FEBRUARY 2016 UPDATE DEAR FRIEND,
Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me and our team in Asia and in the USA. I hope your 2016 is off to a good start.
January’s update focused on my trip to India. This is a quick update on some happenings in the Philippines. I am excited that all three churches are pretty much financially self-sufficient, in that they can all be self-sustaining and pay their basic bills without Encounter Generation right now. We pray that continues to happen and grow to the next level, but that has been something we have prayed for and that we have worked hard to help position the churches to become. That has felt like a breakthrough to see what God has done in that area.
SIDEWALK SUNDAY SCHOOL (KICKERS)
With the trip to India in December and the January update being about India, I did not get to share pictures from the Sidewalk Sunday Christmas parties, as we wrapped up outreach in the two locations with a big Christmas celebration finale. These two outreach locations have served communities near two of our churches. Relationships will continue with those kids and their families, though we are preparing to move the outreach to different communities to reach out to those children and their families as well. One of the great things about this ministry has been the youth that have been intentionally mentored to do this ministry. They are even teaching Kids’ Church now along with visiting homes and helping with the Sidewalk Sunday School outreach.
Pastor Dion, Dang and Joy (our Two Kickers Coordinators) in the front of a great group of kids.
Dang (Kicker Coordinator) with a happy group of kids receiving Christmas gifts.
Two youth volunteers teaching the kids in group.
Following are pictures from the Youth Group of our Trece Martirez Church. Their first anniversary celebration/outreach, their Christmas party and general group picture.
Below are two pictures from a parade our Alfonso Church participated in with other churches from that city:
We enjoyed a visit from Pastor John and Mrs. Jean Chapman from Calvary Church of SWVA in Chilhowie, VA in late January. I do not have a picture to share, but they were a great blessing to us.
I am training our leaders this month in The Divine Plumb Line, an inner healing course by Dr. Bruce Thompson and also teaching them on the Father-Heart of God. I am praying that in a month where love is celebrated, that our leaders all experience wonderful breakthroughs in their revelation of the love of Father God for them.
I felt the Lord directed me to make “Strengthening the Foundation” the theme for 2016 for all the churches. The love of Father-God is so foundational and critical. Please pray for great encounters with Father God for our leaders this month. This banner hangs in all three churches. Speaking of love, thank you for yours for me and for us. On behalf of Encounter Generation and the churches in the Philippines, we thank you so much. Note: I will be home for a short visit in late February to see doctors, do taxes, minister and hopefully see family and friends as best I can on such a short visit.
– David Gilliam
Encounter Generation, Inc.
P.O. Box 523
Marion, VA 24354
JANUARY UPDATE 2016 DEAR FRIEND,
Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me and our team in Asia and in the USA. Happy New Year to you! It has been a very busy end of 2015 and beginning of 2016.
In December, I flew to India to investigate the situation and to minister there. It had been a goal of mine for many years to go there. In partnership with a local network of churches in India, I held seminars over two days for around 30 pastors and their wives. I got to speak to a group of nursing students, preach in a local church and share with several other small groups of people. I was hosted by a missionary from America and his Indian wife, who were very gracious to me. The part of the trip that impacted me the most, however, was not in what I attempted to give, but in what I received.
I heard the woman’s story, (we will call her Lauren) and how she had been put in prison for sharing her faith. I asked to have breakfast with her and was humbled to hear the story of how she and her church friends were sharing the Gospel in a local neighborhood when radical Hindu police arrested them and imprisoned them for their activity. What impacted me most was that she and her church friends were still going out every Thursday to share their faith in the local neighborhoods. Their prayer request was not for their safety, but that those with whom they shared would receive the Good News of Jesus Christ.
During the pastors’ conference, the wife of the host missionary showed me a text she had received from a friend. The friend and some of her church friends were going out sharing the Gospel when they were stopped by radical Hindu police. The police took their Bibles, tracts, and Christian literature and set it all on fire. Then, they beat some of the Christians in the group. I saw the pictures of one of the men who had been beaten and had to go to the hospital.
I was able to talk with one of the leaders in that group, a business woman we will call Ann. Ann told me about what had happened and asked me to pray for the man who was in the hospital. But she did not ask me to pray for their safety or protection. She asked me to pray that the next time they went out, people would receive the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Meeting heroes like this is what made that trip so special. God showed me many things there, and I returned to the Philippines with a renewed passion to make genuine followers of Jesus Christ, reminded that the call to follow Jesus is a call to lay our lives down.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
Of course, the promise is that on the other side of any cross is a glorious resurrection and reward. I feel confident these Indian disciples have great rewards.
