We went as a short-term mission group to see OMF in action and to learn about and support the work being done in the Philippines.
What impacted me was how entrenched the missionaries become. I loved to see their heart for the people, for their dedication to communicate in the language of the people, and their commitment to become a part of the community. These communities, rising up in faith and fellowship, were alive and inspiring. Their passion for the word and their evangelical enthusiasm, despite the pressure to turn from Christianity, left me in awe. God is doing amazing things through OMF missions and in the hearts of the people there.
When I came back from the Philippines my mind kept coming back to one place that we visited along with Ezra 5. Going to Samar, Marabut was an uplifting experience. We travelled with Ruth from OMF to stay with Tobi and Ena. They gave us instruction in culture and helped with language barriers. They were passionate and put themselves out there prayerfully to meet the needs of the community. I really found a connection with the people here. They were a fledgling church but their passion and response to God was inspiring. We went to a church service in Samar and it impacted me how excited everyone was to be there, their worship touched my soul (even though it was in their own language). They shared testimonies of how they were seeing God work in their lives, I could see them allowing the Holy Spirit to work in them and it was so encouraging for that church community.
We separated and went on a prayer walk through the villages. One of the village women wasn’t expecting us until a little later and was in the process of cooking us some cassava for lunch so we started on the other side of the village. She hurried after us and accompanied us through the village. She took us to the homes that most needed prayer and we prayed for issues influencing the village. At one place we visited she didn’t think that we could hear or understand her when she commented how hungry she was. When we got back to the village we had lunch and she was embarrassed that she did not have more to give than the cassava. How humbling! She gave up her responsibilities for a few hours, hungry, to show us around a village as she felt the Spirit calling her to do. Not many in this village were Christians and it struck me that she also opened herself to ridicule within her immediate community as many people are not accepting of Christianity and the changes they are seeing within those who accept Jesus into their lives here.
God reminded me through this experience, and through reading Ezra, that it is so important to passionately serve him at all times, regardless of any possible retaliation or negative opinions of others. That His Spirit will move us to see amazing things. As time goes on it is easy to fall into a flow with daily prayer living, church and serving within the Church but God calls us out, how does that look in our lives and how should it look? What is God asking you to step out in faith to do?
Chantelle, Serve Asia Worker