In November 2017 a group from Open Door Church Sunbury flew out to the
Philippines to help Pastor Rolando and his church to minister to
the street children, and to those remanded in prison.
UPDATES FROM THE PHILIPPINES
Here are a series of messages sent by Andy Phillips as the mission progressed.
7th November 2017
I am sorry I have not written for a couple of days. I have tried to keep my Facebook updated with videos and pictures
which is the easiest way of you seeing what is going on.
We are having a wonderful, inspiring, fun and laughter filled, Jesus honouring, exhausting time.
We went to the small church on Sunday which meets at Ate (Sister) Jo's house. It is a small venue but in total I counted
41 Filipinos and Rolando said some were told there would not be space. We were full to the brim!
I preached on Acts 2:1-41 and we modelled a New Testament model of the Holy Spirit being allowed to work in the meeting
and Rolando was so full of joy as both English and Filipino worshiped together and prayed for one another.
Ali brought some prophetic words he had for the church as it starts out on its mission to reach the district of Dasmarinas.
We then ran Kidz Klub for 170 kids (they had been queuing since 12am, some in the rain). It is very hard to explain the joy
in the children. We ran a full programme of Kidz Klub with other more gospel focuses put in under a covered basketball court.
Fabulous time - but exhausting.
Army as an interpreter is so essential - please pray she remains strong. English is not as widespread as we had expected.
Well done to Shirley and all the team for coping with the "variables".
Yesterday I preached at the Buringuy coucil where the Civil Servants have a worship ceremony. We raised the Philippines flag,
sang the Cavite (the city) and Dasmarinas (district) hymn. Slightly surreal but being able to preach to the government was great
(if a tad early to travel by Jeepney at 6.30am!)
We then as a team went to Dasmarinas prison –so different from English prisons. We sang, Valerie prayed, we did the sin chair,
Andy H and Shirley gave testimony, Nicky explained about UK prisons and Barry preached and asked for a response and EVERYONE
responded to the gospel! Wow!
We fed the prisoners and then went to meet the Governor who explained the crack down on drugs
and drug Lords in the Philippines has meant overcrowding in the prisons. They do not have the room to sleep and so take turns;
some being on remand for over 10+ years due to there being insufficient public lawyers (Graham - fancy coming out of retirement?)
Ali and Phil G prayed for the Prison Governor.
We then went for a what we thought was a 10 minute meeting with the Mayor of Dasmarinas (about 1 million people he has
responsibility for) and has a 45 minutes chat with him. We asked some questions and found him to be an honest and forthright
righteous man and born again!! He seemed to enjoy our visit because he has invited us for a meal Sunday night!! We are being
picked up by his transport! He was amazed we lived with Filipinos and were here because we had made some friends - especially
Rolando. We explained that friendship is how mission should be done. We left with Ali praying for the Mayor.
After that we went to 4 houses in different areas of Dasmarinas where Bible Studies are held. This is more - if there is a
need Rolando will hold a Bible study - going into some homes under real issues of poverty and need but trusting in Jesus.
I went with Nicky and Rolando to Area E to a home with 3 generations in. Sara, Ali and Phil led bible studies.
We then went to one of the church members homes and enjoyed a celebration of a birthday. Singing and joy! And of course lots of
food - I am getting fatter in the Philippines.
So today we are running Kidz Klub for 300 children. Please pray! We have learned some lessons from the first time -
please pray for us all.
Pray for health, energy, good friendships to grow, the gospel to be proclaimed, and this church to be established.
Thank you for praying - sorry for the lack of update - I have been rather tired after events!!
Much love to all back home!
8th November 2017
So update on the last two days.
On Tuesday we did a Kidz Klub for 300 children in Area G in a covered court no more than 50 yards from where the church meets.
The kids assembled early and we therefore had to start early as the number of kids so excited for a time of fun became
a safety risk. This meant we were running an extended meeting; which we had planned for.
