“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
We arrived in Iligan City on June 1. Fighting between military and international terrorists started about 1 week before we arrived in nearby Marawi City. Marawi is located just 20 miles from Iligan but due to road conditions, it takes 1 hour to travel there. We had consulted with our staff and ministry partners in Iligan and they had reported that it was “business as usual.” However, there were military checkpoints on all the roads leading into the city and helicopters flew around the city every morning. Our seminar on Advanced Expository Preaching started on the afternoon of June 1. After checking into our hotel in downtown Iligan, we traveled 20 minutes east of the city to Kiwalan Baptist Church, led by Pastor Jun Mabano, also serving as Area Coordinator of the area. Thirteen pastors and church leaders attended the seminar. Many more had planned to attend but due to the situation, many could not come. On one side of Iligan near the road going to Marawi, due to the strictness of the checkpoint, travelers waited in line for up to 6 hours. Participants of the seminar included Filipino missionaries in a nearby country, local pastors, and instructors from a local training center which trains Filipinos to reach unreached Muslim tribal areas in Mindanao. Through the interactive seminar, the participants were equipped with an effective tool for communicating God’s Word. All commented in their evaluation that the seminar was very informative and edifying. During the seminar, two helicopters flew over the church where we held the seminar. We learned later that a terrorist had been captured nearby. Media representatives from all the major news stations stayed in the same hotel where we lodged. Stores closed early as people followed the curfew the government had imposed upon the area for the safety of the locals.
On Monday, June 5, we attended a graduation of a nearby training center. Six new equipped missionaries were trained. After going back home to their families and local churches, they will be sent to their areas for mission. On Tuesday, we traveled to Pagadian City. On the way there, we stopped at a local church where one of the attendees fed us a delicious and large lunch. The food was delicious and the fellowship with the pastor was encouraging. Like in the days of the early church, hospitality is practiced among believers. In Pagadian, we attended a graduation of 4 CCI classes on Wednesday and I preached the gospel at a local private college that afternoon. Two hundred and fifty students heard the gospel clearly. Three of the students held up signs for me (creation, fall, and salvation, Gen. 1-3). During the salvation invitation, the majority of the students could be heard repeating my prayer. The administration has invited us to have a part in the school’s programs. Many are followers of Jesus Christ and want to influence the students for the glory of God.
On Thursday, we traveled to Dipolog. Friday night and Saturday, we led the God’s Financial Principles seminar with 61 people. The GFP seminar has 6 sessions and we showed 6 videos from Crown Financial Ministries after each session and divided the attendees into groups with discussion questions. This is the first time we did this and we found this to be very effective with the participants.
On Sunday, we preached at various churches and I preached at Sola Scriptura Church’s 13th year anniversary celebration. Monday we left for Iloilo City and we began the Seminar on Advanced Expository Preaching (SAEP) on Tuesday morning with over 50 pastors and church leaders. One pastor told us that he didn’t really feel that he needed to be there since he had been pastoring for many years and already knew expository preaching but had come with some friends. He said that he probably wouldn’t stay for the whole seminar. However, on Thursday, he attended and in his evaluation, he stated that he had learned much and found it very beneficial.
From Iloilo, we traveled to Cebu and stayed with Dick & Gloria Persons. Dick oversees Camp Karis and is our business manager for the Philippines team. Friday we traveled to Tagbilaran, Bohol. That night we met with the IAMP board and shared our vision for Camp Karis, a 10 hectare (20 acre) camp in Ubay. We have been managing the camp for the last 2 years. IAMP decided to continue the partnership for another 2 years or until they can transfer it to CCI Philippines.
Our time in the Philippines was abundantly fruitful and encouraging. We praise God for His protection, provision, and most of all, His presence.
Please pray for and support CCI!
Dr. David Nelson