The pictures above are from the church where I preached.
This is one of the two groups of pastors at the seminars.
Teaching at one of the seminar locations.
India is ranked number 17 in the world for most difficult places for Christians.*
The churches and school in the Philippines are doing well. Certainly, there are problems as all churches and people tend to have, but things continue to grow and develop and move forward in a way that I am pleased with.
I am overseeing the whole network myself in 2016 so Joseph can just focus on pastoring. Pastoring two churches and investing in his family are a lot, so this will be better for him.
This will be a heavy load for me, but it is the right thing for right now. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for wisdom and grace as I take on a heavier load.
More Pictures Are Below from India
On behalf of Encounter Generation and the churches in the Philippines, we thank you so much.
– David Gilliam
Encounter Generation, Inc.
P.O. Box 523
Marion, VA 24354
Nursing Students with whom I got to share a Christmas message
NOVEMBER UPDATE 2015
DEAR FRIEND, Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me and our team in Asia.
INVESTING IN PEOPLE
I wanted to share with you the difference you are making in peoples’ lives. Every email or note you send to encourage us, every prayer you pray and every financial partnership you have sown into our work here is an investment in real peoples’ lives.
God’s grace has enabled three churches and a school of ministry to be planted in a network together in the Philippines. But certainly buildings and outreaches and programs and equipping methods are not the point. People are the point. Here are some ways you are impacting people in Asia.
INVESTING IN FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT
Though poverty is a big issue in the Philippines, one of our churches seems to have an even more urgent situation when it comes to financial and material need. Most of the members of this church live in small wooden shacks, and many of them struggle with the skills to manage their lives well and in finding the resources to take care of the needs of their families.
One of Encounter Generation’s core values is empowerment. We want to empower people to fulfill their life’s potential before God. Thanks to you, we have been able to provide around 7 or 8 families with a small loan (around $100) to start a small business. Most of them are starting businesses that sell street food, a common business here using something like a food cart. They will pay it back in small increments as they are able, and that money will hopefully help someone else start one as well. So, they pay it forward.
Before investigating any potential partnership with an organization who specializes in this type of thing or doing anything on a large scale, we wanted to do it ourselves. So we have invested in members from this one church to try a test run for how this might work. We are doing our best to separate it from the church, so that it is not directly associated with or run by the church. It functions on its own with a business woman overseeing it, though she is accountable to us. Please pray for its success. It has potential to empower the people to better provide for their families. This is a way you are impacting peoples’ lives.
INVESTING IN CHILDREN
As we have reported in other letters, every week we are in one of our church’s communities holding Sidewalk Sunday School programs for children. Another of Encounter Generation’s core values is being Gospel-Centered. In other words, in everything we do, we want to point people to Jesus, Who He is, what He has done and how the Gospel transforms all of life.
Certainly, one of the Gospel’s impacts is on our character and how we live life. So our Kids in Christ’s Kingdom (K.I.C.K.ers) team constantly teaches the children the Gospel, who Jesus is and what He has done, while also teaching them that following Him leads to a transformed life. We teach them Biblical values, principles and character that will help them in all of life. We do this while having a lot of fun and feeding the kids a great meal, many of whom are from very impoverished households. This is how you are impacting peoples’ lives.
INVESTING IN LEADERS
John Maxwell, one of the world’s leading experts on leadership says this: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” One of Encounter Generation’s core values is creating a culture of Multiplication through equipping and empowering leaders. In fact, our mission statement is “to reach those far from God with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to make disciples who make disciples, to equip leaders who equip leaders and to plant churches that plant churches for the glory of God among all nations.”
So we take equipping and empowering leaders very seriously. Through intentional discipleship, meetings with core leaders, individual mentoring, providing resources to them and through the School of Ministry, we constantly invest in leaders. Encouraging and supporting them. Training them. Mentoring them. Empowering them in their calling, gifts and passion.
We have a monthly meeting where all the core leaders from the three churches gather together for worship, teaching and fellowship. The first meeting in November was a beautiful time of unity and fellowship, prayer, worship, and time in God’s Word. Probably around 20 leaders gathered, including 6 current or future pastors sitting together on one row. It was an eye-opening thing to see what God has done to put this group in position to continue to multiply, grow and reach out to people around them.
Investing in leaders is another way you are impacting peoples’ lives. Not just the leaders, but the people they will lead as well.
