09/26/09: Reaching the Hard to Reach
Reaching a Backslidden Adventist
I traveled a great distance to visit a backslidden Adventist by the name of Mila Magbanua. Upon entering her village I was directed to Mila’s house by a four-year-old girl who turned out to be her little daughter. As I looked around the house, I noticed that Mila’s mother was standing on a chair with a hammer and nails repairing a broken down portion of the wall – a real chore for an elderly woman. I offered to finish the repairs for her. As I worked, I learned that Mila was sick with fever. I decided to give all my remaining garlic capsules to her right then. A few days later when I returned with Edmar, we gave her a treatment for her lung problem together with an encouraging Bible study.
Then one day as we were away she vomited up about a liter of blood. She cried out to her mother and asked for the Bible to be handed to her. As she clenched the Bible she prayed, “Lord, please extend my life, for I have little children.” Amazingly, she felt stronger by the time the ambulance arrived an hour later. In the hospital the doctors could not find the cause of her vomiting. They discharged her after three days. Mila told me, “I thank God for sending you and brothers Edmar and Joel to share God’s Word with me. I feel that I won the sweepstakes when I came back to the Lord. Indeed! I have peace and joy in my heart. I now have new hope. My problems are gradually being solved.” As Mila testified of her new experience with God, I shared God’s promises with her. She wrote down the verses on a piece of paper. I shared with her how God also saved my life and kept me from suicide before I had faith. I shared how, as I learned to trust Jesus, He turned my trials into blessings. Mila is now attending church. Praise God!
Presently, I am working to reclaim her entire family. On one recent visit, I discovered that Mila was out of town but that her 57-year old mother was there. With a weak countenance, she invited me in to share rice and soup with her and her grandchildren. That was all the food left in their house. Her experience became the theme of our Bible study that very afternoon. I began our study with my experience in times of hardship and trials and how through trials I learned to know my Savior. We then tackled the plan of salvation and how God desperately loves us. By God’s grace, the aged woman confessed to me that she would stop her work as an abortionist. I found out that she was also a backslidden Adventist. I showed how God cannot bless us if we are holding on to even one sin. When we devote our lives wholly, God will fulfill His covenant, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake the.” A tear fell from her eyes. She decided to come to church that Sabbath with Mila and with her grandchildren.
She was not financially able to meet the transportation expense. Presently, our family is assisting them with the cost. After realizing that they had no food to eat ,I decided to give her my last 50 pesos. I told her that God has a thousand ways to provide that we do not know. “Just have faith in God. Trust His love for you by obeying His word,” I said. Before leaving, I shared the story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego standing for truth in face of hunger and even death. Even God’s own beloved son, Jesus Christ, died for us that we may have eternal life and have His same spirit. As Christ rose from the grave to eternal life, so we will have the same glory when our Lord comes.
Reaching a Muslim
Two weeks ago a Muslim mother told me that her daughter, 19 years old, had been bedridden for more than two years. More than 30 doctors had treated her, but without progress. They live in Saba Malaysia and had come to the Philippines seeking treatment. Her mother was a Filipina. The young daughter cried every day because of the severe pain in her body. Her illness was complicated, and she had no strength to move. I tried to visit the Muslim village where they lived. I learned that they followed my instructions to have three days of grape juice fasting with earnest prayer to God. But I noticed that they purchased juices from borrowed money only. I asked the mother if they would buy more juice for the third day of treatment. She replied that they did not know where to borrow from again. I gave the lady a slight head and back massage. I shared with them that God healed me after suffering from a disease for nine years. After crying to God my body was completely healed within four days. I shared Jeremiah 33:3 and encouraged them to call upon God for guidance. “God loves you, Jaira,” I said to the young lady. Her eyes glazed over with tears. I found out that they were already bankrupt. And although the Father was a fisherman in Malaysia, their income was not sufficient to provide for their 7 children. At this my heart was extremely touched, and I tried to ask my wife to share our last allowance. With half of our allowance we decided to purchase two liters of grape juice and two liters of apple juice to sustain her treatment. After two days of fasting she experienced a 60% recovery. Last I saw Jaira, the pain was gone and she was standing for the first time in two years. She can already lift some weight. Praise God! She can now walk without assistance. We are continuing prayer for this family. Today I am not able to contact them since Cebuan and Muslim gangsters are warring. Entering the village under these conditions is not safe.
Reaching the World
May we have the eyes of faith like Paul the apostle who knew that “to apprehend Christ by faith, to have a spiritual knowledge of him, was more to be desired than a personal acquaintance with him as he appeared on the earth.” And may we enjoy communion with Christ like Paul, “more intimate, more enduring, than a mere earthly and human companionship.” May we labor by faith not by sight like Paul the apostle, who “in that worn, pain stricken face” reflected the image of Christ—this is my prayer for you.
“The end of all things is at hand; and in consideration of the shortness of time, we as a people should watch and pray, and in no ease allow ourselves to be diverted from the solemn work of preparation for the great event before us. Because the time is apparently extended, many have become careless and indifferent in regard to their words and actions. They do not realize their danger, and do not see and understand the mercy of our God in lengthening their probation that they may have time to form characters for the future, immortal life. Every moment is of the highest value. Time is granted them, not to be employed in studying their own ease and becoming dwellers on the earth, but to be used in the work of overcoming every defect in their own characters, and in helping others to see the beauty of holiness by their example and personal effort. But God has a people upon the earth, who in faith and holy hope are tracing down the roll of fast-fulfilling prophecy, and are seeking to purify their souls by obeying the truth, that they may not be found without the wedding garment when Christ shall appear.” Review and Herald, October 20, 1885.
By Brian Palange, Philippines. Donations can be sent to support Brian’s work in the Phillipines, earmarked “Philippine Bible Workers,” to Missions Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058. Phone: 800-467-4174 Website: www.missionspro.org