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TondoTondo is a district located in Manila. It is located directly around the Manila harbour. The population, is estimated at over 600,000 people, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Smokey Mountain is a former garbage dump, which has become green from the growth of uncultivated sweet potatoes. To this day, many people earn their living through from recycling garbage.
The Vision»How did it all start?« A question often asked when we share of what we are about to do. Sometime during the September of 2016, we were invited to join a corporate outreach to Tondo. I was not one of the people going, but that was our start. Something touched our hearts in such a way that we knew we had to come back. In December we went again, with the first experience still heavy in our hearts. We had organised a small evangelistic crusade on the Field of Dreams, next to Smokey Mountain. Several of our staff team felt a burden for the people there, which we could not ignore. We particularly felt the spiritual need. We started going there monthly, with two priorities: To share the gospel, and to worship Jesus in all kinds of different places. From our first base there we walked many kilometers, looked into many places, and explored everything which we saw or sensed. We stopped for the one who was alone, the old man sitting on the sidewalk, the mother carrying her baby, and the group of bored children. It quickly became clear that God’s heart is in Tondo and that God wanted to have us there.
We understand that God wants to transform all of Tondo. Isaiah, chapters 60-61 have become key passages of scripture to us when searching for God’s intentions:
Stench to fragrance
Violence to peace
Curse to blessing
Poverty to wealth
Oppression to freedom
The word of our testimonyRuel Dela Cruz has walked the most in Tondo. He has shared his testimony countless times and hundreds got saved by the power of God. He doesn’t get tired of worshipping in dark street corners and dirty seaside locations. His love for the people and place keeps growing.
He tells us about his experience in Tondo: »The very first time I was there, God showed me that Tondo is full of precious treasures: people! After two years, it is still the same. The people’s souls are still ready to be harvested. When I was young, I learned to be a fishermen and so learned different methods of fishing. All the methods have one thing in common, though: You always go where the fishes are.« God is calling together a team, and he is not looking for the perfect, capable, or well educated. God is calling people who are willing. Trust God and don't think that other are better suited because they have the qualifications. I have always been touched when people share their testimony and live their story. Through God's love and compassion they start sharing and reaching out to others. God’s heart wants nothing but to reach out to all those who are lost. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. Ruel and Jackie Lou will move to Tondo with their three children and a full-sized team.
Please pray with us, as this is a new big step. Pioneer situations are often attacked and challenged. We need an army of prayer warriors backing up this ministry. So it will unfold the way God has planned for it.
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It's always different»My goal was to experience missions instead of always talking or dreaming about it. That's what happened during my three months' stay at the Father’s House - many ups and downs included. It was a very enriching time for me and definitely broadened my horizon. In the Philippines, I experienced that many things don’t work according to plans. Instead, things just seem to happen very spontaneously, which often challenges the German mentality. For example: »What are we going to do with the kids on the weekend?« Answer: »We can decide that on the day!« I learned to live more in the here and now instead of always being under stress, largely due to appointments that I have organised. Yes, life here is easier in many ways.«
Gibberish»Being surrounded by people who speak another language, drove me further into God's arms and taught me to stay in an attitude of prayer and seeking the presence of God. I learnt to be more dependent on him and his love instead of relying on love and attention that I may receive from other people. In the Philippines, many people speak English, however in the Father’s House most day-to-day conversations were held in Tagalog and to begin with, I often felt left out. However, looking back I am very grateful because it made me spend more time in prayer.«
God - the good Father»I also experienced God's goodness and provision for the first time. I wanted to spend four days at the beach but didn't know if I had enough money for that. I prayed about whether I should go or not and felt that I should book anyway, believing in faith that the money would come. The day before I left, I found an envelope with 2,000 Pesos in front of my door. When we finally paid for the hotel, we got a 20% discount. God is such a good Father!«
»Though one situation I learnt how important every individual is to God. After a long trip away, one of the children ran away from the Father’s House. We were all very sad and concerned. In my evening prayer time, I asked God to protect the child and bring it back home safely. I felt so desperate and couldn't find sleep. God spoke to me: »Yes, that's how I feel when one of my children runs away from me!« It was so special to experience a little bit of how God feels when one of his children turns away from him.«
Tondo»During my time at the Father’s House, I also had the opportunity to participate in two outreaches to Tondo. During these trips you see a lot of misery and brokenness. I learned that Jesus is the only hope and answer for this world and that it needs obedient people to take the Gospel to such places. We are the light of the world and we must go to the dark places to fulfill His destiny. It was also my first time to see many people, especially children, giving their lives to Jesus and I could see how hope suddenly was radiant in their eyes.«
You will be changed»If missions is on your heart and are willing to accept the challenges that go along with it, then you are in the right place here. However, bear in mind, three months will go past very quickly. I recommend to all volunteers to stay six months or longer. It will change your life forever and you will go home a different person than you came!«
This is how you become a volunteer at HELP International!
