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 friends across thousands of miles and a huge ocean.  

Amazing what can happen in just a few days. 

Once we were out of the air conditioned conference center, the whole day felt heavier: the traffic and smog of Manila, the lingering jet lag, the cigarette smoke leaking out of the smoking room at the airport, the frustration of spotty or no wi-fi in the airport, the tight seats on our flight from Manila... (Wah, wah, wah.)

We took our ninety minute flight from Manila southwest to the island of Palawan. We landed at the Puerto Princesa Airport, walked down the stairs to the tarmac and felt the breeze. 

We walked through the small terminal and were greeted by sponsored children with bright green t-shirts and happy alohaaaas. Pastor Ancho from Life Church was among the kids with a wide smile and a warm handshake. 

This morning Amy and I took a tricycle (a motorcycle with a cage/sidecar for passengers) to the Life Church service held at the Coliseum.

I was struck by how young the people were, the number of visitors brought by members, and the positive culture that permeates the video announcements, the call to follow Christ, and the greeting: "Tell someone next to you they are beautiful." 

Two years ago, Ancho told us at lunch, they shifted from event-based ministry to relationship-based ministry. He meets with 12 men, who each have a small group of 12, who lead a small group of 12. "I've never had more free time for my family and for rest in my 30 years of ministry than I've had in the past two years. Now I don't have to sustain the big events, people are getting connected to each other, and we have grown."

Right after the service people met in huddle groups to network with each other and incorporate visitors. There is immediate connection. A visitor not only knows the friend who brought her, but the network of friends they are attached to. 

Dan preached his message on encouragement, telling the story of Saul, Ananias and Barnabbas. We need someone who sees in us what we don't see in ourselves. We need someone who will walk alongside us in difficult times. We need someone in our lives who speaks to us, as if God were speaking to us. We need someone who will step out, even when we are afraid or it is difficult, to encourage us. 

Amazlng what can happen in just a few days. 

For information on making a difference through sponsorship:


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