After a 14 month long missions tour around Asia, my friend Mike and I found ourselves back in the Philippines asking ourselves what shape our work would take. I was offered a job as a youth pastor and there were several other ministry opportunities, but Mike didn't feel that it was smart to jump right into anything. I agreed, "We really need to hear from God what He thinks. Let's set aside time to pray and seek direction from Him before we agree to do anything."
We prayed and waited, and worshipped and prayed, as we housesat for a missionary couple that was on furlough. After several weeks had passed, the couple was about to return and we didn't have any specific direction! We dug our heels into prayer and desperately cried out to God that he would speak to us and lead us. As the time ran down, two very clear words came to my mind.
"I was praying early this morning," I told Mike, "and two thoughts came to mind. The first was 'student ministry' and the second was 'Baguio'. Have you ever heard the word, Baguio?"
"It's a city up north." Mike responded. "But I don't know much else." We looked it up on the map and sure enough, it was a city in the northern mountains of Luzon. I folded the map, went to the window, and looked out at the quiet street and said, "These are the biggest clues we've had yet. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Mike nodded his head and said enthusiastically, "Let's do it! Student ministry in Baguio it will be."
Neither Mike nor I knew anyone in that area but after sharing our vision for a property that would be suitable for a coffee house with a friend's parents, they put us in contact with Mrs. Brady. "She has an excellent reputation in the city, she is very well thought of and educated. She's been involved in real estate and with the City Hall for many years. I've also been told that she has recently gotten involved in the charismatic movement. If anyone could help you guys, she'd be the one!"
We were eager to get into student ministry as soon as possible so the next day we made our way to Mrs. Brady's home. After we spoke to her maid, we waited several minutes before an elegant woman came to the door and urgently asked, "Do you know anything about the Holy Spirit?" Mike and I both smiled and nodded our heads affirmatively. She responded with another question. "Do you speak in tongues?" We smiled and said yes. Her eyes brightened. "Can you show me in the Bible where this happens?" Again we said yes. "Oh!" She exclaimed, "You've been sent by God! Please come in."
Over the last few months, she had been holding all-night prayer meetings in her home with her extended family and employees. During one of those nights, Mrs. Brady was alone in her room offering supplications to God. “Suddenly,” she said, “it was as though the sun started to shine like a laser beam down upon me. The room was filled with unnatural light in the middle of the night. The light came right through the roof of the house, into my bedroom where I was seeking the Lord. It shone like a flashlight, a beam of white light right on my head.”
She looked at us and blushed. “Then there was a tremendous power, like electricity. It repeatedly surged up and down through my body, from the top of my head down to my feet. I should have been terrified but I wasn’t. I felt a peace like I had never experienced before, and when the light started to fade, I started to speak these funny words, without quite knowing what was going on. I had never heard those words before and I couldn’t understand them.”
She went on to explain that a friend said that perhaps she had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Her daughter, Christine, had told her friends about her experience. They were intrigued and wanted to come to the house to get a language they too could speak without having to study at school. Since Mrs. Brady had no explanation, she had asked for two weeks before she invited them to her home. She was just finishing three days of fasting and praying when Mike and I showed up.
We took her through the Bible and showed her through Acts and the New Testament where the Holy Spirit had come upon the early church. We read stories of how the early church was empowered by God, how they went out speaking in tongues, with holy boldness, preaching the gospel and seeing thousands come into the kingdom. We explained that we ourselves were like that all over Asia. The Holy Spirit is available to us today, just like He was to the early church.
We were invited to Mrs. Brady’s house to meet with her daughter’s friend the following night so we came, prayed, encountered the Holy Spirit, and all six of the students accepted Christ. They started speaking in tongues and begged to bring their friends the following night. Matching their excitement measure for measure, Mrs. Brady responded, “My house is the Lord’s house! You are most welcome to bring your friends.
Night after night we returned to Mrs. Brady’s home and every night, people came to Christ and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Word began to spread through the student body of Baguio. Mrs. Brady was well known, well connected, and highly respected throughout the city. Some nights the house was overcrowded--it got so full that people had to stand outside on upside-down boxes in order to peer through the windows to hear what we had to say. God met many students there in a very personal way. The anointing of his Spirit was tangible and flowed generously in that home.
But God was not only interested in changing young students’ lives; lawyers, judges, housewives, teachers, and other professionals were all amongst those who experienced this fresh move of God.
Through this, many other opportunities sprang up and Mike and I were nearly run off our feet. Mrs. Brady helped us find a more permanent place to do ministry since our team had quickly grown to around forty people! We settled into a large pink house and found it to be a great place to do discipleship and evangelism.
Though things were going well, we began to experience some supernatural opposition in the forms of false teachers, healers and some very real demons. We were reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of darkness.
In response to our prayers and Mrs. Brady’s deep longing for the Holy Spirit, we established a long term work among the students in Baguio. The Pink House was the place of many more stories of spiritual warfare and the work of God. It was the birthplace of Youth With A Mission in the Philippines.
-An edited and partially summarized chapter from the book, 'Adventures In Saying Yes To God' by Kel Steiner with Andrew Kooman.