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Greetings again,

I am going to attempt to write a review for the recent Philippines mission trip, so anyone
who is interested can have some insight into how it all went.

God is an amazing God... AMEN?

First and foremost I must start by explaining how in the world an unemployed (officially)
volunteer Pastor of a very small church can afford to spend so much money on an
overseas trip. After my first trip in April (Most expenses paid by my former church) I was
desperate to return and be a blessing to the precious Filipino people. There was a real
sense of “so much work to do but so little time to do it in”. None the less, I committed it to
God and asked Him to do as seems best to Him. If that meant a return trip, then He is big
enough to arrange that. About September I began to feel a stir in my heart to plant a
church. This was very exciting on the one hand because God had now revealed His
immediate plan for my wife and I. But it also brought the assumption that any chances of
a return to the Philippines were now lost. I had all but given up on the idea when a pastor
friend of mine offered to foot the cost. I was elated until I heard the catch; he requested
me to work in his church for the remainder of the year and he would fund the trip to
Philippines as remuneration. I couldn’t accept this offer as I was certain I had been guided
by the Holy Spirit to plant a church in 2008. So my hopes were dashed again. I had to
leave the matter in God’s hands and I asked Him to just do what seems best to Him. And
of course He always does. I figured I needed around $1400 - $1600 for flights and another
$1000 for accommodation just for one person, and of course this money was impossible
on our shoestring budget. However, with God all things are possible, and money began to
trickle in, eventually reaching the desired amount. Money was appearing in our bank
account without any explanation from people and amounts of money was appearing in our
mail box with the words “God bless you“. This continued until we had the exact amount I
needed to go and I was doubly excited, now with the budding church and a mission trip,
both in 2008. I began to consult travel agents trying to get the cheapest possible flight. I
discovered that it was almost impossible to fly cheaper than $1400 (inc taxes) so I did
some searching of my own and by God’s amazing providence I found a flight on Royal
Brunei airlines for $780.00 return all taxes included. I was ecstatic because with the
money we had received; now I could take my wife as well for no extra cost. Oh how my
joy was full! I was so happy that God did and does so exceedingly, abundantly above all I
can ask or think. So off we were with miracle money in hand and mission in our hearts.

We decided we wanted to spend the majority of the trip doing personal evangelism. So we
wanted to print some tracts which would be purpose written for the Filipino people. These
people are drenched in Catholicism and most are nominal members of the Catholic Church.
They are a very superstitious people and idolatry is rampant. Knowing this we knew we
had to write our own tract message that would speak directly to their heart and
conscience. This was again going to cost but we were not perturbed, God was with us and
we knew He would supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Ph
4:19). Again, people caught wind of our plans and wanted to give to the cause. Within
weeks we had the money we needed to print 4000 tracts to take and hand out, while
sharing one on one with the lost about our risen Lord.

So we were off, armed with a few thousand gospel tracts and hungry hearts to see God do
amazing things. We boarded our plane in Brisbane on November 14th2008. We arrived on
Philippines soil late that night.

The question may be asked, “Why did we go?” or “what was our purpose?”

We enjoyed some amazing scenery, ate exotic foods (my wife and I being the only 2 out of
our team of 6 who didn’t fall ill). We hiked kilometres through mountains and swam in
crystal clear creeks. We had adventures, like travelling from one city to another in the
back of a garbage truck, even walking down the street with my wife proved to be quite an
adventure. Traffic almost literally stopped as people wanted to get a glimpse of this young,
blonde white girl. They had seen plenty of white men before, most of them filthy middle
aged men (and many older) looking for desperate 20year old Filipino women to marry in a
hurry. This kind of seedy behaviour is very frustrating. So for them to see a young white
female was something entirely exciting. Mothers pointing to their children to look as she
walked by, and motorcycles of people (sometimes carrying up to five passengers with no
helmets) would slow down and stare. This always made me laugh, but made my wife very
self conscience. We also had some time to relax by the resort pool, reading a book. It was
great fun and we enjoyed every minute. But this was not at all our purpose in going.

