Our mission to the Philippines got off to rather unusual start. At the church where we ministered on our first day, one of the associates asked Delron if there was a scripture passage that related to the message for the morning so she could read it as she introduced him. He told her to read II Peter 1:2-10; however, she transposed a couple of the numbers and read II Peter 2:1-10 – a passage in which the apostle warned his followers against false teachers. After being introduced as a false teacher, Delron took the microphone, apologized for the mix-up, read the correct passage, and commented that he hoped not to teach error that day. Actually, it turned out that Delron was justified as not being a false teacher when the pastor said that his message was a confirmation of what he had just been teaching at the church.
Even though both of us had ministered in the Philippines before, this was our first time in the Cebu area. We had come to this particular area in partnership with I Am Ministries – a new ministry founded by Kurt and Isabell Minott, students who had been impacted by Delron’s classes at Charis Bible College and Peggy’s home Bible study group. Kurt and Isabell had picked Cebu for the conferences due to the fact that it is a key economic and cultural city for the entire nation. Some of the delegates flew in from other islands and even as far away as Hong Kong. However, since we had not ministered in the area before, none of the local Christian leaders were very familiar with us or our ministry. Therefore, we thought that the mix-up was a bit prophetic since no one really knew what to expect at the conferences. Understandably, many were a bit reluctant to dedicate two full days of their time to come to be trained by people that they were not already acquainted with. However, as soon as the meetings began, we started hearing that the delegates were texting all the other leaders in the area telling them that they should drop whatever they were doing and come join the meetings. By the end of our time in Cebu, every seat in the building was filled and the delegates were asking that we would come back next year and hold the meetings in a larger facility.
The original plan for our time in Cebu was that we would do four conferences – with Peggy leading a two-day women’s meeting while Delron was holding a training for pastors and leaders at the same venue and then moving to a second location in a different area of the region for another set of simultaneous meetings. However, we decided to hold both sets of meetings at the same location when we had difficulties securing the second venue. It turned out that having all the meetings at the same site was actually a great advantage since some of the leaders who missed the first set of meetings were able to join us for the follow-up conferences. In addition, a number of the women leaders were able to attend Peggy’s meeting during one session and Delron’s training during the other.
One thing that we found interesting about our ministry in the Philippines was that many of the delegates represented many fields of influence in the nation – pastors, business leaders, television and radio broadcasters, business consultants, instructors who run training programs in the police department, leaders from the Department of Education who train thousands of teachers using biblical principles, and several delegates with direct influence with mayors and other government officials. They said that that the principals they were learning were powerful tools that they could apply to their business careers as well as to their ministries as lay leaders in their churches.
Another thing that characterized our time in Cebu was the infilling of the Holy Spirit. During the ministry time each day when we prayed for the delegates, one of the most common requests was to be baptized in the Holy Spirit – a prayer that was answered in each life. Knowing what these leaders are doing already, we can only imagine what will happen now that they are filled with the Holy Spirit
Another blessing that characterized this mission was our ministry to the hotel staff who served us during the conferences. As they came in and out of the meetings and stood in the back of the room between duties, they heard plenty of the gospel, and we were able to pray with at least four of the servers to receive salvation. Since one of their managers is a believer and has instituted a Bible study and prayer time for the employees, we felt confident that there would be good follow-up and discipleship for these new believers as we bid them farewell.