Posted by: Admin | March 18, 2015

Philippines – February 2015

By Josiah Asbill

It all started a few months ago, probably shortly after the Dubuque Conference, that I had a desire to go to the Philippines again. I talked with my parents and my Grandpa Herrig about the possibility of me going, and we prayed about it. The consensus was to go, and also that this trip would be a great learning experience.

It was necessary for me to take two weeks off work for this trip from the grocery store where I am a full-time employee. My manager was very accommodating in giving me the needed time. I immediately began to look forward to the day of our departure. That day came sooner than expected, and before I knew it, it had arrived.

Beginning in Dubuque, Iowa where we live, we drove down to Moline; from there we flew to Atlanta. The team for the Philippine Mission Trip consisted of Grandpa Herrig, Grandpa and Grandma Asbill, Mr. and Mrs. Jantzi, Brother Martin, Kristyna, Lucy, and myself. Those of us from the states met up in Atlanta, flying from there to Tokyo. After arriving in Tokyo, we had a short layover before boarding one more plane that would take us to Manila. We rested for a night in a hotel there, meeting up with the Czech brethren in the morning, and in the following afternoon taking one last fight to Butuan City, on Mindanao Island. We reached Hotel Karaga (our destination) and settled in before it had gotten late in the evening. We had arrived safely and soundly, without any missing or damaged luggage. Though there is a 14-hour time difference, adjusting was not quite difficult for me, and especially after a long day of traveling, we slept quite well.

The following morning was Friday, and it was the first day of the annual Butuan City Conference. These meetings continued though Sunday, with two meetings a day. The thought that I came away from the conference with was “Change!” God wants to move in your life to change your nature, but is limited only by the level of your commitment to Him. Grandma Asbill, wanting to incorporate the children into the meeting, gave a children’s word before each morning’s message. Believing it essential to have the fundamentals, she taught on such things as salvation, the condition of our soul, and spiritual warfare. Knowing that demonstration and illustration are much better tools for learning than just verbalization, flannel-graphs and skits were employed during the children’s words. We, young people, helped in the skits. My roles varied between being a sinner that comes to Jesus, to being David protecting his father’s flock. Each word ended with a song, which would put the message to music.

Monday morning saw the start of a series of meetings at the Bible School in Jabonga. This town is about an hour’s drive away from our hotel; it lies at the base of a mountain range that erects itself in the northern part of the island. The first day there the entire team went (excepting Brother Martin and Kristyna who stayed at the hotel). On the second day Grandpa Herrig and Brother Martin went to the Children’s School, as some of the administrative work there was needed to be done on that day. Kristyna and Lucy also went to begin doing eye tests on all of the children. The rest of us went to the Bible School. On the third day there, the whole team went to Jabonga. Various thoughts came forth during our visit to the Bible School. The messages’ subjects dealt with Divine Order in the Church, the Nature of Perdition, God’s Vision for Our Lives, and even a two-part teaching by Brother Mark on the History of the Bible. On our last day at the Bible school, it was decided that we three young people should share a little something. My heart began to race at the thought of it. The idea of me getting up to share something in front of a room full of people is one that I am totally not used to. My Grandpas getting up… it happens all the time. My Dad getting up… I’m used to that. Myself getting up… I’m not so sure about that. But nevertheless, I still did it. I just introduced myself, gave a little bit of my background, where I come from, and my growing up under this word. While I was up there, I began to speak about my current position in my life, and trying to know what God’s plan is for me. I talked about how when our vision is in the right place – on God – only then can God’s will be done in your life, spiritually and practically; also you are able to find a peace that transcends your environment and situations. While I was speaking, it was like all my fear of standing up in front of that congregation started to melt away.

