January 2005

I don’t know where to start. It seems like a year ago since I posted my last blog though it has only been a few days. I would have written earlier but I have not had an internet connection, nor have I had the time or energy. The moment Janet and I have a minute free we instantly fall asleep. The joke around here is “We are trying to kill Steve Ray. Too much to do, no time from rest“. We we get home our motto will be “We survived the Philippines!“

The need is so great here. I hate to say no to these warm and eager people. What do you say to the head nun of a Catholic school with 3,000 students who sincerely asks you to speak to the 12th grade class? How can I say no?

Since I last wrote I spoke early in the morning to over 100 El Shaddai preachers. El Shaddai is a Catholic lay organization with over 10 million members worldwide. I told their ministers my conversion story and then challenged them on many fronts. I told them to stay faithful to the teachings of the Church and to work hard to stop the cults and sects from stealing away the faithful. They laughed and cried.

Janet and I had a wonderful lunch with their founder and leader Mike Valerde. He invited me to come back and speak to their weekly gathering of 375,000 – 1 million people who meet for fellowship ALL NIGHT Saturday with a Mass on Sunday morning. I agreed.

Then on to Mary the Queen parish for a talk and lunch with the leaders. Then on to a discussion group and dinner. Then to a breakfast and talk with a group of influential bishops and business leaders. A professor on the panel challenged and said the Bible was fiction and Catholicism just one of many good options. I could not let his 20 minute reaction to my talk go unchallenged so I had to charitably confront him. He was a good man and I enjoyed our discussion.

Then on to an interview with the largest newpaper, the Philippine Star. The article will be in the paper on Tuesday and accessible on the internet (I think). Then without rest we rushed to a lunch with Madame Gretchen, the wife of the owner of the largest beer brewery in the Philippines – San Miguel beer – and the company that handles the bottling for all Coke products. She is a devote and excited Catholic and very interested in apologetics. She had Protestant family member and we discussed the faith for several hours. A Protestant TV personality was also there – Cito, the “Larry King of the Philippines”. We had some very animated discussion! But I liked the guy and we enjoyed each other’s company and the discussion.

But we had to rush a large dinner with sponsors and then to a parish talk with about 1,000 people in Manila. It was the St. James Catholic Church and the crowd was lively and filled with faith. They have sold about 2,000 – 3,000 copies of Crossing the Tiber while I am here and all the proceeds go to support the apologetics groups.

My wife and I are exhausted and my voice sounds like a frog croaking. But the need is so great. The islands are being invaded by sects and cults, not only from the United States and Europe, but from within the Philippines themselves. They are such warm and trusting people. They love the Lord and the Church but they are severely under catechized. They easily fall prey to the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

“Leave the Catholic Church — get born again!” Everywhere storefront Protestant groups are starting up. Everywhere we see Mormon temples rising beautiful above the poverty of the life below. The indigenous Englesia ni Christo is devastating the land. The work is great and I have poured myself into the job with abandon. I do not charge anything (only the plane fare) because most are poor and cannot pay.

I love these people and Janet and I have decided to come here every year for two weeks to speak, teach and help. I have already been invited back by three archbishops and the head of El Shaddai and many others. How can I say no.

That is enough for now. That just covers part of what we did Monday and Tuesday. I will try to tell more of the story in a day or two. But, like usual, we have to run.

 Keep up in your prayers. I will be speaking in Davao in Mindanao all weekend to thousands of people. It is the first ever Catholic Conference in this major city. Pray my voice will hold out and my strength be renewed. Thanks.

{ 0 comments }

They are trying to Kill Me!

by Steve Ray on January 24, 2005

They are trying to kill me. Three talks a day and it is hot here. I am used to Michigan where the weather is cooler and the lifestyle is a little slower. Here in the Philippines they have me working from morning to night speaking at seminaries, businessmen’s groups, huge charismatic groups and to Catholic street preachers. We are even going to conduct the first ever Catholic conference in the south Philippines, in the city of Davao.

It took us 20 hours to get to Manila. It is a LONG way and the time difference is 13 hours – so if you are waking up right now we are going to bed. It was 20 degrees when we stepped into the plane in Detroit and it was 85 degrees when we stepped off the plane.

We got to bed at 1:30 AM and were awakened at 6 AM to go to my first speaking engagement. See what I mean — they are trying to kill me! But what a great way to die ?  My first talk was a great privilege. I spoke with the seminarians at the largest seminary in Manila. There were 175 young men along with some priests. They were hesitant – who is this baldheaded guy coming here from the US to teach us. They sat in the back. (Picture is of Steve with several of the seminarians.)

