Thursday, July 9, 2015

Follow the Arrow

Romans 5:20 says that "grace abounded all the more..."  this week I have seen his grace pour out onto my team and the people of Masalong Salong.

This week our team went to a new location in the Philippines. We are now in a barangay  (village) that is a coastal region of Bicol. We are living in very tight quarters, and this week has presented several new challenges. But the Lord has taught us that even in the discomfort of our new 10' x 10' house, the adventure of seeking after His will is what brings us closer to Him. 

I never thought that I would find myself at a literal crossroad in life where I would be solely relying on the Spirit to direct me. I certainly never thought that such a crossroad would appear in the middle of a jungle with one path leading up a mountain and another path leading across a river.

Team member Rachael
This past Monday was an adventure like no other. After a discouraging week of no Bible studies we decided to "go where no one had gone" to share the gospel. That afternoon we set out with a very simple plan, we would stop by the houses of the people that we had met and ask if they would like to study the Bible.  If they were still uninterested we would hike to the mountain in search of those who were. 

On the way we met a man and sat to chat for a little while. We took his blood pressure, and shared with Him the story of Jesus. As we shared the gospel with him, with kind smiling eyes he nodded as we began to talk about God's grace. He was a fellow brother in Christ who was placed in our path to give us direction for our journey to the mountain. He said that there was one house about an hours hike away. With gentle warning he told us that it would not be easy to find. He would have been right if we did not have the Spirit to guide us. 

We came to a river and awkwardly clambered across. There we met some locals who shook their heads and said that there were no houses on the mountain. We went on anyway. In the words of Kuya Nonoy, "We are not looking for houses." We were on an ordained search for lost souls. 

As we went on our way we came to a resting point and Kuya Nonoy noticed some water buffalo, which are called caribou here. As we came upon them we met a man who directed us 1km up the mountain. He said there were people there. He sincerely wished us a good trip, and we bid him "Magadang Hapon" (good afternoon). Yet again, at a literal T in the road God placed an individual in our path with a smiling face to lead us. 

The path grew narrow and the trees became increasingly dense. As our hike approached an hour we came to a split in the trail. Rachael was in front and turned back to ask the team which direction to go. We grinned and said, "Let's follow the arrow..." Sure enough, nailed to a tree in the middle of the jungle was a wooden sign pointing to the left. 

We walked on and only a few moments later came upon a clearing where we spotted what we immediately knew we were looking for! We stopped briefly to pray and hesitantly walked towards the two sided house. There were two women there. One woman named Nanay Charita was paralyzed due to a stroke she had recently had. They invited us in. 

With confused looks they asked what we were doing, and we explained that we had come to help with medical needs and teach about the Bible. We took her blood pressure and it was alarmingly high. We prayed for her, and I presented the gospel to her and her daughter. When I asked if they would like to pray to accept Jesus as their Savior they nodded their heads in unison. 

On that mountain side, with mosquitoes buzzing around us, those two women bowed their heads and prayed in Tagolog to ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. He is El Shaddi, the Lord God Almighty. There is no mountain too high, or river too wide to stop His gospel from reaching the ends of the earth.

Please pray for the people in our current barangay.
Please pray for Nanay Charita and her health. 
Pray that the Lord would be glorified in our last two weeks of ministry here in the Philippines.