I like physical activity so climbing the stairs, although it was tiring, was fun for me. So was the plane ride, and the boat ride. But I didn’t expect this kind of reward.
When we reached the top of the staircase, what met us was breathtaking. So, this is what’s on the other side?
I felt like I was Poh of Kung Fu Panda after climbing that high wall (although my tiredness may be way less). After that last step, it’s like I just pulled the curtains to a different world.
“Hello lovely village. Thank you for the invitation to be here.”
The first thing that you’ll notice is the breathtaking view of the river, the fields and the mountains behind you. Then moving forward, there’s the basketball court (very Filipino!) and the village houses.
After a couple of steps from the basketball court, we get to our abode. Boy, it’s big. This is where they have their guests stay. I feel like royalty. Aren’t we supposed to be suffering when we’re on outreach?
So yeah, now that we’re all set up! We’ll go around the village next.
It reminded me of what I read in the Bible where crowds followed Jesus around. Only this time, it was only a bunch of kids, one of whom had been miraculously healed in his arm. (But that’s how it must have started when Jesus preached.) They were drawn not to us, but to the presence of God. Perhaps, partly because of the miracle, but I’d like to believe it was more than that. It’s everything that goes with “it” — the sense of awe and attraction to something they were meant for — a life in the Spirit.
From the place where the little dude’s arm got healed, we went to another house, the house of that vicinity’s leader. Maybe someone like a barangay captain… Most of the people in Cambodia are Buddhists. Someone shared the Gospel but this lady said she believes that all gods are somewhat the same. She said that she’d accept Jesus only if her eyes get healed. Minutes later, her vision had improved after prayer. Then she prayed theprayer with Pastor San. And she came to church a week from that Tuesday.
When she said her eyes improved, I kept wondering if she was just saying so to make us feel good or because she wanted to believe that it had improved. With translations going on every time, I keep wondering if the translation had been properly performed. But God must be thinking, ‘Why can’t you just believe the miracle, Riz?’ Honestly, I had no trouble believing God would heal. But after the person has been healed. Man! I keep thing, “Darn that was fast!”
And like I said, the boys from the other house had followed us together with the kid that had gotten healed. So these three little dudes also said yes to Jesus, including a young man who was a drunkard but happened to be sober that day (a rare occurrence that makes one wonder why it happened that day -of all other days in the year- when we were there,.) A little girl was also down with fever. She also was healed.
We went back to church and the kids (including the little girl who’s supposed to be sick but was already well) and the young man followed us there. What to do with them right? Who has right to shoo them away? What do we do when people start following us because they’ve seen God’s miracle and they’re hungry for more of God?
What if God releases healings on the streets and the hungry start to follow you around wanting to hear or experience more of anything that has to do with your God? It makes me wonder if we really are ready for the ‘revival’ that we keep praying for.
Some of my teammates taught them fellowship songs. They were joyful. Beaming. Life-filled. I was… tired. I had welcomed sitting on a bench. Oh the freedom to just stare at them and not move a single muscle due to tiredness. But I was also thrilled and amazed. But I didn’t have much energy left to teach. I just wonder, what if…. what if there are more? How much do we want to be followed around and asked about God?
So that was ‘day 1.’ Honestly, until now the memory of that day is like oil on the water of my understanding. Sa Tagalog, di ko pa rin ma-absorb! So I kept on replaying what had transpired. And then I asked the same question over and over, “What was that all about?” Until now, I could not come up with an answer that feels right. So I just smile, shed a tear and say, “God is really really good. How He loves us.” Truth is, every comment I could make just feels so lame. And I honestly don’t know how to end this blog entry. Uhm, please wait for ‘day 2‘?
I was trying to piece things together – the burden, the information overload, the reeling questions, the lack of experience, the sense of urgency, the helplessness, and just weeks ago – the growing discouragement caused by not having anyone to talk to about this, and the cluelessness what to do next. What to do with myself?
Just got back from Jesus Revolution (JREV) Asia Outreach Launching and Ptr. Cha’s story hit me again for the 2nd time (or is it 3rd?) Well, it stuck me stronger than ever before this time. Here’s the story. This is my version already. Hoping it’s still pretty accurate. I tried my best to make it as accurate as I can.:
He was on missions trip in an Asian communist nation where Christianity is not allowed. One night in his hotel room, a local knocked on his door and when he opened there were three locals whom he does not know and they suddenly knelt in front of him. They were saying something in native tongue and so he asked his roommate/ interpreter to translate.
