Philippines Outreach October 2009
 
how God has used them

The Ministry Team

The mission outreach to the Island of Luzon in the Philippines, from October 13 - 26 yielded tremendous fruit.

A team of six Americans (the team) ministered in seven Good Shepherd International Fellowship (GSIF) sponsored evangelistic crusades in unchurched barangays (villages) and three GSIF sponsored ministers' seminars. They also spoke in churches and at Church Multiplication Coalition's (CMC) first Luzon Regional Conference. The team consisted of Art and Nancy Defenderfer, Gaylord Enns and Shirley Trejo from California, Nelson Seibel from Pennsylvania and Raymond Walker from Hawaii.

U.S. to Manila to La Union

For the California team members the outreach began early Monday, October 13th in a five hour flight from Sacramento to Honolulu, Hawaii where they joined Raymond Walker aka "Uncle Raymond" for the ten hour flight to Manila, Philippines. Soon after going through customs they began a seven hour van ride north to their "sea side resort headquarters" in San Juan, La Union Province.!np!

The Successful Crusade Pattern

Early Wednesday afternoon the team arrived in barangay Dangdangla the site of the first of three CMC crusades in La Union Province.

The crusades coordinated by CMC are usually held in a barangay that has no church where a local pastor has a burden to start a church. These pastors and the local CMC coordinators are usually members of a local trans denominational ministerial fellowship. Pastors Cedric and Joy Panis were the overall coordinators of the team's crusades (Cedric is also the Secretary of the GSIF Asia Foundation and the Luzon Director for CMC.)

The Filipino band members set up at the crusade site in the early afternoon. Typically this was a concrete basketball court at the center of the barangay or on the grounds of a centrally located elementary school. At about 3:00pm the rest of the Filipino and Americans team members arrived and handed out invitations to the crusade from house to house in the barangay with the local pastor and his workers. From 5-5:45pm the band filled the barangay with what Cedric described as, "full blast volume, super fast; not churchy songs." As the evening progressed, more and more adults and youth joined the scores of curious and playful children.

At about 5:45 pm the entire crusade team gathered in a circle to intercede one last time for the people in the barangay, the crusade and the weather. Finally they ministered the Lord's Supper to one another and prayer walked the basketball court. At 6:00pm the crusade director Cedric introduced the barangay captain (and/or other barangay leaders, such as the principal of the school) to the gathering crowd. After they briefly welcomed the people, the team members from America were introduced.

Each night one of the team members was picked to greet the people. "Uncle Raymond" became the peoples' favorite greeter. He began and ended his salutation with a hardy Hawaiian, "Aloooooha." Another team member then gave a brief testimony of their conversion, followed by the main evangelistic message by Gaylord, Nelson or Art. Bishop Tarlit usually translated each message into the local dialect and always climaxed the evangelistic message with a fervent alter call. That first night 125 people prayed to receive Jesus out of the 215 who attended. To God be the glory!

After the alter call, those wanting prayer lined up in front of one of the six U.S. team members. An interpreter was assigned to each line and another Filipino recorded everyone's contact information and any testimony.

Following the prayer time the new believers were exhorted to Pray, Read the Bible, Fellowship, Share Jesus with others. After a few nights Joy Panis asked Nancy to share these "Four Steps to Christian Growth." Nancy became very effective in having the new believers to vocalize each point with accompanying hand motions. (See Arthur Defenderfer Facebook site to see Nancy in encouraging the people.) The new believers received follow-up material and an invitation to return the next afternoon for a free New Testament.

Preserving the Harvest - Crusade Follow Up

Following the CMC pattern, some of the crusade team members returned to Dangdangla from 2 - 4 pm for the next day follow-up which helped to bond the new converts to the local pastor. Grace, a singer in the crusade band began the follow up by reviewing using the "Evangelcube", a cleverly designed Gospel presentation that uses pictures imprinted on a three dimensional cube.

After the Bibles were handed out, the local pastor invited the new believers to volunteer to host a new Bible study in their homes. In Dangdangla five Bible studies were established. (By the end of the October outreach thirty seven new Bible studies were established in six barangays!)

Thursdays' crusade was held in Barangay Lubing, in a lovely basketball court with a stage, both protected by a high metal roof. When the music team began there were only a few present. This spurred the team to pray more -- and as usual the Holy Spirit did His part -- 143 prayed to received Jesus.

