Philippines 2016 Trip Report

Chris Heinz —  May 30, 2016 — 5 Comments

My daughter and I are back from the Philippines and here’s a report of what happened. From the outset, I need to say how thankful I am for this opportunity. Thank you to the folks who supported the trip with prayer and with finances. We could not have accomplished what we did if not for your help. So in this way, we have become partners together. Our fruit is your fruit. Our joy is your joy. Our mission has become your mission. Thank you.

This trip carried three main purposes—to speak and pray for people at a variety of ministry events, to make improvements to our student sponsorship program, and to enjoy a meaningful trip between father and daughter. Thank you Jesus, we accomplished all three in an abundant manner!

In case you don’t want to read all this, here’s how I end: In summary, we saw God’s active hand on so many parts of the trip. He filled my mouth when I needed him to, he brought a harvest of souls, he used the Body of Christ in powerful ways, he exalted Jesus to the highest place, he knit together the Church for this mission, and he planted special things in my daughter’s heart that will flower in unexpected ways. We stayed healthy the entire time.

We return home more in love with Jesus, more convinced of our next steps, and grateful to have a role in the Father’s great design. Thank you, Philippines, for welcoming and receiving us. Thank you, supporters, for your faith, support, and confidence. Thank you, LORD, for using us. Now for the glory of God the Father we give thee praise.

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Here are pictures, video, and commentary:

Asia and I flew 18 hours to get to Manila. Here we are at the Detroit airport:

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Upon arriving into Manila on Saturday night, we were picked up by team members of the Institute for Foundational Learning (IFL), which served as our headquarters for most of the trip.

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IFL was founded 27 years ago by Pat Capwell, a wonderful and faithful American missionary. She has become a spiritual mother to me, and this was my fifth time with her in the Philippines.

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It’s hard to describe all that IFL is, but I think of it as a discipleship ecosystem that is forming the whole individual (spirit, soul, and body) into disciples of Christ. IFL runs an orphanage, boarding school, church, training center on sustainable farming, and network of ministries. More than 500 IFL centers have been started.

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IFL does a variety of trainings and medical clinics in different countries. In addition, it is training up young people to go out and preach the gospel and love people. It really is remarkable what the Father has done through IFL and for this reason, IFL is one of my favorite places on Earth. It’s highly spiritual but highly practical.

For example, there is transitional housing for students who grew up in the orphanage, but need to learn practical living skills. Once they graduate from secondary school, they live in the house and get a job, where they have to pay for food, learn to cook, clean, etc. Highly practical.

Sunday (Church)

So anyway, Sunday I preached at the church at IFL on having a greater vision of Christ. Asia and I both love the worship there. So fun.

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Asia had a good time playing with the kids.

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Monday and Tuesday (Youth Camp)

On Monday and Tuesday was the first-ever evangelistic youth camp for the “City of Cabuyao for Jesus Movement.” That’s the city church organization for the city, called Cabuyao. There is a wonderful movement of unity among the pastors of the city who are coming under the headship of Christ to see their city reached for Christ. At the camp, each student was invited to bring someone who needed to hear the gospel or was struggling in their walk with Jesus. So about 230 young people from a variety of backgrounds came together for this two-day event.

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We invited our friends from Tondo, Manila and they brought 40 people. They woke up at 2 AM and took a jeepney, train, bus, and two more jeepneys to attend the youth camp. Now that’s hunger. What’s more, I asked them a few months ago to begin saving their money to attend and they did. That’s no small feat!

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It was such fun preaching at the youth camp. They really get excited about Jesus.

I preached three messages: God made you on purpose, Jesus saves you from sin, and how to live for God. At the end of the second message (Monday night), we offered an opportunity for them to respond. About 30 came forward to begin following Jesus. 50 recommitted their lives to Christ. The rest wanted prayer for MORE FIRE.

One of the IFL staff members posted about the event: “CHANGE IS HAPPENING.”