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The paradeAfter a two-hour parade, we ended up on a basketball court in the middle of condominiums next to Smokey Mountain. Jayson shared his testimony on how Jesus saved him from the darkness, heavy drug addiction and how Jesus restored his life. There was deliverance of fear, so much hope spread in that place. Different nationalities and churches, and people of different ages came together to lift up the name of Jesus and to believe for transformation - TONDO4JESUS!
Above all elseWhen having our prayer and fasting week last January we heard God speak to us to do a worship march through Tondo. This was our starting point to plan for it. We connected with churches, looked for the route and booked courts. We advertised and mobilized, printed T-shirts and Tarpaulin, made banners, hire a sound system and more. However, above anything we did, we held on to and believed in the vision that God will bring transformation to this place and prepared this event in fasting and prayer. We added two nights of crusades to the event with Walter Heidenreich.
Our first task was to clean up the garbage, followed by inviting people of the surrounding, playing with kids that were covered in dirt, yet carried beautiful smiles. None of us had experience in doing such an event, but we worked hand in hand. We had meals outside in a canteen and slept squeezed together with many others on the floor. Our whole HELP Philippines community joined the march … only the watchdogs stayed back home. God was honored in those days and we are in awe of his mighty work. Indeed, his eyes are watching this place full of love and he crowns the people with beauty.
ImpactWe believe this events has had great spiritual impact. God's presence brings change!!!
In a hallway of one building a lady asked: »How can this change happen? I heard those testimonies and gained hope to believe for my alcohol-addicted husband.«
Many followed the prayer to receive Jesus in their hearts – some silent others out loud. Nothing is impossible with our mighty God!
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We had the opportunity to minister to »drug surrenderees« in many parts of Cebu and Camotes Island. Sharing our testimonies on how Jesus set us free from addictions and spreading the message of hope that is found in Jesus.
Revival behind BarsThere is an ongoing revival in prison, specifically in Cebu City Jail, which houses six thousand inmates. Prisoners get saved and find hope in Jesus. Most people do not want to associate with these brothers, but I am telling you, man, their hunger for God will inspire and minister to you. We also went to a smaller prison and shared our testimonies there.
»I was surprised and amazed of what God is doing inside the prison. There is bible study in every prison cell, this is »cell group« in its purest form. During the worship time led by an all-inmates worship team, the presence of God was so strong. The place was packed with people full of hope in Jesus. We shared testimonies and encouraged the brothers, but in the end we were more encouraged than them. I saw people have to sit in prisons for years, and when they are released they can go as trained pastors, being a blessing for others and sharing hope!«
Impacting StudentsWe also went to schools, as there are open doors to share the gospel. Many of these kids heard the gospel for the first time and listened attentively to us. We want to express to all the teachers our gratitude for giving us the opportunity to do evangelism in their schools.
»To speak about drug awareness and their effects has been the door for us to share in the schools. While seeing the pupils and listening to the ongoing program, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, to speak up: »Don't limit yourself just because you grow up in a simple island, you're families’ resources are limited, and that fishing and farming is the only option. Nothing is impossible to our God. His ways are much higher than we can dream of or even imagine." I can only trust God, that some of the seeds that we have sown will make an impact on the students’ hearts and future.«
Church InsightsWe also had the chance to visit some churches in Cebu. What amazes us is how fired up they are in worshiping Jesus. In one of the churches that we went to, we were given freedom to do anything. Thus, we led worship, sang in tongues and worshiped in the Spirit ... we laid hands on the people and released prophetic words over them. We also attended a Sunday church service where one of us shared his testimony and eventually was invited to share it also in their youth gathering of about 200 young people.
CHOPAfter days of ministry, we went to CHOP (Cebu House of Prayer) to join in a »harp and bowl« intercession. We also went to places and worshiped Jesus prophetically. Cebu belongs to Jesus and He reigns in this island.
