Well, we are officially ONE week out from the departure of FBC's 2023 Philippines short term mission trip. By God's grace and your generosity, I am fully funded! As a team we are over 90% of the way there (to give, jump here). It has seriously been the biggest encouragement to watch how people from all walks of life came together to support me as I've prepared for this trip. Whether financially, prayerfully, or both- The Lord has blessed me immensely with support. To see that the team as a whole has also been SO exceedingly supported warms my heart more than words. We raised close to $2,000 at our breakfast fundraiser this past weekend! God's hand is in this trip and He is sovereignly over this team- I couldn't be more thankful.
In my last blog regarding the Philippines, I focused a lot on how the Lord brought me to this opportunity. For today's post, I want to focus more specifically on our team as a whole, how preparation is going, the mission itself, and our prayer requests as the trip is rapidly approaching.
But... WHY pray? What does that do?
The Bible emphasizes the power of prayer to a great extent, and it couldn’t be more true. I loved this article on the importance of prayer. If you are doubting its effectiveness or aren't sure if it's worth your time- I suggest you give it a read!
Since February, our team has endured a lot of trials and changes.
We lost one of our leaders: One of our team leads had to step down due to sudden health issues. Him and his wife were significant members of our team and it is a huge loss that they are now unable to come. Most importantly, we rejoice as The Lord is healing him and he is recovering well! God has also very kindly equipped our team members to be flexible, adaptable, and well suited for taking on new responsibilities. We have no doubt that our team is ready for this trip, even without these faithful team leads, but it was certainly a trial we had to endure! Please continue praying for his recovery as well as for the team's ability to fill his roles.
Our itinerary has changed... a lot: We are a flexible and adaptable team- so this is not surprising! As we work to meet the various needs of the churches in Cebu, it is no shock that we have had to make changes to our plans. After all, "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps" Proverbs 16:9. With these changes come different workloads for the team members, new responsibilities, and of course- crunch time!!! Please be praying for our hearts as we adapt, our ability to get everything accomplished on time and done in a way pleasing to The Lord, and our motivation to do it all for Christ's glory in accordance with His will!
Covid is STILL causing chaos: You would THINK that in the ripe year of 2023 the 2020 chaos would be over. Well, you would think wrong- it's not over! We only just found out in our last meeting that we need negative covid tests 24 hours before landing in the Philippines... or else we will be quarantined for three days. Based off of our itinerary- we don't have three days to waste in quarantine. We are working out logistics (getting tests, where to test, price of tests, etc.)- so please be praying that we get this all sorted out and that the entire team would test negative!
Besides all of these changes, we do FINALLY have a finalized itinerary! For those curious- here is the breakdown:
June 21st- depart for LAX
June 22nd- Flight leaves at 12:50am to Taipei, Taiwan
June 23rd- 5:40am arrive in Taiwan - 9hr layover (tour the city), back to airport 12pm, 3pm flight to arrive at 5:55pm in CEBU!
Mission Trip Portion
June 24th- Intro/Session 1: Singles Conference. Prep for Grace Baptist Church anniversary service next day.
June 25th- team splits in 2 teams to GBC (Grace Baptist Church) and GTF (Grace Talisay Fellowship) for services. 4pm-7pm - Session 2/Outro: Singles Conference.
June 26th - BEACH/BREAK DAY
June 27th-29th- Pastor & Wives retreat at Hidden Valley Mountain Resort - "Standing Firm in a World of Chaos"
June 30th - Evangelism at the Basilica, Jail Outreach, Visit Frupet's Church, Visit Orphanage
July 1st - Men's & Women's Conference - "Let the Men be Men, Let the Women be Women"
July 2nd - Team splits in 2 teams to GBC and GTF for services.
July 3rd-5th- 3day, 2 night Jr. High/HS Youth Camp at Genesis Valley - 7 "I Am" statements in the book of John.
R&R + Homeward Bound!
July 5th-9th - R&R
July 10th - team depart 10:50am to Taipei, Taiwan and arrives 1:40pm. Back to airport at 8:30pm for 11:40pm departure back home. Arrive to LAX at 9:05pm local time
Clearly there are MANY moving parts to this trip and a multitude of conferences, services, and camps that we are in charge of. THIS IS ALL SO EXCITING! We have been working diligently to divide the team up by assigning roles fit for each individual.
Here are ways you can be praying for each specific event:
Singles Conference- Please pray for the men preaching, for our small group leaders, for our praise team, and for the hearts of the attendees.
