What an amazing time we had in June running the first ever Commission Leadership Training in the Philippines. After welcoming Cavite Open Door Commission Church (CODCC) into the Commission family last February, we arranged for some leadership training to take place, led by Ranjit Rodrigues from Good News Church in Goa, India and myself. We had a fantastic time together teaching on many practical and theological topics but centrally on the Kingdom of God and the Holy Spirit.
The students came with real commitment and engagement to the teaching and passion to learn, that you only see with Filipino’s. The group times were enthusiastically engaged with, questions asked and real thought and reflection about the teaching that was being brought. The Holy Spirit really met with us in power on both occasions when we stopped to minister and pray for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and for people to be filled with the Spirit and we were overcome by His presence filling people and the room. It was so encouraging to see the learning, the fellowship, the laughter (always fun in the Philippines) but also the deep yearning for more knowledge of God and real desire to learn and to grow. This is such a flourishing healthy church.
I had the joy of visiting Bicol one of the areas that the church is looking to church plant into. A very rural tropical setting which was a challenge to this chubby middle-aged Brit. I taught the church how snoring travels in a bamboo hut! We met with the local pastor who is leading a small but growing group of believers in the area in Bicol and lead bible studies and worshipped together. We prayed for healings for many and shared meals and stories together. Rolando and the church visit Bicol monthly and are seeking to support this small but growing group to become a church that meets regularly and grows.
We also had the joy of meeting an unreached people group; the Aeta’s part of the Manobo Tribe. These are people from the hills of Bicol and they are the original people of the Philippines. Whilst most of the men were at work in the mountains mining for gold, many women and very many children attended. They look more aboriginal than the Spanish/Asiatic look of most Filipino’s. We gathered them for a service with food afterwards and Rolando passionately preached the gospel to them. This is a small outreach but growing and supported by CODCC regularly. There was a lot of prayer for people and joy in being in partnership in the gospel together to reach this people group. Whilst I must admit living in a jungle bamboo hut, getting very little sleep, with coconut and banana trees all around was a challenge (along with the corresponding washing in rivers and toilet challenges); it was a truly life changing experience and part of our “being in partnership in the gospel yet all in all” with this fabulous Commission church in the Philippines.