Today we're going to give you a little glimpse of God at work in the Philippine islands, my recent trip there. You're going to have the privilege of having a front row seat in the arena of God in action. In speaking about this to individuals I have used the comparison that it almost looks like a chapter of the book of Acts being reacted. I am going to make reference to a log I have kept each day. Before you see all of the pieces put together you'll see that one piece as a picture puzzle and wonder just how the next piece is going to fit in but God proved that He had all of the pieces for the puzzle for the picture during this trip. I'm going to begin by reading my entry for Saturday the first day I arrived in the Philippines and I'll read the jottings that I put in my log as I review the happenings of the 36 hours just previous from the time I was in the San Francisco airport until I arrived.
It happened that when I arrived in San Francisco I had a 6 in half hour lay over before the plane was going to take off. The plane was due to leave at 12 midnight. About 11 o' clock I checked in and sat down in the pre departure area. There was an empty seat beside me and a young Pilipino man sat down beside me. I had a good conversation with him. Just to give you the entry that I placed in my log I'm going to read this to you as I reviewed it. San Francisco airport, great crowd. At 11:30 p.m. Pilipino takes seat next to me in the crowded terminal. Good communication with him. 12 p.m. all aboard, all seats assigned, next to me this man again. I got out my list of names given me by Gabriel to check things out. At the top was the name Sariano. I asked this man if this was the way he pronounced his name. He was alarmed. Seemed to be spooked to use that term. It turned out that he was Sariano. Going back for a visit after 13 years in the United States. I told him that God loved him and was going to make this trip more than a visit. That he was chosen to carry some good news to his family who were tribal people. He accepted Jesus as His Savior and became an instant Missionary.
The week before I was to leave for the Philippines the angel Gabriel met me, spoke to me about the work, and gave me assurance in my heart that what was happening was something that God Himself had planned. And in speaking to me he referred to the names of the people that he had been ministering to that I would possibly come across or the names that he would minister to as reference points not that they were tremendously important but for confirmation that this visit was from God. And my work there was not just a visit but something that God had ordained. And one of the names was the name Sariano. This was of tremendous importance.
When I spoke to Sariano, asked him if that was the name he pronounced his name, Sariano took another seat on the airplane. He looked at me and he moved without saying a word. And for 5 hours I had his seat and mine too. I was able to sleep on that plane. And for the 5 hours to Honolulu he was in another area. When we took off from Hawaii on the continued trip to the Philippines which would be another 10 hours. The stewardess said that everyone must take their assigned seats. So this man reluctantly came back to sit down beside me. And when he came I thought it would be well to calm him down. I didn't want him to be uneasy all the rest of the way. 10 hours is a long time to be uneasy so I told him how I knew his name. And I think I even then came on a little bit too fast, too strong when I said, "you wonder how I knew your name? Well the angel Gabriel told me who you were."
And he looked around again but there were no more seats, no where to go so I was quick then to tell him that God had his eye on him and knew him all along and cared for him. He said, "How could God know me? I don't know Him. I go to the priest and the priest probably tells God about me but I don't really know God." So explained to him that God knew him and that God had prepared him and had arranged what he felt would be a reunion or a visit because God had use for him. And that God had directed things and had given me his name. And that God had seen to it that when the seats were assigned to these 300 people that his seat would be right next to me. I told him that God was doing the whole thing. His eyes were wide when I talked to him about this. He said, "You mean that God really with all that He has to do, He's really interested in me, just one person that doesn't even know Him?" I said, "He is. He wants you and He wants you to commit your life to him to let Him know that you're thankful, as great as He is that He cares for you."
And so this man turned his life over to Christ right there on the plane. Then he said, "Let me tell you about my family, my father. I remember many times when my father would look up into the night sky and see the stars and look around, he would say "surely there has to be a God someplace. If only we could find Him." Now I'm going to be able to go back and tell my dad, dad you were right, there is a God and I have found Him."
Then I asked him about his family. I thought probably when he referred to his family he was referring to his immediate family. And he said I'm going to tell all of my family, they're all going to be together because they all live in a cluster. He said when I left my family there was about 400. He said now it's probably about 700 and maybe more. But he said I'm going to tell them all. He said it's alright if I tell them isn't it. He said if angels were interested enough in me don't you suppose their interested in my family. I said, "It's because they are so interested in your family that God gave me your name. You're going back there as God's representative." He said that this was the most important task in his life because he recognized that I had no way of getting his name, there was no way except by God. And so that man went back to his family.
