UPDATE#2: What a remarkable evening. It began with the Filipino national anthem, several Christian songs by some wonderful performers, an introduction by CCF Pastor Peter Tan Chi — host of the conference — and excerpts from the Inside The Revolution documentary film. Then I spoke for an hour, explaining the “signs of the times,” the extraordinary Bible prophecies we’re seeing fulfilled in our times, the Biblical mandate we have to love and bless Israel, and the importance of being spiritual ready.I thanked the Filipino leaders for supporting the creation of the State of Israel in 1947-48, and asked them to reconsider the government’s recent vote against Israel at the U.N. over the Goldstone Commission Report.
By God’s grace, I also presented the gospel in a clear and straightforward way and explained how to pray to receive Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior and Lord. Then I led the guests in prayer so they could be absolutely certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that they really had received Christ by faith, and not by works, and were definitely going to heaven. After speaking for about an hour, I then took questions for about 30 minutes. Then I signed books and we chatted with guests and took many pictures. Apparently, the Great Commission in the Philippines is, “Go ye therefore and take pictures!” We took many!
It was remarkable time. At least half a dozen guests come up to me and indicated that they had prayed to receive Christ as their Savior for the first time. Others indicated they were thankful for the presentation and really processing the information. I have to admit, I’m just blown away by all that the Lord did through this event. It’s hard to describe it all in words, especially since we have a full-day conference on Friday I must finish preparing for.
That said, there are many pictures posted on the conference weblog (see link above) and I hope that will give you a bit of a visual sense of everything. Presidential candidate Sen. Dick Gordon and his wife attended, as did his vice presidential candidate, Mr. Bayani Fernando, former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority. Leading candidate Sen. Begnino “Noynoy” Aquino was slated to attend but unable to at the last minute, but his vice presidential candidate, Sen. Mar Roxas, was able to make it. Sen. Roxas is the grandson of the first president of the independent Philippines (1946-1948) after the U.S. withdrew formally from running the island. It was then-President Roxas whom God used to bless the Jewish people by supporting the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947, thus paving the way for the prophetic rebirth of the State of Israel. While the Senator has not yet been to Israel, his campaign manager went last year and the Senator told me he is hoping to take a delegation to the Holy Land to visit regardless of how the May elections turned out. Many other Filipino Congressmen and women, generals and business leaders attended, as a well as a Muslim leader from Mindanao. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers. Please keep praying that these and the other guests would be truly blessed by the evening.
UPDATE #1: The dinner begins at 7pm Manila time (6am U.S. east coast time). Each guest will receive a complimentary copy of my first non-fiction book, Epicenter. We will also show excerpts from the Inside The Revolution documentary film to give the audience a snapshot of the dramatic tensions and cross-currents in motion throughout the Islamic world today.
 ORIGINAL POST: Thursday is mostly a quiet day of prayer and fasting, preparing for tonight’s Leadership Dinner, the official kick-off of the Epicenter Conference. By God’s grace, the event is sold out. More than 1,000 Filipino business, government and military leaders are expected to attend the gala event. It’s not open to the media, but Lord willing I will post some thoughts and observations after it concludes. The team and I would be grateful for your prayers that the Lord would be present at the event, and that His Holy Spirit will touch hearts in a deep and personal way. Thanks so much.
PICTURES: Joel meeting with President Arroyo at the Palace on Monday; the Epicenter Conference delegation meeting with the President on Monday; the leadership dinner on Thursday. For more pictures of the Thursday dinner, please see the conference weblog (link above).