Many greetings from the Philippine Islands.
As I shared in some recent previous emails, God is up to something big in Butuan City which is about 12 kilometers (7 miles) from Buenavista. In April, Lyn and I rediscovered the street children that had seemed to disappear for a while. Through our sister in Christ Marnille who is a government social worker for the welfare department we were invited to a beach party for the street children of Butuan City. That’s where we first started making connections with various people including the kids. We fed the children, shared the Lord with them and later we were invited to some other gatherings for them where some of you helped pay for haircuts, grooming and other needed things.
There is a man named Edmond who rents the place to a lady named Teresa. Teresa is American Christian and here for the purpose of helping the street kids. This property is for the kids to come in off the streets on their own for a few hours several times a week to get cleaned up physically and also get some good loving and learning about Jesus. Edmond who had been renting out the property was not a Christian until April of this year when a Christian named Jerry asked him why he was renting the place so cheap when he knew that Edmond had no job and needed the money. Edmond replied “because it’s for God’s use.” So through the leading of the Holy Spirit, Jerry led Edmond to the Lord and baptized him along with his wife and daughter.
On May 1st, Edmond, Jerry and another man named Reynard began meeting at the Butuan City police department every morning to pray for the Holy Spirit’s leading on what to do with the street kids and how to solve this terrible problem of child homelessness. Lyn and I attended this prayer meeting for the first time on Saturday June 15th where there were over 40 people including police officers, school teachers and politicians. Among those who’re involved with this is the Butuan City Police chief, his chief deputy, many police officers, the mayor of Butuan, a congressman, a prior secretary of an ex-president of the Philippine Islands and many others. All of these people are born again Christians who’ve laid aside their denominational differences in order to earnestly seek God’s guidance through His Holy Spirit on what to do about reaching out in compassion to the least of these children of God whom Jesus said, “when you did it for one of the least of these, you did it for me.” Also some of the street children themselves and parents of those who had just simply run away because of the living conditions in their home come to these meetings. That day on June 15th, Lyn and I were allowed to go inside the jail with Jerry, Reynard and Edmond to preach where we baptized 6 inmates, and later that day baptized five others who had attended the prayer meeting. From that point Lyn and I have been very involved with this.
Lyn and I then began meeting daily with them every morning at 6:00am to pray and spend most all day ministering, preaching in the jails, at families of the street kids homes and meeting with people on what could be done to solve this problem with the children. In the daily morning prayer meetings, there are usually around six more or less at times who wind up spending most of the day together in ministry. Col. Romy Palgue, the police chief deputy and city coordinator is always with us in the daily meetings and spends a great deal of his day along beside us. Just recently two teenage boys who’ve given their lives to Christ and been taken off the streets have also been attending the daily prayer meetings.
As of this writing it is July 8th and as a result of this move of God, the count of baptisms counting from brother Edmond and his family in April stands at 88 baptisms including inmates and their families, police officers and their families, street children and others.
On one of the police officer’s son’s 12th birthday, he was asked what he wanted for his birthday, the son replied, “I want to be baptized.” He and his sister were both baptized that very day. Some of the inmates who were baptized in the jail were released and then had their entire families baptized into Christ when they were released. Lots of stories like this are unfolding.
These are just some examples of what is happening right now in Butuan City. I believe that due to the enormous power of the traditions of institutional church and religious practices that it may be difficult for many to realize this is not just a bunch of people from different churches working together outside of their churches or denominations for a common cause. No! This is a living church in action and unity under the headship of Christ alone accomplishing things of biblical proportions; things that only God himself can accomplish. This is not a denomination, nor a religious institution that has been set up by man, but is just simply the church of Butuan City growing rapidly as the Lord adds daily those who are being saved.
