Showing posts from February, 2014

Coming Home Empty and Full (8 of 8)

I’m on the longest leg of our 8,000 mile journey home—a nine hour United flight from Tokyo to San Francisco. Before our short sample sake and eat sushi stop in Tokyo we enjoyed a wonderful five dish lunch on ANA Airlines—soba noodles with a little package sauce, wasabi and sprinkled seaweed; cubed fruit salad with a fresh mint leaf; teriyaki beef with grilled vegetables and sticky rice; simple salad with Japanese cucumber, cherry tomato and a little turkey roll with something inside; and sort of sweet creamed spinach. It was all so neatly presented with chopsticks, covered dishes and a warm towel.

We are wrapping up a unique twelve day experience with Compassion International in the Philippines that also included some great components to make a full meal: Hawaiian Island Ministries Conferences, Medical Mission, Community Service Team, Compassion site visits and lots of time for fellowship, Filipino hospitality and meals.

Our conference team of twenty was a diverse group of pastors, danc…

It's Not as Hard as Pulling Teeth or I'd Rather Have a Root Canal (7 of 8)

The Aloha Medical Mission team is amazing to watch. They set up a basic surgery unit, pediatric and adult checkups, as well as a dental clinic yesterday in the jungle village, and today in a large meeting hall of the provincial Capitol building in the center of town. Since sponsored children in the program receive dental and medical checkups twice a year, this is an opportunity to reach out to their siblings, parents and grandparents who have no access to healthcare.

Today we will serve three to four hundred people from morning till late afternoon. The doctors don’t take a break. The mothers and daughters and grandparents keep filling up the plastic chairs by the dozens. Each of these patients will see a highly trained professional who is there to treat their bodies and to tell them we care because God cares.  
I asked Judy the pediatrician from Honolulu about the woman and child she was treating. “She has nine children, and this one is three years old—blind and she cannot walk.”  She’s…

Jungle Love (6 of 8)

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor... freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the oppressed free. Luke 4:18

We drove two hours this morning to a remote village in the jungle to the north of Puerto Princesa and set up a medical mission in partnership with life Church iReach. This area is known for military insurgency and we were assured they were cleared out for our visit. A few marines were on the grounds with semiautomatic guns to protect us. 

For the second day, doctors, pharmacists, nurses and a dentist saw hundreds of patients (500?), removed teeth (200?) and taught children to brush their teeth.

Amy and I helped repackage vitamins and medications. We realize we have limited skills, but the medical professionals realize they are limited as well. The most long term impact is the tangible love of God demonstrated in the jungle as an extension of the local church. Although this is not a Compassion p…

Showing Up (5 of 8)

And let us consider how we may spur each other on toward love and good deeds... encouraging one another. Hebrews 10:24-25

Saturday morning we wrapped up our conference with the Philippines Compassion staff. Dan ended the conference by asking us all to sit in a large circle and share what this conference meant to the Compassion staff. Overwhelmingly they were touched that we came. 

They thanked us for our generosity of time and topics that related so closely to their life situations. Pastor Noel, the national director for Compassion, asked the HIM team to stand in the middle of the room and for the next five minutes we were showered with gratitude, blessings and hugs. 

I know God used our words in our workshops and talks, but maybe more importantly, God used us to listen, to pray, to be present with staff who are exhausted from typhoon relief from the outside and a staff reorganization on the inside, not to mention the tremendous work of releasing children from poverty. We made new frie…

Encouraging Hearts (4 of 8)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Day 1 we visited a local church Compassion project and that afternoon began a three day conference with 75 Compassion staff who serve in the Manila office or in the field to support 330 projects.
Working to release children from poverty is hard work. Those in the office support the mission through administrative roles like translating letters and accounting, and others in the field as project specialists, working with local churches to develop partnerships with Compassion. 
The Philippines are made up of 2,000 inhabited islands, so churches are spread out in long distances, which means staff are away from their families for sometimes a week at a time, then return for church on Sunday, where they often have responsibilities in ministry.
In addition to the challenges of their daily work, they are engaged with the aftermath, clean up and r…

Josephine's Baby (3 of 8)

Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:16–17

After breakfast and before our conference began we loaded the bus for a project visit. Pastor Nay greeted us with smiles and laughter, grateful for our coming. He's led the church and the Compassion project for 13 years and serves 165 children. 

Although the projects for education, health, faith and life skills are located in a church building, 80% of the children sponsored are not from the church, but from the neighborhood. Compassion's strategy is to reverse poverty by supporting the development of 1.5 million children worldwide who in turn impact their families and their communities. 

We talked with the director who showed us children's notebooks with birth certificates and health records, educational standards and letters from sponsors. "Letters are so important to the children,…

Partners (2 of 8)

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3

Of the many motivations for this trip with Compassion international to the Philippines, relationship is high on the list. 

Dan Chun is the Pastor of First Pres Honolulu and we've know each other for 20 years. Dan started in television news, served at Menlo Park and Honolulu Churches. He and his wife Pam founded Hawaiian Island Ministries 30 years ago to support and encourage island churches. Amy and I have attend the 4000 participant HIM Conference almost every spring as attendee or speaker.

I appreciate Dan's vision, faith and his commitment to unity among churches in Hawaii. His engagement with Compassion International ( is fantastic.
I went with Dan and 20 o…

Off to the Philippines (1 of 8)

"We are not simply to bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself." Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" Isaiah 58:6
Amy and I are en route today to the Philippines February 10-22 to serve with Compassion International, Hawaiian Islands Ministries and First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu.
We will begin our experience in Manila as a part of the Hawaiian Islands Ministries (HIM) team, where we will lead a conference for about 75 staff of Compassion International in the Philippines. I will be giving a plenary talk and Amy and I will do one workshop together on growing your marriage and another on gifting and calling in ministry. 
The HIM Conference ( in Honolulu has been a great encouragement to Amy and me over the last decade, where 4000 meet for encoura…