INDIA AND ANNIVERSARIES
The church in Trece Martirez celebrated their 3rd anniversary this month, and the church we planted last year, Tagaytay City, celebrates its 1st anniversary on November 22. Hard to believe it has been a year. All three churches come together for these anniversaries. And I am preaching at each one. It’s a great time to secure our foundation in Jesus Christ and our one hope in the Gospel we profess.
Also, I will be heading to India in early December for two weeks to teach groups of leaders there. God willing, I will teach on making disciples who make disciples, creating a culture of multiplication within a church and on several leadership principles. Please pray for that upcoming trip.
You are making an impact on peoples’ lives for the glory of God. I know you are doing it where you live back home. I also know you are doing it in Asia as you have partnered with us here. On behalf of Encounter Generation and the churches in the Philippines, we honor you for that. Thank you so much.
– David Gilliam
Encounter Generation, Inc.
P.O. Box 523
Marion, VA 24354
This is a picture of the Capitol City Disciples Church building in Trece Martirez, after the anniversary service. A lot has been done to remodel this place, and it now looks, feels and functions exponentially better. The people are really thankful and excited for a good place to gather for worship, study, fellowship and ministry. We also hold the School of Ministry here.
OCTOBER UPDATE 2015 DEAR FRIEND,
Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me as I have been making the transition back into life in the Philippines since returning in mid-August. I apologize that it has been a while since the last update. I have been swamped since I arrived, but in a good way. Below is part of what has been happening with several pictures and a short update.
NEW CHURCH PLANT
In the last letter, I mentioned having the new location in mind for a new church plant. When we planted the church last year in Tagaytay City, God also gave us some people from another community called Alfonso, about 30 minutes away. So I remember feeling strongly from the start that God was already working to eventually birth the next church in Alfonso. Joseph and I talked about that, and he agreed.
Before returning here in August, it was in my mind that we might try to plant the next church in the Alfonso community next year sometime. But when I arrived, it was clear that the Alfonso people were ready. So, in the month and a half since I returned, we have planned, built a new church building and planted a new church in Alfonso. Here are some pictures of the new building and the first service that happened October 4 for the brand new church, City Disciples of Alfonso.
Joseph Maraon (left) , my partner in these endeavors is pastoring both the new Alfonso church and last year’s plant, the Tagaytay church. Joselyn, his wife is next to him. Then, Dion, is pastor of the Trece Martirez church that Joseph was pastoring when I first arrived last year before we decided to work together. Eiya is at the right, and she is a good friend in the Alfonso church.
SIDEWALK SUNDAY SCHOOL (K.I.C.K.)
I wanted to restart the Sidewalk Sunday School program we had done last year and wanted to expand it to multiple places. We ended up choosing Trece Martirez and Alfonso to do the program since we did it in Tagaytay last year. I wanted to appoint two young ladies who are students in the School of Ministry to be the Regional Coordinators of the whole outreach, and they happily accepted. Their names are Joy and Dang. They are great with kids, and their gifts and personalities work well together.
We do this outreach every Saturday, alternating between Alfonso and Trece. The mission reaches around 50 to 70 kids at either location each week. Joy and Dang are required to assemble a team to do this every week, and they are doing a terrific job, sharing the Gospel, singing songs, doing crafts, games, skits and a putting together a healthy, inexpensive meal for many kids who do not have much. Above is a picture of Dang and Joy (both in red) with some of their youth volunteers in the Sidewalk Sunday School program we call K.I.C.K.ers (Kids in Christ’s Kingdom).
TRECE MARTIREZ REMODELING
The Trece Martirez Church had terrible roof problems, and desperately needed a place to minister to the kids on Sunday mornings. So we built an extension onto the building for the kids and are getting ready to replace the roof. They are so excited for this new area designated for the kids. This picture is construction stage. The picture below is of youth from the Trece church. They helped build the kids’ room.
SCHOOL OF MINISTRY
The School of Ministry is back in full gear, equipping the pastors and leaders with Biblical, Theological and Ministry Training in a practical way. Everyone says they are learning a lot. We hope to graduate this first group in April or May.
The Tagaytay City Church that we planted last year was a concern. How would they respond to having half the congregation pulled away to plant in Alfonso? They have responded amazingly. They are excited to stand on their own, are taking ownership of it, inviting people to church, reaching out and even sharing the Gospel and making disciples. I was worried about how they would do, but this is Jesus’ church, and He has them ready to move forward on their own while Alfonso starts on their own as well.