It’s true we visited many churches, preaching the gospel and encouraging the local
believers to be passionate about the cause of Christ in the world. We visited churches
where very few westerners will ever go, and certainly very few preachers have ever been
(Primarily because there was no love offering to be received: these people are the poorest
of the poor). We were received with true Christian hospitality and our hearts were
overflowing with the love poured out on us. We spent almost all our time on the Island of
Leyte in the Visayan region of the Philippines. We visited churches in Palompon, Tambulilid,
Camp Downs, Mahalit and Matlang. We had a fantastic time over there and were very
blessed to be made welcome in these houses of God. But this was not our purpose in
going.

Our main purpose in going was; Reggie, Eric & Delridge, Edith, Bernadette, and many
other nameless people.

Reggie: We met him in the ferry terminal on our way from Cebu to Leyte. He was
standing by himself looking out the window waiting for his ferry. He was a well dressed
man probably in his 30’s or 40’s. While he was minding his own business, I saw him and
went over to share the gospel with him. I started by handing him a tract, to which almost
everyone responds with, “What is this?” There was my opening and I began to share the
gospel with him one on one. He seemed very open and willing to discuss the deeper things
of faith and religion. Then he dropped a bombshell. I had others standing around while I
was sharing with him but he didn’t seem to care and he blurted out, “I'm continually
masturbating and I want God to forgive me.” I tried to look calm and in control but truth
was I had to use all my strength from pulling a face of surprise. This man was so
desperate he felt he needed to discuss his deepest secrets with a complete stranger. I told
him God would cleanse him of all his unrighteousness, if he was truly repentant and put
his faith in Christ alone for salvation. Reggie looked at me with a solemn look and told me
he wanted to do this right away, so I put my hand on his shoulder and prayed for him,
that God would lead him in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. It was a
thrilling event and I was so overjoyed to have stopped and spoken to Reggie that day.

Eric & Delridge: I will couple these two stories together, because they are so similar, not
for lack of importance. We travelled to the Visayan State University to hand out tracts and
share the gospel with college students there. We handed out a couple thousand tracts and
took opportunities to preach Jesus with them. I encountered a young man named Eric. He
had a Catholic background (as they all do) and had a certainty that he was spiritually in
good shape. I questioned him on his salvation and his freedom from sin and the curse of
the law. Many people already know I am a big believer in using the law to bring people to
the cross of Christ and this is the message that is particularly important for people who
have taken ease and comfort in idolatry and false religion. Their guilt needs to be proven
to them before they will allow you to speak to their heart. So, to the Ten Commandments I
went, and asked the young man if he was a good person before God. He responded that
he felt he was and then after a little examination using the Ten Commandments we both
learned he was in fact addicted to sin of all kinds. I asked him why Jesus come to earth
and he said that Jesus came to save us from our sins, and I asked him if he had been
saved from indwelling sin or does he commit sin regularly with no real regard for God. He
replied that the latter described him, and I told him that God would judge him on
judgement day as guilty of breaking His laws, and he had no reason to believe God would
not send him to hell. God would make it sure that hell would in fact be his portion in the
hereafter and for ever after. He looked shocked. I asked him if this concerned him at all.
He replied that it did, so I then lead him to the cross of Jesus Christ, where all sin has
been washed away and the penalties, we as sinners deserve, have been poured out on the
only Saviour. I prayed for him and implored him to study the scriptures and also to feel
free to contact me if he had any more questions. The conversation with Delridge was
quite similar excepting one fact. He had a conscience already pricked by the Holy Spirit. As
soon as I started to speak with him it was obvious his heart was broken. He was well
aware of his crimes before a just and holy God and he desperately wanted someone to
explain to him the way of salvation. Thank my most amazing and mighty God that I was
chosen to be the one to do so. “How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not
believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall
they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is
written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad
tidings of good things!” (Rom 10:14-15) I also prayed with him and left him with a tract
and contact details for me. He was truly a man whose heart was white for harvest.
We were sent there by God for Edith. A young girl who was a member of the church in
Tambulilid contacted me and asked me if I could visit a friend of hers who was in hospital.
That afternoon when I received the message, I was quite tired and really just felt like a
quiet night in, but there was a stirring in my spirit that I should not miss this opportunity.
So along I went (I won’t begin to describe the horrific condition the private hospital was
in). The patient’s name was Edith and she was maybe 45-55 years old. She had cancer
throughout her body and was in a critical condition. The doctor had given her 4 weeks to
live. So here I was in the room with many family and friends of Edith and I just froze up.
No matter how often I share the gospel with people I always get nervous and yet this time
was different. I wasn’t just nervous, I was petrified. People kept looking at me as to ask
me what was I going to say, and truth was I didn’t know. I was stone silent and yet I knew
that life or death hung in the balance and I had no choice but to open my mouth wide and
share the gospel with Edith. I conjured all the courage left in me and asked through an
interpreter whether Edith thought she would go to heaven when she dies. Edith said that
she really didn’t know, so I asked her if she would like to know her eternal destination for
sure and she said yes. I was stuck again and silently prayed in my heart for guidance by
the Holy Spirit. I turned to her and asked her if she considered Jesus to be Lord. She again
replied in the affirmative and then I asked her why she felt she was unsure of her eternal
destination. I asked her if she thought she was a sinner and she said yes. So I told her of
a living, loving God who came down to earth to seek and save the lost and that He wants
her to become His child. If she does this she will be saved. She needs to ask Jesus to
forgive her of all her sins, renounce her idolatry and humbly embrace the cross, confess
that He is Lord, God raised Him from the dead and it’s Him alone who can save. I asked
her if she was quite ready to do this. She replied that she wanted to do it so I lead her in a
prayer. I later pondered why I was felt so weak at this particular witnessing encounter and
I concluded that I had never actually shared the gospel with someone who has such little
time left to receive Christ as their Saviour. This placed me under all kinds of pressure and I
certainly thank my God humbly, who gives liberally the Spirit to whoever asks, because I
certainly needed it then.

