Today Filipino Pastor Peter Tan Chi — senior pastor of Christ Commission Fellowship, a wonderful evangelical congregation here in Manila — and our Epicenter conference team and I had the honor of lunch at the palace with Philippine President Gloria Arroyo. She and her staff were very gracious and we had a wonderful time of discussion and prayer.

For protocol sake I cannot share any comments she made to us, but I can give you a quick summary of the meeting from our perspective.

  • An American evangelical Christian pastor — Ray Bentley from Maranatha Chapel in San Diego — thanked the President for the tremendous and historic friendship between the Philippines and the United States, including the republic’s support in the war against Radical Islam throughout the islands (against jihadist groups such as “Abu Sayyaf” and even in Iraq where they sent peacekeeping forces to help our coalition in 2003 and 2004).
  • An Israeli pastor — David Ortiz from Ariel (whose 15 year old son, Ami, was nearly killed in 2008 when a terrorist sent a bomb to his home disguised as a Purim gift basket) — thanked the President for the wonderful, historic friendship between the Philippines, the Jewish people and the State of Israel. He noted that many Filipinos work in Israel and are hard-working and much appreciated, and that quite a few even marry Israelis.
  • I added my thanks in both areas, noting that in 1939, then-President Quezon offered saffe haven to 10,000 European Jews trying to flee the Nazi Holocaust. While only about 1,200 were able to make it here before the country fell to Japan, it was still tremendous offer. Then, on November 29, 1947, the Philippines gave the decisive final vote in favor of the Partition Plan at the United Nations. I noted that this gave the way to the creation of the modern State of Israel and thus the Philippines helped fulfill Bible prophecy. The Philippines was the only country in Asia to voted for Israel, and the only Catholic-majority country to do so.
  • As the luncheon continued, the pastors, their wives and I discussed with the President the continuing threat of Radical Islam to the Philippines, Israel, the U.S. and free societies around the world.
  • We discussed the threat of Iran gaining nuclear weapons and her administration’s position on this.
  • With all respect and deference, I asked the President in light of the strong historic ties between the Philippines and Israel to please graciously reconsider the vote the Philippines cast at the U.N. against Israel last fall over the Goldstone Commission Report. The U.N. resolution that passed asked the Security Council to consider war crimes charges against Israel because of the Gaza war. It did not, however, even mention the word “Hamas” or note Hamas’s terrorism or the fact that Operation Cast Lead (the war in Gaza in January 2009) was not an offensive action initiated by Israel but was a response to 12,000 rockets and missiles fired by Hamas terrorists from Gaza at the innocent civilian population in southern Israel over the course of many year. Israel responded when the U.N. wouldn’t. The issue will come back up for discussion in the U.N. in February and I shared that many Christians around the world will be praying that the Philippines reconsider their position and find a way to reaffirm Israel’s right to self-defense, while also expressing compassion for the Palestinians suffering under Hamas rule in Gaza.
  • I presented her a signed copy of Inside The Revolution and a copy of the documentary film DVD and was able to explain the basic premise of the Radicals, the Reformers and the Revivalists.
  • Finally, we prayed with and for the President that the Lord would bless her and her family and give her wisdom to lead the country as her10-year administration comes to an end. Presidential elections will be held in May.
  • The president sent a police escort to pick us up from our hotel and to return us there after the meeting.

We would be grateful for your continued prayers for us. We are under heavy armed guard here due to the risk of radical Islamic terrorism.  Yet we are grateful for the doors the Lord is opening. Later this week, we will be doing media interviews; meeting with the Israeli ambassador; speaking to a dinner of business, government and military leaders; and then Friday we will host the actual Epicenter conference.