Why is this happening here, you might ask? I will tell you exactly why. Because the head of this body is not a man, but Jesus Christ. He leads and the body doesn’t move until Jesus directs it in unity in whole. When Jesus leads, He leads through the various members together as they share what he gives them to share and as the rest of the body agrees in unity. All members of His body have a contribution to make rather than when only one dictator takes control while the rest sit quietly listening. It has to be about Jesus and His will, not mine or yours. That’s how He will lead His body in unity in order to present to Himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. See, he who wants to become greatest must become a servant to the least of the others, not being their dictator and squelching out the talents of the rest of the body..
1 Corinthians 14:26- What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
Another reason is that these people involved here are desperately seeking God daily rather than only appearing for a two hour gathering once or twice per week. People have set themselves and their personal affairs aside for the sake of the kingdom of Christ. Whenever this ceases, it will die or become lukewarm like so many others.
My point here isn’t to preach a sermon, but to send out a testimony of what God is doing here in prayer and hope that it will catch on in other places.
Also we want to give people the opportunity to join with us in prayer that God would continue to move providing us with all our needs and that much fruit will be produced for the sake of His kingdom.
Some may want to help in various ways. Most all of these children have nothing but rags to wear that they’ve found somewhere and don’t even fit. Someone brought to my attention earlier about sending clothing items from the U.S. Normally this isn’t the cheapest or most efficient way to buy clothing for someone on the other side of the world, but just so happens that in this particular case there is a Philippine owned international shipping company based in the United States that specializes in shipping large quantities of clothing and other items to the Philippines for so cheap, that the clothing can be bought on sale or at yard sales and shipped to the Philippines for cheaper than they can be bought here.
The company is http://www.atlasshippers.com/ and has locations in various places in different states but not in all states. If anyone would like to send much needed clothing please contact me for details on where to ship it.
If anyone has an idea on how to help in any way, you’re welcomed to message me to discuss this.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I know it was lengthy, but I felt strongly that I need to bring out many details in making people aware of the things going on here.
Blessings to you all in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Jessica, I started to know her as LESBIAN living in an orphanage we call LINGAP CENTER IN CSWD (City Social Welfare and Development Office) Butuan City , Philippines. She looked like a guy, I continued observing her when I was assigned to the CSWD office , in the PWD (Person with Disabilities) division last July, 2012. My first meeting with her, she was running errands in the office, Mam Alesa instructed her to load 100php on her globe number. Jessica had left at 9am and until 2pm came no load received by Mam Esther. Another child was then asked to find Jessica, coz they’re doubting that Jessica divert the money, until it turns out that the LOADER STATION had a mistake of the number loaded. From this observation , I start to observe Jessica from the office. Until one day Mam Fairly approached me and said, if I like, Jessica can share a home with me. I had a mixed emotion that time because handling like this is not that easy, but when Mam Fairly talked to me, I just don’t know. My heart wanted to help this girl Jessica. Even though I have 4 children but all boys, I decided to take care of Jessica as my little girl. So, I agreed to share a home at least for 6 months. Mam Fairly trusts me a lot, even if I don’t have that much money to give Jessica for all her needs, but to give her and let her understand about family and her life to live good. Now, when everybody knows about this, one social worker talked to me and informed me that Jessica is: STEALING, WILD, VERY UNSOCIAL, DONT EAT ORDINARY FOOD , KEEPS COMPLAINING, ALWAYS GOING OUT, and NO IDENTITY. Where she came from MIGHT BE SICKLY and my children might be harmed. As I listened, I wanted to give up, but when I saw Jessica I felt pity on her instead of listening to negative comments about Jessica’s story, I talked to Jessica about all this why all this happen and she openly tell me what she wanted. I am touched because SHE WANTED TO FINISH SCHOOL TO FIND HER FAMILY. I really don’t know what to do, because my financial condition is not that stable for her to extend a help for school, until God give blessing …I MET GARY AND LYN HAWKINS, I share to them Jessica ‘s story and they help me to find a solution for Jessica, and now Jessica is enrolled in a standard school(private) STARLAND INTERNATIONAL INC. Here in Butuan City, Philippines. Do you want to know why I’M able to choose private school? Very expensive one ! It’s because I do believe that God will provide the best thing for JESSICA, and besides she is intelligent! At first I am thinking, if I enrolled Jessica in a public school were 1 teacher is to 60 students in one room what would I expect for Jessica? She was so BROKEN and needs much ATTENTION, with no FEAR ! I enrolled her in a prestigious school and told her story to the School administration Name Jan Delina. I said Jessica will represent an example for all the street children and orphanage for her SUCCESS STORY with the help of STARLAND INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL., and this makes Mam Jan discount Jessica’s tuition 50% off. Instead of paying much for the whole year its only P20,000 pesos ($500) and we will be able to complete her things permitted to pay it soon the balance, like her uniform, books, miscellaneous. What is important that Jessica will start schooling as GRADE 3 (a 14 year old girl) plus consider that the requirement will be provided later like Jessica’s Birth Certificate and Report Card from Grade 1 and 2. I am secretly sad thinking to solve Jessica’s birth certificate problem because she is totally a STRANGER and we don’t know where she came from. She was just seen in the street near a garbage can of a certain concerned citizen at around the age of one. Until 3 year old she was indorsed to LINGAP CENTER. During her childhood many places she experienced because many wanted to foster Jessica, she came from Dumaguete , around Butuan City with different foster parents with her and she was influenced with a surrounding of lesbians and she get back again to Lingap Center because of her WORST attitude. BUT, IN MY CUSTODY! GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME… Jessica feels love and importance..(you can interview her, this statement from her) I share a tear because she express to me and thank me taking care of her, she do good and not lazy anymore. All those negative on her past never happen anymore as she’s with me. She start to keep her hair long influenced by me with very girly looks and wanted to copy me. Hahaha. I am so happy after she declared this for her life. She was baptized with Gary and Lyn witnessing this Baptism of Jessica in Buenavista beach also with Kuya Molong. We have a great time together. She’s responsible, I teach her how to cook “PINIRITONG ISDA” fried fish, coz she’s afraid of the oil to touch her skin, always the fish is overcook! Ohhh not yummy… I keep her trying and trying until she knows how to fry the fish , at first she over cooked the rice. I wanted to retreat because my money was wasted but the lord tells me, worry for the living things not for the non living things. I am able to survive these emotions. Many things I encountered as Jessica’s negative attitude turned into a positive one. We had time together and our relationship as mother and child grow. Until one day were apart because I was accused of illegal keeping her with me. I needed to have all those requirement of the DSWD before I’m able to let Jessica stay with me. Now, Jessica has returned to Lingap Center, the first week of getting back this all happen; SHE CUT HER LONG HAIR, WILD IN THE CENTER KEEP QUARRELING WITH THE OTHER CHILDREN, GO BACK ON HER OLD SELF. I visited her after the Worker informed me of all this and talked to Jessica, she really got angry with me. She don’t want to go to school anymore, I talked to her about all the things why this happened. Thank God she understood and is waiting after all those requirements, SHE WILL GET BACK TO ME, now I keep monitoring all she needs, she will visit me at home for her assignments and all she needs in school. This time I am busy complying all those requirements for DSWD , and birth certificate of Jessica. I am in need of support on her school. I trust the lord that Jessica will be blessed to finish her school. For she said repeatedly: I WILL FINISH SCHOOL TO FIND MY FAMILY. I don’t want her to be disappointed on her dream. She likes to be an ARTCHITECH and said to me, ate I will build a house for you. (ohh so touch when she told me this) , 2nd I will help those kids in the Lingap and on the street. This girl really has the heart to serve her GOD. That’s why I’m able to contact kuya Gary Hawkins and Lyn . How would I address all this need for Jessica ‘s SUCCESS STORY?
“ WORRYING DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING, BUT TRUSTING THE LORD CHANGES EVERYTHING. WHEN WE PUT OUR CARE IN GODS HANDS. HE PUTS HIS PEACE IN OUR HEARTS”
( everybody can interview Jessica for all her testimonies… UNTIL the next episode! ) here the picture before and after… see attached.
Written : MARNILLE ZOILO-GABAGAT