​Transformation and Reconciliation in the Philippines

July 23 2018

Can God work in an environment of bitterness, discouragement, and broken relationships?

The Juan Project, a saturation project in the Philippines, seeks to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches. But, as the work expands, God brings healing and transformation to individuals, relationships, and communities as well. Here are some stories of this change.

Winnie, a pastor’s wife testified that she used to resist the ministry. She had strained relationships with the leaders of the church and other workers. Since she attended the Juan Project’s basic coaching training and got more involved in the additional trainings, her encounter with the Lord has changed her heart. She has started building relationships with the leaders of the church. Now, she has better working relationships with the leaders as they serve the Lord together.

Years ago, leaders chose to leave their denomination. Pain, hurt, and bitterness resulted. The present denominational leader involved in the split, humbled himself in a Juan Project training and apologized for past wrongs. A leader of those who had left the denomination also apologized. Reconciliation among former colleagues occurred. Today, they are working together on the same team for the saturation vision of the Juan Project among overseas foreign workers.

Pastors are also confessing how their relationship with their children has changed when they changed their approach. This was one of the results of coaching and of the work of God in their life.

As others see or hear of this transformation, reconciliation, and multiplication, the work expands into other provinces.

In preparation for the training in one of these provinces, the project manager for The Juan Project ran three ads on Facebook. On the first morning of the training, a pioneering church planter saw one of the ads when he opened Facebook. Immediately, he called and asked if it was too late to register for the training.

This pastor appeared at the training in the afternoon. He attended the rest of the training. As the training came toward the end, the pastor confided, “I was ready to give up and walk away from ministry. But, today, I am reborn. I have new tools to take back and use with my people.” A five-dollar investment in three Facebook ads led to the renewal of a discouraged pioneer church planter. He went home a new, energized worker.

God brings healing and reconciliation so that multiplication occurs.

Tags: philippines, the juan project, saturation ministry, transformation

​Evangelism and Discipleship Within Prison Walls

July 17 2018

What do you do when nothing is working?

Ronnie, an Every Community for Christ (ECC) worker in the Philippines, faced such a question. Ronnie has a very pleasing and likable personality, but he also has a profound hearing loss. Unable to afford a good set of hearing aids, Ronnie struggled with making contacts, evangelizing, discipling, and planting new churches. He tried everything, but nothing was working.

That is … until the Christmas season came.

The mayor of Ronnie’s community approached him and asked Ronnie if he would make the Christmas star that would represent the community in the contest among the communities in their area. Ronnie agreed, but the project was bigger than he could handle. So, he enlisted help from the police department, who got the prisoners in their local jails involved.

Christmas passed. The star represented the community well, but Ronnie was not finished with his contacts with the prisoners. He started visiting the local jail. He began Bible studies within the cells. He sought out resources the prisoners needed like food, fans, checkerboards, and more. The prisoners accepted him. Prayer support grew. Prisoners entered a relationship with Christ. They got baptized. Ronnie began to reach out to other prisons, and to the families of prisoners. Ronnie had found his niche in ministry.

Today, Ronnie ministers within 10 different provincial jails in the Philippines. He has baptized over 150 prisoners. He sees an average attendance of 372 prisoners in worshiping groups or “cell churches” in the prisons. Ronnie is seeing lives transformed. He is equipping leaders who can assist in the ministry and start house churches when they are discharged into the community again.

Ronnie now has a partner in the ministry. He met a man named Jaimie in the prison. He helped Jaimie enter a relationship with Christ and discipled him. Jaimie was serving a life sentence for using and selling narcotics (and related crimes). Through a turn of events demonstrating God’s intervention, Jaime was released and is now committed to doing all he can to go back into the prisons with the Gospel. He wants to disciple those who make decisions for Christ.

Feeling like nothing is working for you? Persevere like Ronnie. God may have a wonderful role in ministry for you to step into, just like Ronnie, to help others hear, understand, and respond to the Gospel.

Tags: prison ministry, evangelism, discipleship, philippines,

​The Juan Project

July 3 2018

The Philippines – a Christian nation. Not really. In its research, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) revealed that 90,500,000 Filipinos have never experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That represents 90.5% of the population.

Our Every Community for Christ (ECC) leadership team there knew that without some change, we would never make a significant dent in this statistic. We went to prayer. After four days, the Juan Project emerged.