In Lubing, a man in his 70's who was blind in one eye, received his sight after Shirley prayed for him. He was very excited and shared about the miracle again at the follow-up gathering.

Pastors' Seminars

On Friday, October 16th the first of three GSIF, "Love and Unity with a Mission" seminars for pastors and church workers was held in Pastor Jonel Taopo's church in San Fernando from 8 am to 2 pm. Ninety five percent of the fifty four that attended were senior pastors. Some braved hindrances from landslides and flood damage to attend.

At this and the following two minister's seminars, Gaylord, Nelson and Art sensed a genuine hunger for the truth in the pastors and church workers. Gaylord ministered on the the primacy of the Command of Jesus to us to love one another as he loved us. Nelson taught on the importance of characteristics and message of the Kingdom of God. Art pointed out that all of us must receive healing in our souls so that we will automatically love one another enough to work in unity to sustain a world transforming revival.

In different ways Gaylord, Nelson and Art underlined what Jesus prophesied -- that if we loved one another in our being, with our words and with our deeds as Jesus did -- the world will know that we are his disciples.

Everyone that attended each seminar received Gaylord's' book, Love Revolution: Rediscovering the Lost Command of Jesus and sincerely enjoyed having him sign their copy.!np!

Crusade Victories Amidst Challenges

On Friday afternoon it started to rain and Cedric became concerned. As the rain heightened the danger of landslides, Cedric prayed fervently and then made a difficult, but wise leadership decision. He canceled the crusade. God had another plan.

Displaying typical Filipino flexibility Cedric then directed the team to minister in a church located in the middle of the most crime ridden area in San Fernando. God moved in a mighty way that night and sixty seven accepted Christ. (In that atmosphere of joy, almost all 100 of the people present exuberantly danced in the Spirit and praised the Lord.)

Our most spiritually challenging crusade was on Saturday, October 17th in Sevilla, a barangay within San Fernando City. As the team invited the people to the crusade they sensed a spiritual atmosphere darkness over the barangay. It also became clear that Satan used alcoholism as his bondage of choice in Sevilla. Even the weather seemed to oppose the crusade - a downpour began just as the band began to play.

The crusade team did not give up! They acted as if the weather was perfect and moved the crusade along exactly as planned while quietly rebuking Satan and the storm while praying for God's intervention.

The rain stopped just as Art began the evangelistic message. He knew from experience that many were hearing the message beyond the basketball court sheltered in their homes and in the road side eateries. God gave victory -- eighteen people came forward to receive Jesus. The team recalled the words of Jesus that one soul is more valuable than the whole world.

Ministry in Pangasinan Province

On Sunday morning the team spoke in local churches, then traveled south to Pangasinan Province where they held four more crusades. In Pangasinan the team clearly saw how the landslides and floods destroyed crops and properties as a result of a "super typhoon" that passed over Luzon Island three times. Cedric told the team that when the typhoon hit his house, "It sounded like a 747 was on top of our roof."

On Monday morning, October 19th, Gaylord, Nelson and Art ministered to 237 pastors in Dagupan at the second GSIF pastors' seminar. One of the most rewarding times of the gathering occurred during an extended break before lunch. Spontaneously as a group, the pastors interacted with leaders of a couple of their own local ministerial associations, CMC coordinators and other pastors. The team believe that the Holy Spirit orchestrated dialogue to further unify these pastors and encourage them to work together to win souls.

Probably the most memorable crusade was held at an elementary school in Lambayan, Pangasinan on Saturday, October 18th. Located in a rural rice growing area, it yielded a rich harvest of souls. The school principal who greeted the crusade crowd had lived in Lambayan her whole life and had been a student and teacher at the school she now led. She was so impacted by the crusade that she released the entire school to attend the follow-up session the next day (314 teachers, students and new believers attended).

This is what Cedric wrote about this crusade. But the best miracle for me, was ... our first crusade in Pangasinan, with the school... were there was not a church there, and they are now meeting there every Sunday, a church of around 200 attendees, and they have said that there was never a missionary who went there, and they felt that they were forgotten by God, but guess what, GSIF ministries went there and proved to them there that God sure does love them... That's the best miracle I've seen on our crusades... and the very first time they clapped their hands for getting a Bible... imagine, they never even had a Bible before... how super great our God is !!!!

