Thursday, February 28, 2013

Advancing ... NT AOT 2013

              It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known, so that I will not be building on someone else’s foundation.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                              Romans 15:20

  It has been over a month now since we all have arrived from our provinces to be trained through Nehemiah Teams Advance Operations Training in Samal Island , Davao del Norte for a little more than 2 months , and then a deployment for the summer wherever we all my strategically be. Well, so far , it has been… AWESOME! God is so awesome! It is so amazing how He has brought all of us together to be in this training. It’s amazing that we all came from almost all over the Philippines and we have as young as 16 on training. It’s amazing how He has put all this things together. How He, for years has spoken to Kuya Jess and his family and revealed so real truths and solid foundation of Christian Faith and The Maker’s Master plan to for repentance and forgiveness through faith alone in Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection--- the only plan of salvation, and this Gospel is to be spread through the Church to all nations. That is the Master plan. That is the only plan and there is no other! Luke 24: 44-48, Ephesians 3. 1-11
So, what is AOT?

Nehemiah Teams Advance Operations Training (AOT) is designed to disciple, develop and deploy this generation to Finish the Great Commission in this generation, specifically preparing young people to accept specific roles and assignments needed for Nehemiah Teams AOT.

        AOT is originally designed for former Nehemiah Teams participants who are able and available to join the training at about this time of the year. But this season, NT AOT has been opened to young people from strategic areas or organizations with desire for missions and in some way has had some exposure to NT and what the Lord has called the team to do. This was done to have a stronger foundation in these areas or organizations as NT moves forward in reaching the unreached and opportunity and training more available to more young people.

        The 2month AOT focuses on strengthening the walk of the participant using foundational truths of the Bible on Salvation, Soul Winning, Learning from the Past, Trials Grown and Humility, Confession, God’s Word, Holy Spirit, Spiritual Warfare, Second Coming and Judgment  from which NT memory verses during the summer are patterned, helping them how to hear from God and know His will and also training on the knots and bolts of Nehemiah Teams. AOT’s goal is also to deploy these participants to take leadership and trainer roles this summer, and long after summer, as the need arises.

       Right now there are 11 of us all in AOT 2013. We have written articles about specific topics discussed and activities in training during the past weeks and what God taught us through those topics and or activities.
        We again thank you for your partnership and prayers with us and Nehemiah Teams. Let’s keep advancing!

Cecil –28,  Nehemiah Teams Luzon, Batangas 

stories from the field

She is a princess! 

Let’s call her Princess. In these villages where we were this summer, there are many who are like her, struggling to find who they really are. Maybe victimized, stigmatized, had no proper parent figure to look at, they seek to be loved and will do anything to feel that love. We all could relate, for that is who we were, before we were rescued.

We are going to share and teach kids in her village. As we went from house to house to look for open people and invite kids to Bible class, the Lord lead me to their compound. Got to share to one of the older mothers, and got approval for the kids to attend the VBS accompanied by their guardian. Not long after, as I come in the mornings to fetch the kids hoping to follow up on any of the parents, I got sit down with Love and Princess. I shared about God’s faithfulness in my life and why we came. Princess stayed, listened and came to VBS with the little kids. She sang along, shyly participating in the discussion even repeating the memory verse with the kids. She got my number the next day and not known to her family, arranged to come to our BS in a little hut. I shared my own story of struggling with identity. She could relate. Asked questions. Then asked “Why do you believe in God?” . “I do not know”, I said. ”I believed and then I knew. Unlike what we think that ‘To see is to believe’, God is ‘believe and you will see’. I believed and I started seeing. I used to not believe Him either. But could this planet and the stars just be formed by the collision of heavenly rocks, or do just wild sweet scented flowers just normally come out of dried animal dirt?” “I do not believe Him”, she said. “I used to not believe Him either. I do not believe him yet I hated Him. But I call to him when I’m desperate and when I want my life to end. He could have just allowed me to die in my miserable situation but he did not! I believed and I started seeing.” Then, she sat in our Bible study.
We exchanged text messages. She again came to what then was our final Bible Study at the little hut. We discussed 1Timothy4 and she shared what she shared encouragement to the group. We then had our Lord’s super and simply following the instructions in the Bible and explaining that by participating in this , we affirm the Salvation that Christ did, that we had died with Him, that He is Lord and he will come again. (1Corinthians11.26) and along with the younger ones who had come to faith, Princess participated in the Lord’s supper. We said our final thanks and encouragements and walked towards the venue for TLW. Princess walked with us, helped us and stayed with us even at the visit and singing at wake, no longer embarrassed to be with us. She even went with us and the other youth to visit our first area of ministry during the summer. They joined us in visiting friends, families and open homes in the first area. We continue to exchange calls and text messages even now that we have left the area. Princess continued to meet with others who have come to faith and has expressed a strong desire to know God more and live a new life – a princess!

stories from the field

Let me share her story…
                                                                                      Mother Bear