The name for the Juan Project comes from the name Juan Dela Cruz (Juan for short), which has come to represent every Filipino individually and all Filipinos together. The aim of the Juan Project is to reach every “Juan” in five different provinces (Aurora, Leyte, Pangasinan, Samar, and Tarlac), and two people groups (students in the five provinces and Overseas Filipino Workers in 10 countries). We desire to plant a healthy, reproducing church in every sitio or purok (the smallest governing unit in the Philippines) in the five provinces. And, we will plant a healthy student ministry at each of the public college and university campuses in the five provinces.

We have completed the first year of the Juan Project. The first six months started slowly. In those months, we focused on building capacity, raising prayer support, building partnerships, offering training, and continuing to support the other ministries of OMS Philippines as they have contributed significantly to the saturation vision of The Juan Project. The fruit has come in the past six months.

In terms of capacity, we have grown from seven church multiplication facilitators (CMFs) to 25 CMFs and associate CMFs. Each works in a province to come alongside churches and organizations to cast vision, train, coach, encourage, provide prayer support, and instill accountability. We also have 54 trained facilitators who form the training teams to equip lay people to reach their families and communities for Christ. One hundred and fourteen new prayers groups have formed. Prayer walks and overnight prayer meetings are common. We work with at least 30 partners. And, in the last year, we have held 54 trainings, involving 895 people from over 100 churches.

The results: 216 groups started, 361 people equipped and mobilized, and 1,913 people who have entered into a relationship with Christ. A small but important turnaround.

Pastors now testify that their passion for church planting is rekindled, their perspective challenged, and their minds opened to church multiplication. PTL!

Tags: ​the juan project, evangelism, church planting, saturation, philippines

​Rice Planter to Church Planter

April 25 2017

Jose Nunez, from San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, grew up helping his family on their farm. He learned to prepare the field, chose the right seeds, water, prune, and harvest the crops. As he learned the family trade of how to farm, he also learned how to gamble and drink alcohol at a very young age.

“I helped my family in the field in the morning and once we were done, I would gamble either by playing cards or cockfighting. This all changed when I went to South Korea in January of 2006 to work in a manufacturing company,” Jose related.

During Jose’s first month in Korea, he met a pastor from Pakistan who told him about Friends of All Nations and that he could meet other Filipino there. So, he went and met the pastor and some other Filipino workers. From that day on, Jose continued to go to FAN. As he learned more about God’s Word, a hunger to know more grew in him. Jose shares, “I kept reading the Bible and attending the Bible studies in people’s houses. Not long after that, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and was baptized on June 7, 2007.”

The changes in his life were not sudden, but as time passed, he noticed there were drastic changes compared to his life before. His perspective on life changed, and all his vices disappeared. “My desire now is for my entire family, my friends, and relatives to come to know the Lord,” Jose said.

Jose met his wife at FAN in 2009 and got married in September 2010. They both grew in their spiritual walks through the ministries of FAN. In 2011, they returned to the Philippines and with the help of a pastor from FAN, Jose and his wife started a Bible study in their community and some of Jose’s relatives accepted Christ. They are now part of the local church in their community. My whole family is actively involved in our church.

In 2012, we returned to South Korea for work. Now his job is not located near a FAN branch. The company is located in a remote area and there are no churches nearby so Jose and two of his coworkers started a Bible study. Jose shared, “Now, we are about a dozen people who attend the study. Some are just listeners for now, but some are on fire as they study God’s Word.

“God allowed me to learn how to be a rice planter in the Philippines who cares for his crops and knows how to make them grow. Now, I use those things that I learned in planting rice to plant churches!”

Tags: philippines, south korea, farmer, rice planter, church planter, immigrant ministry,

​From Darkness to Light

April 18 2017

My name is Verrose Nunez, and I’m from the Philippines. I moved to South Korea in 2001 to work as an entertainer. I worked as a singer in a bar in Seoul, along with six other women. We worked from 7 pm to 3 am daily. Eventually, I quit my job and worked as a factory worker in Incheon to have a better salary and work environment.

In June 2009, friends invited me to attend a Friends of All Nations (FAN) meeting. My friends wanted to show me how God was faithful in their lives. The first time I visited, I felt the power of God and the love of the Christians that I met. After a few months, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I was baptized on October 19, 2009.

My life was transformed from darkness to light. Since then, I have felt something different in my life. I learned the things that God doesn’t want me to do and also the things that he wants me to do, especially during rough times in my life.

