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Quote

"If God called us to a task, He will then qualify us for the job" - Jack Hyles

Scripture

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" - Galatians 2:20

by Dawson Elliott.

I just returned from a short term ministry trip to the Philippines. Taking my students on a missional-cultural exploration to Laguna Province was indeed an eye opener to the many facets of life and ministry in context.  My heart was moved once again as I stepped into another country where the poor live to survive yet another day. As we ministered and moved around, there was beauty to be seen in the landscape. Perhaps the greater beauty was seen in the hearts of the people we encountered. Christ does have the preferential option for the poor! Imagine a narrow unhealthy river that serves as your local washing machine, bathroom, food supply (fishing) and entertainment (swimming) – these are the sights that are all too common. I prayed for God’s mercy upon these suffering ones who in the midst of their poverty exhibit a hope to survive. I exclaimed “In Christo Filipino!”

Surely, Christ is our only hope in a world that is competitive where greed is the creed; where rich gets richer and poor get poorer. My heart bled for these suffering ones in the Philippines. Encountering orphans in a local orphanage opened up a well of tears in our eyes and hearts. Children abandoned by parents, left to die, left to live – saved by the “lights’ of Christ who give their all so that these orphans may live a better life. The redeemed ones (volunteer staff) of this orphanage are the unsung heroes who care and love for these abandoned ones. I was moved and thanked God for these “In Christo Filipinos!”

The churches offer hope to those in need – experiencing ‘messiah’ in a land of ‘little’ where ‘plenty’ is a dream over the seas – but they endure in local fellowships (Kapwa). Kapwa refers to others or fellowman. It is “a core concept in Filipino psychology. It is both a value and a paninindigan (perspective) and implies acceptance of the other person as a fellow human being, worthy of respect and dignity and is therefore treated as an equal” (quoted by Ps Alvin Molito in his paper entitled, Biblical Interpretation and the Filipino Church).

Whist in the Philippines, I  thought of those who aspire to go to the Holy Land – to walk in the places where Jesus walked, etc. I too would love to go there some day. Then again I thought, “Am I not already walking in His footsteps right here and now, in the Philippines?” Rather than aspiring to walk where Jesus walked, I was thankful to God that I am walking with Jesus here and now – in the Philippines. Surely Christ walks with us and it is heartening to know that there is faith, hope and love in the Philippines – “In Christo Filipino!”

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” ( 1 Peter 1:3-6 NIV).

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