After having prayed for Edith and heard her confession of the Lordship of Christ over her
life I was interrupted by the lady sitting next to me. She was middle aged also and sat
silent through the whole ordeal but now for some reason wanted to get my attention. I
really wasn’t sure if she was going to reprimand me for preaching Christ or what else she
wanted until she asked me the question: “What about me?” I asked her what she meant
and she replied that she also wanted to renounce her idolatry and come to Christ to be
saved. I was gobsmacked again and asked her if she was serious. She had wide eyes and
asked me sincerely if she could too have this Saviour because she was also a sinner. So I
pressed her hard for a few moments to see if she was sincere, and she was as sincere as I
ever found anyone. I pushed harder and harder to see if she were quite willing to forsake
all and follow the Lamb wither so ever He goes, and she told me she was. I asked her if
she was willing to die for this truth, that Jesus Christ alone was Lord and no other. She
again professed vocally that she believed this. So I asked her the question that usually
causes people in her circumstance to choke. I asked her if she would receive baptism. You
can guess why this is usually a stumbling block for some, because they have all been
baptised as infants into the Catholic Church. Receiving this holy ordinance again signifies
publically, total denunciation of their childhood religion and rejection of its false teachings.
This will usually be met with public scorn and rejection by one’s family and friends. So
when I asked her if she would be baptised into Christ’s true church and renounce all her
idolatry and falsehood she kept nodding and affirming all I said. Well, I just couldn’t
believe it, and asked my friend who had taken us there whether she even understood
anything I was saying. The young girl confirmed that this lady Bernadette had indeed
understood everything and was ready and willing to come to Christ. So I repeated my
prayer for her sake and everyone in the room repeated it after me. It was a heart melting
experience and we pray fervently that more than just two were solemn and sincere about
what we prayed for that night. God is so sovereign and holy and we thank Him forever
with tender affection.