I became a worship leader at FAN, and I was so happy that I was using my gift of singing to worship him and not to sing for men at the bar. God also led me to FAN to meet my husband José, who was a leader in the Filipino community. We got married at FAN in September 2010.

Just as the Bible says in Joshua 24:15, I promised God that my family and I would serve the Lord.

Through FAN, I felt the love and support of our pastors and brothers and sisters in Christ. I was far away from my family, but I didn’t feel alone because they all considered me as part of their family.

In 2011, I returned to the Philippines. My family noticed a big difference in my life. They noted that I was calm, content, and full of joy … totally different from the person that I was when I left the country. I am so thankful to God that he took me out of the darkness and brought me to light, and he also gave me the strength to love others. We soon started a Bible study through which my younger sister and her family accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Even though my husband still works overseas, we are in constant communication with each other, and we always make sure that we are encouraging each other to grow more in the Lord. My husband, daughters, and I talk as a family through Skype. José and I want to make sure that our daughters understand the Bible and know God. As a family, we pray, read the Bible, and memorize and recite verses. It is hard being far away from my husband, but God strengthens me daily. I lead the youth and serve as a worship leader at our church, where my two daughters love to sing and learn Bible stories.

Tags: immigrant ministry, diaspora, south korea, philippines, outreach,

Young Adults are Our Future

May 27 2015

The future growth in the Philippines will come from the tremendous group of college-age young people God is raising up. We saw their enthusiasm and potential when we visited the Don Mariano Marcos State University in La Union.

We met the Dagupan team at the National Lay Leaders' Training in Baguio (more than half of the lay leaders were from this age group), and at the Banaba House Ministry retreat for 17 young people, primarily children of ECC workers and pastors.

These young adults are catching the vision of church multiplication through T&M training and desire to spread the Gospel throughout the Philippines and elsewhere. They come to the training events and return home excited and ready to apply what they learned. They are starting groups on their campuses and in their communities.

One young lady attended the training in La Union. She committed to start a group with two friends on campus. She started with nine! The group has now grown to 20 members. She is training three leaders in order to divide the group so that it may continue to grow. The members lead worship teams and are involved in children’s and youth ministries in their local churches.

We believe that many of these young people will be the future T&M trainers in the regional training centers, and the church planters and pastors needed for the developing house churches.

Tags: philippines, young people, retreat, ecc, t&m, worshiping groups, training, multiplication,

​What Might Happen ... With Great Training

April 21 2015

Rinse & Repeat. Most shampoo bottles recommend doing this for the best results. When you want the best results in reaching the unreached, the best method is Train & Multiply. When Willy and Vicky moved to Tacloban City, training was not anywhere on their immediate radar. God had called them to be there for the people post-typhoon and to share their faith in Jesus. They quickly discovered that preparation through training was necessary as the ministry was growing at a remarkable pace.

In June of 2014, they attended training in a process called Train & Multiply (T&M). When implemented properly, this method is producing much fruit. The three-day training equipped Pastors Willy and Vicky to open many new doors in Tacloban City. Instead of trying to disciple everyone, they are now able to train a team. This is similar to the way Jesus demonstrated to us, working with the 12 disciples.

In January, Pastors Willy and Vicky facilitated training for 13 people. On one end of the spectrum, they had highly educated individuals (a college professor, a retired regional social worker, a teacher, and a retired teacher, and a couple of barangay {neighborhood} officials). At the other end, they had individuals who struggled with the learning process. What a wild range of participants. Willy and Vicky did a superb job of handling both groups well. Excitement pulsated through the room when people shared their vision maps. Willy and Vicky are currently working with groups in 7 areas or regions. They could have 7-8 more areas if these lay people follow through on their goals and visions.

Train & Multiply was instrumental in One Mission Society and our partners starting 25,565 new worshiping groups in 2014. Pastors Willy and Vicky are a true testament to what might happen if we could mobilize ordinary people to go out into the harvest fields.

By Shane Christopher, Development Officer, Every Community for Christ

Tags: training, train and multiply, philippines, church planting,

What Might Happen? - Training

April 20 2015

Rinse & Repeat.

Most shampoo bottles recommend doing this for the best results. When you want the best results in reaching the unreached, the best method is Train & Multiply.

At the time Willy and Vicky moved to Tacloban City, training was not anywhere on their immediate radar. God had called them to be there for the people and to share their faith in Jesus.

