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I was one of three team members (David, Cathy, and I) who went to the Philippines from October 26 and returned November 10. David organized this trip and the conference in Davao City. We arrived in Davao on October 28 after a long and grueling series of flights that took us through Guangzhou, China.
Davao is one of the safest cities in the world. It is a smoke-free city. It is nearly crime free. This is due mainly to the mayor’s unorthodox judicial policy. He believes that the court system is too expensive. So if anyone commits any major crime, he brings them to his office, shows them a coffin, and gives them a choice of either leaving town on with a free ticket or being given a free burial in the free coffin. Most choose wisely.
His no-nonsense drug enforcement policy is quite effective. So effective that many wish he would run for president. So far, he has declined the offer.
While I was there, the mayor gave drug dealers 48 hours in which to leave town, or else he would personally kill them. Here is the newspaper account, saying, “many notorious drug dealers are nowhere to be seen in the city.”
“On Monday, Duterte gave drug peddlers 48 hours, or until Wednesday, to leave or be killed.”
One American recently came to town and lit a cigarette in a restaurant. The manager told him politely that this was a non-smoking city. Like all good Americans, he insisted that he had the right to smoke wherever he chose. The manager called the mayor. The mayor came and sat down across from the American, putting a pistol on the table. He then told the man that he had a choice. (The mayor loves to give people choices.) He could either eat the cigarette or eat a bullet. His intelligence increased rapidly and he ate the cigarette.
My first speaking engagement was at Christ Is Alive Christian Family Church on Thursday evening, October 29. I took this picture as I was walking into the sanctuary.
I taught on the food laws and how this teaches us how to eat clean spiritual food. I continued teaching the next morning and afternoon as well. What impressed me most was when I finished teaching, Pastor Bing got up and gave a summary of what she had learned. As the people discussed it among themselves, I realized that they were “chewing the cud” as I had taught them.
The next day we drove to Tagum City about an hour outside of Davao in order to visit a business where they make Calamansi juice. (David knew the manager of the business and wanted to link her with friends from South Korea who were interested in importing juice as part of their own business.)
Here is a picture of the manager (left center) sitting next to the owner in the office. The owner is the wife of the ex-mayor of Tagum City.
Calamansi looks like a small lime and is probably the best juice in the world to alkalize the body. Here are bottles of Calamansi juice waiting to be shipped.
I discovered that they also had moringa powder. Moringa trees grow everywhere in the Philippines. It is very nutritious.
I had first heard of moringa a few years ago. If I ever am able to set up organic farms for Kingdom communities, this tree would rank near the top of my to-do list. I was able to buy some from this place for a ridiculously low price. They also gave me Calamansi powder and turmeric free of charge. These have great health benefits. I took quite a bit home with me.
The company also makes bars of papaya soap.
After visiting the Calamansi company, we drove to the manager’s house. She had built a little cottage on the property, which she rents out or uses to house visitors.
One of the men brought down some coconuts so we could have a refreshing drink.
That same Friday evening we had our first conference meeting at the gym that David had rented for three evenings. Cathy preached the first night. On Saturday night I did some basic teaching and then took Davao City to the Divine Court, claiming it for the Kingdom of God.
One of the young women (Cherry) is often led to travel to other countries to do mission work. She usually goes with a one-way ticket and very little money to live on, relying on Father’s provision as she goes. Most recently, she was kicked out of Malaysia for talking to people on the street about Christ. It is illegal to try to convert people from their religion in Malaysia. She is pictured here:
A praise and worship team from South Korea known as Fill Up Ministry came to minister at the conference. These were friends of David, who has been living and ministering in South Korea in recent months. In all, 14 people came from South Korea. Here they are, posing with some Filipino musician friends:
On Sunday morning, November 1, I taught at Pastor Samuel’s church. This pastor is the organizational coordinator for a few dozen churches in the area.
We had a day off on Monday, November 2. The afternoon was spent at Starbucks at a nearby mall with a young college student (studying architecture) that David sponsors. (There are 16 large modern malls in Davao.) We had opportunity to confirm her calling and to show her why she gone through recent difficulties. I cannot say more than that at this time, but this was a real eye-opener to her.
The next evening I spoke at Worship His Majesty Church, headed by Pastor James. This was a meeting devoted exclusively to pastors.
About 20 pastors attended. I taught on the basics of divine law, beginning with the laws of restitution and then moving on into the concept of sin being reckoned as debt. From there, I shared how Adam’s sin incurred a debt he could not pay, and how Christ came to pay that debt.
