At the orphanage. We took Polaroids of every child, made photo frames and asked them to write what they loved most about themselves, to affirm that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in Christ.
Generosity was the recurring theme of the day: a 13 year old asked to take a polaroid with Donna, then told her that it was for her to keep. Also, we made friendship bands at the girls’ home, but they actually outdid us by teaching us even more intricate knots. We ended up learning much more from them instead. At the end, a young girl called Angel even approached Christiane and gave her the beautiful friendship band that she had made.
This really moved us, as to these children, we were mere strangers. But they put themselves aside sharing what they had, just like the poor widow in Mark 12; her two cents were declared by Jesus as the largest offering of all, because it came from the heart. Their Christ-like hearts in that moment humbled and inspired us.
Day 4 – Cornerstone Marikina Sermon on Adoption
At Cornerstone Marikina’s Sunday church service, Gerald Clark, Founder of The Home for Good Foundation, shared his powerful testimony of adoption and his orphan-care ministry. Led by the spirit, Pastor Kathy closed with her story of her own two adopted babies and its accompanying struggles. This resonated with many of our teammates who’ve either been healed of orphan spirits in the past, or have a heart to adopt.
Pastor Kathy encouraged us that she has never seen the Spirit flow as strongly and freely as with our team – “You can tell that this team has prepared and prayed for their trip”. God had honoured our willingness to go beyond what was required! Let this be an encouragement for all who have yet to go out – intercession is crucial! The mission begins the minute you sign up.
Throughout the trip, it never ceased to amaze us how God has clearly given Filipinos such strong, innate musical giftings and a love for music as a nation. Through these, we can already see God moving and touching lost sheep in Marikina. It is a promise of much more in the future, where Philippines as a country will use music to save nations and bring countless people back to Christ.
We left Marikina with a deep burden to pray for more provision as well as labourers to continue sowing seeds in the hearts of Marikina’s children, elderly and homeless. With such little time spent there, we knew that more missionaries still need to come and help them foster a deeper heart change towards Jesus. Our earnest hope is for them to be surrounded by the unceasing embrace of our Father’s loving presence, and to know in their hearts that they are special, they have a purpose, and that they will never, ever be abandoned.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Christiane and Donna on behalf of the Marikina Phil 04 Team
Top to bottom, left to right: Joel, Terry, Pastor Monroe (Marikina), Victoria (Marikina), Rachel, Kate, Pastor Kathy (Marikina), Christiane, Donna, Li Min, Joshua, David, Matthias, Gabriela, Madeline and Spencer
The Great Commission resonated strongly in our hearts months before our flight. From the beginning, we made a commitment as a team to go beyond what was required: meeting weekly to intercede for Marikina, worship, bond and prepare thoroughly with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Because of the intentional seeds we invested in the hope of seeing God’s glory and power break through, we left for Marikina that day as a family on fire: 6 brothers and 7 sisters coming together to serve our Lord.
Together with Pastor Kathy and her team, we shared God’s Word, our testimonies, words of knowledge, home-cooked meals, and led the Filipinos in worship, dance, stories and activities. Many of us stepped out in faith to pray fervently for the people. We saw how our Father moved among His children; proving that He is a God of kept promises. He performed the same signs and wonders in the Bible that we were trusting Him for; the deaf heard, the lame walked, pain ceased, hearts opened, and people were healed physically, emotionally and spiritually!
Day 1 – Kamada Home (Street Families)
On makeshift benches in what looked like a run-down classroom, we dove right into ministry with 80 adults and children from Kamada’s street families; all living together in crowded quarters upstairs. Some young mothers carried their infants and sat amidst the crowd as Cornerstone Marikina’s team led worship, followed by Christiane’s beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” (pictured above).
After acting out the Sin-Chair skit, Gabriela taught about God’s promise to save those stuck in sin, and Donna shared about how God transformed her life. Despite it being their first time, it was humbling to witness how the Spirit flowed and tied everyone’s parts together seamlessly.
Some highlights from ministry time include an old lady who was mute and almost completely deaf since childhood, whose hearing was instantly restored after prayer. There was also a 10 year-old girl (below) paralyzed from her hips down since infancy, due to meningitis. After the laying of hands and intercession, she regained sensation in her legs and could stand and walk with aid for the first time in her life!
The boys were bursting with excitement when we began praise and worship, especially during our music performance. They mimicked all of our dance moves and we played Tug-Of-War (below). During Matthias’ sharing about identity, we noticed a change in the spiritual atmosphere.
Meanwhile at the factory, David preached about how God desires to deliver His children from their sin and struggles, sharing a powerful testimony of his uncle whose debts were completely cleared overnight when he trusted God for breakthrough. According to the full-time staff, that night was the first time he saw so many workers responding to an altar call (above: 60% of those attending), compared to the usual 1 in 10 people.
