Mission to Indonesia 2018

Kalimantan, Indonesia

May 20th-22nd

Deacon Steve:

“God is good! I felt the power of the Holy Spirit the second I got off the plane. God wants to bless and heal his people!

The first evening we had dinner with the local Bishop. He was very excited we were there!  We were blessed to have him show us his residence and the beautiful Cathedral.  Truly spectacular!  The Bishop gave us his blessing and words of encouragement!”

Katie:

“Being excited about visiting an unknown place is exciting.  Knowing there are over 25 hours between me and the unknown place is a bit concerning.   Praying for this mission trip in advance I knew God had called me to go to Indonesia.  I knew the Lord would provide all that  I needed including patience!  The mission team was covered with God’s grace and we arrived at our final destination in Ketapang after four flights and a short car ride.  We were welcomed by beautiful singing of the Order of Augustinian Sisters of Ketapang.  They blessed us with hugs, joyful smiles and big hearts.  I truly felt God and Momma Mary’s presence.”

Having left on the 20th and arriving in Ketapang on the 22nd and feel like it was all one day is a lot to process.  After our beautiful welcome and a long rest to restore our strength was a blessing.  We then proceeded to the Cathedral of Ketapang and had dinner with Bishop Pius of Ketapang.  He was most approachable, kind and humble.  Bishop Pius was full of warmth and happy to share about the Catholic culture in this Muslim country.  We had a beautiful dinner and tour of the cathedral property which helped us begin our relationship with Bishop Pius and also learn about the people we were sent to minister to.  I have to say the beautiful smiles of love from all the people we have encountered is full of God’s love and grace.  I am so inspired and excited to see what miracles God will perform these several days ahead.

The interesting part about the cultural environment is that because it is most Muslim country in the world your sense are reminded of that fact.  There are continual calls to prayer that are sent out over loud speakers so that you can’t ignore it.  What grace is this? Well every time I hear the ‘call to prayer’ I pray to Jesus!”

Antonia:

“Arrival to Ketapang –  after such a long journey, finally we arrive at the convent of the Augustinians.  It was such a warm felt welcome…it was like coming home!  Home to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ!  We were not strangers at all…the mutual love for Christ was our strong connection.  The love they radiated was indescribable.

It was so fitting that today’s Proverbs was so on point to our mission here at Ketapang (Proverbs 10:5).  The commentary read as follows:

The time we live in now is the harvest, and we are the sons and daughters who have the opportunity to be ‘sent out’ to work for the Lord.  Our lives on this earth have meaning, and our work for God impacts eternity, because we carry a message from the God of Heaven declaring Salvation through His Son Jesus.  Through that salvation is promised eternal life in relationship with God in Heaven.  Volunteer, be sent forth into the harvest field, people’s hearts are being prepared to receive the good news of Jesus Christ.  God can and will use you to deliver His message of hope and life!

We were called, we were sent, we are now here to do His Will!  Praise the Lord!

“We met with Bishop Pius and some additional Augustinian priests today.  It was an honor that he took time from his schedule to welcome us to his diocese. He truly cares for his community…a true shepherd for his flock.  He took us to the Cathedral and explained much about the history and concerns of his community. It was a blessed day and an awesome start for  our ministering to this diocese!”

Darren:

“What a wonderful welcome from the sisters to all of us and the bishop to be so friendly like any other religious community in the village area. It seems to me that again I long for what area without poverty could not easily maintain, total simplicity. I believe Jesus would be like this guy back in the day, how could the Church learn from this simple bishop that might be the minority of all bishops? How about the missionaries and active catholics learn about building a society of life, not of work.”

 

 

 

 

 

May 23rd

Deacon Steve:

We are staying with the Augustinian Sisters of Mercy.   They are truly anointed, filled with the joy of the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit.

They run a local hospital and they took us to pray over the patients.  It was an amazing experience!  So many, young and old, that were open to God’s love and healing power!
I was moved by how much God loves them!’

We had a Mass and healing service at the Cathedral at 5 pm. Words can’t describe it.
The beautiful choir and liturgy.

They expected several hundred people for this special Mass.  We had nearly 900 hundred!  They waited patiently in line to be prayed over and receive the healing power of Jesus!!!  So many healings and miracles.

After bring involved in the Lord’s healing ministry for over 40 years, I received a special blessing.  They Lord gave me a special word that at least seven or more of those I prayed over were going into religious life.  Many future priests were anointed with the power of Holy Spirit!  Praise God! Now and forever!