I finished with a study on biblical pledges, starting with 2 Corinthians 5:5, which says that the Holy Spirit was given to us as a pledge (NASB). I showed how God did this according to the practice of giving pledges on debts, as seen in Genesis 38:17, 18. The Hebrew word for “pledge” in those verses is arabown. Although it is a Hebrew word, Paul uses it as if it were a Greek word in 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5, and in Ephesians 1:14 in relation to the Holy Spirit being given to us as a pledge. Compare the Hebrew word
with the Greek word that Paul uses:
Since pledges are given by debtors to creditors as collateral on loans, it is clear that God gave the Holy Spirit to us as a pledge to pay off a loan. But what did God owe us? What was the nature of the loan?
The answer is bound up in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, where Paul speaks of the garment of immortality that God is reserving for us in heaven. This garment is the glorified body that God took from Adam and Eve when they sinned. When they incurred a debt for their sin, God took their garment as a pledge on their debt. But when Jesus paid this debt on the cross, God was then obligated to return this pledge.
However, Paul tells us that God retained the pledge, reserving it for them in heaven. This means that God has now become the Debtor, because He owes us the garment which is our glorified body. Instead of paying this debt to us, God chose to retain it, making Himself our Debtor. Because He is the Debtor, He gave us a pledge—the Holy Spirit—as assurance (or collateral) until He gives us back our garment.
Of course, it is likely that this teaching had never been heard in the Philippines before. The pastors, however, understood me, and said “Claro!” (clear). It was a deep teaching, but they received it well. It is my hope that the next time I teach there, they will want to hear more about the revelation of the law.
Our ultimate purpose is to take the Philippines for the Kingdom of God. David’s mission, which he stressed continually, was to impart a vision for taking the nation, not just for building the church. So we all worked toward that end, showing them how we are at the end of the church-building age and are entering something new—Kingdom building. We also shared how important the Philippines is in this divine plan, and especially the big island of Mindanao, which means Land of Promise, or The Promised Land. Mindanao is a type of the Kingdom and has a special role to play in the rise of the Stone Kingdom (Daniel 2:35). Davao is the largest city on Mindanao.
The next day, November 4, we visited a ministry to the disabled, about a dozen men and women who were in wheelchairs. Here is the pastor:
And the people:
One of the pastor’s helpers is Maria, a 28-year-old girl with a wonderful smile.
David bought 40 cups of rice and 10 roasted chickens for all of us to have lunch.
Disabled people are not cared for by the government in the Philippines, so a wonderful pastor has taken on this ministry. We did not have a church meeting with them, but they did sing for us. It was truly a blessing to see these people filled with the joy of the Lord and so grateful that we would take the time to visit them.
We had planned to go to Zamboanga City from Tuesday to Thursday to minister in a conference. However, David learned that the church was in an outlying area and not in the city proper. The city itself is relatively safe, but outside the city it is quite dangerous. Not long ago insurgents took over the Zamboanga airport for a few days before being driven out by government troops. So this trip was cancelled.
Friends of mine, Norman and Cecil, who are intercessors from Bacolod City, had planned to meet us in Zamboanga. Though we cancelled our trip, they decided to go anyway and pray along the way. Here is a map of Mindanao and the Visayan Islands to the north. You can also see where Davao is located at the bottom of the map.
They traveled from Bacolod (far north) south to Dumaguete, and then took the 4-hour boat ride to Dapitan City on Mindanao. From there they rented a car and drove the length of the Zamboanga Peninsula, passing through Ipil, which is just west of where my parents were stationed many years ago. I have been on that road from Ipil to Zamboanga. In those days the road was just being constructed. I knew the man who oversaw its construction, because his children went to school with me in Zamboanga. The man was killed in an ambush by bandits around 1957, if I recall. That was a sad day for his children.
When I was not with my parents at their station, I spent most of my time in elementary school in Zamboanga at the denominational headquarters.
Here Norman and Cecile were at Fort Pilar, an old Spanish fortress by the Sulu Sea in the heart of Zamboanga City. It is a familiar sight to me. I have stood on that very spot.
They wrote to me: “A wonderful time in Zamboanga. Had a special time in prayer by the shoreline of the Sulu Sea, as well as at the walls of Fort Pilar.”
They also visited the nearby Taluksangay Mosque, which is the oldest mosque in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula, built in 1885.
Norman and Cecile often travel to other countries as well on intercessory missions.
On Thursday, November 5, we visited a house full of college students who are specially called to be leaders in the Philippines. These are students who came from Maitum, the school which we visited on previous trips. (Maitum means “dark stone.”) I believe that this town represents the small “stone” being cut out of the mountain without hands.
