Battle Log

Philippines Mission Trips

For more information on why we do missions in the Philippines and how you can even come along on a future trip, click here.

Friday 10 March 2023

Posted by Posted 14 March 2023, 9:06 PM by Ryan Hemelaar. Permalink

The team have returned from the Philippines Mission with a skip in their step. It was such a joy getting alongside local believers in the Philippines to share the gospel and see the lost come to grasp the good news.

The people we witnessed to were very open to having spiritual conversations (particularly compared to back home). And since we focused our efforts at the universities, the people generally spoke English well.

There is a wide-door of effective ministry in the Philippines, with Christians needed to be sowing the seed there, as most people are relying on their own 'goodness' to get themselves to heaven.

We have even received messages on Instagram from people thanking us for the sharing the gospel with them and they said they want to learn more.

Lord willing, we plan on returning for another mission trip in around September 2023.

Here are short video summaries of each day during our mission trip to the Philippines. Be encouraged at what God is doing and consider coming on a future trip!

Can you join us next time? :)

Thursday 9 March 2023

Posted by Posted 9 March 2023, 6:24 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

The Philippines Trip is Complete!

I’m sitting in the international airport in Manila as I write this. Joshua, March and Chris left in the morning. The rest of the team then went to the University of the Philippines (UP) for the morning outreach and lunch. I then left for the airport while Ryan, Bekk, Paul, Mark and Tanush stayed for an afternoon outreach. They will have dinner and then head to the airport for their flights.

Wow, has this trip gone quick. I’ve probably already mentioned this in my reports, but when you put your head down and focus on the task at hand: sharing the gospel - time just flies by. And there has been so much opportunity. Even when the public transport strike interrupted our plans, there were still plenty of people around for us to talk to.

And I have to say it again, I just praise God for answering our prayers and giving us amazing connections with the church in Manila to serve alongside - esp. Rock of Refuge Church. Your dedication to the outward focus of the church: reaching the lost is so encouraging. We have learnt from you, as we hope you have learned from us. May connections and partnerships between churches like this continue to grow for the sake of proclaiming the gospel, for the glory of God alone.

So, I’ll give a summary of the last 2 days of outreach from my perspective.

Yesterday half the team were at UP in the morning, while the other half had an opportunity to share the gospel with a large group of High School students, and then we were all at QC Gardens in the afternoon.

At UP I was paired up with a young man called Mark (not the Mark from NZ). We focused on conversations rather than tract distribution, due to the lack of people due to classes being online. Mark had some great opportunities to share the gospel, as did I - but I faced resistance. The first young man just wanted to focus on this life, and didn’t want to think about the afterlife. I gently worked to show him the folly of this thinking, but he was insistent, and we parted ways.

The highlight chat of the morning was also with someone very resistant. He was a professor. He declared that he believed in reincarnation, but it became very clear early in the conversation that he simply wanted to believe whatever made him happy. He wanted to be his own god. The conversation became quite heated (from his side) - but I was up for it, as was he. He calmed himself as we continued to engage. I shared the law and the gospel, but it was quite an apologetics battle. After a while, I noticed a change in him, he all of a sudden wanted to express his deep respect for Jesus, and the religion of his roots: Roman Catholicism. We discussed / wrestled through many things. To end the conversation he expressed his interest in the way I was talking. He had always seen religion as illogical, and something you just (blindly) believe. But I was arguing that, without God you can’t have logic, and logic transcends religion and culture so that we have no excuse about knowing the truth of God. To end the conversation, I offered a tract, but he refused it. “I’ll only leave it on my desk, and it will gather dust”. I pleaded with him to take it. “I’ll be praying that God convicts you of your sin, and one day you pick up that tract and read it to remember the good news”. Sadly he still rejected it. I pray that God would continue to bring Christians into his life to continue sharing the law and the gospel with him. I pray that God would grant him repentance. The gospel is the power of God for salvation.

While I was at UP: Ryan, Bekk, Tanush and Mark were sharing the gospel with high school students, as per the pictures.

In the afternoon I was paired up with Michael. We had some wonderful chats. The 2 highlights were with 1) a group of 3 High School students. As I laboured with them on the gospel, one of them finally came to understand when he said, “but if that’s true, then someone can simply trust that Jesus died for them, and then do whatever they want!”. I was able to use the fireman analogy to explain why we don’t want to do that. 2) a young atheist. We laboured with him - he outwardly refused the gospel, but I could see he was challenged, esp. with the building builder analogy.

