Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quick update

It's Thursday afternoon here, and we've just finished our Bacolod seminar and are waiting for the Supercat ferry to take us back to Iloilo. We haven't had much internet access the last couple days. The ferry crossing to bring us here yesterday morning was fairly rough, so we're hoping for calmer waters. However, the weather here has been interesting to say the least. We've had monsoon-style rains every day, with street flooding and thunder and lightning. The Filipinos just shake their heads and say, "It's supposed to be the middle of summer. This does NOT happen!" Then earlier today there was a tornado in Bacolod. One man was on the third floor of his building praying with some friends for the weather to clear and for safety when the tornado came through and gutted the lower floors of his building. He still came to our seminar.

Another man told us after the seminar that during the talk today on "How Can I Be Filled with the Holy Spirit?" as we were praying, he felt a tremendous sense of heat, and then after the prayer time he passed a kidneystone that had been plaguing him for some time.

Many of the people at the seminar these last two days are very eager to start Alpha. In Iloilo the questions were more along the lines of, "Should we start Alpha?" In Bacolod, the questions were much more focused on, "How do we start Alpha?"

Last night after Day One was complete, we traveled to Hotel Planta where HisLife Ministries is planning a new church with its first service on Easter Sunday. We met with some of their leaders last night for a training. Joebert Ramos, the pastor, asked me to speak on Martin Luther and his focus on the Bible as the believer's authority. (The publicity piece for this evening was included in a previous blog post.) We had a great time with them, and I got to talk for almost an hour about Martin Luther and his passion for scripture. Some of you know well just how much I enjoyed that! The rest of the team did a great job of mixing with the people from HisLife, mostly young adults, and enjoying the grilled hamburgers that they provided us. Delicious!

We are doing pretty well, all things considered. Some minor physical ups and downs are more an annoyance than anything worse. Emotionally the schedule takes a little bit of a toll -- I think we are all very eager to get done with the Guimaras seminar tomorrow afternoon and have some down time at Villa Igang, a resort on that island. I'm excited to be back on Guimaras -- it's less urbanized, with lots of agriculture, lots of little markets, and lots of great fruit stands. (Believe it or not, I haven't eaten a mango in two days. I'm going into withdrawls.)

Tonight we have the privilege of celebrating the birthday of Ronald & Lyn's third daughter, who goes by the nickname "Orange." Ronald likes to joke that he has a "fruit salad" -- his children bear the nicknames Peachy (who has been an amazing help during these seminars, handling everything from leading worship to passing out snacks and selling Alpha resources), Apple, Orange, and Cherry, the youngest. They are all delightful young ladies! It will be fun to celebrate with the Baynosas tonight.

So far, we are excited about the potential for fruit from these Alpha seminars. As I understand, the National Alpha Organization in the Philippines has not had a lot of luck planting Alpha in congregations. They run a very successful Alpha program in the south, on the island of Mindanao, in a high school; they are currently working on an exciting project to do Alpha in Hong Kong using radio broadcasts for OFW's -- Overseas Filipino Workers -- who can then gather into small groups after they hear the teaching on the radio broadcast. Kind of a neat model. There are a few churches running Alpha in Manila, I think, and maybe in Cebu -- but the NAO guys seem to have high hopes for what we're planting here.

Thanks for your ongoing prayers and for all your encouraging emails and facebook posts. It's amazing how much easier communication is on this trip even than it was in 2005! We are also making many connections with the seminar participants on Facebook and via email. We continue to entrust all of these efforts to God -- we know more than ever that whatever fruit comes out of these seminars will be to his credit, not ours. It's clear he has planted many good seeds here ahead of our coming, and that he is Lord, and we are servants. That is such a comfort. If we had to be in charge of these things it would be tremendously stressful! So we ride along and let our Father do the heavy lifting. What a joy to be a passenger in his plan, and to get to help along from time to time!

1 comment:

  1. You guys left MPLS a week ago today, and I'm just in awe of what God is doing in and through you in 7 days. Not even a tornado can thwart his plans! Have a fresh mango for me, will you?! Praying for everyone's health and safety. Enjoy your down time at Villa Igang! Katie Johnson