How do I even begin this report for our recently concluded Ministry Trip to Davao City, Philippines? My heart is brimming with joy and excitment, filled with so much gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His presence and enablement. For sure, words simply cannot describe the experience adequately.
The Team. When Ps Joel Acaso of Holy Ground Family Fellowship invited me to speak at the Young Adults Conference, I really didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps, I’d bring my eldest, David, with me on an exposure trip, I thought. Who would have known that the Lord has other plans in mind?! And soon, He provided six others in Gret, Linda, Eric, Elsie, Edward and Cam Yew. I praise God for the hearts of every member as each had a heart to serve and a desire to see the name of Jesus lifted over Davao and across the entire Philippines. They supported me through the preparation and in prayer. And when we were there, I was so well looked after by them as they cared for my well-being and needs. There was so much laughter and fun too. Praise God for bringing this great team together!
Provision. One morning, about two months before the trip, the Lord reminded me of how I had sown into a brother’s ministry by paying for his airfare to Philippines. Immediately, I prayed, “Lord, as I have sown, please allow me to reap now.” That night, I received a phonecall and the sister said to me, “Don’t worry about the airfare at all. I will take care of it for you and your son, David.” Praise the Lord for His provision!! Following that, others have also sown into this ministry trip as the Lord had shown them that it would be ‘a great harvest’ … and indeed it has been such a fruitful and productive trip. All glory to Him!
Wednesday 10 Nov. We left for Davao early in the morning and arrived there in the afternoon. It was bright, sunny and hot! Ps Joel met us at the airport and then took us to our hotel, aptly named, MY HOTEL. After a short rest and then Team Prayer, we went out for dinner and enjoyed Shabu Shabu Filipino style.
Thursday 11 Nov. Ps Joel brought us for a Filipino Buffet Breakfast before taking us to Eden Nature Resort, just over an hour’s drive away. We toured the mountain resort and had a good look at Davao City from a height of 3,000ft above sea level. The weather was really good. For us, it was a time of relaxation and recreation. After lunch, all of us gamely went for a ride on the SkyRider, zipping to and fro in helmets and harnesses. After that, we headed back to the city. Ps Joel showed us a mega shopping mall and then took us around town. That night, we went for dinner by ourselves, enjoying noodles and dimsum.
Friday 12 Nov. This was the first day of the Young Adults Conference with the theme “Shaping Our City”. As I walked into the auditorium, I could sense the presence of God in that place. In my heart, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to see what He would do in the lives of the people. After Ps Joel opened the Conference, we were led by the HGFF Worship Team in a time of praise of worship. It was just so awesome! As we praised and worshipped the Lord, the anointing was so strong. At the Night Rally, Linda presented the song, “Trust His Heart” accompanied by David on the keyboards, and supported by the HGFF Worship Team. I spoke about the “The Promised Land” and challenged the people to know their platforms of ministry wherever the Lord has led and placed them. When the time came for a response, everyone stepped forward as an act of consecration. It was really heartwarming and the environment was so charged up in the spiritual. And that was only the beginning. I knew God had more in store in the next day and night.
Saturday 13 Nov. Mr Bogs Amigable and Ps Joel spoke in the morning. I spoke at the afternoon session on “Shaping Our City: By the Power of the Holy Spirit”. God continued to stir in the hearts of the people and many were challenged to begin something new in their own cities. By the end of the day, the desire to begin a network of Young Adults Ministries in Davao City had grown into a strong request for a regional network! Ps Joel shared that this was beyond his expectation! Praise the Lord! After Team Prayer in the hotel, we headed back to the auditorium with an expectation and excitement that God was going to move powerfully that night … and He did! The message “One of the Stones” was simple and to the point … God can use anyone who is yielded to Him and empowered by His Holy Spirit. Once again, the response was overwhelming even as the Lord overwhelmed us with His presence! The team went around praying and laying hands. After ministry time, Ps Joel led everyone in a prayer of dedication as he challenged them to count the cost and be prepared to give up things for the Lord. It was such a lovely and meaningful time as I watched and observed my Filipino brothers and sisters give their lives to the Lord.
Sunday 14 Nov. I was invited to speak at the two morning services of Holy Ground Family Fellowship. With two messages in my heart, I sought the Lord as to which I should bring to the congregation. My sensing was “The God Who Sees” and so I asked the Lord to confirm it for me. During worship time, Sis Rowena, the Worship Leader, sang “His eye is on the sparrow and He watches over me.” God couldn’t have made it any clearer! With full conviction, I preached my heart out at both services and I knew the Lord spoke to each person individually and personally. GLORY! In the afternoon, it was my team’s turn to speak and minister at the Exponents Young Adults Meeting. In line with the topic, “From Religion to Relationship”, they presented a really fun skit, followed by sharings by Cam Yew, Gret and then a testimony by Eric and Elsie. When the young adults responded, they proceeded to pray for them as the Lord led. What followed were testimonies by the young adults and I was so blessed as they spoke of how the messages have touched them and how the Lord has led and directed them to live even more radically for Him.
On Monday 15 Nov, all of us left Davao with great memories and testimonies of how God moved so powerfully in our midst. It is indeed humbling that we should be used by the Lord to touch and impact the lives of His people in Davao City. Who are we that we should be the ones chosen for such a task in the first place? Truly, all glory belongs to the Lord and all honour is due to Him. We are only His servants and we are just so thankful that we were given the privilege to speak into the spiritual environment over there. The Lord showed me that this was a “watershed” conference and when it bursts forth, the water will flow upwards … from the south right up to the north! Yes, God is preparing His people for a mighty move in His perfect time. And I am so glad we were allowed to participate in this! Praise the Lord!!!
To all who prayed for and supported us in this venture, I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you. Your prayers and finances have been a great contribution to the success of this trip. While we were there, I kept reminding the team that many back in Singapore are praying and upholding us. Thank you for your love and support!
Of course, I am so thankful for my wife, Serene. She made every effort to see us off at the airport although it was really early to haul all six children there. As David and I left for the trip, she was left in Singapore with six young ones. I know it is not easy for her and I am totally appreciative of her partnership in the ministry in this aspect. And when we returned, she was there again with the children to welcome us home! Her sacrifice has allowed the Lord to use the both of us in Davao. For sure, this has not gone unnoticed and the Lord will honour and reward her for playing her part in the work of the Kingdom!