However this time we had the food delivered by the Filipino team came early and was shown to the kids which meant they were
more than a little excited and distracted and we had to cut our program short. However they heard the gospel,
sang gospel songs and a community was impacted by the love of God.
Today we had a morning of praying for the sick. Some of us went to the local hospital and prayed for a sick relative of one
of the Buringuy Captains that heard me preach on Monday. He had asked Rolando to bring a team to pray for a relative with pneumonia.
As we prayed his monitor that was bleeping the alarm and flashing red, stopped flashing red and went to amber and the alarm rescinded.
We then went to the house of Army's 71 year old Aunty who is presently planting her fourth church in the rural area of Philippines.
We prayed for her as she has had pneumonia. She seemed very well and prayed a prayer of blessing over us that we hurry up and plant churches!
Some of the team went door to door to pray for the sick. One lady prayed for by Kim had a shoulder injury that whilst Kim was praying she
said she felt intense heat and after that there was no longer any pain.
Barry prayed for a man who was on dialysis. He said again he felt lots of heat in his body and he felt he was healed.
Barry encouraged him to praise the LORD but seek medical advice and check out the healing has taken place.
We did dramas, Phil G and Army gave testimonies, Sara gave a gospel message and we sang for the first time on the streets outside the
Buringay Council offices. An amazingly busy place! We are working as one team - English and Filipinos together - living together -
eating together - proclaiming Jesus together. We handed out hundreds of tracts today and are amazed at what the LORD is doing.
Tomorrow we do Kidz Klub again for 300 children - please pray! They wanted to move us to 3rd floor building with a space half
the size of the ODCC front hall and so praise God Shirley, Rolando and I managed to change that decision to another covered
Please pray for our event to be run smoothly and for children to respond to the gospel. The UK team are coping remarkably well
and have embraced this mission with a godly zeal and enthusiasm; they are doing you proud! And pleasing the LORD!
Please keep praying for fruit from what we are doing for the Kingdom but also for Cavite Open Door Mission Church to grow.
Please pray for more supernatural breakthroughs (like Valerie meeting a Frenchman randomly to speak to!). Please pray for safety.
Thank you for your prayers.
9th November 2017
Well it has been an amazing Kidz Klub today at Area E (for me significantly the poorest of the 3 areas we have held Kidz Klub in).
Most of the children do not attend school and do not speak any English and so therefore the two church teams : Open Door Church
Sunbury and Cavite Open Door Mission Church had to work together as only the Filipino's spoke Tagalog. We had 300 children to
the event with a couple of hundred people watching I would guess.
We had an amazing time proclaiming the gospel in so many different ways in both English (translated) and the Filipinos in Tagalog.
So tomorrow we go into Bulihan prison - this is the one that it was said was quite rough and so please pray. We shall be splitting
into two teams with Mike S and Ali G preaching. We deeply value your prayer.
After that we shall be going to the Alfonso resort to do baptisms in a pool on Saturday - 27 people being baptised as born again believers.
Right now we are in the middle of "Typhoon Salome" and so that would be good to be prayed about as well! Nothing to worry about but it is
really raining and blowing out there! We are in the city of Dasmarinas in a well-built house but it does make you think about some of the
poorer families we have seen and of the poor families in the rural areas where Army's auntie is planting a church.
We are all having a wonderful time. For me the enjoyment of street evangelism and being on mission is not a surprise. The cultural enrichment
and sense of family living with Filipino's is not a surprise as I have experienced this before in France and Czech Republic;
but it is the joy, the sense of fun and the laughs we have been having. There has been a real and true partnership in the gospel
together Sunbury and Cavite churches and that has been friendship building and just great fun.
Thank you all for praying.
11th November 2017
[Due to a mixture of Donald Trump coming to the Philippines and my ability to snore I find myself with some time to write an update on what has been an amazing few days.
Apologies for any spelling mistakes]
So Typhoon Salome passed by without a hitch! Phew!