I seem to find myself in the middle of all of it, one way or another. It is humbling and exciting, and I am learning a lot as I go. I spend much of my time mentoring and coaching the pastors and leaders in the School of Ministry, over lunches and along the way. That seems to be much of my role now and what God wants me doing. I do a lot of teaching, writing, visiting, organizing, budgeting, vision casting, planning and coaching. And I enjoy it and love these people I get to serve…though I miss you all. More in the next letter. Love you all and grateful for you. Please pray for these churches and outreaches, including their pastors and leaders. Pray for me for wisdom. Pray for my strength and health.
As you can see, we are doing a lot of ministry and building. If you would like to be part of this, we sure appreciate your prayers and your financial partnership. I hope you feel as much a part of this as you are! You can send tax-deductible donations to:
Encounter Generation, Inc.
P.O. Box 523
Marion, VA 24354
Below is the July update, including the agenda for flying back to the Philippines and other future plans. I hope you have had a good 2015 so far. Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me even during what seemed to be a bit of a detour for me the last few months. Even our detours are no surprise to God, and He has faithfully guided me through this one while keeping the ministry in the Philippines going strong.
BACK TO ASIA
I am so grateful for your prayers, cards, notes, visits, emails and encouraging words during the past several months. I am also so grateful for your continued partnership with the ministry during this time. Ministry has continued here and in the Philippines.
I’ve had the chance to minister, as well as to share the Philippines story, in several churches and other groups over the past weeks. I have been in churches almost weekly since late April. So this time of recovery has opened up many doors to serve here, while continuing to be involved in the ministry in Asia.
I am scheduled to fly out on August 12 to the Philippines. The doctor cleared me for the end of July. After arriving, I will be looking for a new place to live and getting the Encounter School of Ministry rolling again.
Due to internet problems, as well as time issues for my partner there (Pastor Joseph), it has been hard for them to keep the school going as consistently as we had hoped.
So with me present and teaching along with a host of wonderful DVD curriculum I’ve pieced together from some of the best teachers in the world, the school will get back into a consistent schedule in August.
I’m excited about some of the topics we will be getting into in the school in order to equip the current and rising leaders in our two churches (the one I went to plant and the one that Joseph was pastoring before I arrived and we decided to partner together).
Just to name a few, some examples of classes in Encounter School of Ministry are:
* “New and Old Testament Surveys”
* “How to Study and Interpret the Bible”
* “Who is God?”
* “The Gospel”
* “Foundational Doctrine and Theology”
* “Walking as a Disciple of Jesus”
* “4 Stages of Making Disciples/Multiplication”
* “Living Free”
* “Finding Your S.H.A.P.E”
* “The Servant as Evangelist”
* “The Servant as Pastor”
* “The Servant as Teacher/Preacher”
I will also be working to strengthen the two existing churches. Just a few of the things I’ll be doing:
* I’m still working to finish the foundational discipleship curriculum the churches in the network will use.
* The church pastored by Dion (the church Joseph was pastoring) needs a new roof. It leaks terribly.
* We will be ramping up the Sidewalk Sunday School children’s outreach while partnering that with feeding children from situations of extreme poverty.
NEXT CHURCH PLANT
We also already have a next church plant location in mind. I felt God made that next place clear to me even before we launched the new one last year. So when the two existing churches are at a good place, we will work to plant again in that new location. Thank you for your prayers for wisdom and grace for the right timing in the coming months, as I will be preparing with Joseph for that next church plant we will work toward together.
EQUIPPING SERVANT LEADERS
Additionally, I have an opportunity to go to India this Fall. It will be an opportunity to work with a missionary and friend named Fred Osborne to help equip local church leaders and pastors. It will also be an opportunity to form new relationships and to scout, as I feel India may be a place God is leading me to minister more in the future.
Thank you for believing in me and Encounter Generation, for praying for and standing with me and for your partnership in the work we are doing together in Asia. Thank you for your patience with my recovery time and for your prayers and partnership as I take off to Asia again. You can partner financially through this website by clicking on the tab “Give,” or by writing to Encounter Generation, P.O. Box 523, Marion, VA 24354. Partnership with Encounter Generation is tax-deductible and the website is secure. Thank you for your partnership with me in the Gospel!
. “MIRACLE ON THE MOUNTAIN” VIDEO:
If you did not get to see the video telling the story of the church plant in the Philippines, it is below. It contains a lot of great video footage from the new church, Sidewalk Sunday School and people and culture there, you can watch it here:
Below is the April update for the ministry, including an update on my health, news from the Philippines, current happenings and future plans. I hope you have had a good 2015 so far. Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me.
