Last month, I traveled to the Philippines with a team of four other people from the Tokyo YWAM Base. Four of us including myself had been there before, but this time was different. One of the main parts of YWAM Tokyo’s DTS experience has been a trip to the Philippines. Our teams normally fly in to Manilla and then travel to Olongapo, where the team stays and does ministry for two weeks, before returning to Japan. This outreach was different. We only had ten days, and our entire team was staff.
It is considered rare for a Staff Team from a YWAM base to go and do outreaches. Often this is because DTS (Discipleship Training School) is normally the main focus. In most cases this would apply to YWAM Tokyo as well, but last year was quite different from our perceived norm. God told the base leaders to take a year off from DTS, so we didn’t have a DTS last year. Instead, we spent time as a base going back and looking at what we really believe and figuring out how to walk in it. (This year, we will have a DTS, but it starts in September.) During this time one of the people at our base had it on her heart to go to the Philippines with staff members. After praying about it with the bases Leadership Team, the trip was approved. God then told the five of us to go. And it was basically a miracle that any of us were able to go. None of us had the money to go at first. I received a donation from my church that covered the trip cost, it arrived a week before I left. I paid for the airfare with all my support for two months. God provided food and transportation through other people here in Japan and a couple of donations from people I have never met. Everyone on our team has a story like that, all five of us.
We left Tokyo on the 20th for Manilla. We left early in the morning. We landed, we went through immigration, and we met up with our contact Virgie (or rather she met up with us.) We exchanged currency and left for the YWAM base in Pasay, a city just South of Manilla. We then stayed there for the night. We spent the day walking around and hanging out a bit. The next day we left on a bus for Olongapo and Virgie came with us. We traveled most of the day and arrived in time for dinner. We then had a meeting before going to bed. The next day was a Sunday, so we went to church with everyone.
The next day everything jumped into high gear. We started working with the girls at the base. This will take a bit of explanation.
YWAM Olongapo’s main mission is to reach women in prostitution, and offer them a way out of the life style through discipleship and job training. We got to be involved in every part of this. Three of the nights we went to the bars to try and build relationship with the girls in the bars. During the days we helped watching the children at the base, helped make paper and cards (they use this to fund the program and provide for the disciples,) we lead meetings with the disciples and teenagers, and got to pray for the leadership of the base and bless them. Our primary goal in the trip was to bless the Leadership at the base, support their work in the bars, and continue with good relationship.
It was intense. We were tired and exhausted on day two. God is bigger though. He was the one that made it possible and made it wonderful. We had to operate by his strength, because we didn’t have any left. We met twice a day as a team, to pray and encourage each other. This helped keep me sane. I love the people at the base. I love the people on my team, but oh my did I find out how selfish I really am. No one seemed to notice though, to my relief. God’s grace was all over this trip. After arriving back in Manilla, we were able to meet up with an old friend of our base and pray for him and his wife. Then we left for the Pasay base again. Then the next morning we left for the airport at 4am and flew back to Tokyo.
I learned many things on this trip. The biggest one for me was this, operating by God’s strength doesn’t mean we go in wanting to do what God wants to do, it means we let God be King and only do what we see him doing.
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
– John 5:19 ESV
Below are pictures of the card and paper making operation. Due to the nature of the ministry, the photos I have selected in this post are very intentional.