Thursday, January 2, 2014

Whatever the price… (OJT Report, part 5)

“No matter the price, I will follow Jesus…” Many people all down through the ages have said these words when faced with challenging circumstances because of their decision to do what they learned God wanted them to do.

One of our students, Jeezrel found that out as he did his one month seminar on the island of Luzon. 
This was the 4th seminar to take place in that particular city and he was told that the hearts of the people were very hard, yet God had sent him there to show the people that He loves and cares for them.

When the opening day of his seminar (Friday) arrived, the rain poured from morning to evening. It had even started raining the previous day, too. At 6:30 the opening night, many children showed up, but he didn’t see any adult visitors. Because he was doing an adult seminar, he began to be concerned and at 6:40 went into the side room and prayed.

Describing the situation, he said, “I asked God if He will give us just 5 adults, I will continue the meeting. Then I asked a nearby youth to check how many non-Adventist adults had come. After that I texted Pastor Hargreaves and asked if I could continue with just 5 adults. [Of course he could!] Just after I had sent the message, the youth returned and told me there were 10 non-Adventists! This was more than double that I had asked for!  I just smiled and told them that we would start in 2 minutes. God is always there to uplift us, especially when we feel down! He really answered my prayer! I really didn’t think we could start that day because we had some real challenges!”

Two days before the starting date, he was told that the public hall they had planned for would not be available. So the whole duration of the seminar was to be held in the church. That church was just an old house that had been converted into a church and had about 30 regular attendees. All their advertising was for the public plaza and most people would have no idea where the new place was.

But that night, they started in the local church and God brought the people! Jeezrel described his projector like this: “We used an old model of a projector which was so blurry and just one step away from “retirement” – literally ready to “die.” But with God’s grace, it worked! I learned that only as we are willing to be used by God for His work is when He works for us through the challenges we face.”

Telling about the following week, he said, “Sabbath afternoon it rained so hard, yet we prepared everything as usual to have our meeting. During the storm, the electricity went off. After the rain stopped at around 6 pm, the people and children started coming to the meeting, even though everywhere was dark because of the power-outage. We waited until 6:45 and even 7:00, hoping the power would come back on, but it didn’t that night and we had to cancel our meeting. Though everyone knew the great possibility that the electricity would probably not be on again soon, yet they came. We learned later that the main line was damaged from a fallen tree. That night, our topic was ‘When the devil goes on vacation,’ but thankfully we were able to cover it the following night.  Once a person is touched with the Holy Spirit, electricity and rain can’t stop him to know what the truth is. They don’t want to miss anything and were so thankful we could do that topic the next night.”

Of course, as in any of the OJT sites, there were challenges and trials, but Jeezrel found a great solution to some of them! He said, “God will not forsake those who want to be used for His work. He showed me that to sing in the midst of the busy day while doing my work helps me a lot!”

Near the end of his program, Jeezrel was told that because there had been only few people attending the meeting and many of those few were children, he couldn’t expect to have too many people baptized – probably not more than 3. But God really worked in the lives of the people there and instead of just 3, there were 8 who were baptized! Praise God!

Jeezrel described an experience came after the baptism on Sabbath: “After the baptism, we heard a scream from one of our newly baptized members. Her house was near the church and suddenly the window opened and we saw that the mother of the newly baptized girl was beating her child with a bamboo stick that was 3 feet long, 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. She was being beaten by her own mother because she got been baptized and joined the Seventh-Day Adventists – because she had decided to follow Jesus.  Her mother beat her for about 10 minutes just like someone would beat a dog.  Then she was disowned by her mother and sent away from home. As she was walking by the church, she passed us and I couldn’t hold my tears to see this young girl, full of bruises all over her body. Her lips were cut, too. She was only 11 years old. Thankfully her grandparents were Seventh-Day Adventists, and she went to live with them.”

Oh, the faith of the children – willing to pay whatever price it takes to follow Jesus! What a price that 11 year old girl paid to follow the Master.

Commenting on his time on OJT, Jeezrel said, “My friend, you are not in your site on your own. You are there with God to work for His lost sheep and you are God’s partner for His work in that particular place. Don’t feel discouraged. God is with you. Remember it is not you who is doing the work, but it is God through you. The seeds God has planted through you will grow up (maybe not at this time) and bear fruit.”

Keep watching for more stories to be posted soon!