The newest adventure in Asia has been good so far. Mostly life has been getting settled and catching up with people these first three weeks, but I wanted to share a little with you about life on the field and a couple of stories illustrating God’s work so far. I’m grateful to you for your constant prayers and partnership in every way in the work of the Gospel here.
KINGDOM STORY 1 – Khian’s Story
Khian is 12 years old. She lives in an extremely difficult family situation. With seven brothers and sisters and a broken family, she has endured a lot. Often, Khian does not have food in the house and most days she goes to school all day without eating. (It’s the responsibility of the parents to provide lunch. The school does not provide it.)
Royal Oak, one of the sending churches for me in this missionary journey took up an offering called “2-cents-per-meal.” All of that offering was designated for needs related to food. I was wondering where God would have me use those funds. Soon after I arrived in the Philippines, my friend Theiven approached me about Khian and told me about how she often goes to school all day with no food.
Though desperate needs are everywhere here, how amazing the power and love of Jesus to coordinate the giving of an offering for food in the U.S.A., knowing that on the other side of the planet in the Philippines, a young girl was sitting in school hungry every day and that Theiven would specifically present us with an opportunity to help! With those funds, we are able to provide Khian with lunch at school every day.
Khian recently received Jesus into her life as well. She is hanging around Theiven’s wife, Kat, and hanging around her church a lot. Please pray that Khian continues to grow in her faith, for her family and that she grows in “wisdom, stature and favor with God and with man.” (Luke 2)
KINGDOM STORY 2 – Abby’s Story
About 11% of the Filipino people move overseas to work in order to make a living and to help support their families back home. They are called Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). They go to many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, U.A.E., Japan, Malaysia and many more. They are heroes to their country.
Those who are believers and are willing, are also carriers of the Gospel into regions strategic to reaching the unreached. They are heroes in the Kingdom of God as well.
Abby (name changed) is a Filipina young lady who flew to a country in the Middle East for work. She was not yet a Christian, but a friend of hers had given her a book called Encounter: The Quest for the Real Thing, a book our ministry self-published a couple of years ago.
While there, she decided to read the book and to visit a local church in the city where she had moved in the Middle East. She read the first chapter. Then, she visited the church, and the pastor preached the same thing that she had read in chapter 1 of the book.
The next week, she read chapter 2. Then, she went to church and the pastor preached the same thing that she had read in chapter 2. This was such a moving experience and such an encounter with Jesus for her that she thanked God for revealing Himself in such a way to her. She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and is now actively attending church and following Jesus.
How extraordinary the power and love of God to greet Abby in a far-away country with an encounter with Jesus. It is also illustrative of the strategic missionary call of the Filipino people to the nations.
Abby’s story illustrates why we moved our ministry to Asia with the Core Values of the Gospel and of Multiplication and with a Vision to reach those far from God with the Gospel, to make disciples who make disciples, to equip leaders who equip leaders and to plant churches that plant churches for the glory of God among the nations.
LIFE ON THE FIELD
This is my car. I’m so grateful for God’s gift of this vehicle here. Driving is quite different in the Philippines, and though I did a good bit of it in my previous stints living in Jamaica and the Philippines, a few years living back in the states took me out of practice! It has taken a little time to get back into the swing of…how shall we call it? “A faster pace!”
In the past two weeks, my friend Theiven had a laptop stolen. An attempt was made to break into my car (unsuccessfully). I’ve had some car trouble. We had a 5.7 mag. earthquake the other night (thankfully no damage). I threw my back out the next night picking up Theiven’s daughter. And I was asked by someone as I walked by them “if I would like a ‘girl,’” witnessing again the huge and evil problem of trafficking and prostitution here in Asia. So the first three weeks have been eventful to say the least.
I thought about not sharing those things. They are not the fun things to share, and I don’t want you to worry. But then, I felt like I needed to share them. I share so you will know how huge your prayers are in this thing. I’m grateful for your prayers and so thankful for the Lord’s grace in all of life. Every day is a gift.
I also share those things because that is why I’m here. There is brokenness everywhere, but the Gospel of the Kingdom declares that the King came to set things right again, to “make all things new,” and we get to be part of His Kingdom come! You are part of the Kingdom come where you live, but you are in Asia as well through your prayers and partnership! Please pray for boldness, for strategic connections and relationships to develop as I get settled in Tagaytay City and for wisdom and discernment as I make many big decisions in these coming months.
There is this beautiful pattern in Paul’s writings, where he describes and defends the Gospel. Then he describes the change in identity and purpose in the lives of those who believe the Gospel. Finally, he teaches how to live in light of, in response to and as a result of the Gospel.
It is such a temptation to flip that around and focus so much on how we live that we lose sight of the fact that how we live is meant to be always in view of the Gospel and as a result of the new creations we have become because of who Jesus is and what He has done. We are not called to recall the Gospel now and then. We are called to Gospel-centered lives and families and churches. The Gospel truly changes everything!
How much more natural it is to live a God-glorifying life when always before us is this extravagant Gospel and always within us is this understanding that because of the Gospel, we are a new people, empowered by Christ’s Spirit, chosen and called by the King for a Kingdom purpose. “The society of the transformed hearts,” as Alan Hirsch puts it. How powerful and beautiful is the Good News that we carry!
Thank you for praying for us here, for standing with us and for partnering in the work of the Gospel in Asia. Love you all so much!
– David Gilliam