My first service in the Philippine islands was on Sunday morning. My entry reads: the Holiday Inn, a magnificent place. The meeting is part of a worldwide organization international hotel ministry. The auditorium was packed. It looked like the top of the line citizens. Among those coming for prayer was the wife of a high government official. Also, there were high ranking officers and their wives. These people asked for my schedule and are promoting my services through their offices. This was very interesting to me. I had pictured the Philippines a place of poverty. And my very first introduction was to a group of people who were affluent in one of the nicest buildings I've ever been in, in my life. People who were all dressed in suits, ties, and the woman were dressed fit to kill. They were a sophisticated looking bunch of people. And it made me wonder did I actually just make a few circles around one of these big American cities. It looked like these people were anywhere but the Philippine islands. About 60 people came forward for prayer. And they entered in and worshiped God. I didn't realize that it could be a country of such extremes.
My second service was in a place called Manila faith assembly. I walked into this place and I didn't see any of the wealth. I saw people who in spite of their poverty really loved God. These people were so turned on for God that I sat there and 7 different ladies went up to share something with the congregation. One thing that I discovered when I was in the Philippine islands is that it's a ladies world. The gals are in control over there and the men like it. Those women are very confident. Every church I went in had ushers who were ladies. Instead of deacons there were deaconesses. God loves the men but He certainly isn't going to stop His operation if He doesn't have some. He'll pick out some gals. And they were praying for the sick. I was so pleased with what I saw. The women make the decisions in the home.
I was staying in a place called Wycliffe translators guest house. They have about 70 guests at a time. So I was able to fellowship and minister to people who have dedicated their lives to translating, and learning the languages of tribes that have no language. On Monday night there was a fellowship meeting of missionary couples. They welcomed me like I was some great important person that they wanted to hear. And they had such an eagerness to hear and such a response to the truths that I shared. And to me it was such a high point to minister to these people who were there actually doing what they could, surveying the field and seeing the various needs. And it was an evening I will long remember. And in this service, during a prayer time the president of the Far East Advanced School of Theology. God knows what He's doing. I had told these people about the angelic visitation and it was new to some it was a little difficult to weigh it and know what their acceptance would be. But during prayer time, the president of the school felt the heavy hand of an angel on his shoulder. And he looked around and there was no one there. He thought maybe somebody had put their hand on him to pray for him, but when he looked around the hand still stayed there and it even gripped that shoulder. And so he told these people about it. He said this is real, God has confirmed it. He said though I can't see it I know that this angels' hand is upon my shoulder. I didn't see Gabriel there but it was interesting to know that he was around, that he had found his way to the Philippine islands alright.
At that time I received my schedule where I was going to be. I was troubled about the schedule because I looked at it and 7 days were going to be spent in two churches. And inside I was asking myself the question why if I would of wanted to go to two churches to hold some meetings I could of gone to Colwell or Nampa, I wouldn't have needed to come clear over here just to hold some meetings in a couple of churches. The reason this troubled me was because at the Wycliffe house I was dealing with people that were telling me some stories of being way up among the tribes where they didn't know any English at all. And many of them still carried bows and arrows and so on. I thought this is really interesting and the Lord helped me inspire these people by letting them know that I was sent by God and placed by God there with this message that God was concerned about the families and about people and He's preparing a people for the Lord. Well these people got so excited; some of them even cut their rest time short to go back where they belonged back up into the hills. On this Monday I met with one doctor and with a professor and two pilots. They had just come back from way down in Minda where there was a tribe that had been discovered only a year in a half before. They had been there and the professor was able to put together some type of a communication bridge to them. They said we don't need to rest let's go tomorrow; we want to take you down there to that place. God's in this, we want to take you down there. But I couldn't tell them I could go because I knew that I was going to be having another schedule and I committed myself to it and it troubled me. So I laid there thinking boy I really muffed it. I got ahead of God here by telling them to go ahead and arrange a schedule for me. God really wanted me to go here and help this new tribe. And here I missed it. And so I wrestled and it was hard to sleep.