Day 2 – Old Folks’ Home
After a hilariously heartwarming dance medley by the Lolas, we broke into three groups led by Christiane, Joel and Spencer; each sharing their personal testimonies in different parts of the compound.
When Spencer ended his teaching in the main hall with the bold statement, “Jesus come and explode in healing”, throngs of old folks were moved by the Lord to respond to the altar call (below).
In the ward for well-behaved Lolas, there was an old lady who was previously wheelchair-bound and now in a walker due to severe leg pain. After praying once, she could stand for the first time in months, but still could not walk due to curled toes. So we prayed again – her toes uncurled and she was completely healed, walking around the room without any help or pain! From this, God taught us the power of persistence and prayer on the mission field.
Afterwards, we related a vision that God wanted to give her a special present. We encouraged her to ask God what was inside, and with tears in her eyes, she told us that He had given her a new pair of sandals. What boundless love and good gifts our Heavenly Father has for each of His children!
Looking back, divine healings followed wherever we trusted in the Lord and called upon his Spirit: swollen joints, stomach pain, neck stiffness, impaired vision and even paralysis from stroke were healed in Jesus’ name. Many arms and legs that could not move were now fully functional, swinging and kicking for all to see. God truly exploded in healing miracles that day!
Written by, Christiane & Donna on behalf of Marikina, PHI 04 Photography by Kate & Matthias
For most of us in the team, this missions trip to Philippines was our first missions trip. As such, the team was really excited yet, nervous, as to what this trip held in store for us. We set forth with expectant and open hearts to what God could do through this trip. Moreover, we also partnered with another team from Emmanuel Assembly of God (EAOG) for the entire duration of the trip which was indeed a blessing.
Our team photo at the airport before we embarked on our journey to Philippines!
The first place we visited was the women’s prison. Most of us held a preconceived idea that a prison will be a rather cold, unfriendly and dark place. However, the place was drastically different from what we imagined. The women were able to freely move around within the compound, and in actuality, these women were so full of joy that it did not dawn on us that they were in a prison. Our team prepared a special song item, titled “Good Good Father”, for the women. After the song was sung, Pastor Kathy said that she felt the presence of an angel singing alongside our team member who presented the song. This greatly encouraged us and set the tone for the rest of the session. A representative from each team took turns to give a message; amazingly, both teams have prepared a message from the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. The message touched the hearts of the women and that they were thoroughly engaged, some were even shedding tears during the message itself. Indeed, the presence of God was evidently felt during the session.
Boys’ Home, Girls’ Home and Orphanage
The following places we went to were the boys’ home, girls’ homes, and the orphanage. Initially, we were a bit hesitant to take the initiative to approach the children. However, we soon felt at ease with them and we just realized that happiness can be so simple; just taking a photo with them, playing simple games, or even carrying them on our backs could plaster such huge smiles on their faces. It was then that Matthew 25:40 resonated so strongly in me. Whatever we are doing for these children, who were supposedly cast aside by society – a hug or just loving them – we were doing it unto our Lord Himself. Also, many of us told the children that they were beautiful, which reminded me of Psalms 139:14, that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, each of them precious in God’s sight.
Our theme for the children’s ministry was dreams – how God has destined for them to dream big dreams that will glorify Him. Coincidentally, the team from EAOG was doing their ministry revolving around the theme of “Restoration”. When we pieced together our individual themes, we slowly began to see God’s overarching plan of how He wants to restore the children and then, dream big dreams for Him. We saw many children being touched by the Father’s heart and had an avenue to share the dreams that God has birthed in them.
The boys at the boys’ home posing with their handmade crafts!
One of our team members posing with the girls at the girls’ home (with the trademark Korean heart sign!)
Interacting with the children at the orphanage.
Old Folks’ Home
The last place we visited was the old folks’ home. It was a place that really left a huge impact in our hearts. Hundreds of elderly were housed within a small compound and some of the living conditions left a few of us in tears as we just felt so much empathy from within. However, during the later part of our session where we interacted with the elderly, we could feel that our companionship and conversations made them so joyful; that was enough to bring immense warmth to our hearts.
The elderly joining us for songs & dance!
On our last day of the mission trip, our team went to Cornerstone Community Church, Marikina. We first attended the main service with Ps Kathy preaching. When we reached the venue, instantaneously, it felt like our own service back at home! After a short lunch, we sat in for the Generations (youth) service. The atmosphere was lively after a series of games and forfeits. One of our team members shared regarding the season of rain to encourage the youths to press on for their school outreaches. Because of the typhoon that happened recently, some Geners went back to school for make-up lessons. However, thank God that many of the outreach leaders were present. When our team prayed for the youths, we were greatly impacted and felt that their hearts were so hungry and on fire for God.
