Carl trained with The Elijah Challenge in 2006, and then served as a missionary in the Philippines for five years.
Training Students at Grace Mission Training Center
We arrived late on Saturday October 6, 2007, in Kalibo City, Panay Island on Cebu Pacific Airlines. We were met by the director of Grace Mission Training Center (GMTC), Pastor Evon Carcillera. We had started our trip at four in the morning and traveled 12 hours by bus, taxi and plane to our final destination. Thirty minutes later we were at our destination in the beautiful, tropical city of Banga. We settled into a nice home that had been loaned to us by a non-believer for the benefit of visiting missionaries. We checked out the facilities for the training which was conducted at the Banga Gospel Church and the rustic facilities of GMTC.
On Sunday morning, I preached at Banga Gospel Church while our missionary-evangelists, Marc Chavez and Nethaniel Henderson, preached at a daughter church about an hour and a half away. Total attendance was down everywhere because this was the season for the rice harvest. Many were busy trying to harvest and dry their precious grain while the weather was still hot and dry. With exception of the crusade at the end, the rice harvest would be a source of reduced attendance at every activity planned during this week.
The following morning we taught the Way of the Master (WOTM) to the students from GMTC, to numerous pastors, to several local evangelist and many others who wanted to learn to share their faith more effectively. We struggled at times because many of the students from GMTC were from the mountains and did not speak English effectively. In addition, some did not even speak Tagalog effectively. Many spoke Aklanan, Mindoro, Visayan and other more remote languages. We developed a translation method to ensure understanding by repeating important blocks of instruction in several different dialects.
The following day we roll played witnessing scenarios and the newly trained evangelists practiced with each other. That afternoon we went out to do evangelism. To our amazement and surprise, we found a very open community which was more than willing to hear the gospel. As Marc Chavez our Filipino missionary-evangelist said, “we were like sugar to ants.” Crowds grew rapidly as we shared our faith. Those who witnessed in the park and on the campus of Aklan University frequently watched one-2-one witnessing encounters grow quickly to groups of four, then eight or ten people and sometimes to crowds of twenty, forty and to over one hundred students in only minutes.
We often prayed and had other people pray that we would see the fruit of our ministry in the Philippines, but we never knew how faithful our God would be to that prayer. Once again, we were seeing our newly trained evangelists returning with joy and laughter about what God had done through them. The Elijah Challenge miracles had not even started yet. When this happened their joy exploded to an even higher level. To God be the glory!
I preached the Wednesday evening service. That night a tremendous spirit of repentance broke out in the church with many confessing sins and repenting from sin and rebellion. A powerful move of God was evident in the whole congregation. We finished late that night and when we were done it was evident that God was doing a new and powerful thing with this church and with Grace Mission Training Center. The Spirit of God was palpable! Although the only call was for repentance and turning back to God, an elderly woman who came to repent, along with many others, was healed of numbness and a palsy like, shaking in her hands, as I laid hands on her and prayed. She did not tell about this until the next day. This spirit of repentance would bear even greater fruit at the Elijah Challenge crusade on the following Friday.
The following day we began to teach The Elijah Challenge (TEC) course, and we continued doing evangelism in the afternoon. Everyone evangelized was invited to the big crusade we were having the next night. The following morning we completed the The Elijah Challenge (TEC) training and had the students lay hands on each other and pray with authority for each other. One girl who had been struck on the head by a falling coconut when she was a child was healed from her constant headaches and the dent in her skull disappeared. Others testified of neck and back pain being healed. A pastor with arm, shoulder, and neck pain was healed. Others of sinus, lung and hip pain were healed. In total, of the 35 students who completed the course, nineteen (19) needed healing and were healed, when we took authority over their infirmities. The preparation for the Crusade began while the MOR (pronounced “more”) team rested and showered for the crusade. At 6:30 P.M. we were ferried to the crusade location on the backs of motorcycles.
The crusade began with several outstanding drama plays and music. Then, our friends, the Mayor of Banga and the head of the Philippines National Police in the province both spoke about the need to change the city by changing people’s perceptions of eternity – that they needed a biblical standard of conduct. When they were done speaking, I felt like they had already preached my sermon. When the time came for me to preach, I affirmed the messages of our new friends, the Mayor and Director of the Police. Then I preached a message on sin, righteousness, repentance, judgment, and the grace of God to all who, “turn from their sin in repentance and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.”
I followed this Way of the Master message by issuing The Elijah Challenge. I said that if Jesus was who He said He was, the proof would be when He healed people of their infirmities and if He did heal them they should put their faith and trust in Jesus and turn from their sins in repentance. I challenged them that if Jesus healed people this night that they would have no choice but to put their faith and trust in Jesus and turn from their sins. I told them that if people were healed in Jesus name and by the authority given to us as believers in Jesus and that if they saw the miracles and did not repent they would be in willful disobedience against their creator. I told them that if Jesus healed people that night they could never again say “I don’t know whether Jesus is real or not.” If also told them that if they did not turn to Jesus after witnessing his power and authority healing people they would be no different than Judas who denied Jesus after seeing his miracles. We then called for people who needed to be healed to come forward.
We had thirty (30) people come up for healing and we had our newly trained TEC evangelists pray over them. In the next twenty to thirty minutes our newly trained evangelist, by the grace of God healed all of them. They were healed of fevers, headaches, back pain, hip pain, one of a broken clavicle (collar bone), another of a fractured shoulder blade, some of sever arthritis pain. One woman had recently miscarried her baby and was having severe cramping and bleeding. It ended when she was prayed for by our newly trained evangelist. Several had near blindness corrected, stomach pain healed, and severe female cramping was healed.
Fourteen (14) people came forward to repent from their life of sin and put their faith and trust in Jesus, and thirty were healed and over three hundred (300) people heard the gospel preached. One man came to commit his life to Jesus and was healed of neck and headache pain when he committed his life to Christ. He had not come for healing but for salvation but Jesus is our deliverer, savior and healer and gave him the all in one package deal that night. He received salvation from sin and from pain all at the same time. God was greatly glorified and our new evangelists were amazed at the way God had used them in one-2-one evangelism during the week; but even more amazed that God had healed people they had laid hands on and prayed for. I had promised them that by the end of the week people would be healed at the end of their hands, as they laid their hands on the infirmed and spoke with the boldness, power and authority in Jesus name. They were so excited to see someone they were praying for with authority in Jesus name; turn around and tell them the pain was gone, the swelling was gone, that they could now move the painful part of their body, move a joint that could not move before, and that they could see what they had not been able to see before.
Once again the Spirit of God moved powerfully and we were blessed to be participants. All the glory goes to God, no one else can ever deserve the Glory!
The following morning our fellow pastors and newly trained evangelists saw us off to the airport with rejoicing and tears. All wanted pictures with us, to shake our hands and hug us good-bye one last time. Whenever saints part it is tearful moment, but never a permanent moment. We will have eternity to tell and recall our adventures in faith together, and to give God the glory again and again.
We are also confident we will be back to Banga in the future to do more training with the Grace Mission Training Center (GMTC). We are also confident our seed sown in Banga will reap a large harvest in time. I preached five times in Banga and we taught five days a week, we led and coached teams in evangelism two afternoons. These evangelism teams talked to approximately 400 people each afternoon. We trained 35 evangelists in the WOTM and The Elijah Challenge (TEC) and we preached in a large crusade with over 300 people present. Thirty (30) people were healed and fourteen (14) came to Christ in repentance. God is good!
Pastor Carl Henderson
TEC Philippines Coordinator
MOR – Mission of Reconciliation