JEAN BARBARA, the President of the Sword of the Spirit, exhorted the Ligaya community to “take on the mantle of a missionary”, during his address to the body at a special Community Assembly held at the A-Venue on November 22, 2009.
Speaking before Ligaya for the first time since he was elected as President of the SoS, Jean Barbara thanked Ligaya for responding to the call of God to serve Him. “For many years,” Jean said, “you have served not only your own community, but you have served the Sword of the Spirit. You have given yourselves generously to the mission, in the Philippines, in India, in Singapore.”
Jean testified how the power of the Holy Spirit was manifested when their community, The People of God, responded to the missionary call. Never imagining that they would ever need to leave the safe surroundings of their little Christian ghetto in Lebanon, “the first door that the Lord opened was in Syria itself (always considered our enemy because they occupied our country for twenty years).”
Responding to the urging of the Holy Spirit and to the invitation of a priest in Syria, he led a team of 30 fresh young men, mostly children of community, to conduct a Life in the Spirit Seminar in a far flung town in Syria, braving the cold winter, sacrificing a Christmas holiday, and even risking life. He saw how powerful the transformation was, not only on those 90 persons who came to be prayed over during the LSS, but also on those who joined in the mission trip.
Speaking about these kids whom he led on mission, Jean said, “You need to realize these are community kids that have been well raised. But raised to be in community, to be good disciples, but not to be exposed to this kind of ‘wild’ going on mission, the way Jesus sent the disciples on mission in Luke 10, ‘Don’t take with you any sandals, nothing with you. Just go.’” It was only during their 11-hour road trip that Jean conducted training for these would-be missionaries. “I gave them training on the bus on how to lead a seminar. Most of them had never done anything of the sort before: how to pray over people.”
Even as this training was going on, Jean continued, “some people started experiencing God working among them. The Holy Spirit was working among them, and their hearts were being changed.” And during the LSS, he said, “these good community kids started evangelizing and praying over people, and seeing miracles happen. Conversions. People being filled by the Holy Spirit. Being baptized in the Holy Spirit. People crying. We were the first group ever who visited this region and did any Christian mission, ever since this Church existed in the past 50 years maybe.”
At the end of the mission, Jean said parents were amazed at how their kids were transformed by this experience. “They came back and their parents would tell me, ‘What did you do with our kids?’ They would come and stand and prophesy in community gatherings. Most of them had not experienced spiritual gifts before. Most of them are saying, ‘we want to be missionaries. We want to serve the Lord. Now we understand what the Sword of the Spirit is all about.’ This is what God is talking to us about open doors.”
Having testified to the transforming power of mission work, Jean turned to the Ligaya Community and had two things to say to the members. The first message was his message of gratitude for all the service that Ligaya had given to the Sword of the Spirit. He singled out, in particular, Fr. Herb, Vic Guitierrez, Tony Panajon, and Ken Noecker.
His second message to Ligaya was equally powerful and emphatic.
And my second word to you, which I think is also from the Lord, is “Give more!” Give more today than you ever gave before. Give more of your time, more of your money, more of your people, more of your talents. Give more to the mission.
This is not only consistent with biblical and spiritual principles (“if you have received much, much will be required of you to give”), and with the call of Jesus for all to be missionaries, but, he said, “even more so because of the season we are in, because of the doors that the Lord is opening, and because of His invitation to you and to all of us to go through the door and give more of what we have received.”
He punctuated his message with the following exhortation:
I invite you to take on more and more the mantle of a missionary, whose life is to serve the Lord beyond his own community. I invite you to start evangelizing. Some ofyou will be called to evangelize more. Some of you will be called to serve in the movements that you have.
You cannot simply stay within the walls of Ligaya. You would not be able to fully understand your call unless you give and you give more. And the more you give, the more you will understand what God has called you to do and to be. But even more. You will discover God working in miracles in you, in your families, in your children, and in the community.
In specific terms, he said God was asking Ligaya the following:
- to “give more of your men .. for the mission in the region, and for the mission internationally.”
- to “give more of your money. We are right now in the Sword of the Spirit in a fund raising campaign to be able to sustain all the mission that the Lord is opening before us. Luke spoke about Uganda. But there is a new mission in Russia. There is a new mission everywhere.”
- to “release our kids for mission. If you want your kids to understand what we are about, send them on mission …. Our kids need to understand and to taste God in action. They need to go in faith. When everything is provided for them, there is no room for faith.”
Jean Barbara concluded with a promise of a vision.
I think we are in a time of grace, brothers and sisters. I think the Lord is serious about this call … Everything I talked about in this sharing was about the Heaven that we are already living on earth. Being in community is a foretaste of heaven. Giving our lives completely like our Master did is a foretaste of heaven. Going on mission and seeing God in action is seeing Heaven opened and His angels working in us and through us, and His Holy Spirit at work.
- A LETTER FROM THE SOS PRESIDENT — addressed to all SOS members worldwide (1 Nov 2009)
- JEAN BARBARA – God’s watchful and longing servant – an interview with Jean Barbara (23 Nov 2009)
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