About 4 in the morning the light came on in my room. I was half asleep and I opened my eyes and I looked over and there was Gabriel and Chrioni, the angel that travels with him. I was sleepy still, normally I wouldn't have talked to them the way I did. I said how did you find me here? You know, you should never ask somebody that's representing God how he can do something but they didn't seem to mind. He just said, "We didn't have any trouble at all finding you. We arranged for you to be here. We're the ones who arranged for you to be here. We wanted you to mingle with these people so they could get a hold of this message. The reason we have come is because God has sensed the concern in your heart that you might be wasting your time over here with these churches. And he said God wants us to tell you not to worry about that schedule because it is so ordered and arranged that every person that meets with you will be divinely selected by God to meet with you and hear what you have to say."
This was so interesting to me to know that regardless of whether I was in one spot or another, was God's doing and God's direction. And so I didn't worry anymore. I began anticipating, I wonder who God's going to bring. So I went ahead and spoke at the Bible school at the Far East advanced school of Theology. God had arranged that this influence could go through the Wycliffe workers up into roots of the Philippine islands. Now He arranged for it to go to the different places throughout Asia. And I have a letter here that I want to read just a little from the president of the school. He wrote this letter is to express heart felt appreciation to you for sharing the ministry of Pastor Buck with us. The faculty and staff and the student body were deeply moved as the Holy Spirit used Pastor Buck to minister to our spiritual and physical needs. The Holy Spirit bore witness that Brother Buck's coming to us was ordained of God and very timely. We know that his coming to us represented sacrifice on your part in being away from the church. So the best thing we can do is say thank you for sharing his ministry with us. Since F.E.A.S.T. is an international school, his ministry will spread through the lives of our students to other countries including Burma which is now closed to Western Missionaries. So this ministry is not just in one spot but God had it arranged you see.
Then in another area the first church I was going to minister in placed me in the best hotel that was available. So I stayed at the hotel and I felt if it's true what the angel told me he'll bring some people around. But I didn't stay in my room very much. I wanted to be in the right place at the right time. The first evening nothing happened much. On Sunday morning I went down for breakfast. There were two business men there and said we saw you here last night and we wondered you don't look like a tourist to us and we wondered can you come over here and sit with us at our table and tell us what you are doing here? Well that's all I needed because I wanted to tell somebody what I was doing there. And so I began right off by telling them, "I don't know how you are going to accept this but an angel met me and said that everyone that I speak with is especially selected by God to hear what I have to say. I believe that you men have been selected by God because we're here and we're talking. The fact that you have been selected, all of your training and your background has been directed by God and God is calling it into account at this time because He doesn't do things promiscuously and he has selected you for something special. This is His plan and His purpose. Everything that you have has been given to you whether you know Him or not."
These men said it sounds strange but we believe you. And so they said what's the next step if we've been selected. I said, "He wants you to say God here I am, I'm glad that you cared enough for me and I'm ready to do what You want me to do and here's my life I accept you." And these men really felt I was from God to them. And without any hesitation at all both of them reached up their hands and said, "God we want to put our hands in yours, if we've got something that You can use that you have given to us we want You to use us." And they worshiped and prayed and we talked to God together. They said we're here on special business and all of our training has been in the area of politics and government control. They said the rest of our lives our given over to God for this.
I told them then that the area of my ministry would be in the area of liberation. And God is bringing liberation to spirit, soul and body. I said, "They're so impoverished, and so oppressed in their humanity. These people have been under oppressors for hundreds of years. There was the Chinese, the Spanish, the Americans, the Japanese and now the Pilipino government. They've been under the heel of oppressors and God wants to set them free," they said "we're in that position where we're going to help and put some wheels in motion to set them free." I just couldn't help saying Hallelujah.
It was something I hadn't planned on. All I knew was that God was concerned about the whole being, all of the people and their needs there and He was smiling on them. I went to the service that morning; God gave us a tremendous service. I said that God is making it easy who refuse to come there, He's making it easy for them to come now and to accept the Lord. And they are still coming every week. On Monday morning I met a man at the hotel. I walked over and said you look like an American to me. I came to find out that he was a German. Then he asked me, "What are you doing here?" It gave me the same opportunity.
I said, "I don't know whether you will believe this or not" but then I told him, I said, "An angel had met me, and told me that those people that I would talk to were selected by God." I said, "You have been selected by God to hear what I have to say." I told him that all of his training and background God had use for. Well this man opened his heart. He said, "Well I never realized God really cared that much about what I did. I would like to have a little bit more purpose in my life." I talked with him, prayed with him, and told him that the Lord had use for his talents and his training and skills and He wanted him to turn his life over to Him. And I noticed he was sobbing and speaking softly to God and I looked over and his eyes were open. He was looking up and had both of his hands up and he said, "God just think I've only been In the Philippine islands one day and already I have a new boss."
