When the President of the Philippines Duterte was campaigning earlier this year for office, his slogan was “Change is Coming” with a image of a big fist to symbolize strength. He still is controversial in some respects, but one of his first big policies was to demand that drug users and dealers surrender to authorities or else be faced with significant and potentially lethal consequences. This policy struck fear at the heart of many in this life and last I heard there were over 800,000 people throughout the Philippines that surrendered themselves to the government.
Duterte’s drug policy is “Rehabilitate the User, Eliminate the Pusher.” He has backed up the “eliminate” part in some ways, but with 800,000 surrenderees – the government has been unable to back up the rehabilitation part of the plan. A few months ago, the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) as a result requested CCF (Christ’s Commission Fellowship), one of the largest churches in Manila (60,000 people) to lead a pilot program of recovery and rehabilitation for drug addicts. The lead pastor of CCF is an alumni of IGSL and a current member of our board. The pastor tasked with designing and heading this program is Danny Urquico – also an IGSL alumni – and also a former drug addict and criminal who spent time in prison prior to coming to Christ. He is pictured below in the center from when we went to Tacloban for typhoon relief together.
Danny is one of several convicts turned pastors that was trained by IGSL. I got to know him well in Tacloban doing relief after Typhoon Yolanda. Danny now has a far reaching ministry through CCF and he had already been involved in recovery ministry to addicts and prisoners because of his own journey. He is a great man for the job.
In an Philippines Daily Inquirer article, Pastor Danny was quoted saying, “Our President (Duterte) always say ‘Change is coming,’ but you see, transformation, real change happens only when we surrender our life to Jesus.” They were tasked to run a pilot program of 5000 drug users and surrenders in the cities of Cainta and Pasig. Cainta is the city we drive through to take our kids to school every day. Pasig is the city we drive through on the way to our church here.
The recovery program is well under way as a 12 session program that addresses addiction, family dynamics, and spiritual development among other things. Last we heard they are beginning to train hundreds of pastors and leaders to start the program through other churches throughout the Philippines.
Please be praying for Pastor Danny, CCF, and the many IGSL alumni and many other pastors and churches who are responding in faith to what really is a huge national problem. Hundreds of thousands of people, both drug dealers and addicts, have surrendered to President Duterte over the past six months.
This is a great example of our ministry vision at IGSL. While equipping people for ministries of spiritual multiplication, we also envision equipping people to represent Christ in society – especially in areas that reflect God’s heart. Leaders like Danny are an answer to our prayer and the fruit of your giving and partnership in the ministry. But maybe what’s most encouraging is that God sovereignly has worked through the political situation and government policy to open doors for the church to have this ministry and He has sovereignly prepared Danny and others for the task at hand.
As we come to the end of the year we want to invite you to make a year-end gift unto the Lord towards what He is doing here at IGSL through missionaries, pastors, and leaders like Danny who are tangibly and strategically take the love of Christ into many spiritually dark places throughout Asia.
This summer we are required to return to the U.S. to go through the 5 week Cru training in Colorado for international staff that we have deferred the last 2 summers because of our long-term transition. This training will provide additional intercultural and missionary training for Christine and I AND for the kids. The kids will go through contextualized cross-cultural missions training for their age levels, helping them debrief their experience growing up in a different culture. As a family – we are very ready for some additional input and coaching for our international life as a family and for our ministry.
This trip, including travel, housing, training fees and the Cru national staff conference will be about $15,000 for our whole family. Additionally, the expenses of Brian’s PhD program are about $2,500 per year so our current need is $17,500. We began raising for this training last year and through your gifts we have $7500 already raised towards this need so currently our summer needs stand at $10,000.
Would you prayerfully consider giving a year-end financial gift of $100, $300, $500 or of any amount towards our summer 2017 expenses? We believe this training will greatly help our family’s development, capacity, and well-being as an international missionary family.
If God leads you to give, you can follow this link to either give a one-time gift or begin a monthly commitment.
We are so grateful to have been sent her by you and to be prayed for consistently by you. God continues to bring hope to some of the darkest places in Asia through the love of Jesus Christ. We pray you have a blessed Christmas season!
Brian, Christine & the kids