Students posted:

“I just wanna thank the Lord, because i’ve heard you talked at camp (May 23-24) and I was trully blessed. And of course thank you to your preaching and testimony. You dont know how big you have contributed to someone else’s lives. God bless you!”

“Thank you so much for your great stories you’ve shared to us. We learn so many things about Jesus and we pray that we continue the fire and restoration that God given us.”

“Thank you for all the Words that God have shared through you. I am so empowered!”

As you can see, God moved powerfully and we are filled with joy about the youth camp. He answered our prayer requests for clarity about what to preach and energy to preach the gospel with power. I went into the trip not having anything prepared, but the Holy Spirit brought forth the message. Thank you for praying and thank Jesus for delivering.

My motto for my preaching: Unless you’re REALLY sweating, you’re not REALLY preaching.

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There was also a lunch with the lead pastors of the city movement. This was a wonderful time of meeting these servants of God. I was invited to share and encourage them, so I talked about keeping Jesus as the center and source of unity. Getting people together is one thing, but keeping them together under Christ is another. “Make Jesus famous in Cabuyao” was the battle cry.

Here are a few of us together:

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Wednesday and Thursday (Women’s Retreat)

Asia and I were invited to the IFL church women’s retreat. Cuz why not? The retreat was held at a center next to the ocean. It was a beautiful setting. We played with the kids near the water.

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Then I spoke on “A Woman and her Integrity.” I learned of the theme just hours before I was to speak, but again the LORD brought the message. I’m so thankful that I’ve learned to quiet myself before the LORD, not get anxious, but just let him speak.

I spoke on three common obstacles to a woman’s integrity—comparison, social enmeshment, and discontentment. After the message, I asked the ladies to share with another sister what God has spoken to them and how they may be compromising their integrity. I was amazed because the women found a sister immediately, there was no waiting around, no awkwardness, they just went. And they wept and they prayed for each other. Beautiful scene of the family of God.

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The next morning we all went to another resort for the day, to swim and fellowship in the ocean and pool.

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The ladies did tug of war against each other and they broke the rope! Who knew Filippinas were so strong?

That evening they wanted a “power night” of hands-on ministry, so again the LORD provided the direction. I shared on John 20, how Mary—a woman—was first at the tomb of Jesus. And she also was first to see the Risen Jesus on Easter morning. But she held onto him and Jesus asked her to let go so he could do what he had to do. We had a time of letting go of what they were holding to in order to take their next step in God. Again, powerful time at the altar with weeping.

Then I had the privilege of praying over about 35 of them with words from the LORD. Thank you mighty and lovely women of God for the honor!

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A highlight of the retreat was me spending time with Pat and hearing more of her heart and journey with God. I really treasure the time I get with my spiritual mentors. Thankfully Pat is coming to the States in July/August and we’ll see each other.

Friday (Sponsorship Meeting)

On Friday morning, Asia and I went back to IFL to get our stuff, then were taken to a hotel in Manila. That evening we met Pastor Roy from Tondo for a dinner meeting about our sponsorship program. Such a good meeting about how to move forward and improve the program.

We currently have 25 students being sponsored to support educational needs. Back at IFL, I worked with Pat and her administrator Judith, to propose improvements. IFL will be our on-ground support in the Philippines and we’ll be making exciting changes to the program which will include regular updates about the students, student standards, and better communication. With these changes in place, I’m really excited for the future of the program.

It is a win for sponsors, students, and the communities in which the students live. More to come on this!

Saturday (Tondo Crusade and Leadership Dinner Meeting)

Saturday Asia and I did some sightseeing around Manila. We walked by a pier where fishermen were catching fish. There’s a nice little area with lots of restaurants. Some Philippines restaurants. And Starbucks and Krispy Kreme.

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That day was also the crusade in Tondo. I’ve described Tondo before. Tondo is a slum where families live for no rent, but the living structures are tin, wood, cardboard, anything they can scavenge. There’s no electricity, no water, no fans, no plumbing in Tondo. Think of a whole group of people thrown together with no security, no locked doors, no noise reduction. Think of hot, hot temperatures, trash on the ground. That’s Tondo.

