Philippines Mission Team Testimonies – Don, Mark & Chris

Don Griffith: When I started out the past week, I thought it was going to be easy.  I watched my teacher doing it first and thought it would not be hard at all, but when I started my first class, I realized that I couldn’t do it without God’s power to help me.  The next day during devotions, I came across Proverbs 25:27-28 which talks about glory and how if we are to be looking for any glory, it should be only to God, and that’s what we did.  Only by God’s grace and power were we able to have the opportunity to preach the Gospel to all those people.  It’s amazing to see how God works.  I had one guy in one of my classes that looked like a tough guy with an attitude of “yeah whatever”.  I prayed to God that I wanted to see this guy get saved.  I preached and God opened his heart “wide” open.  I saw tears coming out of his eyes and I knew God was working.  I saw what God was doing.  God did this in other classrooms too.  I have heard stories from others about how God worked in their classrooms.  Pastor Mike told us at the beginning of the week that God was going to use us tremendously.  I thought yeah He is, but I didn’t truly believe until my second classroom and standing here I am still amazed at what God did and is doing over there.  Thousands are hearing the Gospel everyday, and thousands are making decisions as well!  Pray for those over there spreading the Gospel, and pray for those students as they make their own decisions.

Chris Brittingham: Set my heart, O dear Father, On Thee, and Thee only,Give me a thirst for Thy presence divine. Lord, keep my focus on loving Thee wholly,Purge me from earth; Turn my heart after Thine. A passion for Thee; O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God. Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart.Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.

These are the lyrics to the song A Passion for Thee. This was one of the songs that we sang on the last Sunday in the Philippines during the worship service. I believe that this was God’s stamp on the end of my two weeks, because the main thing that I learned during the two weeks I was there was having more passion for Christ. I went into this missions trip thinking that I was here to minister to the people of the Philippines, and that I was going to teach them how to be better Christians. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as I stepped into the Student Movement for Christ Center in Dumaguete, I saw that the Filipinos were extremely nice and they welcomed all of us visitors as soon as we walked in. They have a passion for welcoming and accepting visitors. That made me think that i need to have more passion when I see visitors in my church, instead of hanging out with my friends and staying in my little group, I need to reach out and welcome the new people. If no one is willing to step out of their comfort zone and welcome those visitors, they will probably think that this church is unfriendly, and they might not come back. That is one thing that I want to work on, and the Filipinos showed a great example of that to me.

Another are that I saw passion was in prayer. We held a prayer meeting early in the week, and the passion is there voices as they were praying out to our God was filled with emotion, and I feel that emotion is lacking in my prayer life. I realized that I need to pray with more passion, and I will see God do more awesome things in my life. On Tuesday when we started doing room to room preaching, I thought that I was going to do really well and get a lot of people saved. In the first class that I did I realized that I was not ready, and that I was not getting the message across to these students clearly. I kept relying on my strength to preach. I couldn’t figure out why so many other team members were telling stories of many kids getting saved, and I couldn’t say the same thing. That night I remembered Don’s devotional the night before that talked about giving glory to God and not to ourselves. I was trying to give the glory to myself and I wasn’t giving it to God. So I just prayed, and tried to apply the same passion that I saw in the Filipinos. I just gave everything to God and I just let Him take control over the situation. The rest of the week I was seeing kids getting saved, I realized that it was all God and not me. I could tell that there was prayer behind me the rest of the week. There were hundreds of people all over praying for us, and I realized how powerful prayer can be if it is filled with passion.

The last area that I want to highlight is having passion when worshiping God. The first night that we arrived, we had a Truth Seekers meeting. The worship service was awesome. The amount of passion that was filled in everyone’s voices was unbelievable. The room was electrifying, and I had felt a feeling I have never felt before. It was like the presence of God was in that room. No one cared how they sounded, they didn’t care how they sang. They just cared about praising God with as much heart and passion as they had. I feel like I get so apathetic when praising God, and I realized that night that I need to praise God with that same amount of passion. God is the only reason that we even have a life, and that we have the choice to accept his eternal gift. Without God we would have no way into heaven. He has given so much, and often times we don’t worship him with our whole heart. I want to have passion when I worship God, and not become so apathetic.

When we sang “A Passion for Thee” on that Sunday morning I felt an even more presence of God than before. It was an amazing feeling that I will never forget. Everyone was singing with passion, and it couldn’t have closed the week off a better way.

Mark McDavid: God is doing amazing things on the island of Negros Oriental in the Philippines, and I am so grateful that God gave me the privilege to be a part of it. God gave me the opportunity to preach in 17 different high school and college classes which totaled up to be 748 students. At the end of each class we had the students fill out a paper with their name, address, and asked them to  write yes or no if they made a decision to trust Jesus alone for salvation. It was exciting to read their answers. For example, one of the girls wrote on her paper, “Today I put my faith in Jesus alone to get me to heaven. I am not relying on my good works. I now have a relationship with Jesus.” Then the girl put a smiley face at the bottom of the paper. There were dozens of students who wrote something similar. At the end of each class I would ask if anyone had a question regarding what I talked about. At the end of one class a 15-year-old boy on the back row raised his hand. I called on him and he came walking up to me until he was about a foot away from me. Then he pointed at me and said, “You said the Bible says we can’t get to heaven by our good works . Show me in the Bible where it says that.” I had him read in front of the class Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:8-9, and I showed him several other verses. While he was reading the verses everyone was completely silent and paying attention. It was awesome to see that God was really working in his classmates’ lives. God showed me these two weeks that “The harvest truly is plenteous.”

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