But once I started telling them the story of my conversion they warmed up. I was excited, emotional, and waving my hands in the air. I challenged, chided, and questioned them. They warmed up. By the end of the talk they all wanted my picture and signature on books they bought. I LOVED these guys. I told them they were the best men in the world – working to be priests! I told them they could not view the priesthood as a job, but as a great love affair! They were to love the Bride of Christ – to love her enough to lay down their lives. We had a great time and I felt a real bond with wonderful and dedicated young men.

The next morning I was again rudely awakened from sleep (just kidding) to go to a large auditorium to speak to the Light of Jesus Charismatic Catholic group. Bo Sanchez is an amazing young man that started this community several years ago and now has thousands of members. I had to speak to three waves of people – 1,200 in each group. There were three Masses celebrated on Sunday and after each Mass I gave my 1 ½ hour conversion story. What an enthusiastic and orthodox group of Catholics, many of them young and excited about the faith. They laughed and cried and I greatly enjoyed sharing my story with them and challenging them to better understand and defend the Catholic faith. After each session Janet and I spent an hour or more signing books and talking with these great folks.

They all loved the story of my meeting with a Baptist missionary to the Philippines. I met him at a Bible Software Seminar. I asked him what he did and he said, “I am a missionary to the Philippines. They are Catholics and I teach them to know Jesus and leave the Catholic Church.“ He then asked me “What do you do? and I said, “I am also a missionary to the Philippines.“ He asked me “What do you do there?“ I said, “I teach the Filipino people how to defend themselves against people like you!“  The audience roared and applauded. They are all Christians with a passionate love for Jesus and his Church and find it funny that Americans come here to teach them about Jesus. I agree. 

After that we had a quick dinner with two priests and then went straight to the largest radio station in the Philippines and did a one hour interview. The calls flooded in as I challenged all the cults and sects invading the Philippines. One lady called and said “I was thinking of leaving the Catholic Church but after your encouragement I have decided that I will die a Catholic. I will never leave.”

We crashed into bed late again. Tomorrow (Monday) I will speak to 100 Catholic street preachers who work with El Shaddai – but I’ll write about that later.

I have to thank the members of Defensores Fidei Foundation. They are a group of family men who started to take on the job of defending the faith in the Philippines. I consider them family and they voted to make Janet and I members of the group. Henry and Alex, Gerry and Tom, Chit and the rest have been more than generous and hospitable. Janet and I love these folks. Also, special thanks to Rommie and Melanie Chan who have allowed us to stay in the guest house and treat us like a king and queen.

More later.

{ 0 comments }

On our way to Manila

by Steve Ray on January 20, 2005

Again this year we head to the Philippines for two weeks to encourage and help instruct the wonderful Catholic folks living in this Catholic nation. However, they are under assault by cults and sects and many are Catholic simply because they were born Catholic and not because they have fallen in love with Jesus and the Church. We are sponsored by the Defensores Fidei.

This is one of our own personal burdens, to help and love these wonderful people. You can read my Open Letter to the Filipino People that was published in all their major papers.

To give you an idea of some of the things I will be doing in the Philippines (you can see the daily schedule on my Schedule page):  First day there I have to speak for 3 hours to all the seminarians of Manila.The next day to all the bishops and priests. Then to the Businessmen’s group, then to large crowds of every day Filipinos, then to three groups of 1,000 priests and religious, then to 100 Catholic preachers who have a following of several million people. Those are just some of the talks.

The president of the Filipino Catholic Bishop’s Conference has invited us to fly to Davao in Mindanoa for our last three days for non-stop seminars. He has requested/required all bishops, priests and others to attend the 3-day conference. The promotion said “come hear the speakers” and when I asked them who the other speakers were they chuckled and said “YOU”. Oh boy!
 
Janet and I are a bit overwhelmed — not only with my limited capabilities but with the rapid-fire progression of talks — several a day, going on for 10 days without a break. We have only charged them for our plane fare and I am selling all my materials at 1/2 price. Sure glad I have Janet along to support me.
 
Keep us, and the Filipinos in your prayers. By the way, I am going to try to keep a daily journal of our trip on my Blog.
 
The picture above is of our dear friends from Defensores Fidei who have sponsored our trip. These are some of the best and most generous and devote friends you could ever find. For a larger picture, view my pictures on my Home Page.

{ 0 comments }

Our Four Grandkids

January 20, 2005

    Proud Grandpa and Grandma saying good-bye to our four grandkids before leaving for the Philippines. From left to right: Dominic, Joshua, Maria Faustina, and Damian. For a large photo, see our Home Page Photos.   Our family really enjoyed this funny Laughing Baby. Call the kids in and click here.