One of our team members preaching with a translator.
Though we started the trip with another team from EAOG, we ended as one huge team – a body of Christ. It was so fascinating to see how our messages and activities were in sync. Even though we may be teams from different churches, we still serve the one and only true God. As what Ps Yang said, it takes a citywide church to bring in a citywide revival. We had the absolute privilege to see a glimpse of that in our time in Marikina. Overall, I can proudly say that it has been an extremely blessed mission trip.
Our last photo with Ps Kathy before we bid our goodbyes.
Syaloom! Our team pioneered the first ever courier trip to Gereja Bethel Rohulkudus (GBR) church in Batam.
Some #funfacts for you, readers:
The distance from Harbourfront to Batam is actually closer than Pasir Ris to Jurong!
I took about the same time to get from Batam to Harbourfront, compared to Harbourfront to my home in the northeast
GBR church is situated within the village area south of Batam. It serves the local community with the focus of running children ministry programs in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The meetings are often held in the various houses of the villagers. GBR also has about 20 Bible students, aged 16-30 years old, who reside within the church with the responsibility of running the programmes.
On our first children’s ministry session, I teamed up with Jeannie, Wei Kian, and 3 students. We headed to a nearby village about a 15-minute drive away. As we got off the vehicle and walked towards the house where the gathering was held (only accessible by foot), Daniel Aritonang – a son of GBR, started calling out the names of the children as we walked by their houses. One by one, we would see them excitedly run out of their houses and follow Daniel as we marched towards the gathering place.
Almost instantly, we were reminded of the gospels where Jesus called out His disciples to follow Him. From a young age of 2-10, these children gather at the house every week to worship, pray and learn about God. It was amazing to see the energy and passion that the Bible students had for God and the children. This same passion was reflected in the children during times of worship and prayer. Clearly, this is a picture of discipleship.
Daniel Aritonang (left), as he enters the house where the children gather
Children praising and worshipping God
The church runs such gatherings around the surrounding villages everyday, up to twice daily. It may also be done concurrently at different venues as the students are allocated to different places. As for our contribution to the ministry, we prepared crafts and games, which we would then use to illustrate a teaching.
Drawing and colouring on a paper plate crown to signify us being children of God I
Drawing and colouring on a paper plate crown to signify us being children of God II
Apart from children’s ministry, the team was often put on a spot when we were asked to share a word, a testimony or even sing a song. Thankfully, we had this covered as preparing a message was part of our pre-trip preparations. Over the next few days, we each took turns to share in the bible students’ devotional time, two youth services and two main services on Sunday. At times, we were led to pray for the students as well as various individuals among the community.
Praying for the daughter-in-law of Pastor Pantas and her son, Miguel who lived in the same house as us during our stay.
GBR is a church that spans way beyond its four walls. While they may not have much as compared to the churches in Singapore, Pastor Pantas Aritonang, founder of GBR, shared that 10 years ago, a missionary prophesied that there would never be lack in GBR; that God would provide for every necessity. From providing food for over 30 people residing in GBR daily, running children ministries all over, bills and many more – all these were evidence of His providence. God is doing a great work through GBR in Batam and we were indeed blessed to be a part of the GBR family for the 5 days.
Group shot with the GBR family at Barelang bridge
For most of us, Batam was our first mission experience. Despite Batam being so close to Singapore, we saw for ourselves how the two cities are worlds apart. Our hearts are enlarged as each of us return home with the question, ‘What about my community and how may God use me?’
P.S. I strongly recommend this trip for students and youth who may be tight on budget but wish to experience the mission field. Remember my #funfacts? Now go! And be a blessing to the nations.
In appreciation of Cornerstone Courier Team – unto the uttermost part of the earth in Cambodia
1-5 December 2016
When I heard that Cornerstone Church Singapore would be sending a “Courier Team” to Solomon Independent School, my first thought was that the Church might want to donate used clothes, old shoes, toys and leftovers through the services of DHL Courier. Thank God, things turned out even better. The Church sent a team of 13 members to the school instead. They arrived on 1 December 2016 by plane – not DHL Courier – and came in obedience to God’s calling to bless our children, pray for the sick, minister to the poor and needy and share the Gospel in Cambodia.
The Courier Team ministered, first and foremost, to the children of Solomon Independent School, through lively and meaningful activities. Parents and children were invited to celebrate Christmas together in school, where the Gospel was widely preached. We also had a wonderful time of fellowship with the local youths. The team further divided themselves into four groups and dispersed to visit many villages, giving out rice and dry rations as love-gifts. Our Cornerstone Couriers brought the Love and Blessings of the Lord to the doorsteps of the young and old, the poor and needy, the ailing and the lost. The sick received prayers of healing in Jesus’s name, and the Gospel was shared to many families.
