“Does God still forgive me even when I have sinned again?” the man inquired.
Tears crept to his eyes as Jonathan, a junior pastoral evangelism student, opened his Bible and presented a God of mercy and compassion—a God who restores. What started as an impromptu Bible study led to the commitment of this man and his family to follow Christ. Their lives were being restored.
And that—restoration—was the theme of the Ibalik 2018 mission trip to the Philippines. The word ibalik, “to restore” in the Tagalog language, encapsulated our team’s goal of bringing physical, spiritual, and mental renewal to the Filipino people.
One of our team members shared the hope of restoration through an evangelistic series in the local jail. There, prisoners learned how to restart their lives with Jesus! One man had waited to receive his sentence for two years, during which his wife abandoned him and his son died. God began a work of restoration in this man as he decided to be baptized. We also ministered to prisoners through a free clinic, chair massages, and health talks.
Our health lectures in the local public schools also emphasized restoration. We were excited as the students implemented health principles, such as exercising or drinking water, into their own lives.
“I’ve learned that it is important to take care of and protect my frontal lobe because it makes decisions and helps me communicate with God,” shared one twelfth-grader.
David Symons, a pastoral evangelism major on our team, preached messages of Christ-centered restoration through a week-long evangelistic series. We also joined a church member in doing Bible work in the community. As a culmination of the work of the local church and our team, over 140 individuals committed their lives to Jesus through baptism!
Finally, our team inspired Christian young people with a calling to restore. Nearly three hundred 14- to 35-year-olds gathered for a youth summit, where we discussed relevant topics such as God’s special calling for young people, the battle for the mind, and media.
Though our trip came to its conclusion, the work of restoration has not ended. While in the Philippines, our team leaders met with the mayors of two other towns who requested the Ibalik program to be brought to their schools, jails, and city halls!
Please pray for Ibalik 2019 as God opens doors for restoring the Filipino people!