Written by Gherrie Bhyrt Jacosalem, Intern Bible Worker
After I graduated from PAFCOE, I was convicted to experience more of God in the ministry. I did not know what would lie ahead. I did not know what the sacrifices would be. Nevertheless, I believed that being with God is the best place to be.
I committed as a Bible Worker. Together with Andrew as my partner, God currently put me in Sto. Nino Vicente, Palawan. I did not expect that my mission field would be a very beautiful paradise—a famous tourist destination. San Vicente has the longest white beach in the country. It has crystal clear blue waters and green islands. It was featured many times in teleseryes, documentaries, and tourism organizations. As for Barangay Sto. Nino, its land area is just small with a population of approximately 400 families. It is situated between high green mountain areas with vast rice fields, amazing blue ocean, and long beaches.
Most of the people here are approachable. They are thoughtful, kind, and generous. However, most of them are busy. They wake up early in the morning to go to their farms in the mountain. They grow crops, vegetables, and fruits. Others go to the sea for fishing. I can say that only a few people remain in their households.
There are 11 different churches in Sto. Nino. With the vast opportunities for a living (farming, fishing, & tourism), most people are not serious about attending church anymore. Our Seventh-day Adventist church here is not yet organized. There are just eight small families who actively attend midweek, vespers, and sabbath meetings.
Despite that, they feel the burden to act and reach more souls. Amazingly, ma’am Evelyn Botabara and her American friend, Pastor Thomas Greer, commit to starting the work by requesting Bible workers from PAFCOE. They envision that the whole Sto. Nino people will be won for God’s kingdom. They aim that the community will know Jesus and will prepare for His soon return. Thus, I am privileged to be one of the workers here.
When I started to work in my mission field, the challenge begun. I noticed that the people react awkwardly when they hear about Seventh-day Adventists. I can say they are already allergic to Bible studies. They are more interested in health concerns than with Bible Studies. Also, many members have backslidden because of the lack of nurturing.
The Lord is not yet done. He has something more to demonstrate His glory in our mission field. Though we do not have money, the Lord provided funds through our generous sponsors to realize other church projects such as a vegetable garden and church toilet. Above all, we currently have an ongoing plan to renovate the church building and the children’s division building. See? It seems unbelievable but it is truly happening. We have nothing, but God has everything! He never fails us!
Our situation here is sensitive and difficult. Nevertheless, we believe God will fulfill His purpose for us. We ask guidance from the Lord on what to do. Praise God, we have the right arm of the gospel to make a way to the hearts of the people. So, we use the health approach. We conduct health surveys and do some basic checkup of their vital signs. We also encourage the church to help reclaim the lost members. With the medical approach, we have somehow broken prejudices and preconceived ideas.
Every day, we are still beset by different challenges either from the community or the church. It is never easy as the enemy is surely working against us. However, we gain fresh strength from God when we spend time with Him in our daily devotional time. We practice claiming God’s faithful promises. He will be with us always even to the end of the world. Also, our great burden to bring souls to Jesus is one of the reasons that made us continue His work here in our mission field. We desire to have faithful people who are ready for Jesus’ coming.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we did not anticipate that our house-to-house work will be halted. Our community is on lockdown. Despite that, we are given the privilege to support the barangay in many ways: designing quarantine passes, printing & photocopying documents, and packing & distributing relief goods to the residents. I praise God for this is an opportunity for us to show that we are sincerely empathizing with the people. Hopefully, the community will realize that Seventh-day Adventists are caring people.
With the crisis that the world is facing right now, God opened my eyes to the real need of more workers for Him. Even in our setting, I see many people who are hopeless and uncertain. People are looking for divine help when science failed to find a cure for coronavirus. Many people are perishing in a matter of seconds.
I realized that we should never waste time. I also learned that money is only valuable when spent for God’s cause. The work of listening to people’s concerns, spending time with them, ministering to their needs is extremely important.
With all the experience I have, I am more compelled to present to people Jesus Christ as the only star of hope for this dark world. I want to warn the people that there is an antagonist who is drawing them away from God. God impressed me to continue the work that I have begun here.
The work of God shall continue despite any crisis. I also desire to completely clear away whatever bad impressions the people have previously for Adventists. I want them to see that Adventists are God’s people who have a passion for serving and helping people. As afar as our area is concern, we have successfully won back the heart of San Vicente by God’s grace. Now, we are committed to doing more for God until we established a people ready for Jesus’ soon return.
Brothers and sisters, we are now living in times of uncertainties. Jesus is coming very soon. There is no more time to waste. This is a high time for us to surrender everything to the Lord and do His work now. Many are thirsty and hungry for God’s Word, but there are just a few workers. Please pray and allow God to use you in His work.
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