Tag: Philippines

74 Volunteers, 57 Campaigns: Over 3,000 Decisions

Filipino children playing

Just a few weeks ago, Pastor John Bradshaw, It Is Written staff, and 74 volunteers converged in the Philippines to conduct 57 two-week Bible presentation series as part of a big Philippines for Christ evangelism project. As a result, 3,147 people have been baptized and more are preparing to make that commitment. 

The It Is Written evangelism team was composed of pastors, retirees, students, teachers, health professionals, business people, and entrepreneurs with one thing in common: a passion to share Jesus with others. The meetings conducted were held in churches of all sizes, basketball courts, rooftops, rented halls, outdoor spaces, warehouses, streets, and alleys. The evangelists went to the streets, where the people live. And many people responded, especially smiling young people. Not only did the people attend, but they also responded positively to the nightly presentations. Countless made decisions to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.

Man preaching in alleyway

Dale preached his nightly meeting in an alley.

Benilda, unsatisfied with the church of her parents, went on a quest to find the right place for her to worship and walk with Jesus. Over the years her search was fruitless. One day, recently, when riding public transportation she overheard a conversation between two people. They were talking about an exciting series of Bible meetings being held nearby. Her curiosity got the best of her, and so she interrupted the two ladies and asked if it would be okay for her to attend the meetings. That night, Benilda was present as Dale, one of the volunteers, preached his heart out. When he made the appeal for people to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, Benilda responded. She attended all the following meetings and declared that she had found what she was looking for all these years. 

Pearl, another of our preachers, noticed that one of the people attending her meetings was a man who always wore a mask. Many people in Manila wear masks outdoors because of the pollution, but he kept his on when he came indoors. Pearl was curious, so after a meeting, she caught up with the man. He told her his name was Danilo and that he was very thankful for the messages she was sharing. Pearl asked him why he wore the mask indoors. With sadness in his eyes, he explained that he hides his face because of ugly boils. Pearl immediately asked if she could pray for him. He said yes. And so she prayed for God to heal Danilo of his boils. A few nights later Pearl noticed that Danilo was missing. Actually, he wasn’t. She hadn’t recognized him because he had removed his mask. His face had no boils, just a big bright smile. Danilo, like many others, is preparing himself for baptism.

Tina, a volunteer preacher from Tennessee, was on her way to her nightly meeting when she was invited to a funeral service being held near her preaching site. When she arrived, she was told that the family wanted her to say a few words. With fear and trepidation, she stood before the crowd—but that’s when the Holy Spirit took over. With much compassion in her heart, Tina talked about the love of Jesus and how He had conquered death at the cross. It was an impromptu message, but it touched the hearts of many unbelievers.

God works in so many amazing ways to reach people. He empowers humble vessels to do it because, as Paul put it, “When I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Corinthians 12:11. Our It Is Written team has left the Philippines but the Philippines is still very much in our hearts. We went to be a blessing to others but in reality, we are the ones most blessed. Volunteers made some encouraging comments as they parted ways:

I have hope and renewed energy to work for souls back home and to encourage all, both young and old, to follow Jesus all the way. -Dean

All I can say is, “Praise the Lord!”  I have to say that this was the most overpowering move of the Holy Spirit that I have ever experienced in my life. –Ed

This is one of the most blessed trips I have ever taken. –Rosemary

It Is Written is gearing up for its next evangelism mission trip to South Africa, October 4-21, 2018. We’d love for you to be a part of that very special experience. Please contact us at missions@iiw.org to reserve your spot.

Faith-building in the Philippines: God at Work

Filipino children playing

Like many construction zones that have big, yellow “Men at Work” signs, It Is Written’s evangelism project in the Philippines also has a sign: “God at Work.” For several of our 58 volunteer evangelists, God was at work well before they landed in the Philippines. One of our volunteers indicated that he and his wife simply could not afford the trip. But they prayed and said, “God, if you want us to go, make a way.” And God did just that. Their tax return this year was exactly the amount they needed to travel to the Philippines. Coincidence? No. God at work.

Flooding in the streets of Manila

Even with heavy rains and flooding, evangelism meetings continue at over 40 sites.

Before coming to the Philippines, we were warned that July is the rainy season. When it rains here, it just keeps on raining and raining and raining. Schools and government buildings have closed twice this week because of flooding caused by massive amounts of rain. And so because of all the rain, a decision had to be made about our 41 evangelistic sites. Cancel the meetings or keep going? By faith it was decided to keep going because people are hungry for the word of God. That act of faith was tremendously blessed.

Pearl, one of our volunteer evangelists, reported that in spite of the rain, attendance has shot up. Over 150 are squeezing into her small venue that comfortably holds 90 people. God at work.

People in church

Meeting attendees squeeze into Pearl’s church despite the rain.

Nancy, another volunteer evangelist, noticed some commotion at the back of her venue. She kept on preaching, however, and the people just sat there soaking in every word. When she was done and ready to leave she realized that the commotion had been about water levels on the street rising fast but never coming into the church. God at work.

