In 2011, I did my Discipleship Training School with YWAM Tokyo. This focused 5 months of missionary training included both a 3 month lecture phase and a 2 month outreach phase. During my DTS outreach I traveled to the Philippines for the first time. God did much in and through me and He started something that has had lingering fruit. In both 2012 and 2013, I was able to lead teams of DTS students back to the Philippines and got to see many lives transformed. And this last month in 2015, I co-lead a small team of 5 staff on a very special trip. Taking a small team of YWAM staff was very different and also very good. We had a lot of fun!
Over the years there has been a growing relationship between YWAM Tokyo and the wonderful staff at the YWAM Olongapo base in the Philippines. The ministry there is powerful and excellent. YWAM Olongapo focuses on the red light districts in the surrounding areas. For over 30 years they have focused on the prostitution bars near by and have recently been expanding to a large red light district in Angeles City. The base has a holistic ministry that starts at the bars and culminates with releasing transformed women into joy filled lives and successful careers.
The staff of the YWAM Olongapo base are primarily women who have left a lifestyle of prostitution and now are living a life of wholeness. They build relationship with women they meet in the red light districts, invite them to the YWAM Base and share about God’s hope, love and power. Women that come to the YWAM base get discipled for 2 years, are given food and lodging for both themselves and their children, are allowed to work at the base to cover living expenses, and are able to go to school. Each year that we go back we see women moving along this path of growth and it is both beautiful and powerful! On this most recent visit I was blessed to meet a women from 2 years ago that has now finished her discipleship program and is now working! We also met a lady from before who has finished college and now is working at a really nice restaurant and it was amazing to visit there and celebrate her.
The YWAM Olongapo base makes high quality, hand made paper. They have a huge library of colors they create and the paper is then used to make paper products by hand that are then sold in other nations through another YWAM ministry. This is the main source of income for the YWAM women who are being discipled. The team and I got to spend many hours with the disciples working along side them and hearing their stories.
Our primary focus for this trip was 2 fold. 1) Encouraging the women at the YWAM base 2) bar evangelism. We had lots of powerful prayer and encouragement times for the various staff at the base. We also had many opportunities to invest in the children and the high schoolers there. In addition to this we did 3 nights of bar evangelism. We were taken in small teams to various bars in the red light districts where we would talk with girls working there. God was able to use us to bring light, hope and love into the bars and it was really good. The vision is that as YWAM Olongapo continues to reach out to these women and build relationship over time, more and more of them will chose to leave their current lifestyle and walk into a life of wholeness fueled by the love of God.
If you would like to hear more about this ministry or have any questions about our trip please feel free to contact me and ask. There is so much to share!
Matching shirts! This lady is named Virgie Bok. She is the leader of the YWAM Olongapo base and has been serving in YWAM since 1986 (the year I was born). She used to work in the red light districts until she met Jesus and is now reaching countless women with the love of God. She is one of my heroes. Please take some time to pray for her. She is amazing!
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners... They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."