in The Philippines
BBSM partners with local churches in the Laguna Province of the Philippines. Southeast of Manilla, this region of the Philippines contains both the cities of Calamba and Calauan. We partner with various churches of the region to work in drug outreach programs, enter jails and prison, and do street ministry. We hit the ground in November of 2018 and are back in June of 2019.
Be Bold Street Ministries arrived in Manilla November 3rd following a long flight over the international border. In the various airports, countless travelers learned of our outreach and the Gospel unfolded. The flight from Los Angeles to Taiwan had several opportunities to share Jesus. Jim met a biologist who learned that Jesus fulfils his Judist prophesy, Matt and Josh encouraged a chemist who quoted, "This is a plane ride I'll never forget." Andrew met a Yoga instructor who learned when she was younger, she proclaimed Jesus as savior and there is nothing she can do to lose that salvation. We met Hope City who also does street ministry on their way to the Philippines to meet their compassion children. We prayed together. Luggage claim was a scary time. We had 10 pieces of luggage that took forever to show up. The constant reminder that God is in control and how He got us here was spoken. If we aren't supposed to hand out T-shirts, so be it. If we didn't have our PA system, God is still in control. Suddenly 9 pieces appeared. When Jim finally went to report his remaining bag missing, it turns out the Alaska Airline tape it was wrapped in had been removed, but Jim's final bag had arrived.
We couldn't believe the greeting that befell us. Revealing Christ's Glory Global Ministry was at the airport in force. Waving a banner from the second story heralding our arrival. They had made a banner with each of our faces declaring the mission that had arrived. Over a delightful meal we met our interpreters Maybelle, Sara Marie (Sam), and Michelle. Pastor Mariano blessed us with encouragment and Jim laid out our next few days. We prepared our lesson for Sunday evening and after 28 hours of travel, we prepare for an early morning.
It was such a blessing to join Revealing Christ Glory Global Ministry for church on Sunday. Conveniently, their worship was in English, and the praise of Jesus was exactly what we needed to start our week.
Matt was called on stage to reveal Christ's activity in his life. His testimony was meaningful to many present. At the call, we estimate 70 people raising their hands, dedicating their lives to Jesus. Keith was called to the close the service in prayer. You wouldn't know it, but we later found out that Keith wasn't asked to prepare for the honor. We were blessed with a traditional meal with the congregation. Then the photos began. We took pictures with around 200 Philippinos in every combination imaginable. It brings me to tears how much love we are shown in the Philippines. Half the world apart and we are family. After church we relaxed with Jim at his house and discussed an exciting future with BBSM in the Philippines. We took a neighborhood stroll and witnessed in the slums.
That evening The Most Excellent Way began in the Philippines. A last minute change allowed us to go the local Barangay. In the Philippines, the cities are broken into precincts, then Barangay. If you had a problem that needed law enforcement, you would contact the Barangay. If the response required capital force, the city police would then be contacted by the Barangay. This was the fourth session of a faith based drug addiction class, hosted by RCCGM at the Barangay. Offenders are given the opportunity to take seven sessions of faith based drug addiction class, and upon passing a drug test, are freed from more drastic consequences. We had another packed room, with 30 'surrenders' and 20 officers and officials. Between RCCGM and BBSM there were another 15. The Barangay councilor Eddie Sylva was present, and in his introduction called on his community to treat us like family. Pastor Mariano welcomed his American friends and asked Jim to transition. Jim testified about his combat experience and upbringing in the Philippines, and how God rescued him from a life of chaos. At which point we were all given the opportunity to share our testimony. By the time Josh presented, there were tears in the crowd. When he asked for those present to bow their heads, he specifically asked the law enforcement to bow as well. What happened next was surprising. Josh asked those who wanted to surrender to Jesus and let him accomplish the work in their lives, a spattering of hands went up. Over the next minute, the hands kept raising. Not only those seeking freedom from addiction, but the law enforcement began to ask Jesus into their hearts.
Then the lesson began. We taught out of Psalm 40 on Humility. Three lessons were distributed to this group, translated into Tagalog. We demonstrated connecting with the scripture and asked that they meet independently to go over the remaining lessons on victorious life.