After the final day at the Bible School we spent the next two days at the Children’s School in Ampayon. Their attendance has grown over the years to 146 students, ranging from preschoolers through the 4th grade. Thursday the girls were doing some more eye tests. Four students from the Tuesday screening were taken to a glasses shop, so that they could be more closely examined, and possibly fitted for glasses. Of those four, only two of them needed glasses, which they received. We had brought with us a bunch of gifts – pens, toothbrushes, toothpaste, notebooks, stickers, and other things – to create gift bags for all of the children (which we had done on Sunday night), and which Grandma Asbill and I gave out that Thursday. They received their gifts thankfully, calling us “Beloved Sponsors.” Before leaving each room Grandma Asbill would have us sing a song with that class. For the most part they knew the songs, and joined right in. The following day, I tagged along with my Grandpas, Brother Mark, and Sister Merlinda as they went to negotiate the lease for the school. The meeting resulted in the school’s space being doubled by the addition of the adjoining hospital to the existing contract. Having been abandoned for some time now, it will need to be cleaned up and improved during the summer months before the school rejoins again.

The next day was Saturday, on which we went to the school for a day of elders’ meetings. Brother Martin gave the morning message, laying out what the mentality and motivation of an elder should be from God’s point of view. In the afternoon there was a question and answer session, which quickly transformed into a teaching on Rapture and how no such doctrine exists in the Bible.

The following morning, we all went to Brother Lito’s fellowship. They meet in a building that is little more than a frame with a tin roof. The church next door heavily contrasted our meager structure; yet all of its Catholic splendor of architecture could not compare with the anointing in which the meeting came forth. After the song service, Grandma Asbill gave a children’s word. My role in the skit that we had, was more difficult then any other that I had yet done. I had to play King Josiah: illustrating his commitment to follow God, and his walking that commitment out. Grandpa Asbill gave the message, in which he highlighted God’s business and man’s place in the midst of it.

That afternoon, Grandpa and Grandma Asbill stayed back at the hotel to rest for the next day’s journey while the rest of us went to the Children’s School for one last time. A fellowship has sprung up there, meeting every Sunday afternoon. Again, the three of us young people were asked to say hello to everyone there – which we did. Then Grandpa Herrig gave the message speaking on our relationship with God. After the meeting we went around saying goodbye to everyone before we left.

Monday morning came at a bright and early 5:30 am. It was logistically necessary to rise at that time, as our flight to Manila left at 9:00. Though it took awhile to get some of our bags checked in, they eventually went through and we even had a waiting period before our plane arrived. After arriving in Manila, we had enough time to have lunch together before the team would start to be disbanded. The Czech brethren were leaving that afternoon; the next morning the rest of us would fly to Tokyo. From there Grandpa and Grandma Asbill would go to Atlanta, and Grandpa Herrig, the Jantzis, and I would go to Minneapolis. The Jantzis would then go to Albany via Detroit, while Grandpa and I (after a long 7 hour layover) would fly directly to Moline. Coming back involved less time flying, but more time in the airports. So overall it was slightly longer than going. By the time we reached home, we had been traveling for over 33 hours.

Being back at home has caused me to think. While you’re on the mission field your mind is going, going, going. I like to call it the mentality of a soldier, everywhere you turn your guard is up, and you model your thinking patterns in a certain way. You are careful in everything that you do. But when you come home, your defenses begin to come down, in that you are not as careful in what you do. You don’t even have to be home yet: just because your shoes are now pointed home, your mind begins to revert back to its default state. In light of this, I’m finding it is necessary that I don’t let my familiar environment bring down the momentum that you gain while on the mission field.

This overall experience, from the pre-trip stages, to being on the field, and even to coming home, has blessed me, and taught me a lot in terms of spiritual warfare. It has inspired me to see how the elder ministry, under the anointing of the Spirit of God, moves in wisdom when doing the work of the Lord. I hope to join them again someday on the mission field.


Responses

  1. God Bless you bro Josiah. Thank you for sharing. May the Lord continue to strengthen the work in His Vineyard. Amen. Bro Akin


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