Philippine churches host Holy Spirit celebration
Participants tell of gospel's spread in many countriesBy Jewel Showalter Eastern Mennonite Missions
LUMBAN, the Philippines — Wending two miles along narrow stone streets, 45 international guests from Mennonite churches in 16 countries waved country flags as they trekked from the mayor’s office to Lumban Mennonite Bible Church.
Philippine friends welcomed the group to the fourth annual Holy Spirit in Mission Conference Sept. 7-10 with orchid garlands and children’s songs and dances as they entered the new four-story church building.
The Integrated Mennonite Churches of the Philippines and the International Missions Association served as hosts. The IMA is an association of Anabaptist mission bodies established for prayer, mutual support and partnering in carrying out the Great Commission.
Held in conjunction with the annual IMA business meeting, the Holy Spirit in Mission Conference equips the international church with what organizers describe as “a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit” to bring new vision and release gifts of ministry.
More than 40 Filipino leaders joined the international visitors for times of prayer and fasting, testimonies, reports, teaching, workshops and unstructured “Holy Spirit time.”
Testimonies from participants emphasized the importance of walking in the Spirit.
“Sometimes the Holy Spirit and our knowledge clash,” said Mulugeta Zewdie, general secretary of the Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia. “Prayer brings the power of God to the nations.”
On two consecutive evenings the conference group swelled to several hundred as they met in a public stadium for open-air meetings.
Henry Mulandi, director of African Christian Mission International in Kenya, issued a powerful call for salvation, outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and missions.
The second evening, Melvin Fernandez from the Honduran Mennonite Church and Ryan Showalter, director of discipleship ministries for Eastern Mennonite Missions, led a rally for children and youth. People flocked to the front, seeking a life-changing touch from God.
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