They quickly discovered that preparation through training was necessary as the ministry was growing at a remarkable pace.

In June of 2014, they attended training in a process called Train & Multiply (T&M). When worked properly, this method is producing much fruit. The three-day training equipped Pastors Willy and Vicky to open many new doors in Tacloban City. Instead of trying to disciple everyone, they are now able to train a team. This is similar to the way Jesus demonstrated to us, working with the twelve disciples.

In January Pastors Willy and Vicky facilitated training for 13 different people. On the one end of the spectrum, they had very highly educated individuals (a college professor, a retired regional social worker, a teacher and a retired teacher, and a couple of barangay officials).

On the other end were individuals who struggled with the learning process. What a wild range of participants. Willy and Vicky did a superb job of handling both groups well. Excitement pulsated through the room when people shared their vision maps.

Willy and Vicky are presently working with groups in seven different areas. They could have 7-8 more areas if these lay people follow through on their visions.

Train & Multiply has been instrumental in One Mission Society and their partners starting 25,565 new worshiping groups in 2014. Pastors Willy and Vicky are a true testament to what might happen if we could mobilize ordinary people to go out into the harvest fields.

Tags: training, unreached, train & multiply, philippines, t&m, make disciples,

​What Might Happen? Having a Plan

April 16 2015

I love it when a plan comes together, especially when it is God’s plan. On March 15, 2014, the plan was in place, and Pastors Willy and Vicky moved from Tarlac City to Tacloban City. By car, this is a more than a 24-hour move. Their plan was to distribute roofing sheets to people who lost their roofs during the typhoon. This would give them an opportunity for connection to the community.

In the first two months, they had distributed sheets to 44 homes in one area and 22 in another. They requested the roofs be painted red so you can see which houses were given new roofs. The picture gives a view from the top with several homes “seeing red.” The best part of the ministry is the relationships built with people who have started attending house churches as new believers. In two months, they already had two worshiping groups meeting weekly with more than 50 in attendance.

The people of the Philippines are such giving people, despite what little they may have. If you are visiting, they will prepare a meal or an afternoon merienda (snack) from what little they have. Many of the locals lost their families in the typhoon. Some parents lost all their children; children lost all of their family members. In fact, in one family alone, 26 people died.

A woman survived with all eight of her children by clinging to trees while the storm surge hit. By God’s miraculous grace, they all survived. This was not the case for many, as more than 6,000 people lost their lives in Typhoon Yolanda. The area was devastated, yet the people still show love and hope.

Pastors Willy and Vicky have committed to stay three years to help those in need and to build up leaders in the church. They live sacrificially and have a true heart for glorifying God in their daily lives. They yearn to do more for the families of Tacloban City.

To be continued …

By Shane Christopher, Development Officer, Every Community for Christ

Tags: god's plan, typhoon, philippines, plan of action, compassion ministries,

What Might Happen? - Plan

April 16 2015

Plan.

I love it when a plan comes together, especially when it is God’s plan. On March 15, 2014, the plan was in place, and Pastors Willy and Vicky moved from Tarlac City to Tacloban City. By car, this is a more than 24-hour move. Their plan was to distribute roofing sheets to people who lost their roofs during the typhoon. This would give them an opportunity for connection to the community.

In the first two months they had distributed sheets to 44 homes in one area and 22 in another. They requested the roofs be painted red so you can see which houses were given new roofs. The picture gives a view from the top with several homes “seeing red.” The best part of the ministry is the relationships built with people who have started attending house churches as new believers. In two months they already had two worshiping groups meeting weekly with more than 50 total in attendance.

The people of the Philippines are such giving people, despite what little they may have. If you are visiting, they will prepare a meal or an afternoon merienda (snack) from what little they have. Many of the locals lost their families. Parents lost all their children, children lost all of their family – 26 people were lost in one family alone.

A woman survived with all eight of her children by clinging to trees while the storm surge hit. By God’s miraculous grace they all survived. This is not the case for many as more than 6,000 people lost their lives in Typhoon Yolanda. The area was devastated, yet the people still show love and hope.

Pastors Willy and Vicky have committed to stay three years to help those in need and build up leaders in the church. They live sacrificially and have a true heart for glorifying God in their daily lives. They yearn to do more for the families of Tacloban City.

To be continued…

Tags: god's plan, philippines, typhoon, relief, restoration, house church, worshiping groups, grace,