Monday, July 13, 2015

The Crusade

Typically when we hear the word “crusade” we think back to those boring history classes we used to take in high school where the teacher would drone on and on about the early Christian Crusaders that roamed Europe killing in the name of God.

Well that’s not at all the type of crusade Team Ulot embarked on Monday, June 29th.

As you may know, Team Ulot had been spending the entire month of June in the village C and they had encountered hardened hearts. They felt there was something missing from their ministry but they didn’t know what. So they fasted and prayed to the Lord for guidance and their faith was rewarded with an answer.

They would have a Music Crusade on their last day in the village.

What is a Music Crusade you ask? Well it’s certainly nothing involving swords and banners and knights on galloping horses. A Music Crusade is simply a gathering of believers using music to worship the Almighty God and bring curiosity and awareness into people’s hearts; hopefully moving them to action and conviction for salvation.

Now the only question for the team was how to put this together.

They had nowhere to preform, no instruments to play, no one to play them, and no idea how to get the people to come. Their first resort was to go straight back to praying. Asking God what the next step was is really the only thing they could have and should have turned to and I’m so encouraged to hear that their prayer life is so full and immediate.

God answered.

He gave them a stage in the middle of the village in their biggest plaza, he provided all the instruments of a full church worship band, the band members themselves, and speakers from the captain of the village. He opened the doors for us and led us every step of the way. Because the village captain was so agreeable to the idea he helped spread word to the people and allowed us to post fliers everywhere we could.

There was a ton more planning when it came to transportation up and down river, food, and lodging. Suffice to say that God is good and we could have never done it if His will hadn’t been at work.

The day finally came and it was time for the crusade to begin.

My national partner and I left from Aragonga to travel to meet with Team Ulot for this special occasion and we brought along a little surprise.

The entirety of Team Dolores came along to help support their fellow missionaries and friends.

And so it was that three Nehemiah teams joined together to venture out on a crusade to change the hearts of the people.
Go time was scheduled for 6pm. We arrived to prepare and practice at 12pm. Everything was going according to plan, we had even attracted a large group of spectators already, just watching us mill about and set up equipment. The sun was shining, children were laughing and playing, everyone had a smile stretched across their faces and joy lodged firmly in their hearts. Anticipation was coursing through everyone’s veins. Finally, all the planning and hard work was going to pay off in a big way.

It was then that the dark clouds started to form.

Steadily they grew until the entire sky was blotted out for miles around with nothing but dark, somber gray clouds. We plodded on though, maybe it would rain, maybe it wouldn’t, but either way we weren’t going to let anything stop us from seeing this through. That’s when the rain came, and it came hard.

My entire time here in the Philippines I haven’t seen it rain nearly as hard as it did then; and keep in mind this IS the rainy season right now.

It was a downpour and things were quickly getting wet even though we had set up all our equipment underneath an awning. We had to scramble to save all the equipment and to keep the wires and cords dry.

The rain came without end in sight but throughout it all we were able to keep encouraging each other not to get discouraged. At no point did anyone consider packing up and going home. We all got together and started to pray continually throughout the rainfall, we knew God would make a way for this to work, no matter what. 

And make it work God did.

It wasn’t until about 6pm that the rain stopped, and we knew our stage was ruined, but that was fine, we’d just move to the large, open plaza across the way that had a nice solid roof above it. We got all the equipment up, reset, and adjusted and had a quick practice session before letting the people know we would start at 7:30pm after eating a quick dinner.

We started right on the dot and continued until about 9pm, it went wonderfully! We had a larger crowd than expected (even with all the mud and rain) and in between songs each member of Team Ulot would share a part of the Gospel. We ended the program and right when we did it started to rain again.

God’s timing was perfect!

This experience showed us all the value of perseverance and keeping joy during times of disappointment or discouragement. We could have given up and just gone home but we kept faith that everything would work out; and it did. We could have grumbled our way through it and milled abut upset at the rain but everyone joked and smiled and laughed through it and hopefully even our attitudes touched someone that was watching.

Keep up your prayers for this village because we are all in agreement that we can feel a church very close to being started here. Pray that those that come after us are able to complete that work.