Katie:

“Wow what a great night sleep and the best part was waking up in the middle of the night to hear the loudest rain storm I’ve ever experience.  Coming from California it was truly welcomed.  The rain helped cool us off after a very hot day yesterday.  The hospitality and love of the Augustinian sisters is overwhelming.  After breakfast we had a short tour of the school and then an extensive visit at the mission hospital that the sisters run.  It is very organized and you can tell the doctors and nurses love their patients.  Though it is a Catholic hospital we were exposed to the fact that this hospital serves both Christians and Muslims.  We were taken to the infant ICU ward which was overwhelming.  It was a blessing to pray over all the children who were fighting to survive low birth weight and other health problems.  Though we couldn’t pray over everyone individually and there were Muslims I knew God was healing all the people in the hospital in ways we may never know. Maybe in Heaven God will reveal what he did today for those people.

Tonight we were at the Cathedral for a mass and a healing service.  About 900 local parishioners showed up to this special mass.  There was so much healing and love poured out onto everyone there.  Miraculous blessings.  One man who came in a lot of pain and in wheelchair walked out of the Cathedral that night.  So many were overcome by God’s love and mercy and it was released into the atmosphere.  I go to sleep to night with a heart of great thanksgiving and wonder. ”

Antonia:

“After much needed rest, we spent most of the morning visiting the Augustinian Sisters’ grounds…their school and hospital.  It gave us an opportunity to interact not only with the Sisters but also the Ketapang people.  

The Sisters are truly a blessing to this community…they assist the community in such a very special way and they give of themselves sacrificially.  You can see God’s love and mercy through them!  May they continue to grow in their ministry and God continue to provide for their needs through God’s faithful people that have the means! They help the poor in such a dignified way.  They are truly being God’s instruments! What a blessing to see this first hand. A very humbling experience.”

Darren:

“I never saw babies in incubators that many in my home country. My little brothers and sisters, what are you? Why do I look at you and see you as the incomprehensible? Took me awhile to feel comfortable to carry new born babies back in the days. But how about these little ones? Still digesting my own feeling. However, saw these patients whose pains I am fully aware of be in wet climate in a close room, for me, that’s the other spectrum of suffering, I know without relocation, this is not a problem, but somehow it reminded me about Maximilian Kolbe in the cell. I wanted to run away from my humid room yesterday, but i see these sick who think not of sweat like maids at home. What has AC actually done to my psychology and life?”

May 24th

Deacon Steve:

We are blessed to be here but it is not without its challenges.  The pace at times can be difficult, mostly due to lack of sleep and the oppressive heat and humidity.

This morning we started with praying over a small boy who is crippled with a bone disease; giving hope to the Father that Jesus loves his family and him!

We then were driven to a hospital to pray over a 3 month baby who was shortly going into surgery.  We prayed fervently for the healing of the baby through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus.

We prayed over the whole family who welcomed us warmly with appreciated faces and smiles.  The interesting thing?  They were Muslim!  Other Muslim families wanted prayer also!

We then had a Mass in the Chapel with the Augustinian Sisters, those working for them and their families.  The singing of the Sisters was amazing!  You felt like you were in heaven.  Every person came up for healing prayer after the Mass.

The afternoon got surreal.  We drove for 90 minutes in the jungle to a remote Chapel for a Mass and healing service.

The trip on the “roads” deserve a commentary.  But first…..ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  Now I feel better.

Picture dirt roads or at best uneven with many pot holes and even ditches.  Then add to it people walking on it with their families (at night you can barely see them), bikes, scooters, motorcycles, cars, large trucks etc.  All weaving in and out on a narrow two line road.  It is a lot like a bizarre video game!  At least we had a priest as our driver!  I closed my eyes a lot!

The people appeared out of no where for the Mass.  Where did they come from?  Most were angelic!  One thing that I am amazed is how devout they are.  Once again , the singing was like a choir of angels!

There were many children.  All came up for prayer.  Hands folded.  Holy.  Amazing.  All with smiles, thanking us, and of course taking pictures to the universal English they know, “one more!

The end to a perfect day?  Playing bingo with the Sisters!  As you might imagine, the angelic Sisters won with great delight!  Smiles and laughter all around! Yes there is a God and he loves the Augustinian Sisters!

Katie:

Today was another beautiful day.  We are so honored to share meals with the Augustinian sisters each day. After breakfast we were able to pray with a little boy about 4 years old.  He has broken his legs 3 times due to soft bone condition.  His father held him as he was very timid.  We truly believe the Lord will heal this little boy named Dixio.  Please pray for him.  We ventured to a public hospital as well.  A friend of the sisters has a 4 month baby boy Gabriel.  He has a serious condition of swelling of the brain.  We prayed for this little baby with his family.  These moments are precious to me.  Forever in my heart are the Indonesian people.

We had a special mass with the Augustinian sisters and the staff of the mission hospital there.  These people being prayed over were so wonderful to allow themselves to be vulnerable to let us pray with them for healing.  Afterwards they all wanted to take pictures.  I felt so loved, Jesus and Momma Mary were there.