The next three crusades, October 19 - 21, were in the rural barangays of Sonquil, Calberg and Sundcoy. Each one showed what happens when the gracious love and power of God and the Gospel intersects with the responsive faith of Filipinos. In these three crusades over 840 people heard the Gospel, 360 prayed to receive Jesus, 23 new Bible studies were started and one new church was birthed. In Suncoy over 500 people heard the Gospel, one crippled man walked and the Lord sovereignly delivered a lady from a devil.

Ministry Connections Discovered in Manila

On the 22nd after a "Victory Party", the team traveled south Manila to participate in the first CMC Luzon Regional Conference.

Gaylord and Art ministered alongside CMC leaders from the U.S. and the Philippines to sixty CMC Regional Network Chairpersons and ten candidates for Provincial Network appointments. Brother Mezgebu, CMC's new leader from Ethiopia was flown in to evaluate how the CMC model might work in his country.

Art was amazed as Pastor Powell Lemons, from Fresno, a CMC Board Member and seasoned crusade evangelism leader, reviewed highlights of the history of American missionary involvement in the Philippines. It turns out that Art knew some of the same ministers that Powell had worked with for decades. These were pioneers such as Romeo Corpuz, considered "the father of crusade evangelism" in the Philippines, American missionaries Albert and Rae Melrose, Pastors Arlon and Paul Tilley, and crusade evangelist, Bill Baxley.!np!

Sharing God's Heart for Souls

Gaylord and Art were impressed with the sincere hearts and the church planting vision of the CMC leaders. CMC is on its way to its goal of planting Bible studies and churches and in 26,000 unchurched barangays in the Philippines.

Gaylord and Art were deeply moved when CMC President Jonathan Morris shared with tears how in 1999 he had a supernatural encounter with God that changed his life and ministry forever. God told Jonathan in no uncertain terms, "No one wants these people, but I do." This melted his heart and launched him on a quest to encourage, mobilize and network national pastors all over the world to work together cooperatively multiply churches in unevangelized villages.

Jonathon also shared how as a crusade evangelist he became skeptical about the long term fruit from crusade evangelism and decided to study of the results of crusades on church growth one year after the crusades were held. He found a significant key to church growth; that when the local pastors would establish Bible studies with the new believers the day after the crusade, their churches would retain as much as 34% of those who accepted Christ at the crusades. When no new Bible studies of new believers were established some churches had no growth after one year.

Based on Jonathan and Jill's extensive crusade experience, their research in the Philippines and observing a successful church multiplication model in India, they established CMC in 2006. The CMC model has proven effective in the Philippines and is being introduced to other countries.

Partnership in Ministry

The partnership of GSIF with CMC makes spiritual sense. Both are committed to working and networking in love across denominational lines and national boundaries. GSIF's mandate from God's is to impart the spirit of love, unity, healing to those in the five fold ministry. Ministers who are healed and encouraged are more likely to plant churches preserve the harvest by working interdependently with their fellow Filipinos ministers and the American crusades teams. In the words of the psalmist, Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity... for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forever more. (Psalm 133:1, 3b)

A Glorious Conclusion

After ministering in churches in Manila on Sunday morning, October 25th, Gaylord and Art spoke to 215 pastors and church workers at the final "Love and Unity with a Mission" seminar. Following the seminar one of the key leaders in the local ministerial fellowship told the Art, "This was the best pastors' seminar that we have ever had."

All together, the team ministered personally to over 2,500 people including 506 pastors and church leaders at the GSIF seminars, 1,816 people in the crusades and 75 leaders at the Luzon CMC Conference. At the crusades 923 people prayed to receive Jesus, 588 attended the follow up sessions, 37 Bible studies were started and two church were established.

The fruit from the outreach made the team all the more grateful to God for the prayerful and financial gifts of GSIF supporters and the amazing team of Filipino pastors, band members, church workers, the drivers, barangay leaders, school principals and open hearted people.

The team gives their sincere appreciation to Jill and the CMC leaders for their heart felt love of souls, their hard work and their visionary leadership. They praise God for their ever resourceful coordinators and special friends -- Cedric and Joy Panis.

Contact Art if you want to assist in the work of the GSIF. (gsifus@gmail.com)

 
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