These are just a few of the things that transpired in the outreach. All in all we shared the gospel to more than 500 people and more than half of them gave their lives to Jesus. Doors opened, we made contacts and preached the gospel.
»For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes ...« (Romans 1:16)
We had the privilege to visit Darwin in Camotes Island, who successfully finished the Set free program last year. How thankful we were to see him reunited with his wife and family. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at their house and were able to ministered to many. Darwin is a co-pastor, is leading worship and sometimes he preaches. To listen to his mum, how she experienced Darwin before, his transformation was just a big highlight. Proud to know that he is a teacher in training and taking responsibility.
Nine people saved in the City center
We worshiped in Plaza Independencia where we declared the Lordship of Jesus in this beautiful island. When we ministered to two precious young ladies, they gave their lives to Jesus and one got delivered from depression. We took a break and right after we went to Magellan's Cross and worshiped Jesus once again. I was surprised of the warm welcome we received from the people there. Even tourists were drawn by our worship! I grabbed the chance and shared my testimony and the gospel through the violin story upon which about seven people gave their lives to Jesus.
Men were the big number in this team, and reaching out to prisoners and drug addicts the main task. As I prayed to join this outreach, I knew I should invest in some ladies, specifically into two I knew by name. So I prayed ahead of time, asking the Holy Spirit if I should bring them a gift or take some extra money along. One is pregnant so I felt to wrap some cute lilac baby socks in good hopes that it would be a girl. Good enough on our arrival date, the news spread, it’s going to be a girl. I was able to give her the little gift with a smile. Days passed and I had some brief talks, but was eager to have a good moment to ask some questions and to pray for two ladies. For one I was able to pray and prophecy after a church service. The other was very, very busy ... I already surrendered everything to God and said, I’d tried my best. »If not this time, you will have another way to reach out or bring other people into her life.« Finally, unexpected, on our departure day, I was able to minister to this Mama, hugged her and released God's love into her live. Not only to her, but to everyone who lives in that house. Once more, I want to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit and do what he says.
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Arden's testimonyArden is 24 years of age. He was a former drug addict and is one of the students of the present REVIVAL SCHOOL Philippines. He shares this:
»I grew up in Payatas, a garbage dump in a really poor family. We had nothing, I even didn't have any birth certificate. Because I used drugs with my friends, I was not capable to graduate from school. In order to earn some money, I worked as a jumper boy or a garbage collector and thought that I would live like this until the end of my life.«
»BUT God had amazing plans for my life: Missionaries (staff from HELP International CMC and former drug addicts) came to the slum where I lived and shared the Good News and the love of God. Even though I was always high on drugs when they came, I felt the love of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit and was crying.«
Everything is possible with GodDue to these experiences, I wanted to change my life. I went to the Set Free Center (rehab of HELP International CMC) and found that I am valuable and my joy to worship God with all my life. I finished the rehab, caught up with my studies, finished high school, got a birth certificate and even a driver's license … and then I became staff at the Father's House. Now I am holding a brandnew passport, for God called me to the REVIVAL SCHOOL on the Move and to go to other nations! I am thankful that God has changed my live. I am getting equipped, I am growing in my relationship to the Holy Spirit, and step into the vision that God gave me ...« EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE WITH GOD!
How about you?In Februar 2018, we started the new term of the REVIVAL SCHOOL 2018 with five students coming from the Philippines and Mongolia. We are amazed at how they want to follow Jesus and discover their destiny and God's possibilities.
Join us and love Jesus like the first disciples did. Live together with us, get equipped and changed by the Holy Spirit's power. Become a witness and take the Good News to the streets and to the lost. Follow his call even to the ends of the earth.
Pray with us for workers in the harvest and partner with us in sending out missionaries from the Philippines to all nations. »I see people rising up from the Philippines, boasting, proudly rejoicing in JESUS CHRIST alone and bringing his live-changing power to the nations! For God chose what in the world is foolish, weak, lowborn, insignificant, contempt and branded to put the wise and strong to shame, that He might dispose and bring to nothing the things that are, so that no mortal man can boast in the presence of God.« (Bibel quote from 1 Corinthians)
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So specialWe did not only walk and climb the mountain world of the Philippines, but amongst others we also visited a mining company and learned how gold, silver and copper are refined. The mining crew was so very kind and welcomed us. They showed us around and explained everything. Their hospitality and being able to see and experience something like this was so very special for us all.
