Wednesday, January 1, 2014

From Disappointment to Divine Appointment! (OJT Report, part 4)

 Disappointments… What good can come out of those times?

Often God takes the situations that seem to us to be terrible disappointments and marvelously turns them around in divine appointments. “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him.” Desire of Ages, page 225.

Sometimes we wonder why God allowed circumstances to happen in the way they did and forget that God truly knows best and He has everything under His control. Here is a story of how God took a disappointment and turned it into a divine appointment.

After graduating from the first session of PAFCOE, Erme Jun became a full-time evangelist, going from place to place all over the Panay Island (in central Philippines) to preach the gospel. He is busy with no end of places to work in!

Erme Jun’s father has a small house and a business in Estancia, Iloilo and began coordinating with the local church there for his son to do an evangelistic meeting there.  They were planning this seminar for quite some time, but near the end of October, the church suddenly cancelled it for no reason at all. Both he and his parents were so disappointed that it didn’t work out and wondered why God had allowed this to happen.

Providentially in the next day or two, Dad invited Erme Jun to be the speaker for an OJT site in Cavite who had requested for PAFCOE to send an evangelist to their place. We didn’t know whether Erme Jun would even be available since he has a full schedule most of the time. But because this Estancia seminar had just been cancelled, he was free and agreed to come to Cavite for the seminar.

Before finding out about God’s divine appointment for him, let’s learn about Erme Jun’s child evangelism partner, Maya. Her original site was not in Cavite, either. She had just returned from her mission trip to Africa a few weeks earlier and planned to have her seminar in Romblon (another island in central Philippines).

Sometime before, she had been a missionary in Romblon and already knew the people and the church. Thinking everything was planned for her to be in Romblon, she had no idea that God was calling her to the site in Cavite instead. So her site in Romblon was cancelled. Just like Erme Jun was disappointed at not being able to go to Estancia, so Maya felt the same when she couldn’t go to Romblon.

But God had different plans for both Maya and Erme Jun to turn their disappointments into divine appointments.

There were a few challenges (as is always expected), but God blessed their seminar! The opening night was the same day that the super-typhoon came through the Philippines. Because of the strong wind and rain and the resulting power outage, the first night was postponed to Sabbath night. 

Thankfully, the damage in Cavite was not as severe as in the other places around the Philippines.
However, it was not so in the areas where Erme Jun and Maya were originally supposed to be doing their seminars. In Romblon where Maya was planning to go, it was devastated by the typhoon, but not too badly.  A church member told her it was a blessing the seminar was cancelled because of the damage of the typhoon.

But in Estancia, Iloilo, the damage was absolutely terrible! It was one of the worst hit towns of that island with many deaths.  The town, known as the “Alaska of the Philippines” because of its seafood industry and popularity as a fish trading center, was paralyzed after the typhoon cut off electricity and communications. [Many of the fishing boats either capsized or were dashed to pieces by the powerful storm surge that washed ashore.]  One source said, “At least 99% of houses and other structures were destroyed or damaged.”

The delivery of relief assistance was hampered by impassable roads, with many portions of the national highway from Iloilo City [the major city on that island] littered with fallen trees. Many electric posts were toppled and thrown from one side of the highway to the other. Electric lines were being used to hang clothes by residents who lost their homes and were staying along the road.

When Erme Jun heard the news about the destruction in Iloilo, he suddenly realized God’s divine appointment for him. If he and his family had been in Estancia, doing their evangelistic seminar, quite likely they would have been among the fatalities. Many, many died in the city and they might have been some of the victims, too. Fortunately, his parents were in a safe place, too and amazingly enough, the little house is still standing. Unfortunately, his father’s business was destroyed.

However, Erme Jun and his whole family thanked God for making a way to protect his family! Maya (his partner) said, “He almost cried when he learned what happened in Estancia and really praised God.”

She continued: “We have learned our lesson. Obey first before you complain. Honestly, we had a few complaints because of some of the challenges we faced in our OJT site. But in the end, we were so blessed with our work! My prayer now is, ‘Lord, wherever you send me, I will go. I will always trust and obey Your will.’”

God had taken their disappointments and turned them into divine appointments – divine appointments to get them out of the danger and into a safe place. Erme Jun said, “God is so good to us!”

Maya did the children’s program in the afternoon, so all her helpers could assist in Erme Jun’s adult seminar in the evening, which worked very well. This was her first experience to have two of her students who got into accidents. One of them was the 3 year old daughter of Erme Jun who was hit by a motorcycle. The impact was very great and as her parents rushed to the hospital, everyone prayed hard that she would not be seriously injured.

Really it was a miracle because the little girl just had a few scrapes and bruises, instead of having series injuries! Though it was a big impact when the motorcycle hit her, there was no bleeding or even bleeding on the inside! God really sent his angels to watch over the little girl and keep her safe!

Then in the last week of the seminar, another 5 year girl was hit by a motorcycle on her way to the children’s program. Unfortunately, it was a hit-and-run and off went the motorcycle. After the meeting that night, Maya and her team went to the child’s home because they had heard that the child’s head was already bleeding. Before they went, they prayed for the family because they didn’t know if the family would be angry with them because the girl was on her way to their program when it happened.

Because the family was so poor, they could not go to the hospital to have their injured daughter checked. Maya’s team decided to bring the little girl to the Emergency Room in the hospital because of the bleeding of her head. When the Doctor came, he gave her some medicine and dressed the wounds. The mother began to cry because she was so grateful that someone helped her child even though she and her family were so poor. They also bought some food for the family and everyone was so happy! Though the little girl was hit and had some cuts and scrapes, yet she was really fine otherwise.

Maya said, “We praise God even though we had some challenges, like the accidents, they were a way for people to see that God takes care of us.”

Another inspiring experience they had was to see a mother and her son being baptized together. The boy had heard the truths of God’s Word in the children’s program and the mother in the adult program and both made their decision to follow what they had learned together! Hopefully the father will also follow their decision in the future.

Maya added: “Personally, I praise God how He works in us! We know that even though there were so many challenges in our site, all things work together for good. He really took care of us!”

The next time you are disappointed about something, just wait to see how God will turn that disappointment into a divine appointment for Him!

Keep watching for more stories – coming soon!