I am so grateful for the many prayers, cards, notes, visits, emails and encouraging words during the past 4 months while dealing with thyroid cancer and the loss of my thyroid. I am also so grateful for your continued partnership with the ministry during this time. Ministry has continued in the Philippines, even when I’ve been unable to do much myself.
After surgery in January to remove my thyroid and radiation treatment in February, the doctors have said that they think I am cancer free. The doctors also have been and currently are working to get me on the correct dosage of thyroid replacement medicine. I am grateful for the medicine. Unfortunately, it is not so easy or fast to find the right levels.
During February and March, it felt like I kind of disappeared from life for almost two months as having zero thyroid levels simply put me out of commission for the most part. During the month of April, I have been getting a lot stronger and back to work, though I am still dragging and have good days and bad days.
I will have to play my return by ear based on how I feel, conversations with the doctors and advice from my board, family, etc. I have been advised to be sure I’m back to 100% or close to it before heading back. I am optimistic about heading back to Asia this summer, and the doctors seem that way too. I’ll keep you updated.
THE MINISTRY NOW
The church plant in the Philippines seems to be doing well. It is summer there, and the youth have been involved in youth camps. After pausing the Sidewalk Sunday School for a while, they are gearing up for that again. People seem to be growing spiritually, and attendance remains healthy and stable for such a young church. Please pray for wisdom, protection and provision for Joseph, the pastor, and the other leaders and helpers in the church. Please pray for continued maturity and growth of the people in the church, for strong leaders to emerge and develop in the church and for financial provision to continue to grow from within the church.
The School of Ministry that I started when I was there will restart the first week of May. (We had finished two months before I left.) I will be teaching via video. So much of my time now is meeting with people, communicating with people in Asia via Skype or email, sharing and speaking in churches, developing and filming School of Ministry curriculum and writing other resources that will be used there. Technology allows me to continue to be part of advancing the ministry in the Philippines while still getting back to full health in Virginia. I am grateful for that.
ENCOUNTER GENERATION’S FUTURE
As best as I envision the next year or so of ministry, I see two phases that I am already involved in and/or will be doing when I return.
PHASE 1 – Four Focuses in Phase 1
1. The Church – The first priority for phase 1 is to encourage, support and equip the local church that we planted in 2014 in Tagaytay City, Philippines, named Highland City Disciples. A good, local Filipino pastor (Joseph Maraon) is leading the congregation, and my first priority in my return to Asia will be to encourage the pastor and leadership and to support the leadership in serving the health and growth of the church family.
2. The School of Ministry – The second priority, of equal importance, is to continue developing and establishing Encounter Generation School of Ministry alongside the local church. The 9-month school will equip leaders within the church and equip some of the young leaders as pastors for future church plants. Extensions of the school will equip leaders beyond the School of Ministry’s normal 9-month program in special training seminars open to the public.
3. Outreach – The third priority in this phase will be continued ministry outside of the local church, including:
A. Sidewalk Sunday School Children’s Outreaches and Feeding Programs
B. Designated Outreaches such as Christmas Parties, Sports Outreach, etc.
C. Development, Production and Distribution of Media Materials, such as videos, books, etc. for evangelistic purposes, for discipleship purposes and/or for training leaders.
D. Leadership Conferences and Youth Camps (i.e. India Trip, etc.)
4. The fourth priority in this phase will be to discern and scout the location for a New Church Plant. There are 3 potential locations for this:
A. An area near the church plant of 2014
B. Another Philippines island about 4 hours from the church plant of 2014
C. India – I plan a trip to India this year to be part of serving and equipping leaders there and to scout the potential for future ministry there.
This will be the period of praying, scouting and determining of a new location for planting another church. This has yet to be determined, but the goal is to discover that place and to begin the planning process for a new church.
PHASE 2- Planting of a New Church
Graduation for the first School of Ministry is targeted for November, 2015. Two months of the school were completed in 2014 before I had to return to the states for medical care. The school will resume via video in May, 2015 until I can physically return to Asia, which should allow us to finish on time in November.
As A) the school is established, and B) as the church plant of 2014 continues to grow, establish leaders and become healthy, and C) as a new location is determined for a new church plant, phase 2 would be the beginning of planting a brand new church in the determined location. The hope is that phase 2 can begin sometime in the next 12 months. But we will not rush that. Please pray for us for wisdom as we steward what God has already given us and as we seek His guidance for what opportunities might be next.
Thank you for believing in me, for praying for and standing with me and for your partnership in the work we are doing together in Asia. Thank you for your patience with my recovery time and for your prayers during this time of recovery. – David Gilliam
Pastor Joseph to my left and these are the first class of School of Ministry students. Love these people!