03/21/2009: “Lo, I am With You Always”
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20.
This statement from the loving Savior and Redeemer showed us how He cares for His people in this dark world of sin. For our good He taught us to observe all things He had commanded, to be pure, perfect and be in His peace in our Christian experience. And the wonderful promise abides with us, “and lo, I am with always even unto the end of the world.”
My name is Beniboy. I am a full-time Bible worker, here in Mindanao, Philippines. I would like to share with you about how the Lord has protected me. Maybe you have already read some of my Christian experiences. But here are some of them that I just cannot forget. These encourage me to go forward in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a husband and father of two I am happy to recall the things that remind me of that wonderful promise of the abiding presence of heavenly beings through the merciful commands of our Savior.
Before I was called to the gospel ministry, I became encouraged by the Holy Word to help Brothers Ting and Ding in their endeavor to carry the good news of salvation to the people for whom Christ died. In-reach and outreach programs were being taught and we happily responded to the great need of seeking people in order to prepare them for the soon coming of Jesus.
Before Brother Ding did most of the preaching at our evangelistic crusades. I was happy to take part and help with these crusades in any way I could. I often was able to sing for the meetings. Sometimes I helped to teach the children (my wife and Giging, Ding’s wife, and Gina, Ting’s wife usually led out in the children’s meetings). One Sabbath I was asked by the brethren to help them with visitation. I gladly started helping in this venue also.
One Sabbath day as I was out doing visitation, a strange but very encouraging thing happened to me. Early in the morning I was riding the motorcycle that Mission Projects International donated to us. My family was not with me. They were worshiping at the Springside Church. I had been asked to visit the Kahoponan Church. As I traveled there I had the opportunity to experience the fulfillment of the promise, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Before reaching the church in Kahaponan the area of “Deep Cut” was the first area to pass through. As I approached, I saw people running to find safety because harmful bees were swarming around the place for someone had destroyed their hive. I thought I should slow done or stop for the bees, but I could not because I was overtaken by the fear of these bees. I ran straight into that mass of swarming bees. I remember praying for the Lord to open heaven and send some angels to protect me. As soon as I hit the bees, I stopped. All the people turned to see what was going to happen to me. They became amazed at what they saw, and so did I. I was covered with bees. They were all over me. They were inside my Sabbath clothing. They were crawling through my hair. They were everywhere, but not one bee stung me. I carefully got back on the bike and continued to my appointment in Kahaponan. There, the church members joined with me in worshiping the Creator and Redeemer that never fails His promises. “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” I had felt the protection of the unfallen angels.
Now I am blessed to be able to work full-time as a Bible worker and I am happy to say that the Lord has continued to fulfill His promise to me. Usually my family is with me during my work. But for a few months I worked with Borther Garopil, elder of the Katutungan Church, Brother Lascuna, elder of the Pangantucan Church and also some with Brothers Ting, Ding and Timtim from Impasug-ong. I was so happy to be united with these brothers in effort and it was a blessing to see the fruits of souls being brought to the care of the Savior. I was able to help out in three different evangelistic series with them: two in Kisolon and one in the neighboring town of Impasug-ong. As a result of these meetings, several people began worshiping with us. Some have been baptized.
There was one family in particular who was very prejudiced against this message. They were of the Catholic belief. Their names were Mr. and Mrs. Pagpagitan. They had two daughters-in-law, Bebelyn and Genelyn. These two sisters gladly accepted the truth as it was presented to them and began making many changes in their lives. They began worshiping with us. And even though their husbands did not join them, neither did they hinder them from joining us. But Mr. and Mrs. Pagpagitan tried their best to dissuade their daughters-in-law from worshiping with us. They used every method they could think of including persecuting these poor women. When we would visit Bebelyn and Genelyn to give them Bible studies, their parents-in-law would get very angry with us, only they were too ashamed to show it. We continued to be their friends and we tried to use the medical missionary work to win their hearts.
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Romans 12:20, 21; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Colossians 4:5, 6; Matthew 5:16.
We saw these verses fulfilled in our work in Kisolon. Slowly the old couple, Mr. and Mrs. Pagpagitan, softened until they became our regular Bible students themselves. They started joining with us for worship on the Sabbath. We believed that as we cared for their sin-sick souls, that Jesus healed them by pouring His blessings on our heartfelt labors.
There was another family that joined our group, the Gayos family who were also Catholic. Their daughter, the mother of four children, was paralyzed. Her husband was away working at Dole Philippines. When they heard that we were medical missionaries, they asked if we might visit this daughter, Erna. She had been in bed for three months and had an infant. Her mother and mother-in-law were taking turns caring for the infant.
As we visited Erna to see if we could help her with her physical maladies, we also opened her eyes to the wonders of the Great Physician. We taught the family lifestyle changes so that Erna’s health could improve. Gradually as we treated Erna with natural remedies she began to improve until eventually she began to walk. At the same time her heart and the hearts of the family members were turned toward the God of Heaven. Now their family joins with us to serve the Lord on Sabbaths.
I just praise the Lord, for the opportunity to serve Him in a full-time capacity as a Bible worker. And I thank Him that He has been with me always and has never relented on His promise: “And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20.
By Beniboy P. Soterio, Philippines. Support for the work of Beniboy and other Bible workers in the Philippines can be sent through Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98059.