The Manila Mission Team (MMT) arrived on Monday, 3rd of August, 6pm. We were greeted by Allan Adorna and Ps. David Quebrar, staff of Ambassadors of Jesus Christ (AFJC) at the airport. The first thing we experienced was the warm welcome of Filipino hospitality, followed shortly after by Manila’s massive traffic congestion. After travelling in a non air-conditioned van through peak hour for about 2.5 hours, we arrived at our destination for dinner, a Filipinos’ family favourite fast food joint, Jollibee. We travelled back to the AFJC headquarter after.
For the next one week, the MMT stayed at the AFJC headquarter, a three-storey building located in Valenzuela City. Staying close to their operation, we got to experience every part of AFJC ministry. We visited and shared about God’s love in a prison, a hospital, the AFJC pre-school, and families living in slums. We also had the privilege of ministering to the AFJC volunteers through leading daily devotions and trainings. Here are just a few of the memorable moments we had:
On the first day of our mission week, we went to Valenzuela City Jail (VCJ). VCJ is a tall building with steel awnings all over. A pot of Loh Mee – Filipino style noodles soup was brought along with us to feed the prisoners. We split into groups of three: Winnie and Ate (sister) Donna went to one of the female dorms, Shannen and Myca to another. Lillian and Pastor John went to the male dormitory. We each preached a gospel message to encourage the prisoners and prayed with them. Their hearts were so soft before God that about 30 to 45 of them received Jesus on that day.
Pre-school and home visitation
On the third day of our mission week, after a mouth-watering breakfast prepared by the warm-hearted nanays (hostess) at AFJC, we travelled to AFJC pre-school. Upon arrival, the staff and the sponsored kids, aged between four and five welcomed us warmly. The pre-school holds two classes a day. Each class takes in about fifteen sponsored kids who are less fortunate in the nearby areas as going to school represents a significant financial loss to the family. Our mission for the day was to minister to the kids and be the love of Christ to the family whom we will be visiting in the afternoon. Before we started our ministry, the kids melted our hearts with performance of ‘Give Thanks’ in English. We started off with teaching them a new song ‘Jesus got the whole world in His hands’ and then a visual storytelling session about ‘7 days of God’s Creations’.
After fellowship lunch in the ministry house, we proceeded to our second mission of the day – home visitation. Three of us were split into 3 groups accompanied by AFJC staffs and volunteers. We were given opportunities to bless two families of the sponsored kids with grocery packs (sponsored by Hands of Hope). We walked with the families to their homes. Walking through the slums where the families live left us feeling uneasy. It opened our eyes to see how living under poverty line was like in this modern age.
They lived in simple shelters, some of them in huts made of wood, iron, plastic or whatever they could find to build walls. Most of them came from the provinces, hoping for a better life in Manila but unfortunately the big city did not fulfil their dreams. We were told that one of the parents in a family would work seven days a week to make a living and yet they could barely support the family, not being able to afford the basic but essential things such as medication. However, through the sharing and testimonies of these families, we learnt what true reliance on God was. They taught us so much about being thankful in all circumstances and always looking to God as our provider. It is better to have spiritual richness than physical wealth.
Sunday Service at Hope Manila
We visited Hope Manila on the last day of our trip. We arrived at 9am to find that all the ministry teams were doing devotions together prior to pre-service prayer. After lunch, we were encouraged to see almost the whole congregation went to the “Word for Life” classes. Such hunger for God’s word!! What inspired us the most was their conviction in church planting. Many people, including families with young children had stepped out in faith to pioneer life groups and services in different cities.