Ada — “What a difference a year can make,” Life Community Church Senior Pastor Mickey Keith said, reflecting on his recent 2014 Philippines mission compared to the Philippins mission of 2013.
After 20 years of annual missions to the Southeast Asian country, Keith is well acquainted with the country and its people. B ut as a result of Typhoon Haiyan, which decimated the island country in November 2013, the 2014 mission was unlike any other. More than 6,000 people lost their lives as a result of Typhoon Haiyan. The storm also displaced more than 4 million people and affected as many as 16 million people while creating an estimated $1.5 billion in damages.
“It’s difficult to imagine, much less communicate, the devastation of the country and the suffering of its people,” Keith said. “Seeing pictures and reading news reports is nothing compared to the experience of the onsite damage and destruction.”
As the leader of the LCC congregation, Keith’s 2014 Philippines mission — March 24 through April 9 — included activities directly related to the church’s work with the Charismatic Full Gospel Ministry and to LCC’s ongoing financial support for the Charisma Bethel Children’s Home, an orphanage founded by CFGM President Pastora Marilou Navarro. In addition, Keith traveled to the island of Leyte, which was in the direct path of Typhoon Haiyan. In early 2014, the LCC congregation contributed approximately $6,000 in direct financial aid to the Philippines, much of which was distributed in food, medical supplies and other needs on Leyte.
During the first week of the mission, Keith spent much of the time in and around Surigao City on the island of Mindanao, where the Charismatic Full Gospel Ministry is headquartered. The CFGM, under Navarro’s leadership, includes a 1,000-member central church, 400 area churches and pastors and the children’s home.
On March 30, the CFGM celebrated its 39th anniversary and Keith addressed a gathering of more than 1,000 attendees. He also spoke at CFGM's baccalaureate service with more than 400 participants, as well as the CFGM Bible School graduation ceremony. During the annual CFGM Convention, Keith spoke and ministered to the full convention of more than 1,000 participants. He also spent considerable time at the Charisma Bethel Children’s Home, admittedly his favorite destination during the annual mission.