Sunday Services - Please pray for the men preaching, for our children's ministry servants, for our praise team, for the hearts of both kids and adults attending, and that the Filipino church leaders would gain encouragement and learn from us - leading to the implementation of good improvements far after we leave.
Pastor & Wives Retreat - Please pray for the men and women teaching, for our small group leaders, for the children's ministry servants, for our praise team, for the hearts of attendees, and for them to implement changes that will benefit their church families for the Lord.
Evangelism - Please pray for softened hearts to the gospel, that the people we reach would know and submit to Christ, for our boldness and courage in sharing the good news, for opportunities to share, and for the conversations as a whole.
Men's and Women's Conference - Please pray for the men and women teaching, for our small group leaders, for our children's ministry servants, for our praise team, for the hearts of attendees, and for changes to be implemented for the greater good of the Kingdom of God.
Jr. High/HS Youth Camp - Please pray for the men preaching, for our small group leaders, for softened hearts of the youth, and for it to be a fun and eternally impactful camp.
Our greatest ask... IF IT BE IN GOD'S WILL, WE ASK
FOR THE PEOPLE WE REACH TO KNOW CHRIST, TO BE SAVED, AND TO LIVE FOR HIM.
Here are more ways you can be praying for the team, for the Filipinos, and for me:
Prayers for the team:
- Specifically for the men who are preparing their sermons and lessons:
- that they would be filled with the spirit
- that their hearts would be at ease
- that they would be blessed with time in this final week to finish their prep at the standard of which will please the Lord
- that they would be good stewards of their assignments
- that their will would be aligned with His as they deliver the word
- that their messages would be clear to the audience
- For the team members to fulfill their roles with excellence for the Lord and with the right heart attitude.
- For boldness in proclaiming the gospel.
- For a smooth time finalizing prep, admin work, and last minute details.
- For our teamwork and togetherness as we seek to serve The Lord.
- For our ability to be flexible and meet the various needs of the church and the people.
- For smooth & safe travel and arrival.
- For us to be filled with the spirit.
- For quick coalescing, building connections with people, and producing fruitful conversations.
Prayers for the Filipinos:
- For the hearts of the Filipinos to be softened to the gospel
- For the language barrier to not impact their understanding of biblical truth
- For the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts
- That they would take what they learn from us and implement good changes to their church and life.
- For willingness to accept biblical principles
- For happy hearts and a desire to know the Lord
Prayers for me:
- I am in charge of our Social Media (Follow us on Instagram and Facebook). Please pray that I would have no technical difficulties, for the posts to reach people and keep them connected with our mission, and for it all to bring glory to the Lord.
- I have this problem where I lose my voice when I get stressed or low on sleep!! So a specific request would be for my voice to remain, for overall health, and energy (sleep?? haha).
- For my heart to be happy and content wherever I serve
- That I would serve faithfully for the Lord and not to please or impress man.
- For clarity on where I am gifted and direction the Lord may want for my future (in both gifting and ministry specifics)
- For my heart specifically: That my desire would be not only to gain clarity on my own heart, God’s will for me, and recognition of what my giftings are/ how they may be best used in God's kingdom- but to be focused on OTHERS. Sharing the gospel and seeing more brothers and sisters in heaven one day is TOP priority!
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
I always tried to BE better, to work to please God or man, to improve myself- but it wasn't until I realized that Jesus DIED on the cross as an ultimate sacrifice for my sins and He is the only way to heaven that I realized everything that I did was vanity. We may strive to please the Lord, and this is good, but our performance doesn't save us or get us to heaven. Believing in Jesus is the only way. Once I learned this and put my faith in Jesus, the pressure was released and I have had an immense peace and transformation in my life. Salvation has changed my life entirely and my strongest earthly desire is to see others experience the same heart transformation. Praise God for the conversion He did in me, I want nothing more than to live for Him and use opportunities like this one to their fullest extent! If you are reading this and have questions about the gospel or what I mean by having a life transformation- PLEASE reach out to me and I would love to talk more! And please be praying that the Filipinos would know the gospel truth, as well.
I could list prayer requests on and on and on... but truthfully, only the Lord knows what we need most. Ask Him to guide you in prayer for us, and I trust that He will answer and work everything out for our good and His glory. I will be doing the same! THANK YOU for following along and for your prayers! Make sure to follow The Philippines Mission Team on social media for live updates on the trip, and subscribe to my blog for an in depth update when we return mid July!
God bless you all- and here goes nothing!!!
Team photo from our meeting - 6/11/2023: