water, winding between crammed little rooms where people lived. After a couple of minutes of weaving down these bamboo walkways, we finally reached our destination: a humble yet beautiful church suspended above the water, small in size, and already starting to brim with curious kids from the neighborhood who heard that foreigners had come to visit. Quite unbelievably, over one hundred kids crammed into that little room, sitting shoulder to shoulder on the wooden floor, eyes wide open, and some of them already grinning mischievously. They immediately stole our hearts.

This church had once been dubbed “the dancing church” because it “danced” over the water precariously, and kids had to be careful to not fall between the wooden planks into the water before they had repaired the floor. But today was different—kids danced excitedly as we introduced a couple of children’s ministry song dances, and they hushed when it was time to listen to the preaching. I preached, with Pastor Ezekiel translating, from 1 Peter 2:9—“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” And I don’t know how else to say it, but the Holy Spirit was powerfully anointing this simple message as the presence of the Lord filled the room. Many of the more fidgety kids began to listen intently, even repeating in unison after me, “I am chosen. I am royal. I am holy. I belong to God.” After the message, we asked the church elders and the mission team to go around and pray for them individually, as they shut their eyes tightly and brought their hands together in prayer.

After praying, I privately turned to Pastor Ezekiel and asked him, “Are most of these kids believers?” To which he responded, “No. Maybe you should share the Gospel.” So I took a deep breath, turned to the kids, and began to explain to them what it means to be “brought out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.” We were in darkness. When we are in darkness, we are blind, we are deaf, and we are helpless. But God, in His great love for us, came into the darkness, to do what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins on the Cross. In this way, our sins died with Him. And on the third day He rose from grave, so whoever believes in Him would get eternal life. We have hope not because of anything we’ve done, but because of what He did for us. He came into the darkness, and brought us into His marvelous light.

Very simple message, yet the weight of conviction could be felt in the air.  I asked everyone to close their eyes once again, and asked, “Is there anyone who would like to believe in Jesus Christ? Is there anyone who would like to say ‘yes’ and surrender their lives to Jesus today? If that is you, I’d like you to raise your hand” And to our utter shock, hands began to go up all over the crowded room.  Not just a few.  But eighty-eight of them.  I looked at Pastor Ezekiel, wondering if maybe the salvation call hadn’t been clear through the translation, but he was nodding at me.  Some of the adults in the back of the room, who had come to look after their kids, were also raising their hands.  Every single member on our team fought back tears, as we led them to repeat a prayer after us.

This is the great love of our God. That He would come into the darkness, all the way into the winding bamboo walkways of these slums, and bring His children out of the darkness and into His marvelous light. The God who leaves the ninety-nine to go look for the one. The God who sells all He had to purchase the land where he found a great treasure. I realize that it’s naïve to think that every single one of these kids knew what they were raising up their hands for. But it’s also naïve to think that nothing supernatural was happening through the power of the Spirit. After all, how many of us knew exactly what we were saying “yes” to when we first got saved? Many of the pastors we worked with in Manila had been saved through these ministries, and they rejoiced in seeing a new generation rising up in faith.

So, how can you continue to pray for the Philippines?

  • Pray for the local pastors there—that as they build up their ministries, they’d continue to disciple pastors, worship leaders, and church planters to advance the Kingdom.
  • Pray that every person that raised their hands up to receive salvation would follow through in their commitment to live a life surrendered to the lordship of Christ and stay connected to their local ministries. We have been called not to make converts, but disciples of Christ!
  • Pray for the mission team that returned to Korea a few days ago—after such a hectic week of ministry, many are battling sickness or fatigue. Pray for grace and protection over our bodies!

In all these things, thank you for sowing into this mission trip with your prayers and financial support. We saw God move in powerful ways in all of our twelve services as people received prayer in tears, as people worshiped in freedom and joy, as we visited homes, joined families in their New Year’s celebrations, and prayed for the sick. Throughout the week we were in Manila, 182+ people received salvation after the Gospel was preached, 155+ received a filling of the Holy Spirit, we saw 5+ confirmed healings, and 11+ people came up to the altar to receive the gift of tongues. We held services in eleven different congregations, inviting their non-Christian neighbors and getting invited to their homes to pray for their sick. I was both humbled and honored to serve as the team preacher, to trust afresh that God’s Spirit and Word still have the power to demolish strongholds and bring freedom.

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