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Good morning, Good morning!
The sun is up, the roosters are telling us to wake up, and our neighbors are cooking rice and fish for breakfast. In the mornings , when we did not have early morning ministry, we came together and would have what we called ‘ Team Time’. This was a chance for us to share out feelings, how our health was, and prayer requests. Then we would go over our schedule for the day.
I came to appreciate team time as it got us all on the same page. It kept us united and open. Sometimes, it meant crying, encouraging each other, or being just honest if something was getting on our nerves.
We also had had worship times during the week. These were amazing times of asking for God’s heart for the city. The house we lived in had two stories and the roof top looked over the slum. We would go on the roof and sing praises to God. Often our neighbors would come out of the houses and listen. The workmen next door fixing the roof would stop and stare.
One morning our leaders excitedly told us we had the chance to go to the jail and share God’s word. It was difficult to stand in front of a cell and speak to people who have experienced so much pain and hurt and tell them about God. God really helped us. While sharing the gospel message and my testimony I was amazed to see several women begin to cry. As my teammates one after the other also spoke, more and more women began to cry. At the end about a third of the cell (total women in the cell was 69) wanted to accept Jesus into their heart. I can never be sure if everyone that raised their hands were genuine, but I know if one person was touched by what we spoke it would ALL be worth it.
Speaking in Schools:
While we were speaking on anger management in the government building, a professional looking man approached us and introduced himself as one of the head teachers in the local public high school. He invited us to talk with him and explain what we were doing. While we explained he got very excited about what we were doing and asked us if we would speak at the school. We knew that it was usually very hard to get this chance. A local pastor was turned down because presenting the gospel in the public schools was illegal. But our new contact gave us a chance. He explained to us that if we presented something like HIV or Anti Bullying along with the gospel and testimonies, then we would be allowed to present at the school. Of course, we said a yes!
We spent time researching and creating presentations on HIV. HIV has become a very big problem in the Philippines and the rates are rising steadily each year. I felt so privileged to speak on this important topic and share about the gospel. We were given an hour in each classroom. Each classroom was different; some were more shy and less inviting. Others were very outgoing and receptive. Overall, I was amazed how honest the students were. We gave time for them to tell us about personal prayer requests and just to talk.
I walked in-between the lines of chairs and desks. The students kept pointing to a girl that had be crying through my whole talk. “Oh, she needs prayer…go to her!!!”
“If she wants prayer she can tell me.” I wanted to silence their teasing.
The girl nodded her head and I knelt beside her desk.
“Is there something you want me to prayer for?”
She moved the handkerchief off her eyes and her mouth for a second.
“My Dad is having an affair and it hurts our family.”
This is just one girl I talked to. There were so many people like her who had hard, painful, real-life issues that opened up to us and we were able to pray together.
In one class room, it had only one girl, and the rest were rowdy teenage boys (around 15 yrs. old). My teammate felt he should bring up the topics of drugs.
“Which drugs do you do?”
Comments rapidly flew around the room. It became obvious we were in a room of teenagers who were from the rougher parts of life. My teammate who also came from a background of drugs was heartbroken as he began to strongly talk about the consequences of doing drugs.
He asked the boys to split into two groups, and my teammates prayed for each group. And the guys started to repent and to ask God for forgiveness. They openly and genuinely asked my teammate how they could repent and stop taking and dealing drugs. There was an immediate change in their attitude towards drugs.
My heart was full as I saw how much God wanted us to help these amazing young adults. He worked in their hearts to deal with painful issues by having us listen and pray for them. I saw firsthand how much God loved each individual.
Red Light District:
Night had fallen and McDonald’s was bustling and as we waited for our contact for ministry that evening. We had planned to walk to the red light district and talk to some of the prostitutes and their customers that night.
Our contact arrived with his friend, and we split off into two groups. As we walked down the smoggy streets we prayed and asked God to give us some people to talk to. We first approached a group of ladies outside their brothel and asked if anyone wanted to talk or wanted prayer. All the girls ran inside as we approached except one who sat in her chair.
The pimp was behind us and started yelling at the girls, and our translator and contact nervously told us we needed to hurry up. The girl still braved her pimp’s verbal fury and told us she had applied for a job that would bring her to Manila , the big city, but not till she arrived did she realize what the job actually was. She wanted to leave, but doesn’t know how to earn money and doesn’t know anyone in the city.
Feeling uncomfortable by the loud pimp behind us, we prayed for her and hurried on. Knowing now where she is, we are still praying our contact can help her in some way.
As we walked farther down the street we met a lady waiting for her customers. As we tried to engage in a conversation, I could see her walls go up and her face remained cold and hard. Finally, we asked her if she wanted us to pray for anything, and she broke a little telling us she had two sons. She wanted us to pray for their safety. Then she told us that was the reason she was a prostitute. She needed to provide for them.
On further down the street we had a harder time as most of the women would run into the brothels.
Later on we met with several male prostitutes, from around the age of fifty to young twenties. I felt suddenly better about my height as they towered over me with their five inch heels. I looked at their sleek long hair and pointed to my mat of curls, “Could you do anything with this?” We laughed together and talked together, then our contact invited them to meet with him later on. They happily said yes to prayer and so we prayed together.
Me a Teacher?
One ways I grew was having the confidence to stand up in public and teach. I was scared by the responsibility and the weight that it carried. While I was hurriedly putting together a talk for a church I felt that I needed to just stop. I did and prayed to God to give the strength and the words to say. Peace and confidence flooded as God reminded me, He was the one who wanted to talk tonight. “It’s my story not yours.”
Throughout our time, I had numerous occasions to speak in churches, youth groups, open airs, schools, and other government facilities.
Our theme song:
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
There is no one like our God
And greater things are still to be done in this city
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city
Discipleship and Relationships
Living very close with many of the members from our host church, they freely opened up to us and invited us into their lives. I came to love them so much. Together we built amazing memories, prayed for each other, worshipped God, and encouraged each other in Christ.
Several of local friends became very close to our team and caught the vision and excitement of ministry. They often joined us in ministry and even though they would be asked to do things last minute, like singing or giving a testimony they would step up and share. They also willingly helped us translate many times. Throughout our time in Cainta, it was evident that God was at work in their lives and it was simply a privilege to be able to witness that.
One Last Time:
Our last ministry was very fitting, being a Media and Arts DTS, we painted a mural. After living in the community of Floodway for two and half months, we wanted to paint a mural on the main road. So we prayed and split into two groups scouting and asking home owners if they would be willing to allow us to paint on their house. We met back together and my teammates Khryss and Hampas excitedly told us about a house that was perfect. After a couple meeting with the owners and presenting them our idea, they gave us permission to do it! So our last week with the help of several of our local friends we began painting and finished within two days. After we finished we presented the mural to the community and also we were given the opportunity to talk about the gospel.
The purpose of this picture is to encourage and lift up the community. Everyday when they walk past it, we pray that it would be a colorful reminder of God’s peace and love in every situation. Even in the darkest times God’s able to make anything beautiful.
We found out later, the house we painted, had burned down a few years earlier and the verse we chose in many versions of the Bible is translated “beauty from ashes.”
So that concludes the Chronicles of the Girl with Noodle Hair and Her Adventures in Cainta.
It was an amazing time…definitely a very highlighted page in my life story. And I know that with God there will be more adventures to follow.
Paalam!(Tagalog) Lukim yu!( Pidgin) annyeong!(Korean) Goodbye!