There are benefits.
First, the time allowed us to really get to know Rey Evasco well. Lots of time for talking, laughing, sharing stories….there is nothing like Manila traffic to make that possible. Also, one is able to lots of detail of Manila life….how they get around, the places they live….shops, signs, billboards etc etc. It’s something that can only experienced to be fully appreciated….which we did.
We got down to Quezon City which is an extension of Manila, a huge metro area with at least 15 million people. I commented how we probably saw a good part of a million of them enroute. With all the traffic composed of jeepny’s, busses, motor bikes, motorcycles, pedestrians, hawkers and yes, cars, there did not seem to be single collision for us to see.
We were able to have a comprehensive discussion about the history of the Church in the Philippines related by Rey Evasco. We filled in the blanks with things we knew. I had been involved with the initial start of the churches in the Philippines going back to 1995, but then was out of the loop. He related his wonderful friendship with Earl Roemer who became senior pastor in early 1996.
We got to the venue. It is the Christmas season so there are many many parties in play. I remember this hotel from a ministerial conference we held here about 4 years ago when I was here last. One thing very noticeable: the loud noise of people enjoying the occasion. We walked up to the second floor of the hotel where the Kingdom of God seminar was held. There were many many people already milling around.
Inside I recognized lots of people that I had already known from my previous two trips. The warmth and beauty of the Filipino people fills one with joy. They all seemed so happy to be there and we were so happy to see them. About 10 members came from San Carolos, the other congregation about 5 hours away on this island of Luzon.
The seminar went perfectly. We couldn’t have it organized better with the music, the messages – everything. Rey Evasco opened with intro comments. Then a prayer. More comments. Then the choir sang Hallelujah Chorus, a challenging piece of music (I had directed it once when I was choir director) that had the perfect words for the first message: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He shall reign forever and ever.
Then I spoke. It was still very noisy from people in an adjacent restaurant. But, about 10 minutes into my presentation, the noise seemed to subside. Maybe it was my imagination, or I was getting used to it. Anyway, I carried on.
After my message another piece of music “Let there be Peace on Earth” which pit perfectly with Darris McNeely’s message about what it will be like when the Kingdom of God comes. He spoke about learning the ways of peace and that is what we should be doing nowl
After the presentations there was a question and answer session that went very well. Good questions about prophecy, why suffering, Kingdom of God...and more.
In my estimation it was good to have two messages and they were the right length. After the question and and answer session servers individually brought everyone in the room a snack. Not sure what they called it, but it was a kind of noodle serving…they said it was noodles made from rice.
Then more fellowship….and photos. Many photos. We loved it. But, we had to be out of the hall by 5 pm because another party was moving in. We fellowshipped more as we headed to the parking garage. What a day!
Spent time talking to Wes Kerlin, the eders Bong/Grace Remo, Bennie Lorenzo, Karlos, Kat, and many othes. There were 140 in attendance including 38 new people coming to the seminar.
Then the 2 hour drive back to our hotel in the Makati area. That was a hoot. With Rey driving we talked about all kinds of topics of common interest including us singing popular songs. Rey was most entertaining.
We got back to the hotel and were looking for a place to eat. But, the restaurant was filled with people for a Xmas party. So we walked around the corner to a McDonald. Darris really wanted a hamburger. It was fun to be in a McDonald’s from home. I had a rice and chicken meal. It was good.
That was it. Great day!