Author Archives: Administrator

Mission to the Philippines: An Overseas Journey of Grace

View of Manila from Smokey Mt. -- man-made from garbage

View of Manila from Smokey Mt. — man-made from garbage

Crying for a Catholic Church by Amanda Chang, Living Hope Bible Church

June 30, 2014

Today we got to see and experience so many different ministries here in Manila, and it was a blessing to witness the examples of many men and women who sacrificed careers and livelihoods to serve God here.

First of all, we visited Shalom Christian Birthing Home in Antipolo, an area slightly outside metro Manila. Before the clinic was built, Mavis Orton, a retired nurse from England, allowed hundreds of babies to be born inside her living room. These mothers gave birth on dirt floors with the help of witch doctors or their neighbors and didn’t know how to properly care for themselves or their newborns. Many of these new mothers had no access to running water or sanitation and lived on a poor diet with little access to medical facilities. Few finished high school, and some were even as young as 12 years old. Only 25% of deliveries among the poor were assisted by skilled birth attendants. Because of Mavis’ generousity and willingness to serve, a beautiful new facility was built a few years ago.

The nurses there deliver about 130 babies each month, and 400 mothers receive critical prenatal care each week. Other than delivering the baby and post-delivery care, they are also involved with evangelism and discipleship for the mothers and fathers, and training the parents in basic hygiene. It really is a fantastic ministry, and it was neat to get a tour of the two-storied building and learn about its fascinating history. God is doing so many things here, and it’s neat to see the different ways in which Christians are serving Him here.

We also visited a kids’ home for boys who lived on the streets and now want to learn and study the Word of God seriously. There were seven boys living there when we visited, and you really could not tell that they used to sniff glue, steal food, and live in gangs. These were some clean, polite young men that welcomed us and listened patiently as some of us shared our testimonies and the Gospel. In order for them to be accepted into the home, they have to have a desire to know God and study the Bible. During their stay, they attend school and spend hours each day studying the Word, having devotions, attending chapel, and maturing as Christians.

Rafael Sisson was the head of the kids’ home, and he had an amazing story. He grew up in the States and was in the military for a while. Then he wanted to minister to the street kids in Manila, but no matter what he did, the kids made fun of him and refused to open up or listen to what he had to say. One boy (I’ll call him Jose) taunted him saying “Who is Christ? He’s dead, isn’t He? Where is your Jesus Christ now?” One day, a gang of rough young men whom Rafael had been trying to minister to invited him to an alleyway, where they opened up a bag of garbage filled with leftover chicken bones. They were about to dive in, when the gang leader Jose stopped everyone and allowed Rafael first pick of the trash as guest. Rafael hesitated. The garbage was slimy and gross. Was he really about to eat this trash for God? But when he gnawed on the leftover bones, when he overcame his revulsion and loved the teens enough to pick up that chicken bone, the boys began to open up and tell him their stories. Later, Jose said, “We saw Jesus that night.” After that, the boys began to open up and want to know about Christ. Because Rafael chose to love the boys by eating that garbage, because he was willing to live like the teens he ministered to, he was able to reach out to and share the Gospel with many of them.

While both of these ministries were neat to see, what touched me most was actually a Catholic cathedral in Antipolo. How can I describe the dozens of people, praying to a statue of Mary, bowing before it, kissing her wooden hand, crying as if she could see and hear and answer their prayers when all she was a statue of wood?

Seeing these people, these men and women and children put their faith in an idol, in a carving was just utterly heartbreaking. The tears came as I watched them kneel, their faces so sincere, pleading to God internally. These people were so close, yet so far from the truth. Trapped in this system of good works, constantly being told they have to do more, give more, pray more to get into heaven. When in reality, they can have free access to God Himself because of what Christ has done for us. Not because of what we have done or who we are, not because we can do any good in ourselves because we can’t, but because of Jesus and His perfect life, we can be seen as perfect in God’s eyes. Salvation is a free gift. It’s all free.

That was what hit me the most. That all these people we’ve ministered to, who’ve proclaimed to be Catholic, end up in a place like that, in a cycle like that. And that was more difficult to me than all the poverty I’ve seen on this trip. That people are so lost and blinded to the truth and are working so hard and trying to be good, when really they can’t. Only Christ can. And it breaks my heart to see men and women thinking they’re on their way to heaven, when they’re really headed to hell.

But I mean, that’s why we’re here. That’s why the pastors are here and the Shalom Birthing Clinic and Rafael’s kids’ home. It’s because of Christ and of His goodness that there is hope, that we don’t have to be stuck in such a vicious cycle, but that we have Jesus’ righteousness covering our sins. Isn’t that such a wonderful story? Such a beautiful gift that we have, and we have the opportunity to share what God has done with others!

Tomorrow, we’re heading back to the Smokey Mountain area to a hospital and a school there. It’ll be our last day of ministry. Man, time has passed by way too quickly here, and it’s been a whirlwind of learning, of growing, of seeing what God is doing here. And He’s doing an awful lot.