This was what he learned. The men heard that he was a Christian doing missions work in their nation. They wanted to pay him respect. The man said they were from a mountain tribe and he used to be a witch (which also meant that he’s a leader) in their place. One day, while listening to a radio broadcast from the Philippines, he heard about Jesus and he accepted him in his heart. He became a Christian! He shared the radio to his wife and children, they eventually became Christians and so did his village! Now there are thousands (3,000 i think) of them who are hungry for God and they heard that in order to grow, they have to read the Bible. Thus, he went on journeys to the city with men from his village, to look for Bibles and bring these to his people. At first they didn’t know exactly what they’re looking for but when they found it, they got a lot and would try to smuggle them up to the mountain passing through a series of government checkpoints. Every time, some of his men would get caught and some of them he still does not know where they are until that time. But they just kept on risking their lives just to get Bibles.
The man finally gets to the bottom line of his speech and pleads with Ptr. Charlie: Pastor, we might not see each other again but promise me, wherever you go, tell this to the Christians you meet, never stop praying for us, never stop doing what you are doing because we need your prayers and many are coming to know Jesus because of them. Never ever forget us!
One of the Scriptures that struck me during my Bible reading this morning was when God told Abram that through him many nations will be blessed. Reflecting on tonight’s gathering, the testimonies shared, and the challenging words spoken, I realize that the Holy Spirit is working His way to give me a deeper understanding of his heart for the nations. God had indeed called Abram to be the father of Israel and a source of blessing for many nations BECAUSE God wanted to bless the nations! Yes, Israel is special. But when you take a few steps backward, and take a look at the bigger picture, one of the things God is saying is that, “I want to bless the nations of the earth Abram, that’s why I’m calling you. I want them to be blessed so you have to step out in faith in order for them to have a tangible example of what it means to be loved by me and how it is they can be blessed!” God’s heart is crying out for the NATIONS!!!
Hours ago, Ivane told me to check out the blog entry of one of the team members of 1040movie. For those of you who still do not know what the movie 1040 is, it’s a documentary of God’s current move in Asia and the vision of the 1040 team is to awaken nations to the sweeping move of the Holy Spirit across Asia, stir up a zeal for the lost and a jealousy to be part of what God is doing, cause them to recognize that all of us are called to be modern-day missionaries by breaking old mindsets about missions, introduce a new wineskin strategy, and of course to ultimately compel them to GO step out into the field where the harvest is ripe for the picking!!
1040movie is currently touring North America’s campuses as part of a the Purple Pig Tour (an undertaking by Luke 18 Project in partnership with other groups like TheCall) and here’s the goal: to call young adults to a culture of prayer and a life of mission.
Prayer and Missions cannot be separated.
…these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7 (Emphasis mine.)
Some of us may not be called to be long term missionaries in a foreign land, but we are all called to be a missionary in the mission field of our offices and schools. It’s time we cease making excuse and we start to seize the opportunity to reach the person we see everyday as we walk out our front porch. Nevertheless, we are also called to go out and see what God is doing in Asia. Going out will give us a better understanding of what it is that’s out there waiting to be reached by the love of Jesus. Even if only for a short exposure trip!
We know that our nation, the Philippines is called and marked to be a missions-sending nation. We hear it, speak it, rave about it, pray it, prophesy it, boast about it, but what are we doing to live it? It’s time to get freaked out dissatisfied with the old comfy pre-occupation of warming church pews. Praying is not enough, giving is not enough. The command was GO and not send. (Although yes we do need to send.)
Last August 23 during the 1040 Pilipinas screening, it dawned on us (me and my friends who attended the film preview, but hopefully it also dawned on others who were there) that our nation needs a resurgence of fire and zeal to take our response to this destiny to a higher level. We have to mobilize our nation. We have to consolidate our efforts. We have to unite the churches and organizations. This is not about missions groups, it’s about being the Filipino Church rising up to its call. FURTHER and DEEPER, God spur us on. Take us to where you want Your name to be heard.
The next JREV Asia Outreach will be on April 15 to May 14, 2011. For more info, contact John Mac at 9958795. Jesus Revolution Now! Twitter: @JesusRev