13 – 17 Sept 2017
Day 3 – Orphanage / Girl’s Home
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
Photography by Kate and Matthias
13 – 17 Sept 2017
Day 0 – Arrival
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!
Christiane & Donna on behalf of Marikina, PHI 04
Photography by Kate & Matthias
Part 2 will be published soon, stay tuned!
9-14 Aug 2017
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.
7-12 Dec 2016: PHI 15
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.”
As we gathered at the airport to pray before our departure to Marikina, Isaiah 60:1 was given from the Lord to us. Upon hearing that, we could see that the Lord’s hand was upon us as we headed out into the mission fields. This verse spoke to many of us, especially for me as it builds up our confidence and strength to reach out to the lost souls in Philippines even more.
Day 1 — After landing in Philippines, we met up with Pastor Kathy (PK) and her team who showed us to our accommodations. That evening, we got to minister to the “surrenderees” (drug addicts who turned themselves in to the government). Being led by the Lord to prepare on a topic just a day before we departed, I stood out in faith and shared my testimony as I felt it was for them. It was also my first time sharing and I did not know what to expect. However I could feel the peace of the Lord within me and the message was delivered smoothly! The Lord also led Ann to share a message on true repentance, and we saw around 20 decisions for Christ that night. Even the police officers responded! We also got to pray for everyone individually.
Day 2 — The team started off the day heading to the provincial prison, where we held a Christmas celebration service for the detainees. We organised a concert for them and played charades with them. They had so much enthusiasm that they literally ran to the stage even before we described the game! Darren and Joshua also shared their testimonies with them.
Later in the afternoon, we went to a village for “Porridge Patrol”, where we gave out food to young children. As we drove into the village, it started to rain heavily, but we proceeded to set up for our outreach. Miraculously, as we started to worship, the rain stopped! After worship, we also taught them a song about the Holy Spirit and performed a skit on Jesus saving us from the devil and sin! Thereafter, Shawn and Hannah shared her testimonies with the kids and we ended with prayer and food! This was an eye opener for me because I was amazed by how a service could be held in the open with just two shelters, a speaker, a microphone and a guitar. It took me a while to soak in the environment and how blessed we are on every weekend services.
Day 3 — The team headed out to the old folks home for a Christmas program, but before the program, we were allowed to walk around the compound and talk to some of the elderly, even praying for them. During the Christmas program, it was a joy to see some of the elderly putting up a dance for us, and later on, Beth shared a message about being fruitful in old age and Angeline shared her testimony. We distributed a mid-morning meal for the elderly and had a clothes giveaway. Later in the afternoon we came back to minister to the staff where we played some games, and performed a skit for them. Stanley also shared a message about being joyful in circumstances.
Day 4 — While praying in the morning, we got words from the Lord regarding “new grounds” and salvations. We headed out to the Boys’ Home, where we sang a Tagalog worship song (Mahal na Mahal Kita Panginoon) and Counting on God, with the chorus translated to Tagalog. We included actions for the boys, as they loved to dance. We then put on a skit about being special in God’s eyes, and Darren shared his testimony and gave a salvation call. We saw around 40 kids who raised their hands for salvation and we got to pray for all of them individually.
Later, we found out from Tontie (our host) that he had not met most of the boys before as they were relatively “newer” and so may have not had the chance to know Jesus yet. While we initially thought that the word about “new ground” was referring to a new home where PK and her team were just given permission to minister to that week; later we found out that we would not be able to visit the new home on our trip. It turned out that the prayer for “new ground” and salvations was linked and was pointing to these boys! Indeed God never fails!
Day 5 — On Sunday, we attended the Cornerstone service and had a great time of worshipping God as one body, followed by a sermon by PK. After the main service, we had a youth fellowship with the youths (Geners). We played some games, had lunch together, and then we had a time of worship. Shawn shared about the dreams and burdens that the Lord has placed in each of us and led us in an activity in which the Geners took post-its and wrote down their dreams and prayer requests and then pasted them on the floor. We all corporately prayed over the dreams and then challenged the youths to take home someone else’s post-it to keep praying over it. While praying, we received the word “run fast” and “acceleration” and prayed it into the group. Tontie then mentioned that acceleration is actually the group’s theme for the season. We also got to pray for each Gener individually.
Day 6 — As we left with a heavy heart, we bid goodbye and prayed for each of the staff at Marikina. It was indeed a memorable mission trip and even more so for me, given that it was my first mission trip. During the trip, there were many times that the team did not know if our sharing was appropriate. However, outreach after outreach, we have been hearing stories of how our sharing spoke to them in the midst of everything that they were facing. It is indeed encouraging and we could see that the Lord’s anointing is upon us!
The team had such big hearts that I believe we should all yearn for each and every day. Their personal testimonies will definitely be always remembered and will be eagerly waiting to see them when they visit Singapore!
Team PHI 15 and the staff from Marikina (Tontie and Ate Avic)
Jia Jie, Marikina, Philippines
Phi 06: 31 Oct – 5 Nov 2016
The God of Small Things (Dental Missions)
By Joanne Hioe
You wouldn’t have guessed the person looking at your teeth, dressed in scrubs, would be half of a modern-day Priscilla and Aquilla – until you’ve met Jeremy and Ker Shin. This couple with the beautiful smiles love God, love missions, and best of all, they aren’t afraid to deal with life’s realities of head-on – such as pulling teeth.