This morning at UP I was paired up with Nico, again, not many students, but we were still busy for the whole outreach. We had 2 main conversations for most of the 2 hours. The first was with a young couple: his name was Ed. It was a long chat, where I was able to spend time using the check questions to make sure they were really understanding. He took a gospel of John.

And my final chat of the trip was with Jed. A law student who is a staunch Catholic. He was very polite, but argued every point and wouldn’t back down. Yet, there was a deep interest there. He is studying the Bible weekly with someone on campus, and he connected with me on Insta (needgod.net7) so we can continue the chat.

Well, that’s enough from me! Can express how good this trip has been, ministering the gospel, with the church here in Manila. God willing, we will be able to return again soon!


Tuesday 7 March 2023

Posted by Posted 8 March 2023, 7:44 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

We are 3 quarters of the way through our evangelism trip to the Philippines!

There is a public transportation strike happening this week, and so some of the universities we were to minister at are running online classes only.

Today we were at the University of the Philippines (UP). Sadly not many people around. BUT, we are not going to let that stop us. As long as there are a few people around, there are conversations to be had!

I was paired up with Joshua today. We prayed that God would lead our steps and allow us to glorify him with many conversations today. He answered our prayer! I thought about which direction might have the most people, and I decided to go in the opposite direction. All the other Christians out sharing would be going that way.

Instantly we were in our first chat, with 2 older gentlemen and a younger guy. Then some medical students.

And then a cyclist went past (he delivers food for Grab, pictured). As he was biking past, I asked him our usual opening question. He stopped to respond, and we fell into a very good gospel conversation. He heard the law and the gospel, and I was working through check questions when I asked: “So, if someone says to you, ‘I believe that Jesus died on the cross, but I think I’m going to heaven because I’m a good person’, where would they end up, heaven or hell?”. He thought about it for a while, and then gave a slight nod. He was still thinking good deeds would get him to heaven! I had to back up and labour with him to understand that being good can’t save him. He was quite shocked, but I think he eventually came to see how it made sense and was truly good news!

I had an encouraging chat with a young man who had obviously received a gospel tract recently, he knew that he didn’t meet the standard of the law, and he understood that anger is like murder in the heart already. He was also familiar with the gospel, so I laboured with him to see the seriousness of his sin and why he needed the gospel urgently. Gospel tracts do get read!

Next we encountered a couple of marine biology students. One of them engaged me, and said that after we die, our atoms are just recycled! I gave him the building builder analogy and it struck him, from this moment on, all his Christian background came out - he was answering my questions flawlessly. He already knew the gospel, but he hadn’t repented (believed it).

Joshua had the final chat before lunch. In spite of the lack of people, we still had a busy couple of hours of ministry.

After lunch we were at the shopping mall near the university. I had an amazing chat with two young men. Again, I had to labour with them to get them to realise it’s not their good deeds that save them, but Jesus alone. They seemed genuinely stoked by the end of the chat, and were willing to pose for a pic taken by Pastor Jeff.

To finish the outreach, I distributed some tracks to some motorcycle cart drivers while Joshua shared the gospel with one of them, and Pastor Jeff shared with another group of them. Joshua and I then went for a wander down the road, and found 2 high school age boys willing to talk. One spoke good English, so I talked to him, and Joshua spoke with the other in Tagalog. Pictured is from my BeReal.

God honoured our feeble efforts in providing many opportunities to declare his gospel, in spite of the transport strike! There is so much gospel opportunity, be encouraged to go out and engage!

Please keep us in prayer for the final 2 days of outreach and then the long travel home. SDG!

Sunday 5 March 2023

Posted by Posted 5 March 2023, 11:03 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Wow, we are over half way through the trip already! Time goes fast when you have your head down and working hard in service of our great king and lord, Jesus!

And it has been such a joy working with the members of Rock of Refuge Church. Today we had a wonderful time of hospitality and fellowship with them. And their dedication in evangelism during this trip has encouraged me so much! It’s been such a pleasure to work alongside them.

I’m going to briefly write about Saturday’s outreach. We had a wonderful time of outreach at the University of the Philippines in the morning. And then in the afternoon we were at some gardens where families gather. I was paired up with Alvin. It was a joy to watch Alvin so calmly and confidently approaching strangers and getting conversations started. He was gentle and used questions to keep people engaged. He was an expert in language switching between Tagalog and English to keep me involved. We had some great chats. But there were distractions and sometimes a bit of a lack of engagement from those we were talking to.