We appreciate very much the video posted by Joanne, which presents a beautiful picture of the eventful time that the team spent with our School.
6-9 December 2016
Together with three Cambodian Pastors – Pastors Kea, Mok and Rom – Team Leader Luke and I extended our trip to Kampong Preah An, situated by the Mekong river, facing Laos. It took us several hours to arrive at the three villages there. The villagers were invited to assemble by the Mekong river, where we distributed rice and other rations. There, I supported Luke who was preaching by the Mekong river, in the footsteps of Christ preaching at the sea of Galilee. About 190 villagers from the three villages gathered to celebrate Christmas as one. Many came, and were given physical and spiritual food; many prayed the sinner’s prayer and received Jesus into their lives.
Our new believers soon faced some persecution: they were barred from drawing water from the well owned by non-believers. And so upon our return to Singapore, with the Church’s blessing and under Luke’s leadership, a sum of USD1,000 was raised immediately from Luke’s cell group. The money was sent over and has been used to build a new well – where ALL who thirst can come and draw the Living Water from the well. I believe the well-water must taste especially good, since Pastor Kea has just received requests from two other villages, Kampong Poh and Commune Selaumi, for us to build similar wells for them.
Our team of 7 members, began our mission adventure to Sri Lanka on 19th Nov 2016. For this trip, we were heading back to visit Shalom Home, in Maskeilya, where 5 of our fellow members had the opportunity to visit the year before. Hearing stories and anecdotes from these 5 members who had been to the girls’ home stirred up a sense of excitement and expectation in our spirits.
After a 4-hour journey from Colombo, we reached Shalom Home, nestled among the tea plantations. We were greeted by the girls who were eagerly anticipating our arrival – they presented us with fresh flowers, warm hugs and their brightest smiles. Later, they treated us to a performance of Sunday School Songs with actions that they had learned a year ago. It was a heartwarming feeling to know that they remembered what was previously taught! It reminded us of the verse in Matthew 21:16 – “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise”. The praises that came out of these children’s mouths was indeed of joy and praise to our heavenly Father!
During this time, we also had the opportunity to witness the love of Christ to a woman who was seeking refuge and shelter for her 3 sons due to family circumstances. Our team leader, Christopher, and Adrena ministered to her about the love of Christ and led her to Christ through the sinner’s prayer. As we had brought bags and clothing from Singapore to bless the girls, we offered some of these for her and her children. She was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude, and mentioned later that she had never felt such love before. It reminded us of the command in the bible to take care of the fatherless, orphans and widows as in Psalm 83:3 – to defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Before she left the home, we reminded her to always fix her eyes on Christ and that God was her Jehovah Jireh, who will always protect and provide for all of her family’s needs. With the help of the supervisor of Shalom Home, we arranged 2 weeks’ provisions for her family from a nearby grocery store.
Projects at the home included painting a room that had been converted into a study room, teaching the older girls how to use the computer, and to sew with the new sewing machine from our project fund. We were also tasked with the opportunity to teach the older girls life skills such as budgeting. After the lesson, we brought them on a trip to the grocery store where we divided them into groups and accompanied them to purchase items from a shopping list. Through this experience, we hope to have helped instill the value of money to the girls which will be beneficial to them in future. The shopkeeper even treated us to free drinks when they found out that the girls were from the home!
We ministered to the kids through activities such as bible stories, games and craft. It was a joy to see the girls’ faces light up with delight as we engaged with them. One takeaway that we had learnt as a team was the beauty of simplicity – it didn’t take much for the girls to express their joy. On a particular night during the trip, we pumped balloons to entertain the little ones, and soon they were laughing and running around with one another in excitement and popping all the balloons! It was very reassuring and a joy for us to hear from the matron of the home, that after every bible lesson, the girls would share with her what they had learnt. What a great comfort this was as Proverbs 4:21 reminds us not to let the commandments of God escape from our sight and to keep them within our hearts.
Throughout the trip, we were blessed by the girls at Shalom Home, and we could see how they were ever passionate for Jesus. From our conversations with them, we found out that some of these girls wanted to be pastors in their future vocation. During one of the sharing sessions, we gave them the task of praying for one another and it was evident that they were prayer warriors as we witnessed them interceding for each other through the prayer list that they had made. Their zeal for Christ stirred within our hearts.
Being part of missions is indeed a joy and privilege as we are the salt and light of the earth and the world for Christ. This trip has indeed reminded us to continue to show the immeasurable love of Christ to his beloved children, and in return, we were blessed by the simple faith and actions of the girls from the home. We are indeed blessed to be a blessing to these girls and to others!