We arrived at Changi Airport bright and early, excited and raring to go with four bags of old clothes, many prizes, balloons, face paints and gifts for the church we were visiting. As we were approaching the Philippines airport, there was a thunderstorm and the flight was delayed due to poor visibility. The plane had to abort the first landing attempt but thank God, we landed safely the second try.
The next day we split into two groups. Group 1 proceeded to the Barangay Operations Center Quezon City to share God’s words with the staff of Barangay Operations Headquarters.
Mr Jorge P. Felipe, officer-in-charge, showed interest and wanted us to share with his staff about “The Success of Singapore”. Lai Cheng shared that a strong nation is made up of individual healthy and strong family units. “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart”, said Lai Cheng as she shared how as individuals we should be living our lives for God. She also introduced the team and facilitated the sharing session that followed:
- Yew Lee shared on Timothy 2:19-22 and emphasised three key points: Being Faithful; Being Holy; Being Useful for God’s Purpose.
- Ivy shared how God’s grace and love has been helping her – from a homemaker, to a worker earning $5.00/hour, to her current post as Restaurant Manager, earning $3000.00 - $4000.00/month. She is even due for another promotion.
- Eric shared his personal testimony on his career path and how Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, a righteousness man, made him clean and made Singapore a successful country. Lastly, he shared that foreign workers are playing an important role in the success of Singapore and thanked Philippines for their contribution.
- Gina shared about being a submissive wife and how she asked God to make her husband the head of the family and God, the Master of the whole household. In addition she shared that we are blessed with Filipina-domestic helpers. They are trained in cooking, domestic work, and hygiene. With these knowledge and skills, they can help improve the standard of living in Philippines when they return; making it a win-win situation.
- Melissa, who works as a personal assistant in the mayor’s office, shared about Singapore's procurement system in the government department via the central system and emphasised on transparency. She thanked God for giving Singapore a good and clean government.
- The Filipinas posed some difficult questions on diplomatic relations with Taiwan and the state of domestic workers in Singapore as well as why we need to be holy before God as unrighteous people are also blessed. The team managed to answer with great wisdom from the Lord and the meeting ended with Lai Cheng blessing the staff in attendance.
Following that, Group 1 went to the Barangay U. P. Campus. Pastor Lerma brought Lai Cheng’s group on a tour around the campus. We were told that it is a unique campus as the Barangay village was inside the campus. We managed to stop and converse with some of the needy families as well as distribute balloons to the children.
We also wanted to visit the residents that we were inviting for the Bless Philippines Community Project but unfortunately they were not home.
Seeing their dire living conditions and dilapidated huts, with men and women gambling in broad daylight, we sensed a deep moral decadence and great need for restoration of physical and spiritual conditions in this place. This strengthened our resolve to pray for this land.
We then proceeded back to the office to meet the Barangay Captain and officials, and share some of our testimonies with them.
Lai Cheng closed by sharing that regardless of whether they are of senior or junior positions, they are precious to God. She comforted them that God knows their weaknesses and recognised their hard work and encouraged them to cry out and pray for God's mercy if they want to see a different Philippines.
At the end of the sharing, some officials showed interest in knowing our Almighty God, and asked us if they wanted to know more or seek for prayer, who they could approach once we returned to Singapore. Lai Cheng told them that in Singapore, we have office devotion every morning. Pastor Lerma then decided to launch the Friday Christian Fellowship in the office starting the coming Friday to share the Word of God and pray for the Barangay workers. All glory to God for planting this cell as an outreach point in Barangay.
On the other hand, Group 2 went to Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach (JCSGO) to pack goody bags and prepare the programme for the Bless Philippines Community Outreach on Day 3 and the Sunday School on Day 4.
Later in the afternoon, Group 2 visited the Barangay East Kamias. When they reached the Barangay Captain’s office, they noticed that the Captain appeared to be very sick and slumped at his desk. He looked pale and could hardly welcome them or articulate his pain. The team prayed for the Captain. As the Captain excused himself to rest, they met the rest of the council members. Eric shared his testimony of how from a waiter; he became a celebrity chef, and the trials and difficulties he had to overcome. Ivy Loh also shared how her life transformed after knowing Christ. They prayed one-on-one for each officer present and a mass prayer for those who were not present by referring to their photos on the wall. To their delight before they left, they saw that the Captain whom they had prayed for earlier was feeling much better. He even waved goodbye to them as they left and was able to work again. All glory to God.