These are but a few stories of people we encountered and shared God’s unending love
with. Many go unmentioned because the encounters were brief and I would be simply
repeating myself to recount any more. There was one young girl I will share about as my
last story. She is about 20 years of age and a member of her local Christian church. I
didn’t really know anything about her but I handed her some tracts to give out at her
work. She kindly thanked me and nothing more came of it. The following week I was
preaching in her church when at the end of the service the pastor of the church asked for
people to respond to the gospel call. This is something I rarely, if ever, do, but if the
pastor wants to do it I don’t really mind. Well this young girl comes forward with a bunch
of others and I was a little surprised to see her at the front of the church. When she asked
me for some tracts I was under the impression she was already born again. So after the
service I questioned her and she confirmed my suspicions that she had been baptised
about 5 years ago and had been a member of the church all that time. But when I handed
her some tracts she went home and thought she’d give it a read before she handed them
out. She soon realised she wasn’t right with God at all and in fact she was horribly guilty
before Him. She said she could hardly get any sleep that night and tossed and turned
“terrified” because of her guilt before Jesus the Just Judge. So when given the opportunity
to respond in faith to the gospel at the next church service, she just had to. For almost
two hours I examined her and pressed for evidence of her sincerity and she proved herself
ready to take up her cross daily and follow her Lord. I thanked God for how His Holy Spirit
works on people’s hearts, even when to us they seem to be faithful believers, but are in
fact totally lost. I Thank Him for leaving the ninety nine to go and find this one. Praise Him
forever.

Finally, I will like to report on an interdenominational pastor’s seminar we held over there.
This wasn’t our idea it was the idea of a few of the pastor’s over there. I would never
presume to know enough about ministry to hold such a seminar. But they were insistent,
so we agreed. Pastors and leaders came from all around representing varying
denominations and we all met for one day at Camp Downs Church of Christ on Leyte. They
asked me prior to the meetings what the theme of the event should be, and I had only one
option, ‘The True Gospel’. So I began to share with these various leaders and pastors what
the true gospel contains and what it does not contain. Why we as pastors should never
neglect this gospel, as it is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1). Well, hearts were
moved and it was a solemn time. There seemed hardly a dry eye in the house as we talked
about the preciousness of Christ and how His sacrifice is being watered down in many
modern churches because people won’t call sin what it is. They are trying to reduce sin to
be just a small pain that we should do our best to try and avoid. Preaching this turns the
Son of God dying on the cross for sin (which is just a small little pain) into a massive
overreaction. Unless of course the truth of the gospel message is that we are all sinners
(Rom 3:23) and are dead in our sins. And that God is ultimately and totally just in sending
sinners to hell for ever to be burned and forever dying as punishment for sin (another
gross overreaction for something that’s just a little pain). But that God so loved the world
that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal
life. And then explaining true repentance is to grow such a hatred and detestation for sin
that, as believers, we never EVER want anything to do with it again. Not out of legalism,
but out of love for Him who died to save us from it: “What shall we say then? Are we to
continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live
in it? (Rom 6:1-2) The result was miraculous. Many were broken and the meeting was lead
into solemn worship with many on their knees before God. God sovereignly moved on all
our hearts. As for the result after the meeting, one story will suffice: One pastor
approached me and confessed he was about to resign his church because he had lost all
hope. He had heard some westerners were holding a pastors’ seminar, and thought it
worthwhile to attend. He was now revived and was ready to throw himself wholly into the
task of preaching the GOSPEL. Praise God forever.

I want to offer a dear and heartfelt thank you for everyone who supported us while we
were away. Your kind emails, messages and most importantly, prayer, were invaluable to
our cause. We also want to thank everyone who gave to the mission work and want you all
to know that we couldn’t have done it without you; your reward is in heaven. And thank
you to Him who knows no end and has no beginning, who rules the world with the word of
His mouth and by His words He sustains all things, the Master of my heart and life. To You
my most sovereign King I owe all and in turn give You all. Thankyou.

“Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,


Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.”

Crown Him with Many Crowns (Matthew Bridges, 1800-1894, and Godfrey Thring,
1823-1903)