Kamusta (How are you? or Hello in Tagalog). I am excited to tell you about a new opportunity that God has placed in front of me. Sometimes taking a step of faith is scary, but in Mark 13:30, the Bible tells us that “the gospel must be preached to all nations.” After a long summer of discerning how I can continue to live this out, I have decided to follow a call to a two year missions internship starting this January to the slum communities in Manila, Philippines. I will be working alongside Mission Ministries Philippines and Asian Theological Seminary and already have been offered a part time job at a running store there in Manila!
If I were to compare my training with that of a medical doctor, I feel like I have been through medical school (seminary) and my first year of residency (job at Chicago Hope Academy and internship at Holy Trinity Church), and am embarking upon my next two years of residency in another area within the urban ministry field. This opportunity in the Philippines will provide me with opportunities in the future to work in global cities on an international scale.
In Manila, I will be partnering with Mission Ministries Philippines http://www.mmphilippines.org/. They specialize in church planting, starting schools, youth mobilization, spiritual formation, and community development/organizing in the numerous slums in Manila. Based on an article from 2003 there are slums scattered over more than 500 communities throughout metro Manila. Slums are defined as buildings or areas that are deteriorated, hazardous, unsanitary, or lacking in standard conveniences. These are also defined as the squalid, crowded or unsanitary conditions under which people live, irrespective of the physical state of the building or area. MMP has been able to plant over twenty churches in some of the poorest slums in Manila, provide livelihood programs for numerous families in those churches and communities, and provide solid Biblical and contextual training for pastors in partnership with Asian Theological Seminary.
In addition to working with MMP, I will also begin a Doctorate of Ministry Program (DMIN) through Asian Theological Seminary in partnership with Bakke Graduate University and Azusa Pacific University. This will provide me with further training, particularly in the area of transformational urban leadership. Both MMP and the Seminary are excited to have me join them as I continue my journey in ministry. Another exciting connection has developed with a running store in Manila. Here I may get some part time work and make connections with the middle and upper class Filipinos through the sport of running (which hopefully will spill into the lives of the urban poor as well!).