The mayor was welcoming and interested in the solutions we had to present, but in the Philippines, the mayor and the city council are separate branches. He loved the hat, and Matt asked him if he knew Jesus. The mayor was receptive, and his wife is a Christian. She must've overheard that because she wanders out into the room after that. They were at her church yesterday, so we are praying that she is successful in leading him to the Lord.
We were waiting in the vice mayor's office for a visit and suddenly the plan changed. The vice mayor presides over the city council and that is where he was. They asked us to join the city council. Matt gave his testimony to the city council, and presented the Most Excellent Way as a solution to drug addiction. We met 2 councilors that are now spearheading the legislative process to creating an ordinance to put The Most Excellent Way as the official program for Calmaba Sipag, "Start of Hope" programs.
Thank you Councilor Alcasid for commiting to take the hope of Jesus based addiction recovery to a national level and Councilor Hernandez "team Champion" for championing BBSM in Calamba.
The next person we met was the Chief of Police for the City of Calmba. We were thankful for Jim and his military experience to connect with this man. During this meeting, a man under the chief brought him a list and he discovered that of the 54 barngay, only 3 had ongoing faith based programs. All three of them were run by pastor Mariano. These are the three programs that we have and are planning on visiting this trip. He asked how many we can do. The officials here are desparate for help. He asked, "Can you bring the entire United States here?"
He took us to the jail where Matt and Josh gave testimony to 76 men and 18 women. They gave their lives to Jesus Christ.
By mid-day we realized there is a plan put into motion much bigger than BBSM or RCGGM. Jesus just moved in the city of Clamba. Over the next year it will be amazing to see how Jesus is reaching addicts, with support of the city and the local barangay. We visited the Barangay Mayapa for the Sipag. Matt gave a moving testimony to God's redemption and Keith clearly explained the Gospel. After Andrew gave his testimony highlighting God's power to restore, he led to Christ 20 people, including one Barangay Councilor. This was the first time Andrew was used in this way.
In the afternoon we walked out from the church to the streets. The first house we went in was Edzel's family. We discovered his grandmother on a chair writhing in pain. She fell 2 months earlier down the path next to their house. She couldn't weigh more than 60 pounds. We bought an ambulance ride to get help. In this house 4 boys were led to the Lord. Meanwhile, we split off and brought the hope of Jesus to two other teenagers, and one prayed for Jesus to enter his heart.
Our first stop on Tuesday was into the provincial jail. We had an opportunity to go to a group of 96 women who are incarcirated. In response to the four testimonies, 80 women surrendered to Christ. We were able to give hygine kits to the women in this prison. Pastor Mariano has a relationship in this jail and we are thankful that they will continue to receive the Gospel ongoing. We revisited the city jail where a hundred were saved yesterday. We took the Most Excellent Way and hygine kits in. There were eight new faces in the jail, and all gave their lives to Christ. We were able to share Psalm 40 lesson on humility. They were able to keep the materials and we will be back to work trough another lesson. In the afternoon we were able to perform street ministry in RCGGM region. We talked with individuals, eplaining the Gospel and how Christ performed miracles in our lives. At one sitting eight people surrendered to Christ. We met other believers who encouraged us and shared with us the transforming power of Christ in their lives.
In preparation for our visit to the schools tomorrow we stocked up. We're hoping to reach the kids tomorrow with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and give them a picture of a hardened life of addiction. About 50% of teenagers are already using drugs.
Finally, BBSM visited Prayer House Christian Ministries. We met councilor Charisse Marie Hernandez's mother who is a pastor. This was an invitation to begin a relationship with other local churches. We outlined the success in the city to move towards Sipag victory outreach and offered training to conduct Most Excellent Way with local churches. We're praying that Jesus will open these doors at just the right time. We are praying for Chairman Ernie, Richard, and Tony. Please pray for their congregations and that servants who have a passion for the lost would join reaching into the darkness with the hope of a risen Savior.
RCGGM was asked to establish a relationship with Eduardo Barretto Sr., a public school in Calamba. Despite being in a resort portion of the town, most of the resort workers come from very far away to work. The principal pressed the biggest problems are school attendance, drug addiction, and early pregnancy. The children can believe that starting a family would get them out of life they are in, but it only leads to the same kind of problems.