David and his wife, Robin, are sponsoring these kids in college. We spent a few hours discussing their callings, as they are (I believe) the specific “stones” coming out of Maitum that are called to turn the Philippines into a Kingdom nation. Here are a few of the kids, along with another couple on the left.
On Friday, November 6, we took a bus from Davao to General Santos (Gensan) to teach in other churches for our final week end in the Philippines. That evening we drove an hour and a half to Kiamba, where David preached at a church that was celebrating its anniversary (“Thanksgiving”).
Sunday was the busiest day, of course. In the morning I taught at Born Again Sanctuary of Praise, a church of about 200 pastored by Pastor Gloria. This was the church where I spoke two years ago on my first trip to the Philippines.
They had dancers,
a time of praise,
These people, young and old alike, are passionate about Jesus.
That same Sunday afternoon I was scheduled to travel back to Kiamba to teach in the afternoon and then to Maasim for the evening meeting. However, due to misunderstandings in the schedule, I was unable to get a ride for the trip. I was supposed to meet a pastor at the bus depot at 1 p.m. and take the bus to Kiamba, but the bus left at 11 a.m. Having missed the bus, I was taken to a nearby church, “Good Shepherd,” where David had ministered that morning.
I had lunch with David at the church, and then he had to leave for another meeting. I was asked to hold an impromptu teaching session that afternoon for a couple hours. Just as I was finishing, I received a telephone call from the pastor at Kiamba asking where I was. They were waiting all afternoon for me. Fortunately, Cathy was there to minister in my absence.
I still had no ride, but one of the three pastors at Good Shepherd volunteered to drive me to Kiamba. This was Pastor Jake, who I had met in Davao the previous week. He had already read most of The Wars of the Lord by this time and had become a good friend. He drove me to Kiamba, where we arrived about 7:30 p.m.
The church was small but packed out with about 60 people. The electricity had gone out, leaving the church in darkness, but they had a bright lantern in the front above the podium. When I arrived, Cathy was ministering.
It was past 8 p.m. when I was called to the front to give a message. I could see that the people had been in church the whole day, and I sensed that they were tired. So I gave just a short half-hour message on the Feast of Tabernacles. Afterward, they wanted us to eat with them, but we begged off, because we still had a 1½ hour trip back to Gensan. Furthermore, after three teaching sessions that day, I was quite tired, and I knew that Cathy was tired as well.
Keep in mind that this report really only covers my own teaching sessions. Cathy and David were also ministering in other churches at the same time.
On Monday morning, November 9, we took a taxi to the airport in Gensan and flew to Manila. Our plane was an hour and a half late, which pressed us for time to catch our flight to China. We had to pick up our luggage in Manila and then get our boarding passes for the next flight. While checking in our luggage, a young lady came to the attendant next to us asking for assistance. She was quite agitated and was in tears because the attendant could not help her. I saw that she needed money to pay the “airport exit fee,” which some must pay just to leave the airport.
So I tapped her on the shoulder and asked what she needed. It turned out that she was from Mexico City and had been visiting friends outside of Manila for the past two months. She had been informed that the exit fee was 500 pesos, but when she got to the airport, she was told that it was 3,000 pesos. She had a plane ticket, but she did not have the money to get out of the airport. She offered the attendant her laptop and a necklace, but he would not buy them from her, claiming these were not worth 3,000 pesos.
She called her friends near Manila, but they were two hours away and could not get back to the airport in time.
I asked her how much she needed and then gave her 3,000 pesos (about $65 US). She was absolutely overwhelmed and hugged us with many tears. We knew then why our plane to Manila was late. It was in the divine plan for us to arrive at the luggage drop off at the right time to help Fernanda.
By the way, there were no exit fees for Americans to fly out of Manila, but they did charge a hefty fee for Mexicans. The only fee we had to pay was 150 pesos (just over $3) to get out of the airport at Gensan, but this fee applied to everyone, including Filipinos.
We parted, and then we walked to our gate. The plane to China was running an hour late, fortunately for us, and at the gate we again saw our new friend. She was taking the same plane to Guangzhou, China with connections to Los Angeles before flying to Mexico City. I took her picture with Cathy.
We left Manila about 6 p.m. and arrived in Guangzhou about three hours later. The connecting flight to Los Angeles took about 16 hours, all night and all the following day. We landed in Los Angeles just after dark at about 6 p.m. Monday evening. We had a 6½ hour layover there, and since there was an Xpress Spa next to the departure gate, I had time to get a neck and back massage, which was worth every penny after being cramped for 16 hours in a window seat.
We took the “red eye” to Minneapolis at 12:30 a.m., arriving at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. I then slept all day and all night, coming briefly into the office on Wednesday morning to do a quick weblog.
And that’s the rest of the story.