THREE APOSTLES TO THE PHILIPPINES

I’ve just returned from one of the most significant trips that I have had to the Philippines. We (myself, my wife Esther and my good friend Carl Porter) went there to serve some churches with whom we had a relationship – and in the process finished up serving three apostles, three good Filipino men that Christ has given as gifts to the church.

FELIX DE RAMOS

One of them was Felix de Ramos. Felix has been serving as a father in the Philippines for the past 15 years and more, travelling around the country building up pastors and serving the Filipino church. He is one of the humblest, most unassuming men I know. His home church, Peace International Christian Church, sounds grand but meets in the basement of a house in Quezon City, Manila, hidden from view yet immensley influential.

Which is what true apostles are all about. Like the bones of the body or the foundations of the building they carry weight and give strength and shape but are hidden. It’s the flesh that carries the life and is seen. Felix, to my mind, embodies that principle and is a gift to the church.

LHOY EDANIOL

Lhoy and Venus EdaniolLhoy I’ve introduced in the previous post. He met me with tears at Felix’s church and we proceeded to Sapang Palay to meet the two churches that he was fathering in San Jose del Monte, a significant city in the hills above Manila. Five years ago God restored a very broken Lhoy back into ministry and gathered again the scattered flock that he had left – and added another battered flock to him as well. By the time we arrived Lhoy, with the enthusiastic help of his wife Venus,  had formed them into a couple of vibrant churches with equally enthusiastic workers reaching out among the poor and planting home based churches among them.

Part of the reason I went was to check that he had put into place some protections for himself and his family. Church planting is hard work in the Philippines, especially under old paradigms of ministry. I left him, confident that the safeguards are in place (before I came he had submitted himself to an older pastor in the area who loved him)  and confident also that God had restored him from the wilderness to be a key man in the city. For he carries an apostolic heart for the city, for the churches of the city and for the many other pastors who have fallen under the weight of ministry. God is making him a father beyond his local congregations. And I’m looking forward to being part of that process, raising some support back here in Yeppoon and dropping in now and then to strengthen him in a great work.

MOLONG NACUA

Then there was Molong.  But he definately requires a separate post … stay tuned.

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BACK TO THE PHILIPPINES

philippines-mapOn Thursday Esther, Carl and I head off to the Philippines to catch up with I guy that I met on my first trip to Manila in 1992. I met Lhoy at a pastors retreat in Sapang Palay, a Smoky Mountain rubbish tip resettlement area in the hills outside Quezon City, Manila. He was pioneering a church that was meeting under a canopy of sewed together rice sacks and the rains had destroyed the canopy.

He was a talented IT technician who had given up his career and was trying to support his young family by selling sticks of garlic house to house while building a church. Over the next few years we built a relationship with him, bought him a motorbike and visited and stood by him as he built up Reaper of Christ Church, a church typical of many thousands of church groups throughout the Philippines.

However the financial struggle and the pastoral care struggles took their toll on him, on his marriage and the church and in 2000 Lhoy left to work in Saudi Arabia leaving behind a destroyed marriage and a disintegrated church. And I lost contact with him.

Continue reading “BACK TO THE PHILIPPINES”