So I asked him what brought him there. He said that he had been sent to the Philippine islands and he was a member of the U.N world committee and that he had been sent to the Philippine islands to develop food resources for the underfed peoples of the land. So I explained to him, God said that this message and these people that are selected are involved in the liberation of these poor people and you in your position now, you're going to help liberate the bondages of hunger. And he said that's the thing I've been skilled at and trained for. So he surrendered himself to the Lord for this.
They're using their entire committee now to bring together ways of liberating these people that have been in these far corners of the Philippine islands. So there was liberation in body, soul and spirit. I went to the island of Negros by ship. In the city of Bacoade my hotel happened to be right down in the middle of the city. I didn't tell anybody in the church what I was doing in the day. But I felt, oh look at all of these people, my heart went out to them. And they couldn't speak English so I couldn't communicate with them. So I nudged a whole lot of people and I couldn't find anybody who could speak English, till finally I found one young man who could. He stayed with me all the while I was there.
Early in the morning when I'd come out of the hotel he was standing on the steps waiting for me. Just like the Lord to kind of put him there to help me because I couldn't communicate with those people properly. As we walked down the street the first day, I saw a lady who was weeping. So I spoke to her and he interpreted. I said why are you crying lady, I'm here to help you, I'm a pastor and I want to help you, God cares about your need. And so the boy told her and she said tell the man it's not important. So I told her anything that's important to you is important to God. So I took hold of her hands and prayed that God would put His strong arms about her and help her with whatever the need was. And it was just exactly like the sun came up. The clouds were pushed back and I heard her say something to this boy and he said she's asking me if your name is Jesus.
She said, "I've prayed many times but nobody has ever cared before whether I cried or not." And she said this man cared whether I cried. I wasn't aware of it but all around there were people watching to see what was going on. I was violating the rules that you get as a tourist coming in. And it went around through the market place that I cared for this lady. And in the course of the day I saw a lady carrying a big old bag of rice. She was so old and it looked like her legs were so old carrying that. I asked her how long she had to carry that and it was a couple of miles. I took her bag of rice and I carried it. I carried it for a long ways. People saw this and the whispering continued on through that city. I noticed as I went back through the market place people would start following me and they would stop me and would want me to talk to them.
There were several men just in talking to them were healed of different afflictions. There were some that were badly twisted with arthritis. Their limbs were straightened out. I wasn't praying for them, I was just talking to them about Jesus and how much he cared for them. And there were some deaf mutes that were healed without prayer of any kind. They couldn't hear what I was saying but the Lord healed them and they could both speak and hear. The outcome was that God proved that those people were selected by God because they really made a run on my hotel. I want you to know that hotel was a busy place. They came day after day while I was there. I prayed with so many people out in the lobby of that hotel and ministered to them. When I got ready to leave the typhoon was in full force on that night. The typhoon was supposed to hit at 8 0' clock. The meeting started at 5:30 and I kept the people there.
These people have lived with fear because there are 20 typhoons a year that hit the Philippine islands. But this was the worst; it was called a killer typhoon. We prayed that God would bend it so it wouldn't knock down the buildings. Sure enough the typhoon bent. This was a beautiful thing just to watch the Lord in action. I'm going to read a little bit more from my log here. This is dated Thursday 5:30 a.m. "Had another great meeting last night. The building was more than full. I was quite uncomfortable because of the steaming and intense heat. They say it gets this way before a typhoon hits. I hope my plane gets away on time or it will be several days before I can leave. Then I got the word flight canceled. What now? How long will typhoon cading last? What about my reservations? They are now obsolete. All flights are full until Wednesday. That would have been a full week away. Oh well, God knows He brought me here."
I happened to think of the general who came for prayer the first Sunday at the Holiday inn. He told me that he spoke for the president and if I ever needed help to use his card, his name. I needed help now so I decided to see what would happen. When I gave his name and his conversation wheels began to turn. I have never been treated so royally. Within minutes a seat had been provided. Connections cleared for top priority clearance. God knew I would need this help and He provided. The names that were given to me by Gabriel were all identified.