People's Homes

People’s Homes

You’ll never make it as a missionary!

by Pastor David Nelson, ret.

His step-father told him he was “worthless.”  His three brothers died in prison. His sisters have been married five or six times. His own life was headed for destruction. But then, a Christian classmate in college befriended him one night when he came into the dorm drunk, sat him down, gave him enough coffee to get him sober and began sharing the “Good News” about Jesus’ love and forgiveness and he prayed to receive Christ. That same classmate then went to Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, and invited him to come join him there, which though a brand-new Christian, he decided to do.

He struggled at Prairie and had to have special tutoring. Some told him he was wasting their time and his money. He said he wanted to be a missionary. They said, “You’ll never make it as a missionary!”  With great concentrated effort, he managed to make it through Prairie and applied to some thirty different missions and was rejected by all of them. Finally “Operation Mobilization” accepted him. (He said, “They would accept anyone!”).  He thought he was headed to France, but ended up in India, where he found out he, as a white American, was very much disliked.

But, he has now been a very effective missionary for almost 48 years, and we had the privilege and joy of having Doug Nichols and his wife Margaret (“Margi”) in our home this past weekend and having them share at three services at Faith Bible Church here in Libby, Montana. Margaret came from quite a different background than did Doug. Her folks were for many years missionaries in China. Doug met her at PBI. He heard her sing a solo in the big choir concert and thought, “If God ever lets me have a wife, I want it to be that one!” After a Doug’s couple years in India, they were married and have served together for 21 years in the Philippines and 24 years in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Doug, the “worthless” step-son, the one who would “never make it as a missionary,” serves as founder of ACTION and Global Missions Advocate/Mobilizer assisting with Global Diaspora Network, Filipino International Network, Christian Growth Ministries in the Philippines, advocate for needy children, and in leadership development. He travels extensively throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America speaking on behalf of the glory of God in missions. Not bad for a “drunk from a dysfunctional family!”

We were so blessed to have the Nichols stay with us this weekend, and to listen to all his stories of the faithfulness of God was such an encouragement to us personally and to the folks at Faith Bible. I trust that each of us was challenged by what he shared, and realize that all God needs for us to be used by Him is a willing heart. When I introduced Doug and Margaret at church, I shared briefly about his interesting background and asked the congregation if they felt qualified to be a missionary. Then I read from I Cor. 1:26-31 which says, “For consider your calling, brethren that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no one should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that just as it is written, ‘Let Him who boasts, boast in the LORD.'” God doesn’t require great intellect, years of education, a charismatic personality, solid family background. God is looking rather for “FAT” Christians, i.e., those who are “Faithful, Available, and Teachable.”

Another key to Doug and Margaret’s effectiveness as missionaries has been the heart they have for the needs of others, and their practice of reaching out in love to meet those needs. In Sunday School, Doug taught from the Book of Titus about good deeds, which are mentioned six times: “worthless” 1:16; “example” in 2:14; “zealous” 2:14; “ready” in 3:1,2; “careful” (“thoughtful”) in 3:8; and “learn” in 3:14. He pointed out that “Good works do not justify–they glorify.” Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). Good deeds are the fruit of our lives in Christ.

Doug shared many examples of how doing simple things for others such as opening car doors, or helping folks on an airplane with their overhead luggage have opened doors for sharing the Gospel. In India, Doug contracted TB and had to go to a hospital for TB patients. There he tried to hand out gospel tracts but had the Indians tear them up and throw them back in his face. They didn’t want a white man taking the place of an Indian in their hospital! But then one night he helped another patient get to the bathroom at two in the morning so he could relieve himself. The man was too weak to get out of bed to get there. Doug himself was weakened with TB but managed to carry the emaciated man to the bathroom and back. The next morning he was awakened by a tap on the shoulder and an Indian asked for one of his Gospel tracts and then another came, and another until everyone in the ward had received one. All because of Doug’s helping an old man get to the bathroom!

Doug’s challenge to us was “Don’t waste your geography!” That is, no matter where you are, make a difference to someone. Be ready to meet a need, no matter how simple. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is heaven” (Mt. 5:16). Doug and Margaret have been doing that for close to half a century and have impacted thousands of lives for Christ. Each of us can do the same. If you are “Faithful,” and “Available,” and “Teachable,” you qualify as a missionary, no matter what others may say.

 

Forever His,

Pastor Dave Nelson

You Talk A Lot, How Is Your Walk?

Before Salvation:

“…in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience”                                                                               (Ephesians 2:2, nasb).

“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind…” (Ephesians 4:17, nasb).

Now:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them”  (Ephesians 2:8-10, nasb).

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…” (Ephesians 4:1, nasb)

“…and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:2, nasb).

“…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as of Light” (Ephesians 5:8, nasb).

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise…” (Ephesians 5:15, nasb).