On Friday we went to Bulihan Jail. This place has to be seen to be believed. I was not allowed due to social media to show the inmates but I attach a couple of photos
and ask people not to upload them on social media. The conditions are just horrendous. You cannot really imagine how so many men can sleep in so little space.
Some men have to try and sleep standing up and rotate in time with each other. This may seem beyond belief but it is not. The jail was a high security jail
(Nicky was amazed with the differences between the jail and her prisons in terms of a lack of security). We split the team into two and ran two meetings with
team members giving testimony, praying, doing dramas and explaining the gospel and preaching the word! I was in the upper level team and the response to us was
remarkable with many joining in the songs and actions. Very few churches reach out to these broken men. Cavite Open Door Mission Church is the only church to
feed them men when they come. Many of the men are drug pushers, rapists, murderers etc. They are allowed a visit once a month from family.
The area was clean although the smell was not the most pleasant. However even with a little court where we did the meeting with the men behind bars, this is all
the space they had. Some of the men sang for us, and were given food and toiletry packs. Mike Sivyer had questioned the Mayor last week about these conditions but
the Mayor had said due to a crackdown on drugs and underfunding they find themselves in this terrible position. The prisons are only full of people from the
city of Dasmarinas. Therefore ex-cons join the church. At present the converted wife of a man doing life is in the church and a man who served 11 years for manslaughter.
We left the prison to go to the Alfonso resort. This is a resort village hired by the church for 24 hours to have a time together and pray and baptise people.
I had informed the team that it would be men and women in separate rooms; which they took with good grace (an attitude displayed throughout this trip by all - what a team!).
I was promised enough beds for all. I arrived with two short for the men and two for the women. I ensured we got mattresses for all our people. However after being
fairly "forthright" about this we saw later the Filipinos just picked up a sleeping bag and slept on the floor - mothers, children, grandparents etc.
Wow we must have looked so pampered - they in the meeting room floor and we in our room with beds/sponge mats - don't get me wrong it was bad - but the Filipino's had less and with joy!
I have news that Andy Hudson has taken over the crown of King Snorer in the church!! Dwarfing my effort - although my wife may not agree at the present time.
We were all asked to attend the Dawn Watch. This started at 5am we were told and all the ODC men arrived promptly. Of course it did not start at 5am. 5.20 - after us waking up
sleeping Filipino families we started. A great time of prayer and share!
The baptisms were in a pool (I attach a photo of Ate Marleen being baptised the host for Colyers, Goaters and Sivyers). Many from the church were in Unida denomination with Rolando which
did not practice believers baptism and so you can see the joy of obeying Jesus in their faces at now being free to live a New Testament way! We baptised 32 people. We brought with us
the model of praying after the baptism for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Many were and there were also some remarkable healings which we will tell you about Sunday morning
when we feedback to the church.
After fun in the pool - many Filipinos do not swim - it is not provided and so Sara Sivyer was showing them how. We had a feast on banana leaves. Filipino's seem to work extremely
hard but eat well! Diabetes and heart attack are the nations killers and it is easy to see why - however the food is delicious and standing eating from my shared leave was an experience
I will not forget easily. The servant heart and the joy of this day was remarkable. Women were up at 4am cooking food and loving it. "All for the LORD Pastor Andy!"
(Yes, I am very much Pastor Andy over here....)
So that was Saturday and it brings us to today. We had a great meeting, with reduced numbers (probably due to them all being exhausted from the weekend). I felt the LORD had shown me,
preaching out of Isaiah 6 that there was a lot of misunderstanding about justification and sanctification and the God he really is. Ali brought a prophetic word to the church and many
of the team contributed. Fabulous! We often get translated (I cannot tell you how hard Army has worked in so many ways!) But a wonderful time.