Later in the afternoon we drove to a remote church.  The parishioners came out for a mass and healing service.  We are so blessed!  I truly understand how we are “One Body in Christ!”

 

 

 

May 25th

Katie:

“Today was another powerful day.  We had mass and a healing service with the young teens from the Augustinian sisters school that is on the property of the convent and mission hospital.  This little community is on holy ground.  You feel the presence of God wherever you walk and spend time.  The teenagers were so attentive and listened to everything Deacon Steve said.  One girl told me ‘I am so blessed to be here today’ that was my sentiment exactly.  As teenagers are they wanted to take a million photos with all of us.  They are so excited.

We were informed that we are the first missionaries from the USA to over visit this Diocese of Ketapang.  Wow! What a gift and honor.  All I can think is God loves me so much to bring me here.  It’s not an easy trip or accommodations but it is totally worth it.  I feel the blessing from the Lord are poured upon me, too many to count!

This afternoon we spent time with the local charismatic communities of Ketapang.  They drove from all over the area to be with us.  Deacon Steve and Darren our team member and Indonesian translator, had a awesome time giving a powerful message to these groups.  After the talk, questions and testimonies we as one big community prayed for all those present.  Wow it was powerful.  We made some awesome spiritual connections.

The feeling I have now, I don’t want to ever lose!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 25

Deacon Steve:

We were up at the crack of dawn and traveled 10 hours to the parish that is furtherest away.  The roads were not paved with massive holes.  We crawled along.

Our event in the evening was special.  It was mostly teenagers with some adults. The Lord put a song in my heart; “come Holy Spirit fill our hearts. “ Much to my delight they began singing and clapping.  It was awesome.  There was powerful healing!

Antonia:

We are road warriors!  After 8 hours of travel, we got to minister to some teenagers.  They were so open to receiving the Lord!

 

May 26th

Deacon Steve:

This was our first Sunday Mass and it was incredible!  They were over flowing outside and very enthusiastic about the homily!

The healing session was memorable to say the least.  Muslims, Buddhists, and Catholics filled the church waiting for God’s healing touch.  Many were “slain in the Spirit.”

We experienced several “manifestations,” including a serious one with a thirteen year old girl.  She was screaming, kicking and even biting; we found out later this was not the first time.

The Lord gave me a word;  there was demonic objects in her house.  I asked the Father if he was involved with the occult.  He  nodded.  After we took authority and calmed her down, we decided to go to her house with her parents, destroy the items not of the Lord and bless the house.

I asked the Father to bring me what he had.
Oh boy!  One thing after another.  Carm’s, stones, portions, necklaces, bracelets etc.

Wow!  No wonder the daughter was attacked.  We destroyed the items, Blessed the house, I gave a Holy Land rosary to the young girl with instructions on staying away from things not of the Lord.

The girl instantly changed!  She was smiling and full of love!

Antonia:

We woke to attend Sunday mass and got to pray for entire congregation.  The people stayed to the end…we were there from 7:30 am to 11:00 am.  Incredible…so much faithfulness.  God is doing wonders! 

When we lose all for God, God then becomes our all, and when God becomes our all, then and only then do we have everything.

This was my realization today…I thought I had surrendered all until I realized that I was still holding tight to my way of life…the comforts of the USA.  This has been a transforming experience for me.  It has been awesome to be used by God in such a mighty way.  Praise the Lord!

May 27th -May 30th

Deacon Steve:

The Augustinian Sisters of Divine Mercy continue to be fantastic!  We are traveling hundreds of miles to minister to parishes that are isolated. Their enthusiasm is unparalleled among any place we have experienced.

We had two Masses, as usual for us.  The first was with the students.  They are so full of love and the Holy Spirit!  The second was in a town almost totally Muslim except for 70 Catholic families.

The Mass was almost full with over 400 people.  Where did they come from?  They drove for hours from surrounding villages to be there!

Many of the people coming up to be prayed over were crying.  That people from California would be there in the name of Jesus!  Totally awesome!

Because of superstition and lack of education, a number of people and families bring into their homes or wear items from the occult.  The people don’t fully realize they are under the influence of evil until they are prayed over with fervent prayer.  Then it hits!  Crying, screaming, yelling, thrashing of their body and worse at times.  I have trained the Sisters on what to do and it is working much better.  I don’t have the time until the end to minister directly with those who are manifesting.

All glory to God!

Antonia:

The last days were a whirlwind!  We continued to see God’s mighty hand at work.  The people were so open to the Holy Spirit.  Because of that there was so much spiritual warfare…we knew that lives were being transformed and healings were taking place.  It is safe to say that the Lord’s presence was felt and made known in a powerful way!

