Upon Nic's arrival at the hotel, we heard of some sad news regarding the delegates that were staying at the Nehemiah center. Sometime late in the night, they were stolen from while they were sleeping. The thieves took only money, but what they left was a sense of fear and anger among those precious people. But guess what, it was still to be a GREAT day. We really sensed that we needed to begin the conference that day with an extended time of prayer & worship. The devil was not going to win! Later that day we also took up an offering for them during an exuberant time of praise. These folks are like FCC in many ways, & one is definitely giving. It seemed as though every single person came forward to meet these people's needs. This was a GREAT day!
D'ette & I led 5 more sessions interspersed with some wonderful times of praise and worship. I had asked Nic if we could have as many worship leaders that had attended the conference to lead us. Because this is a conference meant to empower & encourage local leaders, I wanted to give them the chance to lead us. So throughout the day, we had 5 different worship leaders lead us. Most of them were backed up by the amazing "house" band from New Hope Christian Community at the Nehemiah Center. However, there was one group of guys that really stood out to me. They were a trio on electric guitar/vocals, bass guitar & drums. They had come as delegates with Pastor Lolita. After being led by them I discovered that these guys take the love of the Lord && all their instruments) deep into the jungles of southern Mindanao. This is the most dangerous part of the island as it is inhabited by radical muslim terrorist groups. Wow! I can't imagine what they go through on a daily basis. I was truly blown away & blessed! There were great musicians too.
After a wonderful day of sessions, we wrapped up our Foundations class & are ready to start on The Character of a Worshipper tomorrow.
At 4:00 Lisa & Mercy (translator) began the children's portion of the conference. What an absolute joy it was to see all of these little kiddos worshipping together. They sang songs, heard a Bible story (very well behaved), colored & had a snack. Lisa & Mercy did a great job of laying out the plan of salvation using the Evangicubes that we brought. Remember, this is how my daughter Emily recently accepted Christ. This was quite the emotional experience for myself & Lisa. Emily will always be connected in our hearts to these precious children here in Jasaan.
Just following the children's session, we had a quick rehearsal for tomorrow evening's Night of Worship. I am continually blown away by the skill & diligence to practice that this band has. They truly want to serve God with excellence & do so through their actions.
Exhausted & ironically refreshed, we were off to dinner at a local cafe (run by Nic's cousin). When in the Philippines, you must have the Halo Halo. It's basically cold fresh fruit mixed with ice shavings & some other unknown tasty stuff. It was very refreshing after a long hot day. Back at the hotel, we settled in with an episode of White collar on my laptop & soon went to sleep with the sounds of Karaoke in the distance (not so far actually).
Ahhhhh, GOD IS GOOD!