The outreach was nearing its end when we approached a group of young people. Alvin handed out tracts, and I decided to show one of the guys my flip chart and asked him who he thought was ‘good’. He instantly engaged. And wow what a chat. I think I had to go back to the law once to clarify why we are not good enough for heaven, and then I was able to move into the false ways. He seemed impacted. When I finally revealed the only way to heaven: Jesus, he was visibly and audibly impacted. It clicked! It made sense to him. So, I then immediately moved into checking questions. He got the “sin again” question right, which was an encouraging sign. He stumbled on the “2 things” check, but this only turned it into a powerful teaching opportunity. “Ohhhhhh” he said as the gospel message was reinforced.

I then moved to the important concept of repentance (in regard to sin) using the fireman analogy. The “what would you say” check allowed me to use the “water via the straw analogy” to clarify that it’s not our faith that saves us, but through our faith IN Jesus. He nailed the “out of 100” check, and then I challenged him to respond to the gospel. He seemed genuinely happy for the conversation and to have heard the gospel, and this filled me with immense joy!

To finish off, I asked him about his friends (near to us) - what about them, what would they think they have to do to go to heaven? “Be good”. So, where would they go if they died? “Hell”. So what can you do to help them? “Tell them what you told me”. Right! He wanted some tracts to share - he requested 10!

His name was Prince. Please pray that he would be convicted and converted. And if so, that God would get him into a good church (he knows how to get in touch). I left him with a copy of the gospel of John.

The check questions we use are a powerful tool in making sure those we share with understand the gospel. If you would like to learn more about what these check questions are and how to use them in your gospel conversations, please check out this document:

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Posted by Posted 1 March 2023, 11:21 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

I’m pretty tired having spent a day travelling to Manila, Philippines from Christchurch, New Zealand and then a full first day of outreach in Manila.  But I’m going to try to write a short report to let you all know how things are going.  In short, IT’S AMAZING!


As soon as I entered the arrival hall at the airport in Manila, I felt like I was ‘home’.  Before Covid-19, I had been travelling to Yangon, Myanmar twice a year - and there are so many similarities between Yangon and Manila.  If I was to highlight the 2 major differences I’ve noticed so far it would be: 1) Roman Catholicism vs Buddhism as the major religion (when you boil them both down, that’s not really a difference though) and 2) most people speak English.


I had 3 gospel tracts with me to give away during my travel day.  The first went to the guy sitting next to me on my flight from Christchurch to Sydney - we had a short law and gospel chat.  The next went to a guy that Mark witnessed to in Sydney airport (he is FIlipino and on the same flights as us).  And the last tract was used on the taxi ride to our hotel after arriving in Manila - it was a special chat.


The taxi driver said he was considering cancelling our pick up, but he decided not to.  As we swung the conversation to, “what happens after life?”, he said he would be going to hell and there was no hope for him.  He thought this because he was part of a Christian cult (INC - Iglesia Ni Cristo) that had booted him out, and there was no hope of ‘salvation’ outside of this cult.  Mark and I were able to gently labour with him that salvation was available to him, and that it was a gift.  He said our conversation may be an answer to his prayers.  My last tract went to him!


The daily schedule for this trip is going to be: 2 hours online, 2 hours on the street, lunch, then 3 hours on the street.  Today’s outreach was very encouraging.  It was great to join a big local group, from local churches, at a university campus.


I was really excited to be out witnessing, and I was glad for the adrenaline to get me through the day!  My first chat was with someone with an Anglican background, next a Roman Catholic, next a Mormon, and then I started encountering people with subtle resistance to the idea of an after life.  All heard the gospel.  I had so many gospel chats today, and met many interesting people.  Ploughing and sowing.  Gay pride is visible on the campus, and a big mural on the road said “Defend Academic Freedom”, this became a conversation starter for many of my chats at the end of the day.  I had a long conversation with a couple of Sociology students who had been studying world religions.  By the end of the chat, they were subtly yet respectfully resisting what I was saying, because they loved their sin.  I didn’t back down on the truth of the Bible, and that sin was sin.  I warned them, and pleaded with them to accept the mercy of God - the one who logically get’s to set the rules.


My last chat was going really well, the guy seemed very convicted and concerned about his soul, and I had shared the gospel and was working through checks when a friend came and told him he needed to get to classes, killing the conversation.  I then noticed he tried to pull a person away from a gospel chat with Paul and Chris.  He was plucking away seeds!  It was interesting that he was trying to get people to class, and yet he didn’t go to class himself!  I had an opportunity to respectfully  follow up with him on that - he didn’t want to talk, “I don’t know English well”, but he accepted tracts, 1 in English and 1 in Tagalog.


Please continue to keep the team in prayer!  I will try to continue writing regular reports. :)