We then want shopping in a mall until our meal with the Mayor of Dasmarinas. The meal was on the roof garden of the Civic Building of Dasmarinas. Looking over the city of Cavite and
off to Manila from this rooftop you feel privileged, a far cry from the prisons and the Kidz Klub areas we had visited - in Area E we only had children who never went to school.
The food as unbelievably good - a banquet like the Mayor promised. The Mayor is born again and said the only way to change Dasmarinas is for Jesus and God's ways to be promoted
throughout the city! Wow! He is an honest and forthright man and deeply committed to both his people and Jesus. We were presented as a team a trophy of commendation which
Rolando will display to all - showing the great work his church does. And then we danced like only Filipinos and Charismatics can dance! Wow what joy. I think the professional
dancers were blown away by our moves actually!!
At the bottom of the building we said some heart wrenching goodbyes to the Filipino's who joined us for all the outreach and had worked so hard - but more become such close friends,
some have so little but give so much. They have taught us so much about joy despite pressure, hospitality, being positive and proclaiming the gospel.
And, now due to Donald Trump, we are having to get up early for the last bit of our trip - a 3 day rest in Bohol - a Filipino island. Time to relax before people travel home and back
to work. Due to Trump's visit all roads to Metro Manila are being closed or diverted! Oh my, traffic is never good on a normal day!
Thank you for praying for us all.
See you soon
14th November 2017
We arrived in Bohol and the hotel Sara Sivyer has chosen is very classy (you can take the girl out of "The Avenue" but you cannot take "The Avenue" out of the girl).
Weather goes from blasting heat to tropical rainstorm. We are by the sea and so you can see the rain coming!! People are generally just recovering and reflecting on the time we had.
A prayer request for the church is for Sara as she has a severely blocked ear and cannot hear out of it. She and Mike have just gone off to the doctors - please pray
she will get it syringed and all be well. She is both deaf in that ear and in pain. We have prayed (you try stopping Barry as the moment - his faith is sky high after seeing so
many healings) but as yet no breakthrough so she is on the way to a Bohol doctor. So church please pray - she has been such a star organising so much and this is robbing her of a rest.
So sitting here looking out of my room (photos on Facebook) I was reflecting about Andy McCullough's prophecy to the church on the rooms he saw 15th July 2007 about mission as I
sit in this tropical climate and reflect on the friendships we have formed as a team with Rolando, Levy, Chito Sanchez, Ate Jo, Marleen, Alfredo and many others.
So I re-read it (yes my laptop came to the Philippines):
"I see another room and it's a nation and it's actually God has spoken to you before about getting involved in a particular nation perhaps. I can see that nation it's a
hot place, it's a tropical place you can feel it in that room. God's put people there for you to connect with, other folk for you to relate with, He's made it possible for you
to get involved in this nation but someone needs to do it, you need to do it as a church you can get involved. I hope that helps you."
Wow! Tropical nation, building relationships with people, the church being involved, people to connect with.
The Eternal God had a purpose in all this!! And he said so over a decade before!
Thanks for praying.
16th November 2017
Firstly a prayer update - Sara can now hear as her ear was syringed. Thanks for praying.
We arrived at the Bohol island hotel for our flight to Manila. We were then due to go to a hotel until our flight to London tomorrow. We were settled into our seats and told to hurry
in settling down. Then suddenly all the Filipinos got up. It seems the flight was cancelled due to the light having gone - the plane had been delayed by other planes etc. We were all
taken to a hotel in the capital city of Bohol - Tagbilaran city to the Metro Hotel; given a small dinner and told we shall be taken at 4am to the airport as ours is the first plane out!
Please pray for a flight tomorrow and no further connection issues and that we catch the flight home to London.
Please pray for the team - we have all got on really well and treated each other with patience and grace but this insecurity and lack of sleep is not great - pray for unity and patience for all.
Please pray that the Rolando and his church who thankfully will still come with our larger cases at this early hour and meet us.
Please also pray for Mike Sivyer who has not been well at all. Pray for a healing and that after a sleep tonight he will be well.