The local sisters are real saints…they are in the frontline battling with regular attacks from their Muslim neighbors.  Rocks are thrown at the Convent at a regular basis.  These sisters’ need our prayers and support.  They are usually only 2-3 present in the little towns.  The last town really touched my heart… electricity is only available from 6 pm to an undetermined time…sometimes to 6 am on a good day which is not always the case.  The day we were there it went off by 9 pm..,fortunately it went back on.  They have no refrigerators or AC units.  These sisters really have it tough…yet they continue their faithful yes to God everyday.

Overall, this spiritual journey showed me how much more I need to do to help our fellow brothers and sisters.  Please keep them in your prayers and help anyway you can!

Philippines Mission 2017

Day One

We were invited to attend one of the Novena masses for the Santo Nino Feast Day coming up to January 12th. What we were astounded by was the mass of people that attend this mass, for the Basilica holds 11 masses every day of the year.  Each mass can hold 15,000.  Wow!  As we arrived we we were escorted not knowing where our destination was within the crowds. We soon realized we were given seats on the altar area!  What a blessing to see all the faithful people celebrating Santo Nino.

 

We  visited a small village chapel in the evening in which the local villagers came to listen to Deacon Steve give a message of hope and healing.  We were introduced to our sponsor’s community, by  Glenda Antonio of Spring Rain Global and Fr. Victor of Santo Nino Basilica.

 

 

 

Deacon Steve

Praise be our God and Savior, who has sent the five of us to minister to His people, many of which are the poorest of the poorest in the Philippines.

After an uneventful flight,  praise God, we were met the airport and had dinner with our hosts Glenda Miro Antonio from Spring Rain and Fr. Victor of Santo Nino Basilica.

All of us were mesmerized by the mass we attended at the Basilica Santo Nino.  There was nearly two thousand people at the Mass  standing in the rain.  Most had statues of Santo Nino in their hands and were excited to be there!  I was blessed to proclaim the Gospel, administer Communion and bless the people with holy water at the end of Mass. It is hard to explain how amazing it was to see the faith and excitement of the people!

In the evening,I gave a teaching and healing service in a small village outside the city of Cebu.  The people were hungry for God’s word and enthusiastic about receiving healing pray from us.  After the event we’re treated to an incredible dinner, which is the standard for all of our meals.  The Filipino people are kind, generous and loving!

Antonia

Today reminded me of my parent’s home town fiesta celebrations but on a more bigger magnitude! Such devotion, such faith, such love for God. Not even the rain prevented the people from coming…faithfully they stood in mass with umbrella in hand! Cebu City stands united for Santo Nino.

Dennis

It was an awesome day in the Philippines!  The heavenly garden of Our Lord.  The vibrant spirituality of the people really shined throughout this day, especicially at the mass with their participation, love and reverance.  The Filipino’s faithfulness challenged me to look deeper inward and seek a deeper walk with the Lord..

Lourdes

Dancing in the rain of faith with the child of Jesus, el Santo Niño. We gathered at the Basilica of El Niño to celebrate one of the 11 masses they have every day for the El Santo Niño Festivities. Deacon Steve reading the Gospel with at least 12 priests, deacons, and religious on the altar; in front of thousands of  Filipinos. To our surprise, because God is so good, the Spirit  Filled Hearts team were directed by Glenda (our host) to a seat beside by the altar, a privileged and an invitation to reflect on all of those who were standing in the rain, with their umbrellas open. An invitation to keep our umbrellas up side down, to catch all of the blessings of love, innocence, and humility, showered by Baby Jesus to the faithful FIlipinos! Thank you Jesus!

Katie

Beside the honor of viewing the mass at the Basilica of Santo Nino, I was in awe of God’s outpouring of love and blessings upon His faithful Filipino people.  The spiritually and faithfulness of the people standing in the pouring rain during mass is a testimony of their love of God.  A joyful moment for me was witnessing and participating in the joyful song of Santon Nino and everyone waving their hands in honor of Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Day Two

Deacon Steve

This day has been one of the most incredible in my life, and certainly in the history of Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry.

We were blessed to celebrate Mass at Santo Nino Parish which is in one of the most impoverished areas of Cebu.  The poverty is almost overwhelming to see.   Yet…the people are amazing!  They packed the church and were loud and enthusiastic, screaming “Viva Senor Santo Nino,” and thrusting their arms into the air, praising God!

After the Mass we had our healing service, in which everyone came up for prayer.  Those who had been prayed over, in many cases, were so enthusiastic, that they told their friends and neighbors what was happening and brought them to the church.  We began to realize that the seemingly unending line was due to the many in the street coming in to be prayed over.  Praise God, now and forever!

I also visited those bed ridden in their homes, which were very impoverished, yet the people were always smiling and joyful.

That afternoon was equally incredible.  We were brought to the Cebu City Jail which had up to 4,000 inmates.  There, I gave a teaching and healing service.  It was a incredible!  I, with the Spirit Filled Hearts team helping me, prayed over nearly a thousand inmates with sacramental oil and giving them words of encouragement.  We poured the love of Jesus into their hearts and souls.  Many were transformed, which in turn, transformed us!  Praise God!