Kem, a volunteer evangelist from Maryland, is holding his meetings in a venue with a tin roof. Preaching under a tin roof in a downpour is like trying to preach next to a jackhammer. In Kem’s own words, here’s what happened: “By faith, last night God stopped the rain twice for us. Just when I was about to preach, the heaviest downpour you ever heard began. It was so loud, we couldn’t hear each other even though I was using the microphone. At first I wasn’t sure what it was, but I read the word ‘rain’ on the audience’s lips. That’s when I said, ‘Let’s pray.’ Almost immediately after I prayed, the rain stopped. It was a tremendous answer to prayer. Just incredible. I preached for awhile and then the rain came pouring down again. So I prayed again. And just as before, the rain came to a screeching halt. And it didn’t rain any more. That night we had an amazing altar call.”

Kem preaching under a tin roof

Kem preaches at his site, twice praying for God to stop the rain so attendees could hear the sermon.

God at work. It is such a blessing for the It Is Written team and volunteers to be in the front row and watch Him at work over and over again.

It Is Written Speaker/Director John Bradshaw says one thing in particular has made a major impression. “It’s really a blessing to be where people just love to share their faith. Evangelism is part of the fabric of church life here. Congregations know that the reason they exist is to share Jesus with others. That kind of commitment to sharing Christ is rewarded with great results.”

Our city-wide meetings in Manila continue until Saturday, July 28. On Saturday, July 21, we had the first of two big baptismal services. Hundreds of beautiful people were baptized. Please keep It Is Written’s evangelism project in the Philippines in your daily prayers. Pray for the guests, the church members facilitating these meetings, and, of course, all of the volunteer evangelists.

Pastors baptizing many people in a pool

Pastors Yves Monnier and John Bradshaw participate in the baptism of hundreds of individuals.

Faith-building in the Philippines

Filipino children playing

Over 44 It Is Written volunteer evangelists have arrived in Manila, Philippines, ready to begin a two-week evangelism project. In partnership with the local church, evangelists will be speaking from Friday, July 13 to Sabbath, July 20 in Manila and surrounding areas. Speaker/Director John Bradshaw will speak in Pasay City, and Associate Speaker Eric Flickinger will present in Quezon City. In addition to nightly sermons, health clinics will be held during the day. Please pray for these meetings as they get underway.

A group of university students were supposed to attend this mission trip with the rest of the team. However, due to scheduling conflicts, they decided to take their trip earlier this year. Many of these students are not theology majors and had never preached before. But their faith was built as they surrendered their wills to God and allowed Him to work through them. As It Is Written’s mission trip begins in the Philippines this week, the team are encouraged by the stories of the team who went before them in May of this year:

Betzany had never been on a mission trip before. But over and over again, she saw God at work on the trip. When they first arrived, she dropped her computer, with all of her sermon information on it. Later, the computer stopped working and refused to turn on. She decided to make it a matter of prayer and trust that God would provide a way for her to preach. A local pastor let her use his computer for the whole campaign. She shares stories of meeting strangers and being impressed to pray for them only to find that prayer was exactly what they needed at that moment. The love, kindness, and hospitality of the local church members inspired her to be more like them because in them she saw Jesus’ character.

Betzany church group

Betzany (second row, center, purple shirt) and her church members and meeting attendees.

“During this trip,” Betzany shared,  “the biggest lesson that I have learned is that nothing is possible without God. I learned that I am not even worthy to be telling others about Jesus. But when Jesus calls us to follow Him and do His will, we must follow. The reason I really wanted to do this mission trip was because I have felt God calling me to be a missionary. I always knew I wanted to be a nurse, so I assumed that being a missionary nurse was what God wanted from me. I had never been on a mission trip so I realized that I first needed to experience the missionary life. Would I be happy even though I would not have the same comforts that I have back home?

“I realized that being a missionary takes faith,“ Betzany continued. “During this trip, I found myself in constant prayer asking God to give me faith and courage to do His will. Preaching sixteen sermons can be petrifying. The night we arrived in the Philippines, all I could think was, What have I gotten myself into? The whole night as I lay in bed, I told myself that I am not a theology major and that I would not know how to preach for an evangelism meeting. But God knows our hearts, and He knows what goes through our minds. As I began to meet everyone on our trip, I realized that only one person was a theology major! The thing is, we do not have to be theology majors to tell others about Jesus. All we need is to be willing to do God’s will and surrender ourselves completely to God. If we do that, we will be able to see the way God can use us. It was on the last Sabbath as I saw 300 people give their lives to Jesus that I felt God answering my question. Yes, being a missionary nurse is what He has called me to do. During this mission trip, I realized that God has a plan. I did not come by chance to the Philippines. I came because God has a purpose for me.”

Wendy praying

Wendy prays before the start of her evening presentation.

