There’s no easy internet connection in Masbate, so this report is a few days late. I’m actually home now, but had to share this with you.
Our early flight from Manila landed us in Masbate at 6 AM, where we went from the airport to the motel, but along the way made some stops where church members greeted us with flags and banners.
From there we took a boat to a village.
Thirteen of us piled in for a two hour boat ride. The view was so beautiful as sky met sea with lush green land in scope.
Finally we arrived to our destination – a remote village that is no often visited by new people. The boat stopped short of the land, so we all jumped out in the water and walked onto the beach. A group of villagers greeted us, some children hid.
I learned I was the first American to ever go there. How cool is that?!
We met the pastor of the church, a sweet and strong little woman named Marian, who has labored here for five years. We went up the hill to their church building to join in a church service together. They have no electricity, so batteries powered their keyboard. I spoke on King Jesus and the Gospel and it hit me—I was also the first American to preach the Gospel here! What an honor.
The hunger of these people for the presence of Jesus was so palpable. In response to the message, many came forward, some crying, some shaking, some praying.
It was so precious, so absolutely amazing to see these primitive people with no electricity and a two-hour boat ride away in such love with Jesus. I loved being part of it.
They made us a feast – crabs, fish, rice, and more, which meant so much because it’s not like these people can just run to Wegman’s. They used their valuable resources to bless us.
Soon a group of motorbikes showed up and we rode all over the Masbate landscape, over dirt and rocky roads, smooth hills, close to the sun like we were hugging it. It was breathtaking.
I soaked it all in, giving thanks to God for the opportunity to be here now.
We returned to the hotel, got ready, then headed to a pastor’s conference for the local pastors association. George spoke on the pastor’s knowing their gift-mix, domain of authority, and who will help them, and I gave the congregant point of view, encouraging them to release their people in their spiritual gifts.
After a quick dinner, that was the end of day one in Masbate. But not before the electricity went out in the motel. Which means the air conditioning went out. Which means running water also went out (?). I found the innkeeper and said, “Did you know the electricity went out?” It was hard to see her because it was so dark.
She answered, “Yes.”
“So when will it come back on?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is it being fixed?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are you doing anything about it?”
“I don’t know.”
Then I realized that my need for air conditioning and running water was not first on her priority list. And that was the end of day one.
On day two, George and I explored a bit of the area on our own. The beach is only a ten minute walk from the motel, so we walked there and went in the ocean. The sight of visitors drew some kids to the beach and they laughed as George and I waded and swam in the water. It was fun to experience more of Masbate than just having meetings.
We returned to the motel, got ready, and went to a church service at Pastor Roy’s church in Masbate. Such warm people, fun worship.
After that, we walked down the road and visited two plots of land that Pastor Roy hopes to purchase to build a Bible school, orphanage, and farm.
Then we hopped on motorbikes to visit church members.
First stop was visiting a boy and his grandmother. He has had a leg infection for two years. The doctor in Masbate looked at it and returned him home because he didn’t know what it was. So he has been suffering under this infection for these two years.
But this is a God story in the making. When we got to our next destination, I showed the picture to the director. By chance [yeah right – there’s no “by chance” in God] a group of doctors were onsite offering free medical care to the community, so she showed the picture to them. It was agreed the boy must come immediately from Masbate to Manila so he can be taken care of and taken to a hospital or he may lose the leg (or worse).
I jumped on the phone, informed Pastor Roy, and he’s making arrangements.
After visiting this boy, we visited another. He has stage three liver cancer and unless God intervenes, there’s not much to do. I can’t imagine lying there in the 100 degree heat with no pain meds, just suffering minute by minute. Please pray for a miracle.
We returned to the motel and after a rest, went to the crusade.
The idea was for area churches to bring friends and family who had not heard about the extravagant love of God, sacrifice of Christ, and invitation to join God’s Kingdom. We later learned that people from as far as ten miles away walked on foot, bringing unsaved people with them. Get that – ten miles away! And ten miles away in 100 degree plus heat.
The local ministerial association put the crusade on, which was a local elementary school. There was lots of music, but there was a dance class across the street that was playing loud music that interfered with ours. Once the speaking got underway, it would certainly be a distraction.
But sometime it stopped and we found out later that the village chairwoman, who was not a Christian, asked that the dance class turn their music off. We had visited her that day to thank her for letting us have the crusade; guess that visit paid off.
After lots of music and some dance performances, George opened up the speaking. I went after him.
Then Roy called for people who wanted to receive Christ and join God’s Kingdom to come forward with the people who had brought them. You can see God moved on a lot of people’s hearts!
Reports are still coming in, but we know that for one church – the ones who had walked ten miles each way – 21 of them opened their hearts to Christ. Those miles are nothing compared to their new and magnificent eternity.
Our time in Masbate was awesome – God truly was honored, we were energized, the Church was built up, and the Kingdom welcomed new people. What a time, what an honor, what a God!