Antonia

Wow, it is only the second day but yet I feel that I have been blessed many times over.  This morning we visited a Don Bosco/Salesian church “Santo Nino Parish Church”.  The people were so faithful and had such a deep hunger for God.  Just when we thought that the line was getting shorter, the Lord brought more of his children to receive a special blessing. The good news is spreading like fire.

The hospitality is beyond this world. We are treated with such love.

We got to visit the Cebu city jail and what a transformation. The men were no longer the same…right before my eyes, hearts were being healed and men in bondage were being set free.

It has been a blessing to be used by God! I am so glad that I said yes to God!

Continue to pray for us. There is still much to do!

Lourdes

So many God moments, simply being instruments of God during these day, being part of such a faithful community were people were hungry for healing. I learnt how priest June was not just a priest but a leader, a servant of God, touching every family of his community with his love and service.

We were able to have the honor of praying over all of these people, the HolySpirit was there and we didn’t just give but received the healing for simply saying yes and learning from people who every day accept and embrace what they have without questioning their future.

It was amazing to see the transformation of the inmates who hoped for a change of heart and to embrace not condemnation but the love of Christ even in the midst of despair.

Thank you Jesus, because during this day I have seen the most poor being the most humble, and trusting. My question was how come in our country we have so much in material goods, and some of us, including myself doubt about God providing for the future. The more I see the hope and transformation appear through their eyes, the more my heart transforms knowing how much more Jesus continues to mold me and us through His Spirit.

With love from the Phillipinnes,
Lourdes

Dennis

What a privilege it was to start our day with at a local parish mass that end with a healing service for about for 500 people. They were hungry for Christ and his touch. And I believe they received it.

Afterward we went to a nearby prison in the mountain area. Initially, it was a frightening experience. There were over 3,900 inmates with somber distraught faces.  After we had been there for a while though I could see how their hearts were touched and changed.  I especially saw the transformation as the inmates were being were being prayed over by Deacon Steve along with the support of all the team members behind him. It was such a “Spirit  Filled Heart” humbling experience—I will never forget it. Thank you Lord!

Katie

As we entered the Stanto Nino Parish  in Pasil, Cebu with the parish priest Fr. June, I was astounded by the many people filling the church on a weekday.  The people had beautiful welcoming smiles, a great sign of encouragement!  I loved to make eye contact with these loving eyes of Christ.  Deacon Steve gave an encouraging homily to all the parishioners and I could see they were receiving the Good News, “Jesus loves you!”  After mass, the healing service was powerful. The faithful people were hungry for the touch from God.  The Holy Spirit was in full force!  After the mass attendees received their prayer time from us, they went out to the streets and called to their friends.  In essence it felt like we prayed over the whole village,  kept coming down the church aisle!  The crowd was amazing!  Later, father June told us that the news of the mass and healing service will spread like wild fire and the whole town will be talking about what happened.  What happened?  Jesus is the healer and the people felt Him through our prayers.

At the Cebu City Jail I was intrigued with the location of it being in the hillside.  We rolled up to the gates and were escorted by the guards.  The jail contains about 4,000 detainees and I got the sense that we were walking into a low security jail.  However, there were some prisoners who had the privilege to walk freely about the property.  The security guards, the chaplain and some of the prisoners showed us to the chapel.  I truly felt the Lord’s presence and protection of holy angels and Saints because there’s nothing quite like experiencing being in a small chapel with 100 inmates and then about 900-1,000 curious inmates outside the chapel peering in.

As we prayed over the men I felt joyful know God was healing and transforming them. Praise G!

Day Four

Deacon Steve

In the morning we gave a presentation to the board of Spring Rain Global, our host and partner in the Philippines.  There we met many of the key Catholic leaders from Manila and Cebu.  They are anxious to further partner with us in many areas, especially with the poor and children.

We had a Mass and Healing Service at Robinson’s Galleria to honor the opening display of the Sto. Nino Chapel and Campus.

Very powerful healing session. Many were touched and healed. They were not used to someone who believed in the miracles and healing power of Jesus! Praise God! They were very moved including one of the Priests who said it is positively changing his life!

Dennis

After another great breakfast, we spend the morning and part of the afternoon with Spring Rain Philanthropic Development Office directors meeting.  Deacon Steve game a very dynamic and inspiring presentation on the 10 step development process. This insight will help the PDOs in their efforts to raise the Philanthropic finances they so urgently need and deserve.

Later on we attended mass which ended with another Healing Service. It has been truly amazing 2 witness the Filipino peoples holiness, charisma, reverence, and trust, —which calls and challenges us to a deeper level of Catholic spirituality.

