Being one of the poorest and most densely populated places of the planet, the former garbage dump used to be home to thousands of families that scavenged here to make a small living. This landmark however got shut down in 1995. But this did not change everything.
Nowadays covered with a thin layer of scrubby green, many of the homeless of Tondo scrambled together some wood, bamboo and plastic sheets for little makeshift shelters on top of this looming mass of trash. Some are even growing sweet potatoes and spinach next to their shacks. That sounds actually nice but the people still strive to survive and people around the garbage dump live on garbage and try to earn money with it. It got a bit more green but their hearts still cry for change and help!
On our regular outreaches to Tondo we have been always stopping over at Smokey Mountain to worship, pray and prophesy over this huge slum area. At times we would spontaneously have kid´s church and pray for people. This is how we got to known so many of the people living here back then.
Jesus Mountain Church is born!Since May 2019, after we sent out a residential pioneer team to Tondo, the friendship with the »mountain-folks« deepened. Adults and children alike are facing tremendous needs every day. As hardly anyone has a regular income, the fight for mere survival never ends: malnutrition, disease, domestic violence, gambling, addiction, crime and abuse are omnipresent. Many here are desperate for hope and find it in Jesus. Drawn by a love they never experienced, they gladly receive salvation and new life in HIM.
During our now regular visits we began teaching them from the bible and worshipped Jesus together. As Jesus became so real to many, they could not but share their encounters with God and the miracles they experienced with neighbours and friends who started to join us too. Since the fellowship grew, we met weekly at fixed times. We brought some wood with us and the men on the spot helped us making benches. A plastic sheet serves as a roof protecting us against rain and heat of the sun. That´s how »Jesus Moutain Church« came into being.
Since a year now 30 to 40 people regularly meet. Some women start cooking early morning so that everyone joining the service enjoys a good lunch and fellowship as well. A little chicken project helps with the Sunday meals.
Signs and wonders!At every meeting young believers volunteer sharing testimonies from their daily life, how Jesus helped them to overcome difficult situations. Many people got already baptized. One mother said, after her baptism she was able stop drinking and a neighbour confirmed this with a huge smile. A man received healing and was instantly released from hospital. After two days we saw him working his field again.
A young couple broke up after a fierce conflict. But two weeks later were reunited as they had found a little fish selling business to support their family. The shack of a single mother got improved as we put in a proper door for her and the 3 daughter´s safety. Before the rainy season started, we were able to fix many of the little roofs so that the multigenerational families could enjoy rainproof shelters.
It´s such a joy to see people open and hungry for more of God. People really get changed: One man wanted to quit drinking. He made a clear cut and was admitted to the Set Free Center (our rehab). Three siblings (5 to 10 years old) who had witnessed their father stabbing their mother could be taken into our Father´s House. Thank God the mother survived and now is cared for by the church.
Hungry disciples!A small group meets regularly on Mondays for Bible study and discipleship and since this January we started a leadership training. Some of the new disciples join the outreaches regularly to implement what they have learned. We want to train them to pass on the gospel, to heal the sick and to set the captives free. Yes, Jesus qualified all of us to bring his light into darkness!
As more and more kids were joining, we started a separate kids church. With their running noses and dirty little feet these gorgeous little ones just cannot sit still but are running around everywhere eager to join every new game we play with them. Their laughter and happiness reflects the love of a Creator who has good plans for them.
Come and celebrate the goodness of our Lord!It was like a small fair: Christmas Celebration! Arrayed in their best outfit, some had prepared dance performances, others presented songs and shared testimonies. People where touched to tears. The atmosphere was filled with joy and thanksgiving. An old grandfather was very proud when he won a cooking pot in a raffle. The kids clinged to their little Christmas gifts, their faces beaming with big smiles. Happiness just flooded the place!
Yes, that was Christmas at its best!
That is the story of the »Jesus Mountain Church«. It is a story after God´s heart. He loves these people so much, that He gave his only Son for each of them. It is a story that is not finished – This is just the beginning!