To Serve Is A Privilege

May 20 2014 / ShareHim in Philippines - Manila, May. 2 - May. 17 '14 #622
by Francisco "Frank" Santos

Campaign Site Narrative from Sucat SDA Church, Muntinlupa City in Philippines - Manila. The speaker assigned to this site was Francisco "Frank" Santos.

Being called to serve the Lord in any capacity is a very distinct and yet undistinguishable experience. It is an honor to be able to be put in a situation that God permits us to serve Him. Because the call to serve has always been there, actually serving Him largely depends on us when we finally elect to answer the call. When you feel a burden that seems to weigh heavily in your heart then you know that the Holy Spirit is calling upon you to serve. Do not take that lightly because that conviction you feel tells you that you are ready. All it takes is acting on that calling by taking the first step towards the mission field.

Flying for 21 hours to our final destination on our mission trip gives one plenty of time for reflection. One gets to appreciate the many amenities of a modern aircraft that seemed indestructible due to its size and the sheltered feeling of all its’ conveniences. There are the many selections of entertainment channels if you ever get bored reading the many magazines offered. The never ending serving of meals and snacks if ever you feel like eating. The endless array of musical entertainment offered and uninterrupted wireless connection of worldwide internet so one can stay connected with the world. As I marveled at all these, the distinction of this world that I’m in is clearly the opposite of what a mission field really looks like. It is as if there are two realities we all live in. There is the made up version of what the secular world would like for all of us to think that is achievable and realistic and there is the actual reality that a majority of our world essentially live in, a world conveniently relegated to oblivion. Regrettably a majority of the world choose to live in a made up world. Even in our immediate surroundings, the world promised to us in the Bible does not reflect the descriptions and images of the Promised Land we all aspire to live in. And I am not just talking about the comforts of life here. Look around you. We still see sufferings, crimes, deceptions, calamities and pain every moment of our waken life. This was never God’s intention to create a world full of sufferings. The mission field reflects the broken world that Satan intended for his own pleasure that Christians are now obligated to take back for Jesus. Moreover, the devil is not giving up without a fight. Going into the mission field provides us an opportunity to not only fight for the lost souls for Jesus but more importantly, to answer Jesus call to spread the Word. In addition, if we proudly proclaim that we follow Jesus, then there is no one that can stop the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us through the mission field to ensure a great harvest.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has organized a massive and unprecedented evangelism campaign in the Philippines whose population of about 110 million people are predominantly devout catholic. Manila the nation’s capital is residence to about 20 million and considered one of the most densely populated cities in the world. This gives you an idea on why the focus of this evangelism campaign was in Manila. Sixty-five churches were scheduled to launch the evangelism campaign simultaneously scattered all over the city and this was not even enough to reach out to all that we need to spread the Word of God. The real world left for an occasional evangelist to explore. Truly, there is a great need for more Christians to volunteer and work on the mission field.

As we prepare for our first assembly, the heat and humidity were just a few challenges that we all faced. We were not at all surprise as we expected Satan to throw us every obstacle to discourage those who have been called to listen to God’s Word. We pressed on and in the church I was led by the Holy Spirit to evangelize, 85 people showed up in the church that was constructed to hold 50 members. People of all ages who thirst for the Word of God braved the 104° weather and stayed throughout the night. Satan was not through with us though. As for every evangelist, a local translator has been assigned to interpret our sermon. Right on the day of the first meeting, the coordinating pastor of my church called to let me know that the translator that has been assigned to me will not be able to assist me and there was no one else in the congregation who has the ability to translate and being a last minute notification it was almost impossible to prepare. We prayed over this dilemma and as God has always been in control, my older brother who is himself a catholic offered to translate for me. He proudly suggested that he will not let his younger brother go without a translator and will try his very best to help me. I call it God’s hand taking over a situation that needed fixing and not letting Satan had his way. To serve is a privilege.

Similar if not more challenging situations have been experienced by many evangelists. This only shows how God can manipulate situations like this to protect those He has called to serve. If I am serving the God that has the power over these things, who can stand His power? Only those He has called to serve can stand His power for it is His power that shields His followers from any and all attempts by the devil to discourage and dishearten His church. Armed confidently with God’s blessings, our nightly sessions for the next 16 days came swiftly despite the energy sapping heat throughout the campaign.

Holy Spirits' leading:

How can one explain the success of a great harvest from an evangelism campaign? Can one even measure success of the Holy Spirit’s workings? In the realm of the real world we live, there are plenty of stories to attribute success of the Holy Spirit. To the naked eye of the make believe world, time passed without a hint that an evangelism campaign ever occurred. This is the world that you do not want to be measured. In fact, you serve not because you want to earn merit from the Lord but you do it because you love Jesus and for no other reason. To serve is a privilege.

As the days passed, we had targeted to baptize 10,500 converts to Jesus. The 2 Sabbath services that we all attended in a sports stadium that also houses an Olympic size swimming pool, more than 10,000 people attended the service and we witnessed more than a couple of thousand of baptisms following the Sabbath services. By the following week, there was more than 7,000 people baptized and we expect we would be close to the original number of baptism for this evangelism campaign. God is surely in charge and Satan cannot do anything about it. The battle for souls in Manila is a long drawn war and we are privilege to have taken part in this mission. In the church I served, 20 visitors were baptized and several others have signified their intention for baptism. This includes my brother who miraculously survived the rigorous 16-day evangelism campaign translating for his younger brother and answering the Holy Spirits’ work in his life. While he missed baptism, the Holy Spirit was obviously exerting influence in his life by the changes I have witnessed during the nightly sermons we jointly presented. From the very start of the campaign leading to the conclusion of the evangelism series, my brother had increasingly asked questions about the many Bible verses that he translated. Questions that only those inspired by the Holy Spirit would asked. To serve is a privilege.

In the end, numbers do not matter. However, answering the call to serve because we love Jesus matters. Be a number that counts because it is a way to show our love to our fellow man. Serving the Lord is indeed a privilege that we all can avail and experience God’s awesome power through the many miracles you will witness.
Can we improve this page?  Yes  No