So much and moreWalking on a swaying swing bridge, climbing an 9-km-mountain-range and crossing three summits at 1,846 m above sea level, walking down an 80% scarp, touching fog, watching your own breath, smelling and touching pine trees, collecting and eating wild berries, sleeping in a spacious classroom with lots of space for rolling all across the room as well as camping in a small shack where you have to make sure not to step on anyone, enjoying the wonderful refreshing cold weather, hiking through the so-called salad bowl of the Philippines, diving into the refreshing fresh water pool, encountering new people, listening to unknown dialects and so much more … most of our kids have never seen or experienced anything like that before.
We were so excited to see how happy our Father’s House kids took in all they saw and heard without complaining a single time but rather with hearts full of gratitude and joy.
Standing in aweGod is simply fantastic and we are standing in awe! He made a way for us to experience this fantastic adventure trip. However, greater and more fantastic than the nature and wonderful surroundings was the fellowship and each and every one of our little company as well as all protection we experienced. Glory and thanks be unto HIM!
The mountains declare that HE is LORD.
The valleys declare that HE is LORD.
All nature reflects His glory
Which makes my heart cry out and rejoice
That the LORD, our Creator, HE is God!
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Thank you!In line with this, we also want to say »thank you« for your love and all support in helping us to run this ministry of reconciling God's children back to the Father. We appreciate you very much!
Men of RevivalIn November 2017, we started to gather former guests of the Set Free Center for fellowship and worship. There was a great response and we saw the hunger in these brothers, so we decided to meet once a month. Many got encouraged and while we worshipped, prayed and fellowshipped over a meal, a fire started to burn in their hearts. We call this group MORe (Men of Revival) and the gatherings MORe Sessions. We believe that revival will break out among drug addicts and we believe that God is raising real men who worship Him in the Spirit and in truth.
I won't forget»Even though I moved on to live my own life outside of the community, I did not forget where I came from, the people that introduced Jesus to me. This is where I found Jesus. I won’t forget this place!« (Percy)
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EstherEsther G. is an REVIVAL SCHOOL on the Move (RSotM) student and originally comes from Mongolia. She is 22 years old and this is her story:
»Since I got to know Jesus, naturally, I had the desire in my heart to reach out on the streets, but I never thought of becoming a missionary or going to other nations until I encountered the Holy Spirit and having an impression of going to the nations three times. God stirred my heart!«
Battling mindsets»However, I had thoughts that I couldn't go because of lack of money. I had to battle and command those thoughts: »Stop! I will listen to my heavenly Father!«, and I had to renew my thinking by speaking out and believing: »My heavenly Father is rich!« Many people have the mindset that only churches from rich countries can send missionaries because Asians don't have the capacity or financial resources ... but that's not true!
Jesus said, »Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?« So my job was to believe and act upon and the next step is all God's business.«
Miracle No. 1»Suddenly, miracles started to happen: After an outreach in Mongolia, I needed almost 300 US$ for my next step towards missions. I didn't say anything to anyone but to God alone. In the morning, as I was talking with God about it, I received a message that someone blessed me with 300 US$ for my trip – and that was only the beginning! It was always one step after another and His miracles happened one after another! I did my part of doing what He said. I stepped out in faith ... and He confirmed His words and provided for me the whole time.«
Miracle No. 2Flight ticket to the Philippines: »I was praying for another 300 US$ and received less than what I needed. I didn't try to do something in my own strength, but listened to the Holy Spirit. He told me to go to a library. I went, even though I didn't understand why he was asking me to do that. There, I waited for quite some time until I felt to leave the library when I saw on the other side of the road a travel agency. I went and inquired about a flight to the Philippines and to my amazement they had only one ticket available left for the exact amount I had. It was a miracle, because I had gone to many travel agencies and all of them only offered expensive tickets. If you have a close relationship with God, you hear His voice and He leads you.«
Kingdom affairs»My money is not mine - it is kingdom money. On serval occasions, God told me to give my everything, and I never suffered any lack. He takes care of me and provides for me. If you want be a missionary, you have to believe God and follow him and do what he says – and you will see his glory.«
RSotM means to feel God's heart for missions»I saw how people were set free, received Jesus as their Savior, got touched by God's love, and how God used me ... I have seen and experienced so much and there are still so many adventures ahead of me. I started out in the Philippines, continue in Germany and will proceed to Texas … I am so excited, because I will experience even more of God as He leads me and I follow. There is a great future ahead!