“Our house is open to anyone in need.
This is Jane. She welcomed us even though she did not know us. She believed that we need help and we bring good news. Her house became our home and we became a family. During our first nights with them she told us that she had seen Jesus in her dream before. That she knew it was him,  that she saw him but just could not describe how he looks like because that seemed to be erased from her memory. “But He shines so bright”, and she knows it is Jesus. In her dream Jesus said, “Carry on, my child.” That was all that He said. Another night she told us about her other dreams. That before she got married, she has always had bad dreams, but in her dreams, a man in the dark would always come and save her. When we are not home, she and her family (mother, brother and kids) read our bibles, the biographies and other stuff that we have, discuss it among themselves and ask us question after question about what they have read. we learned from one of her brothers that their Father when he was still alive has always had Bible study in that very same house and same bench where we all sit to have these discussions. And his Father would always say, “ In this book (the Bible), I have found peace”.  Later on, as Jane shared more about her life, we found out that she has long surrendered her life to Christ, even before we met her. In the time of great trials back when her kids were still small, she wondered why God  continues to be kind to her despite her sins. Why God continues to care and love her although she is bad. If then that God is like that, despite all the bad things she does, she is surrendering her whole life and all that she has and all her trust to Christ.  We later on realized that the “savior” in Jane’s dreams is the same Christ that spoke to her in her other dream. Back then, when she does not care yet, Jesus was just “a man in the dark” – unknown and unnoticed but still rescues her; then when greater trails came, she started seeing Him and appreciating His love and looked for Him. That time, Christ said, “ Carry on.” for those who search will find. She found that He has always found her

Mother bear, her 2 sons and her mother after a few months were also baptized and Ptr. Tito continued to follow up on them. 

stories from the field

Let me write about her…

“is Jesus really dead on Good Friday’s?” this was among the many questions Riza Mae, our host’s daughter has asked us.
                Riza is 13 years old. We met her during the survey, a week before we moved to our second area – San Antonio. We could not find a place for the team to stay. Riza offered their house and their firewood and their backyard for the guys’ tent, thank fully her mother agreed. We moved in and she went around with us inviting the kids and youth. She started asking questions , questions none of us ever wondered about let alone ask. Her questions made us really think, wonder and go back to the Lord and His Word for answers – He provided answers.
                At about 2 in the morning while at her uncle’s wake, she asked (after so many other questions) “Is Jesus really dead on Good Fridays? Does He die every Good Friday?” she is sad and cries on Good Fridays because God is dead and rises again every Easter Sunday.  That is what they were taught growing up. That is what she believed. We shared the memory verse Hebrews 9: 28 and asked her what the scripture says. “He only died once. He will not die again. He is not dead!” she was so happy and relieved to know that Christ is not dead and Good Friday is to remember what He did. We later knew that Riza came to faith during one of the Kids Bible Study (maybe VBS) back when she was younger and was still in Catanduanes. She has since then loved Jesus and tells people about him. The coming of the team helped her understand the Gospel more and have a vision to be used for His glory. She was baptized before the team left. Her mother and younger brothers were witnesses to her baptism. 

Bicol 2012 Team, Nehemiah Teams Luzon

Nehemiah Teams and iDisciple Camp's Partnership

Emely and Kaycee (left) with capmers
Adrian and Kaycee
Nehemiah Teams is thankful for the partnership of iDISCIPLE Gospel Camp of the LSBC-Youth Department. Since 2009, iDISCIPLE Camp has invited Nehemiah Teams come and challenge the students to be involved in missions. Only in 2010 were we able to come, set up a booth and speak to the participants. Emely de Castro and Cecil Cusi came to promote, while Kaselyn Ferry (NT leader) and Adrian Delgado (NT support group) participated in the camp. Some former NT participants like Ken Torda were also there. The opportunities were not limited to the time during plenary or at the booth, but the iDISCIPLE leadership gave the NT to share their testimonies in the small groups and tell the participants more about Missions and NT mission opportunities.

In 2011, they invited us to facilitate a workshop on missions called SENtral – Living Missional as Gospel People. 27 participants signed up and participated in this 3-day workshop.  The topic was The Great Commission from where we are to where God wants us to be.  Videos, testimonies, biographies of mission heroes and mission articles were shared.  The Biblical Basis of missions was discussed, as well as what it means to be a World Christian, and dug deep into the reasons not to go that young people often give.  There were also other NT representatives who participated in the 2011 Gospel Wakefulness camp (Apol Cuevas, Katherine Ferry, Mholens Cabatay and Nathaniel Racelis). These representatives were also able to share about NT in their workshops, small groups and one on one conversation with other campers and Church leaders. As a result, 2 young men (Rosman Balandang and Eliezer Layag) from iDISCIPLE Gospel Wakefulness camp joined Nehemiah Teams the past summer with their Community Group and workshop mates among their prayer partners!
The SENTral workshop participants

In this past 2012 iDISCIPLE “Entrusted with the Gospel” camp, we were again able to challenge young people to Pray, Go, Send, Mobilize for all nations. Before the end of the 3-day camp, 11 people have come up to Cecil for possibility of joining the team this summer and or future partnership for an unreached area.

It’s really amazing how the Lord weaves things together, how he connects his children and the ministries He has entrusted them. I can say that this partnership of NT and iDISCIPLE Gospel Camp team may have begun years ago in TLW trainings in Batangas with lead by Kuya Franco Ferrrer, and in 2008 TLW training for American NT participants during their orientation in Davao. All these things the Lord have divinely planned for the advancement of the Gospel in the lives of the Young People unto the world. And it is not so much of the mobilization alone, it also is for iDISCIPLE Camp’s commitment to be Gospel –Centered.  And above all, the out pour of God’s Spirit on His people.
El (in white), practicing a skit with the team
Nehemiah Teams rallies it as This Generation. Every Nation!   iDISCIPLE Camp declares it as KNOW, OWN and MAKE KNOWN the GOSPEL.

Nehemiah Teams hopes this partnership would further be strengthened and be of better service to the youth department.

iDISCIPLE Gospel Camp is held yearly from December 26-30 at the Southern Baptist Camp in Mariveles, Bataan.

NT 2012 Luzon participants
-Nehemiah Teams Luzon