Philippines – May 2011

This mission journey took us to four separate locations, three of which we have never visited before. The trip spanned from May 10 (our departure date) to May 26 (our date of return to the United States). This team consisted of five members, Burt and Nancy Asbill, George Herrig, and Mark and Rita Jantzi from the United States, plus sister Merlinda from the Philippines and Switzerland. Merlinda joined us at the Airport Hotel in Manila the night of our arrival, May 11. The next day was an unscheduled day in which we began to lay out our plans. We were met by John, the brother of Lianga, who has also recently pioneered the work in this area. His wife and daughter live here in Manila; but with his much travel it seems he is seldom here.

So on May 13 and 14, we rode with John in a van about an hour and a half ride to the northern Manila metropolis, to an area called Quezon City. The meeting was held in an open pavilion of what appears to be some sort of a community center. There were about 100 people in attendance, of which about 80% were children of all ages. It did not appear
that most of these people have had any kind of bible teaching, most having come from nominal Roman Catholicism. It seems that this work is very new and we must lay the foundation with basics: rebirth, repentance, baptism and defining what Christianity really is. We were finding it very difficult to break through the spiritual resistance here. On two different occasions an invitation was given for salvation. Many people came forward the first time without realizing what this was all about. The second invitation also got a good response and for most, this seems genuine. At the end of the meeting John had 12 adults who wanted to be baptized. He counseled them and then baptized them in a large barrel of water. He told us that there are more wanting baptism and waiting for his next visit. John brought with him to the meetings some of the brethren from Lianga, including a music and singing team. Particularly appreciated here in Quizon City and at Cebu was sister VicVic, who had prepared all of the food for these meetings, as a servant of the Lord.

After two days of meetings, the next day was a day of travel to Cebu City via Philippine Airlines. Cebu is a separate island that seems older and well established. We were lodged in the Maxwell hotel on the fourth floor. Except for breakfast and of course our lunch prepared by VicVic, reliable evening meals were hard to come by; so Rita and I had discovered within an easy walk a McDonalds, which for the most part served something we might at least be familiar with. Others ate in their rooms or got something from the hotel snack shop. Again there were about 100 attending the two days of four meetings. The
children that did come were with their parents and the group was a little more spiritually mature. Most of the work there has been carried on by John and his extended family (his nephew takes a leadership role in this fellowship). The word we brought there was still somewhat basic; but we were able to work in a few deeper kingdom principles and the people have had previous exposure to the word of God. After two days of ministry there, the next day was again a travel day via Cebu Airlines to Butuan City, only about a half
hour flight.

Arriving in Butuan City, we registered into our familiar Karaga Hotel where we lodged for the remainder of our stay on Mindanao Island. This is the fifth time in four years that we have visited here. There was another day of no meetings; then we began three days of two meetings each day, morning and early afternoon (which is the established pattern here). The first day (Friday) was reserved for the elders, their wives and Christian workers. Now the Holy Spirit was pouring out the deeper kingdom principles. On Saturday and Sunday many others came to the meetings. Merlinda said she had provided meals for 120 including some children. We had brought a goodly number of books and MP3 CDs which we made available to the elders and then divided the remainder about equally between Brother John (the circuit riding preacher from Manila/Lianga/Cebu), Brother Edmar the leader of the bible school and Sister Merlinda for the Butuan area. Merlinda’s school is now closed as the children are on summer holiday.

On Monday and Tuesday we were driven about an hour’s drive into the south to where Edmar’s Bible School is located. The actual meetings were held in a hall (in Jabonga) that Edmar and his wife use as their regular meeting place. He said that the building is owned by his wife’s parents, who live on the second floor. Again we were able to bring a rich kingdom message including prophetic insight. After the first day of meetings, this couple led us by their motorcycle a few miles to Santiago to show us the bible school. This school was also closed for holiday at this time. He said that the school is a four year curriculum. There are about 40 students with about 10 in each grade. I (Mark) was not able to attend the last day as I needed to recover from a nasty attack against my throat, which is healing very quickly. George and Burt both spoke to many people with hungry hearts. At the end of the meetings many came forward for prayer, seeking a deeper walk with the Lord Jesus.

Our exit from Butuan by plane to Manilais scheduled for about noon Wednesday, May 25. On the internet and in the local papers it is told that there is a big typhoon (Pacific Hurricane) gathering strength to the east of us and aimed right for our location, with expected landfall here in Butuan sometime Wednesday. It is expected to hit Manila Thursday afternoon, a few hours after we are scheduled to leave. We are believing that God’s timing and hand of protection will carry us safely out of harm’s way. Dear brethren, thank you so much for your prayers and support.

Mark Jantzi (for the team).

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