We were blessed to attend the Spring Rain Philanthropic  Development  Oranization Conference.  I was one of the keynote speakers on how to build advocacy with donors.  There were forty-three parishes and religious organizations that attended.  This includes leaders of the Church in both Manila and Cebu.

These religious leaders work with children, orphans, schools and the poorest of the poor.  By helping them we are indirectly assisting their efforts with many disenfranchised children and adults.

The response was phenomenal!   There were many who would like us to help them organize their development process so that they can do more to build the body of Christ.

We have been introduced to an individual who is the Catholic laity leader of Nigeria.  He was so impressed and moved by us, he has invited us to envangelize thousands of people in Nigeria this year!

Lourdes

We were introduced to the board of Spring Rain. We got into a conference center we’re Glenda and Father Victor will be presenting us to the board to build our partnership. It was exciting to experience so many priests and sisters gathering to make a difference in the Filipino community. They started with a prayer and presented us and their board and Deacon Steve Greco presented the gift of 5,000 to be distributed to the different schools, orphanages, and convents as well as asilos or homes of the elder. They also presented the Spring Rain choir and their vision and we had an open dialogue about these beautiful international partnership. The idea of being part of these amazing organization who is so close to those in need, was for me a miracle.

After the presentation we went to the mall and bought some gifts for the Filipino people and our family and friends. Then we gathered and continued our journey to change and then be part of a dinner offered by one of the main donors.

It was a beautiful restaurant and we were able to share with some priests and the donors a little about who we were and stood for Christ as the Spirit Filled Hearts team. The food was delicious! Wow, the chicken BBQ was to die for and the ribs were so good that I was thinking, maybe this week of action in faith will not be  the time for fasting! I guess Jesus was right when he told the Pharisees there will be time for fasting later but at that moment the disciples were with Jesus, and difficult moments would come when the sacrifices would need to be made. I though to myself, that will be the Gospel during the healing mass at the Senor Santo Niño Basilica, we needed to accept the generosity of the Filipino community and saying no to their invitation is not an act of grace. Maybe it was a great justification but I know that sharing the food in community with love was what Jesus did and sharing with them felt so amazing! Thank you Jesus for this day!

Day Five

Deacon Steve

The Fluvial procession of the Santo Nino Feast celebration  was held in the early morning.  We were on our way at three AM with the Spring Rain Global Development Officers.  It was so exciting to see hundreds of boats decorated boats with the faithful celebrating and praising God, Santo Nino.  We had Mass on board a boat, followed by our Spirit Filled Hearts praying for healing for all the passengers.  It was very powerful!

A few hours later we participated in the Santo Nino Processional walk with millions singing, praying the Rosary, and playing of instruments as away of expressing their devotion to Santo Nino.  It was awesome!

That evening we  participated in one of the most incredible events of our lives.  Well over 10 thousand people attended the Mass Celebration both inside the Basilica and streamed out into the streets of Cebu.  I was able to participate as a Deacon.  At the end of the Mass , some of the priests and deacons were able to hold and dance with the the statue of Santo Nino.  I was one of the blessed ones!  The people were singing, dancing and thrusting their arms into the air!  After the Mass Celebration the Basilica put on a grand display of fireworks for all the faithful.  It was was a joyous display of our love of Jesus!

Dennis

I can’t believe how privileged we are to join our Filipino brothers and sisters on the parade of boats to honor Santo Nino. SPirates Filled Hearts Minisstr held a healing Service after the mass on the boat. It was a very beautiful, grace filled experience for starting our day by getting up shortly after 2am. God is good all the time! He even gave us the energy to walk the parade route and attend mass at the Santo Nino Basicilia.

Lourdes

We woke up at 2:10 am and rushed down to the lobby to meet with our guide Glenda and all. Then we waited for the rest of the people in front of a pharmacist. God is amazing since I needed some Bonine so I would not get dizzy on the fluvial, a parade of boats to honor the Santo Nino! We were inside of the boat by 5:30 am and left the dock by 6:00 pm! What an experience of faith and love to the Infant Child of Jesus. Every one of the boats had a mass and procession to celebrate this day. We also had a testimony session about the miracles of Santo Nino and a healing session! My eyes were filled with so much joy from seeing the faith of these people who suffer much, but never lost their hope! After that we came back to the hotel changed and walked to the main procession to the Basilica, where everyone was doing the rosary while walking four miles with their images of Santo Nino. The crowd would not stop praying and praising the Santo Nino with the songs dedicated to him. By the end of the walk we ended in the Santo. Nino Basilica where a special mass was celebrated. How many pilgrims, I don’t know but the crowd was magnificent. People came from all the islands around Cebu to celebrate! The roads were filled, the hotels were completely booked, the town was so crowded with people. I don’t have words to express the beauty of the Eucharistic Procession and mass. The fireworks after the Santo Nino song and petitions made for everyone of the people that as a Church or individually people would pray through the song and would raise the Santo Nino and dance with him. Deacon Steve was able to dance with the Santo Nino and some of the priests that were in the altar.