Read the full article →

Arrested for Speaking Out – We’re in Trouble

January 17, 2005

SEND THE PHILADELPHIA CHRISTIANS A THANK YOU LETTER OF ENCOURAGEMENT Four Christians in Philadelphia, PA, are facing 47 years in prison and fines up to $90,000 each. Their crime? They were reading from the Bible and sharing the Gospel on a public sidewalk. They stood up to protect their rights—and ours—and now they are being [...]

Read the full article →

Holland is so Screwed Up!

January 13, 2005

On a recent trip to Jerusalem I struck up an intense conversation with a Dutch Doctor of Psychology who was in Jerusalem to access the Palestinian situation. He claimed the Israelis were terrorist and the implied the Palestinians could do no wrong. Bombing innocent civilians was involuntary and inevitable because of their persecution. I argued [...]

Read the full article →

Beng is Back

January 13, 2005

Beng is a regular on my Message Board and was in Indonesia during the Tsunami. No one heard from him and feared the worst. But, he has just resurfaced with a report. To read Jimmy Akin’s Blog on Beng, click here. To read all the fear then rejoicing on my Message Board, click here. To [...]

Read the full article →

Tourists in Israel – Interesting Statistics

January 13, 2005

A survey conducted by the Geocartographic Institute on behalf of the Tourism Ministry revealed today that the Western Wall is still the most visited site by foreign tourists in Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. The findings are based on tourist visits during the first half of 2004. According to the survey, 53 percent of all tourists visited [...]

Read the full article →

“Passion of the Christ” Wins People’s Award!

January 13, 2005

  Please forward this to your family and friends! THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST WINS PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD Dear Steve, Because of you, and 400,809 other AFA Online supporters, The Passion of The Christ won first place in the CBS People’s Choice Awards. The film won in the drama movie category. The winners were announced [...]

Read the full article →

Envoy Magazine

January 12, 2005

A number of people have asked me “What is the status of Patrick Madrid’s Envoy Magazine? For those interested in finding out, you can read a Blog where Patrick explains the situation. I still have two articles in the Envoy pipeline: Titus will be in the next issue published and Philemon in the one following that. [...]

Read the full article →

Exciting Events for us in Philippines

January 10, 2005

Janet and I are excited about our upcoming 2-week Apologetics Mission trip to the Philippines January 20 – February 1.  It is our 3rd trip to help the Filipino people better understand and defend their Catholic faith.  It is a Catholic nation — to the extent that at 12 noon everyone stops (in malls, government [...]

Read the full article →

Hubbub over Homosexual’s Children in a Catholic School

January 10, 2005

Last week there was a big controversy about whether the children of a homosexual couple should be allowed to attend a Catholic school. If this is of interest, my friend Ed Peters has written authoritatively on the matter. Admitting children of same-sex couples to Catholic elementary schools: thinking beyond the clichés A Special Canon Law [...]

Read the full article →

Steve Ray Releases Two New DVDs

January 9, 2005

Coming Very Soon: Steve Ray and Ignatius Press announce the release of two new DVD’s in conjunction with the Footprints of God series. The are entitled The Greatest Figures of Salvation History. DVD #1: Steve Ray interviews: Cardinal Schonborn on PeterRosalind Moss on Moses $14.95 DVD #2: Steve Ray interviews: Fr. Mitch Pacwa for JesusCardinal Schonborn on Mary [...]

Read the full article →

Two Quite Cool Websites

January 5, 2005

It’s hard to stop watching this — the world’s coolest and stupidest Digital Clock. Check and see if the time is right. Click here. This is what happens to us in Michigan winters if we haven’t had good hot coffee before heading outside. Click here.

Read the full article →

What Does CATHOLIC Mean?

January 3, 2005

What Does Catholic Mean? by Steve Ray   (Published in This Rock Jan 2005 issue)   As a Protestant, I went to an Evangelical church that changed an important and historical word in the  Apostles Creed. Instead of the “holy, catholic Church,” we were the “holy, Christian church.” At the time, I thought nothing of [...]

Read the full article →

Three Cities Related to “Mary, Mother of God”

January 2, 2005

We often think of Bethlehem when we think of Mary, the Mother of God — and rightfully so. This is the place where Mary gave birth to the Son of God. In my DVD Mary Mother of God I explain that Bethlehem means “house of bread” and in the womb of Mary she carries the [...]

Read the full article →