And it doesn’t matter, where I am. Whether I am at breakfast, washing laundry, sitting in teachings or doing outreaches, the Holy Spirit is with me wherever I go. He teaches me and uses me.«
»When you know who God is, that He is your Father and what his heart is like, than you don't need to be worried for finances or other things. Missions is more important than money. All finances are meant to advance His kingdom!«
Stepping outIf you don't know what and where you are called to, just take the challenge and step out of your own box. It is not about what you can imagine, it's not about your culture or where you come from ... it’s all about how great our God is and what He says!
For more information click to REVIVAL SCHOOL Philippines and/or to RSotM.
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Divine appointmentGod sent her to at the right right! She has been waiting and praying for over 20 years to come to the Philippines. God's ways are amazing and unique. We all were in awe at how he connected us and sent her our way. We spent lots of time in worship together, for Lola Cynthia popped right into our fasting and prayer week. Thus we couldn't even invite her to a nice meal ... as all of us were on a fast. Instead, we all were strengthened by God through Lola Cynthia, which was so good and needed!
Lola CynthiaOne of the most precious moments of her visit was, when Cynthia prophecied over our children and youth. It was very impacting for us as staff to actually discover what God sees in our children. He is so in love with everyone, he has so much passion for each ... so powerful!
Thank you so much, Lola Cynthia for visiting with us. Thank you for every hug and for lavishly pouring your love into us. Because of you some of us have fallen in love with Jesus again! Yes, you are awesome, sweet and a loving Lola to all of us. We are very much looking forward to seeing you again ... when you come back with »Lolo« (grandpa).
- Love and encouragement Love and encouragement
- Just one hug ... Just one hug ...
- Worship, prayer and learning Worship, prayer and learning
- Lola Cynthia when teaching ... so powerful! Lola Cynthia when teaching ... so powerful!
- Simply happy ... Simply happy ...
- With Lola Cynthia in Tondo With Lola Cynthia in Tondo
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A God adventureIt has been quite an adventure since then. I wanted to serve God and share what I had found, so I went to the mission school in Lüdenscheid for one year after my rehab. Then I came back to Manila and embarked on the real journey. Ministry and the mission was a wonderful, exciting life but also a humbling and learning experience as the Holy Spirit did His work of refining and sanctification. He patiently cleansed and molded this dirty, discarded diamond until the beauty started to shine through. I was eager to learn more, so that God would use me to reach the street children. I had lost so much time and didn't want to waste any more.
Mama to manyI became a staff in our home for street children. I loved to make a home for them and be their family. After a few years, God gave me a burden for a home for prostitutes. Though there were not many real prostitutes, many lives were transformed as pregnant teenagers came seeking refuge and a place to birth their babies. Later, God placed a vision for a Drop-in center for street children and youth on my heart. We opened it in 2010 and this became my heartbeat. But I was not to settle as, in 2014, I was called into the leadership team of HELP Philippines. God had brought me up from the ashes of drug addiction to the top. Only He could have done such a transformation! But I lost sight of my first love and started to rely on my own strength. After two years, I stepped down from leadership to take a sabbatical leave to our Lüdenscheid community and come back to that place of grace. And He did not disappoint - He never does!
»Yes, Lord, I'll go!«But wait! At this point, I was 62 years old! What more could there be for me? Semi-retirement? A step back into the shadows to support? I didn’t know. All I knew was that I had come back to my first love and it was all that mattered. Not staff status, nor position, nor responsibility, nor ministry. I surrendered it all for the gift of His Presence. That's when He said, »Now ... I can begin to build a new foundation. A foundation that's made up of my presence alone.« And He did: slowly but surely, until finally, a season of spring came - new life! I felt it in my heart though I had no idea what it meant! I joined an outreach to our HELP base in Austin, Texas (HfaN), and that's where that old familiar feeling of ›I’m home‹ came, He called me to support the tiny pioneer team of two young ladies and I said, »Me? You're calling me - a retirable, ex-drug addict from a third world country, to a world power like America? REALLY?« And He said, »Yes, that's exactly what I want to do, so that the world may see what I can do.« What more could I say but a humble, »Yes, Lord, I will go.«
And so, in May, I will be moving away from my country long-term for the first time in my life: at 62 years of age! And about to take steps of faith like never before. Challenges? Sure, I will have many challenges: visa, emotions, finances and physical capacity, to name a few. But God knows, and He has spoken. So I will go. I'm excited and anxious, all at the same time. Once more Jesus is asking me to trust in Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
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