Both dentists, who met at university (though they were not seeing each other at the time), regularly commit their time to serving God in the mission field through their professional skill – dentistry. Their willing hearts have brought them from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and most recently, to Santiago, in the Philippines.
“What impact can a short-term mission trip make?” ask many medical professionals, especially as one-time treatment for chronic diseases may do more harm than good. But for Jeremy and Ker Shin counter one question with another: “If I can help one person, why not?” Dental missions can still make a positive difference, the couple affirms, because what you see as a small investment may be of great help in the long term.
“There are people we serve in Cambodia who tell us that the last time they had a dental checkup was when we went one year ago,” said Ker Shin (possibly more often than many Singaporeans…).
Ministering as part of the larger body of Christ
For the duo, the experience of Bless Santiago was unlike any other. First of all, this massive team of 80 meant a greater capacity to reach out together. Unlike previous trips, where teams were sent out specifically for dental missions, Bless Santiago put the dental team in close contact with other ministries in the church. “The hands and legs team was amazing,” enthused Jeremy. “We only needed to explain what had to be done in the sterilization room in the morning, and by evening it was automatic.”
Each of the “body” complemented the other. With cross-ministry teams, the Singapore team could love the Filipino community in a holistic manner – body, soul and spirit. “Even while waiting for the doctor, the freedom ministry was on standby to pray for the patients,” Jeremy said. It helped to have the cheerful, irresistibly warm volunteers of the freedom ministry break the ice when a person in dental scrubs could appear intimidating.
In between moments of extracting teeth, there still were rewarding opportunities for dentists to minister Christ. “When we pray with them, we can share the gospel,” Jeremy said. Such spiritual deposits last longer than the effect of a checkup, because the person you share the gospel with will remember the work you have done later on, he added.
Going on mission trips helps Ker Shin rediscover her God-given passion for the profession – helping others, and education. “Going on mission trips helps me to remember the root of why I do what we do,” smiled the mother of two. Wanting to inculcate her passion for missions in her children, she is looking forward to bringing her elder six-year old daughter on a mission trip soon.
God is in the details – of teeth, children, and little seeds we sow for His kingdom. Nothing is too small for Him to use.
“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”
– 1st Cor 3:6
What can I do?
Are you a dentist? Go! Given the technical expertise needed for dental missions, your willing hearts are most welcome.
You’re not a dentist? Don’t fret – there’s still much that you can do.
1. Public health.
With training, you can teach others the importance of oral hygiene and tooth-brushing techniques.
Oral hygiene is not highly valued in developing countries because of the urgent need for money to satisfy one’s day-to-day needs. On one particular trip, Ker Shin found that tiny toothpaste tubes they bought were out for sale in the market the next day. With your help, we can put a stop to this, and make oral hygiene a priority.
Dentists need far more equipment than doctors, including their chairs and tools. Thus far, Cornerstone has been supportive of the purchase of dental equipment. With your giving, it could go even further.
PHI 12: 31 Oct – 5 Nov 2016
More than 200 volunteers had been involved in the Bless Santiago couriers program which took place on 31 Oct to 5 Nov in the city of Santiago, Philippines.
Themed City 2 City, the inaugural Bless Santiago project sought to bring God’s love and minister to the local community through a diverse and extensive series of outreach efforts. This included medical and dental missions, live stage shows at the local mall, children’s programs and prison outreach. The key highlight was the Kingdom Invasion conference which happened during the last 2 nights. We saw speakers like Pastor Nikki and our very own Pastor Yang deliver compelling and empowering messages of hope and salvation to the audience.
Our team comprised of 8 team members: Meida Chooi, Abigail Lew, Genevieve Lim, Samuel Tan, Aunty Lay, Christina Cheng, Sean Teh and I. We were involved in planning the children’s programs which ran alongside the medical and dental missions daily in partnership with the local Santiago and Philippine churches.
Having been brought to Cornerstone by a Filipino ex-colleague, I was deeply touched by the warmth and generosity of spirit of the Filipino community. Bless Santiago was my second couriers trip to the Philippines, the first being to Marikina 2 years ago.
I witnessed first-hand how God moved, with people encountering God in such real and personal ways during the entire week of the trip; it was particularly moving. One of the most poignant and memorable aspects of the trip for me was that people from all walks of life shared incredible testimonies of healing and restoration and surrendered their lives to God.
In the children’s ministry, through a series of games, arts and crafts, praise & worship and bible storytelling sessions, kids as young as 4 years old readily responded when the salvation call was given. We had a total of 109 children receive Christ throughout the entire 4 days.
I also experienced God’s goodness and faithfulness as our prayers were answered! Despite the rain and poor weather conditions in the initial few days, we had a steady stream of children passing through our doors and we had several returning in the subsequent days!
It was also very encouraging seeing how God broke down divisions, barriers and united the local Filipino and Singapore churches, including volunteers, for His Kingdom’s purpose. The unity of spirit was unhindered despite the language and communication challenges!
All in all, the Bless Santiago project has stirred and renewed a deeper hunger and passion for our Lord. I have been inspired to press on and continue the good works started here in Santiago for His kingdom’s glory!
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Peggy Phor, Bless Santiago 2016
A brief photo collage of the trip.
Team PHI 12!