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I am so thankful the Father has opened doors for us in Tondo through our dear friend Pastor Roy and his wife Evelyn and family. They are doing amazing and faithful work. I felt the Father wanted us to support a crusade in Tondo, with the goal of letting the people know God loves them.

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So Roy rented a basketball court, passed out rice and meat, and held an event with preaching, music, and dancing. About 500 people came and about 90 gave their lives to Jesus. Ushers wrote down everyone’s names so they could follow-up. I heard a few stories of people who responded to the gospel:

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This guy was a criminal convicted of several felonies. He was done serving his time and lived in Tondo. He had heard the gospel in prison, but wasn’t interested. But today was his day of salvation! We saw him a few days later and he was still jubilant over Jesus. Roy said he has been so different since.

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There were also a few teenagers who had reputations with the village mayor for being thieves. They came to the crusade, gave their lives to Jesus, and then were at church on Sunday. What’s more, the village mayor noted what a change in them even the first few days. They actually shared their testimonies with her of how Jesus had changed them. They took her to the local police place where their arrest pictures were on the wall (from a few years before). They said, “This was us, but we’re different.”

I’ll tell you, the gospel is changing lives immediately and the differences are being noticed by the people who can spot them. I’m not making this up, this is from the mouths of the locals with the authority to speak on such matters.

Another life that has been changed by Jesus is Joseph. Joseph and his sister Jirah are from Tondo. They came to the youth camp at IFL. Their parents were pastors, but they both died. Now Joseph and Jirah live alone. Joseph is maybe 16 with only elementary education. He was involved in a gang. Jirah is 19 and going to a computer school. With no income, Pastor Roy helps them out when he can. But it’s not much.

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Pastor Roy told me that the first message I preached at IFL, that God made you on purpose, and He has great purposes for you, really touched him. It impacted him greatly and based on these ideas, he recommitted his life to Jesus. Praise the LORD! That’s the point of all of this travel and expense and effort—lives transformed for the glory of God.

I’m sure we will hear more fruit from the crusade. And Roy and his team are faithful workers and will follow-up, I’m sure of that. But please keep praying for more workers. Roy’s church keeps expanding, some in part to his evangelistic zeal, some to the sponsorship program, and now some to the crusade.

That night we held a leadership dinner meeting at the hotel for Roy’s ministry team. We rented a conference room for a nice sit-down dinner, then time for some teaching and encouragement. They were so excited, all 25 of them. Roy told me this was the first time about 90% of them ever had a nice sit-down meal. We’re talking some folks in their 50’s and 60’s! The first time having roast beef and mashed potatoes on china, served by a waiter!

After the meal, we had each person stand up and share their name and their area of ministry. Roy took notes. After all 25 went, I talked about the various ministry activities that Jesus is doing today—living, reigning, interceding, abiding, inviting unbelievers to salvation, building the Church, and bringing all things under his feet. I then asked them to connect their ministry activities with Jesus’ ministries.

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The point being, they are doing the ministry of Jesus and there will be great breakthrough in their ministries when they come into prayer and agreement with what Jesus is already doing. In fact, together we can do even greater works than Jesus, says the book of John. This really lifted their spirits, they were clapping, even the wait staff was clapping. We also gave away copies of Made To Pray and my friend Ellen’s book, Worship in Freedom.

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The evening was full of celebrating the crusade, thanks for their hard work, inspiration around the ministry of Jesus, and glorifying the Father for his works. Probably one of my favorite events of the trip.

Sunday (Church)

On Sunday Asia and I were picked up by Roy and taxi to go to Little Jerusalem House of Prayer—Tondo. It is just one of the four churches Roy oversees. Asia and I walked with Roy down the aisle of shacks, teeming with people. I got my phone out to take some pictures, but Asia was uncomfortable with that because is sort of put them on show. I love her sensitive heart.