Thereafter, they visited some families in Barangay where they got to see their living conditions. It was really worrying thinking how the Barangay children would grow up living in such messy and complicated living conditions. They gave them some balloon sculptures and sweets, and there was a mad rush of adults and children rushing forward for the goodies and they were overwhelmed by their actions yet their hearts went out to them.
At night, both Group 1 & 2 congregated and Pastor Simon gave an inspiring talk about the “Four Attitudes of a Leader” to the leaders from Bishop Jonathan’s and Pastor Vicky’s teams and also to the leaders from the Singapore team. He shared that leaders should have the courage to stand, the commitment to stay, the conviction to succeed and the confidence to survive. The Singapore team then prayed over every one of the leaders.
We started early in the morning at 6.00am for the prayer tower with Pastor Lerma and Pastor Romie’s 12. We prayed for two hours starting with worship and a short session of teaching on prayer by Keng Lim. We started confessing our sins and praying for our families, for the lost and the invitees to that afternoon’s “Bless Philippines” programme and revival in the land.
At 8.00am, we continued by addressing Pastor Lerma and Pastor Romie’s 12 as we fellowshipped over breakfast. We could not have a four-hour prayer tower as the leaders had to go to school or work.
The highlight of this trip was the “Bless Philippines Community Project” in the afternoon where 50 families from Barangay were invited to the JCSGO site. The carnival kicked off with an ice-breaker that involved all participants. Followed by worship, where the Singapore team led them in a worship song that got everyone singing and dancing on their feet. Keng Lim then led with an evangelistic story of the prodigal son that was acted out by our team. There was also a quiz at the end to make sure the audience was paying attention. In closing, we gave an altar call and prayed for those who wanted to accept Jesus. We also went round to talk to them, pray for the sick, and invited them for service the next day. Every family received a goody bag and thereafter they proceeded to the carnival where they could have their arm “tattooed”, face painted, receive a balloon sculpture or draw at one of the booths. Everyone left the carnival with happy memories that they will remember.
Although tiring, it was rewarding to see the happy faces of the participants and know that they have enjoyed themselves. Most importantly, a seed was planted. God did a great job and we glorified God's name. It was such a great joy serving the Lord together!
Later that night, we split into three groups – Pastor Simon spoke to the men, Pastor Marilyn to the women, and Tabitha and Samantha to the youth. Pastor Marilyn shared with the single and married women of God’s plan for them.
On Day 4, Bishop Jonathan and Pastor Vicky hosted a sumptuous lunch for the three teams serving in JCSGO, and they appreciated us by giving each of us a token. Right after, we split into two teams – with one serving and ministering at the adult service and the other taking care of the children service. We welcomed the churchgoers at the door and were very pleased to see many of the Barangay residents at the church service. At the adult service, Keng Lim shared about having victory over fears and anxieties. When the altar call was given, many came forward to accept Jesus. Many also came forward for prayers.
On the other end, at the children service, there were more than 70 children and with the help of the teachers, we played three games and told them the story of David and Goliath, with a skit to teach the children how to have courage amidst adversity. There were nine children salvations that day. We ended the programme with a song, a hug and gifts for every child. We are amazed to see the potential of these children and the teamwork and leadership displayed while playing the games. The confidence they displayed was something that we did not expected. We give God all the glory!
That evening, we ended with performances in appreciation of our hosts and team pastors who had been serving with us for the past four days. To cap the performances, we did an item based on the Beatles song “I want to hold your hand” marking the friendship between both teams that have been built up during this trip.
We checked out in the morning, and were brought to the Malls of Asia for a few hours of shopping before we departed for Singapore at 6.50pm, capping an eventful five days that had been a life-changing experience for us. We experienced firsthand the goodness and loving kindness of God in our lives and in the lives of the Filipinas. We will never perceive Philippines in the same way again!