BBSM was able to present our testimonies in two sessions to conservatively 570 students. Andrew touched on his choices to abandon higher learning to chase women and party, having to work to support his family instead of going to college. Keith highlighted his early choice to drink to feel accepted. Josh spoke of his gang lifestyle in and out of school. Matt went to prison for trying to murder somebody instead of going to school. In the first session, we were speaking to mainly 7th and 8th grade students. There wasn't an empty chair in the open air courtyard. When Matt explained that like all of, he couldn't accomplish the change in his life without Jesus. At the call for everyone who wanted to surrender to Jesus, when Matt asked those to raise their hands, we could not find one hand down. See, this isn't just a one time visit to the school. During this ceremony, representatives from the school, RCCGM, BBSM, and the PTA sat down and signed a contract. This contract binds RCCGM to minister to the school. This is a weekly commitment to bring scripture to the kids who surrendered to Jesus. By signing this contract, the students will receive teaching on how to live for Jesus. Thank you Pastor Mariano for commiting to these children, and all the servants who will continue to show up for them. The second event was nearly as big as the first. These students were from grades 7th 12th. As before, we demonstrated the commitment to the school by establishing the contract before the kids and teachers, and revealed God's glory in our lives. We clearly expressed how Jesus was the only solution to our problems, and that Jesus Christ and the power that rose him from the grave is available to them. They responded.
We were able to give them some treats, but we thank God for the response at that school. We are so amazed that the power of Jesus Christ, and the calling of God brought 570 to repentance today. Back at the church, we broke out with a few of our skills. Andrew worked with the music team to test equipment, train the music director, and give feedback about how Salem Heights is set up. Josh and Matt joined the prayer warriors and they prayed for the success of the church and the effectiveness of their ministries. We ended the evening with Most Excellent Way. All the work we are doing here lies in the success of ongoing support. The turn out was incredible. There were 40 interested leaders coming from across the city to learn how to operate the Jesus centered 1-step victory program. We ran through a sample lesson and trained those present on the format. We explained the materials are being translated and provided. We even celebrated victory.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes - Romans 1:16
We switched gears today and went to Calauan, east of Calamba City. Calauan is remote, rural, and is missing some of the ameneties of the bigger city. For example, water was not available during our visit.
BBSM were asked to share at RCGGM Calauan in a special session that brought a greater attendance then their normal Sunday morning. An outdoor shelter was erected to hold all of those present. As a special praise to the Lord, Romans 6 was recited from memory. During our testimony and encouragement, Matt was moved to lead us in a refrain of Jesus, Lover of my Soul. Josh made the call to surrender. There were 56 people who asked Jesus to enter their lives at this outreach. We followed it with a meal, feeding 350 people. The kids received a bag of candy.
We are praying for this church to grow. They do not have the facilities to hold their current attendance. We've asked Jesus to make a way that their walls could be further apart and more could be able to come in. They are currently looking at the building next door, but we need prayer for this church to be able to minister to the people of Calauan as many want to be here, but their reach is limited by the building. Once the traditional siesta was coming to a close, we began to go door to door, following up on the event. People who were present were taught to read their Bibles, to come to church, and to seek a mentor. For those whose Sunday morning attendance was challenged by infants or other limits, a weekly Bible study in their homes were arranged. We gathered names and addresses for follow up. Those that had not accepted Jesus as their savior were presented the Gospel. There were 20 people during this that were led to Jesus. There were those who had been saved but in isolation, haven't been practicing their faith. A woman brought me her Bible. She had to get a chair to stand on to bring it down, and it was covered in dust. A previous worship leader, the cares of the world had disconnected her from her faith. She made a new place for her Bible, pominent in her home and committed to opening up the pages again. RCGGM will be coming back to her and helping to encourage her that the power of Jesus in our lives is effective, and brings joy. There are many such stories of impact beyond those who salvation was found. In the evening, we visited a group of basketball and baseball players. We gave two testimonies, followed by a call to surrender to Jesus. At the event, 200 people accepted Jesus.
We were blessed to watch a few exciting basketball games, then we were able to provide meals for 350. We invited the players to church. Everyone in Calauan was warm and inviting. All in, there were 700 meals and 276 souls today. For the week we are at 1500 meals and 1175 people surrendered to Christ. Tomorrow we are doing a celebration with the Church and more training. The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ - Matthew 25:40