What an amazing gift and honor to be here during these tradition and faithful procession to celebrate the infant Jesus and their devotion to Him. I know angels were singing of happiness in heaven for the miracles that these town would be blessed with for being faithful to their faith and tradition of el Senor Santo Niño!

Antonia

We started with the boat procession which included so many other boats and ships! We celebrated mass on the boat and had the privilege of praying for those on the boat. Then the walk procession began which was not just around the block…it was a walk for about four miles with over 800k people participating. I continue to be amazed by the people’s reverence because the rain and heat did not deter them.

The city united to make this a blessed day.

Finally the celebration of the mass with fireworks to follow…what a spectacular show!

The day is not over because the streets continue to remained blocked so the young and old have block party celebrations! What a full day of lifting up and celebrating Santo Nino! What a blessed day!

Day Six

Deacon Steve

We left the hotel day early on the actual Feast Day of Santo Nino.  To say there were a lot of people would be an understatement!  Our wonderful and incredible hosts, Fr. Victor and Glenda Antonio, had to walk a half mile just to meet us at our hotel.  All the roads were closed to traffic to prepare for the ” dancing in the streets celebration” that day and night.

We were blessed to lead a Mass and healing service at the Augustinian Sisters of Augustine Monastary.  I gave the homily on becoming child like in our faith.  There were many in attendance that we prayed over and many were healed by Jesus.  The sisters are cloistered and I was permitted to pray over them individually in a separate area.  I was pleased that several of them, including the Mother Superior were slain in the Spirit!

That evening we had another incredible Mass celebrating Santo Nino Basilica.  Once again there were over ten thousand in attendance!  This time however I was the only Deacon assisting in the Mass.  I felt honored and blessed.  At the end of the Mass I was once again blessed to dance with the statue of Santo Nino!

Lourdes

The next day is the fiesta day! The entire day the streets were closed and people would dress in colorful costumes to dance and compete throughout the day. Our van could not even pass through to pick us up. We would go to the Church of St. Rita at Takisha were we would celebrate mass with the sisters and have lunch with them. We also visited the order of Saint Augustine school for the priests and saw their school campus and sat down to pray at their chapel. Beautiful gardens filled with the scent of nature mixed with the aroma of prayer, fervent and devoted prayer!

We continued to share a lunch together in peace while Father Victor took a mini nap! After leaving the intentions of all of those who helped me be here being an instrument of God, I pursued to leave the peace and tranquility of the cloistered sisters who dedicate their life to pray for the world. Then we tasted the flavor of Halo Halo ice cream! A bowl of colorful ice cream with coconut, corn flakes, and much more!

We then went to celebrate the Fiesta Mass of Senor Santo Nino, at the Basilica where we were astonished by the amount of faith and prayer and the beautiful and colorful celebration of the Infant Child of Jesus! Thank you Jesus for allowing me and us as the Spirit Filled Hearts to see and smell the taste of the infant child of Jesus!

After the mass we had to walk through the streets where the vendors would sell everything you can imagine, and where the reality of poverty struck my heart. Even in the midst of despair, and poverty no one had lost their smile and hope. How come in the midst of material goods so many are depressed and sad about not having something else in our country? How come I sometimes think I’m in a difficult situation when I see these people pouring their hearts and souls to the Lord without nothing to stand, without shelter or food? I think of the virtues of the Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10 the beatitudes which give comfort to those in need, to the poor, to the sick. It made me ponder and reflect on how much more challenging will be for those who have more resources to get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Antonia

It is Santo Nino Day…Viva Santo Nino… Pit Senor!

Everything is leading to this day! The anticipation and excitement is overwhelming!

It was a blessed day of worshipping and praising God!

The reverence of the people continues to tug at my heart. I just want to hug them all.

Day Seven

Deacon Steve

Words cannot describe how blessed we were to be chosen by the Lord to attend the Mass and lead the healing service at the Basilica Santo Nino.  There were over a thousand in attendance, holding their Santo Nino Statues and thirsting for the love of Jesus.

I was blessed to give the homily focusing on how much God loves us and how He wants to heal us.

After the Mass the five of us went out to the area where the people were standing and poured out the love and healing of Senor Santo Nino to the many souls in attendance.

I am positive that there was many hearings and the people were transformed by the love of Christ.  Words cannot express the impact it had on all of us.

After the Mass, the celebrant Fr. Victor Gonzaga came up to me very excited.  During the service I had called out of  a healing of a man considering suicide; after the healing service had been completed a man came to Fr. Victor and said that he was that man and had been healed by Senor Santo Nino!

We are so blessed! No one can out do God’s love, generosity and healing!  As an additional note, Fr. Victor himself, said his life has changed as a result of our being here this week!

