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PFC Mission Trip to the Philippines

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Kathleen Retan's
Mission Trip Update


Well, that’s a wrap. In a few short hours we head out for the airport and home to Seattle. That’s it. We’re done. Praise the Lord.


Oh, really? Not hardly. That’s not the way the Lord works. I liken His workings to His playing with dominoes. He begins at the beginning to set the beautifully intricate chain reactions that wind and twist, curve and straighten, climb and fall, split off, rejoin and finally—end. In His foreknowledge and predestination, the pattern is laid before the foundation of the world to be toppled into play at the perfect time. He intends and oversees an entire creation and eternal plan in which our existence is interwoven with myriads of others, all vital elements to complete His magnificent design.


I think somewhere in the middle of the design, you and I crossed and joined courses to display the glory of God in the Philippines. 

Way back, I was asked to pray about dipping my toe into international prison ministry. A focused and insightful Filipina friend decided the prayers had been answered and handed me a $500 check – the dominoes began to fall. A PFC team of eight came together, national partners were engaged, prisons were lined up, resources acquired, support generated. And then the dominoes really began to fall – 16 prisons and jails were visited, 2700 prisoners heard the gospel, 2400 meals were served, and 1000 Bibles were distributed. Saving truth was declared, encouragement cast wide, hearts and stomachs fed.

Courses and courses of dominoes crossing, joining, splitting off in His sovereignty. All of you are part of the grand design, along with our PFC team, our incredibly faithful and gifted national team, the prison administrators who allowed us into their worlds, and, of course, the precious, precious souls we had the privilege of helping set free. God is so mighty and good.  


Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your support. You have done great things for your Lord. May your dominoes continue to topple for His glory!

The captives are set free!


Greg Von Tobel, our teammate and president of PFC, is back with the team after a short excursion to the island of Mindanao which is heavily Muslim. We weren't sure what to expect, but God blessed abundantly. 

Greg writes: Never before has this ever happened in the history of PFC. The officers allowed us to take six prisoners out of jail to our hotel to be baptized in the swimming pool. Of course they sent two officers along. We had maybe 20 volunteers cheering as the inmates were being baptized.  It was a glorious time of worship and song. Of course when we got back to the prison the women had a boodle fight prepared. To God be the glory.  


Prison Transport Van


But God doesn’t leave us out of the celebration on the island of Luzon. The national partner prison ministry has done a wonderful job of discipling at Santa Rosa Jail. Today we baptized 75 men and five women and I had the inexpressible privilege of baptizing a new sister in Christ.


And you guessed it, another boodle fight. Family (in its many forms) and food is the Filipino way. 


We are all overflowing with joy, but are we ever tired. Our last day is coming up with three more prison services. We need your prayers to stay upright, awake, and clear-headed to the end. Thank you for partnering with us.


We began our day at GMA Municipal Jail. Walking into the crowded conditions that seem so oppressive, we had no idea it would end up a day of music and celebration. 

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I had the privilege of sharing my testimony with a group of men and women, working with an interpreter. Think I may have gone a little long in our program—I tend to get a little carried away, but I want them to understand what Christ did for them.  I want them to know Him and the true freedom He gives, freedom that can never be taken from them. 


One of our team members mentioned her birthday was yesterday and the inmates erupted in a cheer and sang her happy birthday. It was a sweet time and a needed reminder that these are men and women just like you and me, even down to something as simple and pure as a happy birthday wish. It was fun and humbling.

Food , Bibles, soap and we were off to a juvenile detention facility next door. 


Our youngest team member, only 16, shared the abandonment and death of his own biological father but God’s restoration of family and his adoption by a loving Christian father. The boys listened intently.



Jaycob’s testimony was followed up by Tim’s retelling of the prodigal son. 

We pray these young men will see the father-heart of God and respond in faith. 


They ended our time together singing to us in Tagalog about God’s faithful help through problems. 


Please pray hearts will turn to Christ. 


Here we go again—this time to Calamba City Jail for one of the most memorable and precious days of my life. We had the privilege of holding a service, followed by the baptism of 40 inmates. I got to encourage each one as they came up out of the water and wish them God‘s blessing. Jesus changes lives. Praise the Lord.


There were tears in the eyes of some of the men as we presented the Gospel. 


Baptisms in the prison courtyard.

Following the baptisms, we headed back upstairs for a celebratory “boodle fight,” a Philippine Kamayan feast originally laid out on banana leaves down the center of the table and eaten with the hands. During World War II, fatigued and hungry US soldiers would gather around the table to partake in and vie for the large amounts of food, or “boodle," hence the name boodle fight. The act of eating with hands promotes solidarity and a sense of togetherness. We enjoyed the event thoroughly and lived out Gal 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.