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We got to the church building and went in. There were no free seats at all, so many people came from the crusade. The church building is a govt-owned building that they rent. That’s why there is electricity in it.

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Roy asked the deacons to stand outside to free up seats and the youth sat on the floor. There was a children’s church doing on in a room next door. I’ve been to this church three times now and I’ve never seen it this full with new people.

There was happy worship and then Pastor Roy passed out letters that some of the sponsors had written to their students.

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I preached on staying devoted to Jesus. It was really cool because new believers were there along with long-time believers, but the message is the same—there will be distractions and obstacles that come along to fade devotion to Jesus, but keep it strong by thinking about Jesus, talking about Jesus, watching how you treat Jesus, and testifying about Jesus.

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I was a big sweat ball by the time I was done, I really felt that’s what being on the sun must be like, only a little hotter.

After the message was a time of offering, and this was so precious seeing the squatters giving what money they had back to the LORD. Widow’s mite time and time again.

Then it was time to pass out sandals. They purchased 500 pairs of sandals to give away at church and then after church. I got into the action a little, but when I kept sweating on the nice, new sandals, they got wise and let me sit down.

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After church, Roy took us about 10 minutes away to Joseph and Jirah’s house. Church on the bottom floor and living on the top floor. When their parents died, the church stopped having services, but the believers decided to start meeting again. Their church was more than its pastors, God is doing a work, they decided.

So Pastor Roy has taken responsibility for pastoring. His associate, Lance, leads the other church most of the time, and Roy is now leading this one. I love how freely Roy is willing to step in when he sees God at work. It’s a challenging environment because just outside the door, men gather to gamble for cock fighting. But this is ripe for the gospel and I’m sure we’ll hear more about Jesus on the move.

We spent some time sharing and we prayed together for the believers.

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There’s a place in my heart for Joseph and Jirah, who have lost their parents, but though they passed away, God has secured this place, this land, for his glory. And when God’s on the move, nothing can stop him.

Closing Thoughts

In summary, we saw God’s active hand on so many parts of the trip. He filled my mouth when I needed him to, he brought a harvest of souls, he used the Body of Christ in powerful ways, he exalted Jesus to the highest place, he knit together the Church for this mission, and he planted special things in my daughter’s heart that will flower in unexpected ways. We stayed healthy the entire time.

We return home more in love with Jesus, more convinced of our next steps, and grateful to have a role in the Father’s great design. Thank you, Philippines, for welcoming and receiving us. Thank you, supporters, for your faith, support, and confidence. Thank you, LORD, for using us. Now for the glory of God the Father we give thee praise.

Chris Heinz

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I envision people thriving as wellsprings with abundant supply in their workplaces, families, and communities. I'm a husband and father of three from Boalsburg, PA. I'm also the Vice President, Human Resources for EnergyCAP, Inc. In addition, I'm a leadership and life coach. i wrote the book, "Made To Pray," a guide to help you find your best prayer types.

5 responses to Philippines 2016 Trip Report

  1. It has been a very powerful and very impactful Words that God have shared through you pastor Chris. I am so overwhelmed and blessed how God move through the messages you’ve shared with us. It’s also a priviledge translating all the messages in our language which is I guess the hardest thing to do on earth(it should be the highest paid job, hahaha kidding) I pray that God will continually extend your teritory and be used by Him to let more people know Jesus. Thank you very much pastor. See you soon and God bless you more and more. PS: Thank you for your prayers for me. We’ll have a ribbon cutting of our company later for the opening ceremony here in the Philippines.

  2. That was such an awesome trip and so full of great stories and testimonies of God at work. Thanks for sharing. Ellen

  3. Awesome stroies!! Thanks Chris

  4. Thanks for the amazing report! Thank you, Chris and Asia, for leaving your comfort zone and letting the Lord use you to be such a blessing! All glory to Jesus!!

  5. Thank you for all you do and for giving us such a wonderful story of the trip. It is great to hear uplifting news about how things are going. Your update is a joy to read.

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