This missionary survived a hurricane, and saw the hand of God in the midst of tragedy. Life can throw us unexpected storms, and that’s exactly what happened just before Christmas when a typhoon (aka hurricane) hit our town in Mindoro Philippines. This is the second time I’ve witnessed what the power of the winds can do here, but this time our city of Calapan was in the middle of it. The pastors and their families here are safe in Calapan, but one of the church roofs got torn off. To the south in Pinamalayan one of the pastor’s house/church was really torn apart but the family escaped with their lives. The AG here in the Philippines gave them all the support needed to fix up the church and house. Big trees were down everywhere including besides my place. Thank God the tree went the right direction and not into my bedroom as it was a huge tree. We spent a lot of time without power and to this day some still don’t have electricity in Naujan Mindoro. Despite all the destruction, we have all been protected by God’s hand. The things of ours that we have lost have been replaced with better than before. God is good!
In the city of Baco outside of Calapan; we had a landslide of rocks and boulders. The cause of the landslide was a mix of both illegal mining and the storm. Nobody was killed, because we all knew the storm was coming. To my amazement nothing was mentioned on the news about Baco. My friends all tell me it’s because of the illegal mining that was going on. That is also the location of some Mangyan tribe. The tribe is exactly that, a native looking people who are very poor and live off the land. My dirt bike friends were inspired to help them out. So we all pitched in together to provide them with food. There was a leader in that area we got connected with to help organize the distribution.
Most of the crops were destroyed by the storm, so we wanted to help with their greatest need. Our skills were put to good use riding off road going places where no other vehicle could go to deliver goods. This may seem like a little thing, but it has really inspired me in seeing the ‘average Juan’ helping out complete strangers. How much more should God’s people being willing to help in a time of crisis? We don’t have to be ministers to reflect the image of God. Maybe you too have experienced a storm in your life or know somebody who is going through one. That is the moment to take action to pray and be the conduit of God. It’s even said that people are more likely to change religion in those critical moments of life: having a baby, getting married, depression, drugs, or other emotional times of need.
Into the New Year I’ve got the chance to go preach with a friend of mine in Ibajay Aklan. It did take a couple boat rides to get there. The Lord really moved as we duel preached the service with complimenting messages on ‘Intimacy with God’. After the service we ministered to the people with prayer. There was one lady who was so eager for prayer. She quickly came up to me for prayer. It was briefly translated to me what was going on with her. But she mentioned her head, hands, feet, and stomach. Glory to God as the power of His Kingdom blew through her! She would have hit the floor had I not been holding her hand. As she stood up, everything was healed and she testified to the church in her language what God had done!
Since then I have not been content with only doing part time ministry and full time studies. Studying the language as well as seminary classes is a real headache, but I don’t feel alive unless God is using me to change lives. I’m asking Him for wisdom on how to use my time. It’s hectic trying to speak to a people who can barely understand, but I’m praying for more open doors with English speaking people in this area. Glory to God because He has done just that! There is an open door for me to speak in a Christian school regularly to upper class students who have nothing to do with church. I’ve been told that their parents tell them to forget the religious side of the teachings. Then was asked to come and minister to them at a personal level, as our God is a personal God who wants a relationship with each of us. I plan to help counsel and pray for them as God leads. Continue also to be praying for the school and I to really win them for Christ and His glory!