Wendy and Carlos are recent graduates who decided to attend the mission trip before beginning their life of ministry in New Jersey. Carlos writes, “In my time at the church of Pandi, I learned there were several people who, in accepting the truths of Scripture, were willing to lose family, friends, and home. One young man was willing to lose everything when he gave his life to Jesus three years ago. His mother started treating him poorly once he was baptized. At the age of 15, he made the conscious decision to leave his home and leave his future in the hands of Jesus. The young man was eventually adopted by members of the church and they are now his legal guardians and sponsors for his schooling.

“A child between 10-12 years old stood for an appeal for baptism. The following Thursday evening, the child came back to the meeting, this time with his parents and a bag of his belongings. His parents told him that if he wanted to join the church and be baptized, he now needed to live with the youth who were in charge of the program. My translator and the other youth leader went and spoke with the youth’s parents and they agreed to allow him to be baptized and continue his life at home with them.

“These types of occurrences are not rare in the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country. To go against the beliefs and traditions of the family is a great sign of disrespect. Nevertheless, both young and old make valiant choices for Jesus, even if it comes at the price of leaving father and mother and one’s support system.”

Wendy shares a similar story about a young lady. “At my church, I had one baptismal candidate who stood out from the rest. Twelve-year-old Sherwina was visiting the church during my campaign. The young girl had the desire to be baptized and had accepted the truths of the Bible. However, because of her age, she needed permission from her guardian. The church elders had visited the home of the young lady to request permission, but it was denied various times. Once the elder made known to me that this issue was going on, I presented it to my group in prayer. It was the last week of our campaign, and we needed confirmation by Friday.

“We continued to lift Sherwina up to God in prayer and asked that He would make a way for her be able to be baptized. When Friday night came, the night before baptism, I asked the young lady if she was getting baptized tomorrow. She happily said, ‘Yes!’ We all praised God for doing what we couldn’t do.

“During this mission trip, I was not only able to see how God still works in our day just the same as He was working in the times of Israel, but I was also able to see how much God is willing to do to save His children! Through my experience and the relationships I built during these three weeks in the Philippines, I was able to see how the family of God can be one. No matter the culture or the country you may find yourself in, we share the same love for Jesus and a desire to follow the same truths. The word of God unites us and it brings joy to my heart to know that my church family is bigger than my home church. It is amazing to see a little glimpse of heaven when different cultures come together to celebrate Jesus.

“A very important lesson I learned from my specific site was the importance of the youth in the church. I saw how the youth took charge and were willing to take control of the program. It inspired my husband and I to train the youth in a similar way when we begin our ministry back home. I thank you for making these opportunities possible. This trip has not only allowed us to share God with strangers, but it has given each student missionary a chance to know God more personally. Thank you for believing in our mission. May God bless you as you continue to support missionaries and share Jesus.”

Support It Is Written Missions

Philippines & South Africa Mission Trips

Join John Bradshaw & It Is Written on a Mission Trip in 2018

23,000,000. That’s the combined population of two places where It Is Written is doing mission trips in 2018. Those places are the Central Luzon region in the Philippines and the Guateng province in South Africa.

The Gauteng province is home to the administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria, and also the largest city in the country, Johannesburg. It is the place where four languages overlap: Zulu, Afrikaans, Sotho, and English. About 50% of the population lives at or below poverty level because unemployment is rampant. The economic forecast for these people is bleaker than a category 5 hurricane about to make landfall.  

The Central Luzon region is where the two largest cities in the Philippines are located: Quezon City (almost 3 million inhabitants) and Manila (1.8 million inhabitants). According to the World Economic Forum, Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is the fourth most crowded city in the world (behind Dhaka, Bangladesh; Mumbai, India; and Medellin, Colombia) with 38,480 people per square mile. If that number were applied to Chattanooga, Tennessee (a city of 177,000 people where It Is Written is headquartered) the population would be a whopping 25 million people. In other words, the citizens of Manila literally live on top of each other and in often deplorable conditions.

Millions in the Central Luzon region and the Gauteng province are living with no hope of a better life—nothing to look forward to. The long-term solution is not a windfall of money, or a better head of state, but a new head of heart: Jesus Christ. And that’s the message we as Christians have been mandated to proclaim far and wide.

This year you are invited to join It Is Written to share that message in the Philippines and South Africa, through two different mission trips.

Both trips are two weeks long, during which volunteers will be conducting nightly evangelistic, Christ-centered presentations. The manuscripts and slides for the presentations are provided by It Is Written and are easy to use whether a person is a veteran preacher or a novice. In addition to the nightly meetings, It Is Written is also including a health component to these mission trips. We’re not referring to simply a short health talk prior to each nightly presentation, but the operation of basic health clinics where people can visit kind and caring health professionals. Doctors (all specialties), dentists, nurses, physical therapists, etc., are all needed to build vital bridges with people who find themselves in dire situations.

The needs are great and the door of opportunity to share the Good News in word and action is wide open. Join It Is Written this year for an exciting, life-changing mission adventure.

Sign up here!