Thursday, February 28, 2013
Thursday Report From The Philippines
The Filipino Pastors and their wives are a special group of people. They work tirelessly in setting up these crusades. Each one begins with contemporary Christian praise music playing over the rented speaker system. We carry a gasoline generator and a light standard with us to run the equipment and provide light in the places we go where electrical power is unavailable.
As the music plays, many curious children come out to see what is going on. Their parents are not far behind. the pastor's wives, Cristy, Elenita, Jocelyn, and Juvy organize the children into several types of games accompanied by recorded (loud) music. The kids have such joy in these simple games that it blesses your heart just to watch them., The crowd grows as adults gather to watch the children and to get a look at the Americans who have come to the village.
Once about 45 minutes to an hour of game time has elapsed, the pastor's wives (who are wearing the matching shirts or scarves each night) begin to welcome the crowd by leading in "action songs" that get everybody involved. I call the girls "The Marvelettes". Their voices are beautiful, and even though we cannot understand most of the words to the songs, they are obviously a big hit with the crowd.
The local pastor will make some opening remarks and introduce the American and Filipino team members. One of our group will usually sing a song, and the previously selected team member will bring the message. Pastor Josue Cadiao usually does the translating in these evening open air crusades. He is excellent! His English is good and he can stay right with the preacher.
Once we complete the message, we turn the service over to Pastor Cadiao to give the invitation in their Cebuano dialect. The Marvelettes and instrumentalists will play and sing, and in nearly every service there is a significant response to the invitation. To date there have been 635 professions of faith in Jesus Christ.
Each one who responds to the invitation is prayed with, decision cards are filled out getting necessary contact information for followup. Each new believer receives a Cebuano dialect Bible and literature telling them how to study their Bible with helpful information for new believers.
Are all of the people who respond to the invitation genuinely saved? The answer to that is, only God knows.
What I do know is that the people are hearing the Gospel (both in English and Cebuano). They are being counselled and prayed with. They are given a copy of God's Word and helps to use it. Each one is followed up on by the local pastor and his congregation. I also know that God is in control.
I could go on and on about what is happening here, but I will share more of that later and with our church congregation when we return. But for now, the Easy Ride has arrived and we're off for another trip up the cost to Bindoy where Bub Amis will bring tonight's message.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers over these last few days of ministry here in Negros.
In His Grace,