This morning we were up at 6:00 and had a meeting in Santiago, about one hour's drive away from Butuan. On our way I was thrilled to be able to have a birthday Latte before embarking on another full day. Santiago is further away in the more rural area beyond Cabadbaran and Mabini, where pastor Berwyn's church is located. We were immediately impressed by the sound of true worship when
we arrived as the 3 musicians practised for the meeting. As soon as we began to worship the Lord, the people all engaged with God and the area was filled with the sound of heaven! The worship leader, a young man with an amazing voice, led us right into the Lord's presence. The pastor of the church told me prior to the meeting that at times the presence of the Lord is so tangible that people weep and laugh in His presence and at one meetiing the presence of God began to affect the neighbouring Seventh Day Adventist church as their members also came under conviction and joy, wondering what was going on!
God was in the place and after pastor Berwyn introduced me, I spoke to the people about being carriers of God's presence and overflowing with His love. I then invted the church to be prayed for to be filled with the Father's love in order to overflow with God's love and almost everyone came forward for prayer. As Frances and I ministered to these precious people, we were gripped by the Father's compassion and many wept in His presence. All we cold do was hold them tight as the Father ministered His healing love to the people. We hardly said a word - the Holy Spirit was working. It was very moving indeed and the best gift one could ever ask for on one's birthday - the presence of God!
After the meeting we had a delicious lunch and then made our way to the local hot springs up in the mountains. In order to get there we had to cross a wide river and then walk up the mountain for about half an hour. It was a great place to be at and to feel both hot water and cold water coming out of the volcanic mountain. On our way back storm clouds gathered and we suspected we would not make it back to the car, dry! Well once we got in the canoe boats it began pouring with rain and the only shelter we had was from a few banana tree leaves! It was a lot of fun even though we got soaked!
We then went back to Cabadbaran to visit some of the pastors and their families that I knew from my previous visits. It was good to catch up with them and they were greatly encouraged by the fact that we took the time to se them.
Today was the first time we got to see pastor Berwyn's family (Liberty, Christine - with the rooster - and Christopher) and they travelled back to Butuan with us where we were going to distribute food to the street children Aaron could find. After rounding up 15 children we sang a song and I spoke to them about the certainty of the Father's love for them and then we prayed together. After polishing off their meals they sang "happy birthday" to me. I was truly moved!
We were then taken to a local restaurant where Roszel and the rest of the Villadares family invited us to a birthday dinner with a birthday cake and all. It was such a special time after an already amazing day.
"God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:5