by John Edwards
One of the tasks God gave me to fulfill in sending me to the Philippines was to teach the young people how to trust God for His supernatural provision.
Many Filipino young people feel a call to missions in their hearts, but they wonder how they could ever afford air fares and the like.
And as usual, I felt He wanted me to teach it by demonstration, not just by word.
So one day I said to a church youth group: “Anyone who wants to accompany me on a crusade, meet me at the Mark & John Bakery in the morning."
About 12 young people turned-up. We had a 2-hour bus trip ahead of us.
I decided to ask, “How many of you have enough money to pay for your bus fare?” No one responded.
“Oh no,” I thought. I had enough money to pay for myself, one-way! I realized they were expecting me to pay for all of them since I had invited them – truly Filipino.
I knew I had to dig deep and come up with the faith to do this.
Having lived by faith in the Philippines for a year already, I knew how difficult it would have been for young people to afford it anyway.
Just then one of the girls, the only one from a wealthy family, spoke up and said that she could pay for everyone.
I said, “Ok – but God will give it back to you. You watch.”
So we got on the bus. I paid for my fair and she paid for everyone else.
That was the first provision of the Lord.
Then by the time we arrived in Gingoog City, they were all hungry.
I thought, “Oh no – and they’re all expecting me to feed them,” something I didn’t have the money for.
So I took them all to a restaurant, told them to order anything they wanted, and as they ate with joy I was sweating – not because the food was hot but because I was wondering how I was going to pay for it all!
While the youth were eating, they began to lay hands on the staff. They were fresh out of revival you see.
All of the staff were shaking, crying and touched by the power of God.
When the owners of the restaurant saw how their staff were being blessed, they asked the youth to come out the back to the house and bless their family.
We laid hands on them and the presence of Jesus touched them deeply.
Then she said, “Because you’ve blessed us so much, we want to bless you. You don’t have to pay for the meals.”
The family also started going back to church from that time on.
That was God’s second provision.
Next we needed a vehicle to transport all the youth up into the mountain where the crusade was to be held.
When the Pastor in Gingoog saw us, he informed us that he wasn’t expecting so many people and didn’t have transport for anyone except me.
I couldn’t leave the youth there. Some started to complain. I felt like Moses having to cope with Israel.
I looked to the Lord.
Then another Pastor decided to come to the mountain with us, even though he had a business appointment elsewhere – and he had a 15-seater van! Hallelujah!
We arrived up in the mountain – but it was then time for the youth to have another meal.
“How am I going to feed them up in the mountain,” I wondered.
Just then a jubilant man greeted us saying, “Please come over here, I have killed a pig – I want to feed you all.”
By nightfall we started our evangelistic crusade and the villagers gathered in big numbers. The youth shared testimonies, provided music, I preached and we laid hands on the sick for healing.
A great time was had by all!
Then the Pastor with the 15-seater drove us all home to Cagayan de Oro city.
On the way home I felt led to say something.
I said to Ian, “Turn the light on brother – I want to say something to everyone.”
“I felt you had something to say to us,” he said as he turned-on the light.
“At the start of the day, none of us had enough money to do all we’ve been able to do. But I’m sure we do all have something in our pockets. God doesn’t expect us to have enough to do what He’s called us to do, but He does expect us to give what we have.”
(Before Jesus miraculously fed the multitude, he asked, “What have ye?” They brought to Jesus what they could).
I felt led to take up an offering from the youth. So I said, “We’re going to take up an offering. Pray and ask God how much you’re meant to give, and give that amount.” Then I turned the light out and handed my vinyl bible cover around.
I had given 100 pesos to a child at the crusade and said, “Here, give this to your mum.” And the rest of the love offering I received, I now put in this offering. Everyone else gave.
“Turn the light on Ian,” I said, “let’s count the money.” As we were counting it a girl said, “Oh this is Jing’s change from all our bus fares – I forgot to give it back to you.” They added it to the offering.
When we counted all our monies in the offering, apart from a few loose coins it came to the exact amount that was paid for all their bus fares in total – the exact amount!
All the youth’s mouths just dropped with awe as we realized what was happening in front of our very eyes.
So I handed the whole offering to Jing and said, “See, I told you God would give it back to you.”
Then God said to take up a second offering.
I announced that I wanted to bless the visiting pastor who was also travelling with us, who had also shared his testimony at the crusade that night.
And the girl who we’d just given the first offering to gave the whole lot back in the second offering!
We handed it straight to the visiting Pastor, who couldn’t believe that such a generous offering could come from a small group of young people.
Then the Holy Spirit said to take up a third offering.
“We don’t want to take it for granted that we are being driven home. We want to show our thanks by paying for the gasoline,” I said.
When I took up the offering, the Pastor we’d just blessed in the second offering gave the whole thing back in the third offering!
I handed it to Jing and said, “Here, tell your father, ‘Thanks for the vehicle.’ ”
That was important to her because she’d always wanted to be a missionary but she would have felt obligated to her half-Chinese father to work in the family business instead of being a missionary, if he was supporting her.
Now she was seeing that she could go on a missions trip – and pay her father!
Then I said to all the youth, “Expect God to give back to you what you’ve all given tonight.” I knew that some of them gave all they had. Even though it wasn’t much, it meant they didn’t have the fare to get to church the next day.
And the testimonies flooded in of supernatural provision they each received in return.
The youth got together and talked about this object lesson. At the start of the day, none of us had enough for the day’s expenses. But by the end of the day, we had all taken a bus to Gingoog, had lunch, been transported to the mountain, had dinner, preached a meeting, blessed a local, been transported home, returned Jing’s money, blessed a visiting pastor, and shown gratitude to the owner of the vehicle – simply by giving what we can and stepping out in faith leaving the rest to God.
I said, “If this can work for a mission trip to a neighbouring city, it can work for a mission to another island, and if it can work for a mission to another island, it can work for a mission overseas.”
So next I asked them to show-up for a mission to another part of the Philippines. It involved an all-night boat trip, bus fares, accommodation, food etc. God provided everything and opened doors for ministry.
Next I wanted them to come overseas, and when I returned to Australia and preached at Surfcity Christian Church, I miraculously had five young people from the church in the Philippines with me in Australia. Three of us traveled and ministered together.
God provided everything for a trip to another city, another part of the country and a trip overseas – and He will continue to do that for us – and for all you who put your trust in this lovely Jesus - even if you live in a Developing country.