We ended the day bearing gifts of appreciation to a female warden and praying a blessing over her and her staff. 


We’re all exhausted, but this is what our trip is all about. What a privilege.


One of the core mission objectives of Prisoners for Christ is to:

Lift up, encourage, train, and equip our volunteers and ex-offenders to carry on the ministry to prisoners.


So today was a full-day conference to do just that. It was held at Arise and Shine Church, pastored by a former prisoner, now one of our national partners, a dynamo with a heart for prison ministry and discipling ex-offenders.


We were surrounded by transformed men and women on fire for the Lord and Savior who changed their lives while in prison. They, along with two prison officers and a policeman, equal at the cross, sang a tribute to the Lord in Tagalog that brought me to tears. A taste of what’s to come in heaven.

Arise and Shine!

Better than an Angel's choir!



Strategic Planning

Group Collaboration

Prayers for Prisoners Worldwide

Another very good day with a Leadership Conference tomorrow.




This was our first experience with a lock-up. In the Philippines, you can be arrested but not charged for a crime, and still be put in jail, waiting to see a judge. The judges are assigned anywhere from 3000 to 5000 cases, so it could be four months before you are even charged. During that time, no food or sundries are provided for you, so if family and friends don’t support you, you could literally die.

Here we are holding a service in the lock-up facility in Cabuyao.  We provided these inmates with food, soap, and flip-flops, but more importantly, we gave them the Gospel and their own Bibles. 


Lugao porridge 


Bibles in Tagalog and English


We were also allowed to hold a service at a local prison holding 8000 men. It was divided into medium and maximum security facilities. The medium security compound was actually closer to a small city complete with businesses, churches and recreational facilities. Again, we were able to worship with them, give them the Gospel, and encourage the "inside church." There are many believers at this prison who need to grow in the Lord and be challenged to serve the Lord where He has placed them.


275 men in attendance. Our team is praying for the church leaders, all prisoners, to be the godly servants they’ve been called to be in a unique ministry. Please pray for them as well. 



We arrived on our Eva Air flight in Manila after a near 20 hour journey, rested and ready to serve the Lord.
















That's a lot of gear


Outside Carmona Prison

Then following our scheduled service, we were allowed to tour the facility, three floors of large cells of inmates, each holding about 24 men. I was asked to give a word as a mama to the men so I figured I would go for it and gave them the gospel the best I could in under three minutes. We also had the chance to pray with the small group of women housed there. They had been given Bibles, so I emphasized that the word of God is living and powerful and encouraged them to be in the word every day. 

Many inmates responded enthusiastically to the gospel. Please pray their responses are genuine and salvation sure.


Also, please pray that the Lord will keep us flexible, spontaneous, and dependent on Him moment by moment as things don't always go as originally planned!


We have another service scheduled this afternoon at Cabuyao City Jail. I’m not scheduled to speak, but have to be on my toes in case I am called up for a testimony or quick word on the spot. It’s been a great way to get over my fear and walk in the Spirit.


The PFC Mission Team – Eddie, Tim, Steve, Greg, Mark, Jaycob, Dee and Kathleen – will be heading to Seattle Tacoma International Airport this evening to fly out on Eva Air at 1:30 in the morning! We’re counting on your prayers to keep us in step with the Holy Spirit and however He leads. Lord willing, after a short stop in Taiwan, we’ll land in Manila at 11:40 am, well rested, with all our luggage, ready to serve.


Your partner,



The skies proclaim the work of his hands!



I hope this finds you well, and I have good news to share!


I have just finished my second year working for Prisoners For Christ Outreach Ministries. It’s an organization reaching men, women and juveniles in jails and prisons across the United States and internationally. I have the privilege of serving in the Literature Department where we send out thousands of pieces of literature each year to chaplains and inmates in the US free of charge to provide hope in some very dark places.


But now God has opened a door for me to take my burden for inmates overseas with PFC.  On April 9th, I will be boarding a plane with seven other Americans to minister in the prisons of the Philippines, from April 9th—April 19th.  Once on the ground, we will be holding eleven prison services, as well as conducting two prison volunteer and leadership conferences.  We will not only be preaching the Gospel, but also providing Bibles and humanitarian aid in the form of soap, food, blankets, and hygiene products to those incarcerated in bleak conditions.


CLICK HERE for highlights of the 2017 PFC Philippine Mission Trip


Thank you very much for considering my requests for prayer.  I would be humbled to recieve your prayers as we minister to the inmates in the Philippines with the Gospel of Christ.

I will try to make daily posts and share some pictures of our trip --  so check back here to see how the Lord is blessing!


Serving for His glory,



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