Antonia

It is the big day…the healing service at the Basilica of Santo Nino!

What a humbling and profound experience. I got to individually pray over so many people. It was an experience that words cannot describe. I felt the Lord’s presence in such a powerful way. My heart was softened in such a way that I felt I was floating. All those people were transformed in front of my eyes. I was very moved to the point of tears which as my family knows I do not do very often.

This trip has transformed me in such a profound way! I am not returning the same!

Dennis

We are so very blest. After the mass in the Basilica of Sto Nino, the We led a Healing Service for over a thousand people. What a miracle. What an honor. What a privilege to serve our church and the Filipino community this way. Words alone are not enough to explain this to all of you. We are so so very blest. Thank You—Father, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit and Mother Mary too for your love, help and intersession.

Day Eight

Deacon Steve Greco

Another incredible day.   A well kept secret is Marian Shine at Lindogon!  It is amazing!  I was blessed again to assist in the Mass and pray over the people with holy water after the mass was completed.  We also visited the museum and the many statues of the Blessed  Mother.   The Monastary is massive.  It is shaped like a castle and is extremely holy. We strongly recommend you come see it yourselves.  It is called the Monastary of the Holy Eucharist of Lindogon.

That evening were blessed to attend, and I assisted, in a Mass at the new chapel of the Augustinians in San Fernando, Cebu.  We had a healing service after Mass, which was extremely moving.  We had the people of the village come up to be prayed over as families.  It was extremely moving and impactful and they were healed in the name of Jesus!

Katie

During a beautiful Mass at the Monastary of the Holy Eucharist in Lindogon, my senses were overwhelmed by the beauty of our surroundings.  Imagine being in a church that has open archways to the outside which was sourrounded by rustling tees, rain water coming down and birds rejoicing and praising God flying in out of the church.  The beauty of the church and its natural environment brought my soul to the presence of our Lord.  I felt during the Mass I felt the power of God through our Eucharistic prayers and wanted to proclaim to the world that Jesus is with us!

After the Mass we were guided to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lindogon.  We humbly took our shoes off with the hundreds of others.  To walk up to the statue and images of our Lady.  I had never heard of this Marian shrine.  I immediately recognized along the walls of the shrine pictures, letters, wheel chairs, crutches which were sent sent to the Shrine and in glass cases to be testimonial piece of the power of our Lady’s intercession.  The impact of the faithful people of the Philippines is once again is impressed upon my heart.

Later we went to the Chapel of Santo Nino, where we had an open air Mass over looking the green hills and the ocean,celebrated by Father Victor and Deacon Steve gave a great talk to prepare the hearts of the village people of San Fernando.  Then the families came up faithfully to be prayed over by us.  I felt the love of God touching them all.  So beautiful…

Dennis

Wow— another awesome day. It was a long drive to Mother Mary’s shrine in the mountains.  Seeing the facility just blew me away. It was totally overwhelming and indescribable.. After mass we toured the museum which housed all the different statues of our Mother Mary from around the world. More than I could imagine and more than I’ve ever seen at one time in my life. Also, there was wall after wall documenting all the miracles in letters with the evidence of them like: their crutches, braces, walkers etc. On the way back we attended mass at the Spring Rain chapel in San Fernando that ended with a Healing Service for about 150. How blest we were to exerience all of this.

Day Nine

Antonia

Today was another blessed day! We got blessed by Cardinal Vidal. Imagine that I got to visit and pray for him! What a Holy and humble man. It was an honor to be in his presence. I love it that he also speaks Spanish! Our God is awesome…this Servant of God may one day be declared a saint. He has done so much in his lifetime serving the Lord. Praise God.

We visited one of the schools today. The school is just over 50% of capacity because lack of funds. Plus they are in need of expanding their facilities to create a playground and need additional funds to pay there teachers adequately.

We can learn quite a bit from these students and families. They help each other by giving their worn shoes and clothing to their less fortunate school mates. The joy you see in those children is incredible.

Our brothers and sisters need us. We are one body in Christ. We need to help! Will you?

Katie

one of our main goals on this mission was to learn about the schools, the children  and educators of the Philippines.

We were able to witness th beautiful children of Cebu and see how we Spirit Filled Hearts and friends back home can help them spiritually and financially.  For one child  to attend school for one yea coostas about $330/year! Wow!  The teachers make about $250/month.  Coming  from a teaching background I really apppreciate what God has provided for me.

 

We were told that Cardinal Vidal of Cebu usually entertains visitors for about fifteen minutes.  Our friends and host Glenda expressed to us that the cardinal truly enjoyed our company.  We were with him for an hour.  Deacon Steve was able to interview him and each of us were blessed by him. Before leaving Archbishop’s home we were able to pray over him.  It was a beautiful blessing.  Unforgettable!