Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winning your family to the Lord! (OJT Report, part 7)

I’m sure you will be inspired as you read what God has done in the life of Jhamil, a student from last session of PAFCOE!

Jhamil great up in a very noisy and as he called it “disgusting” place in Cagayan De Oro [a city in southern Philippines]. In that area, very few people knew about God and their main priority in life is to get money. Since he came from a very poor family, he lived in a house with only curtains for the walls.

Jhamil’s mother became very angry with him because every time he got money, he would drink and do drugs. He decided to resign from his job because he was very thin and had become an addict. Then his uncle called his mother and asked if he could take Jhamil to Cebu with him and send him to college.

Because Jhamil really loved studying, he happily agreed. However when he got to Cebu, he found out that his uncle couldn’t send him to school anymore because his wife had had a major operation and now had no money to support him. So what would he do?

During that time, some of his relatives who were already Adventists introduced him to a layman to take Bible studies from. Jhamil was very happy to receive Bible studies because he didn’t have to work during the study! So he made the Bible study very long and asked lots of questions, but finally he was convicted to be baptized into God’s remnant church. On April 20, 2012, Jhamil was baptized!

He said, “I heard about PAFCOE from one of the youth in our church who was a PAFCOE graduate. She told me all about it and encouraged me to enroll so I could learn more about evangelism and how to conduct my own seminar. I was really interested and wanted to attend! I prayed to God to help me find someone who can sponsor my tuition. Someone told me to find a sponsor from the internet, but I didn’t know how to use the internet! So I wrote a simple letter, even though it seemed old-fashioned.”

That’s just what Jhamil did! He wrote a short letter to our family, telling us of his desire to be a student at PAFCOE but that he had no money for the tuition. Of course, he didn’t know our US address (or even where we were), so he gave the letter to a friend who was going to Loma Linda and told him to mail it to Amazing Facts. The friend did just that and eventually the letter reached us while we were having vacation in the US between sessions. How did his letter just “happen” to reach us while we were in the US?

He said, “I prayed for God to do something through my letter and I believed that God would give me the chance to attend PAFCOE. All I did was to write the letter and believe that God would hear my prayer.”

When we received his letter, we were so touched by his sincerity and determination to come to PAFCOE! But how were we to contact him? We didn’t have his address or any way to contact him, but we wanted him to come! God would provide his sponsorship!

So Mom wrote to a friend in the Philippines and told her about Jhamil and his letter to us. Mom’s friend had a friend from Cebu who just “happened” to know Jhamil and was able to give him our message to come by faith and God would provide for him. Jhamil said, “I am so very thankful to God that He heard my prayers! The one who mailed my letter in the US also gave me money to get to Manila and all things work together for good! Everything I had from the start until the end of PAFCOE is provided by God!”

So he came and God provided him a sponsor and all his needs, just as He promised! When it came time for the students to decide where they wanted to go for their OJT, Jhamil wanted to do his seminar in Cebu. He tried working something out there, but nothing came of it. So he finally concluded to go back to his home town of Cagayan and hold his seminar there. He saw God’s providence when the super-typhoon came through and the church he was hoping to do his seminar in lost its roof. So holding a seminar there would have been really tough! God knew all along!

Speaking of his first week after arriving at OJT, he said, “I was so overwhelmed with everything because I expected that I will be using my friend’s projector and laptop. But when someone went to bring it for me, there was some problem and he couldn’t get it! So I prayed and pleaded with God to provide me something to use – especially since I didn’t have a laptop or a projector! Because the typhoon was coming and because I didn’t have my equipment, I couldn’t start the opening night.”

He continued, “But God is so good! I really felt at that time that He loved me so much because someone provided me all the things I need and I could start the next night! I really enjoyed preaching the word of God! One inspiring experience I had this week was when I saw my parents and brother attending the meetings! [His family was not Adventists.]  They enjoyed attending every night and this is a huge answered prayer for me! When I made an appeal the first week, my father responded because he had been so touched by the message. When I saw it, my tears began to fall but I held them back and finished the meeting with prayer.”

God was using Jhamil to bring his family to the Lord! The next week he said: “God really gave me good weather this week! Also He helped us have power, even when other nearby areas had none. I always brought my scripts with me, just in case the power went out and I didn’t have a laptop and notes to use. Praise God for all His goodness to me! Even this week, I still see my family continuing to attend the meetings! Not because of me, but because of the message of God’s word. When I started visiting my interests, I was asked many hard questions, but God always helped me with knowing what to say to them. I know God guided me!”

But God brought even more happiness to Jhamil’s heart the following week! He said, “The most inspiring experience I had this week was when my parents decided to be baptized after I preached on the topic of baptism. I was so inspired with that, and so I studied my next sermons even harder and never got discouraged even though I had only 14 guests every night. I really enjoy preaching and I think this is my God-given talent and I want to do more evangelistic meetings using the materials I have now.”

But during the last week was when he was so happy! Speaking of it, he said, “I was so happy to witness the baptism of my parents! I never thought it would be like this, but God’s love reached their hearts and minds and eventually they decided to give their lives to Jesus!”

When he gave his report back at PAFCOE, he said, “My beloved classmates, I urge you to reach your family for Jesus, because I already reached mine! My favorite topic was Pilate; I preached it for 2 hours! Actually, even though my presentations were very long, the listeners love to attend because the message is very clear. One time, I called my audience forward for an appeal for those who wanted to get baptized. I closed my eyes and prayed and when I opened my eyes, I saw my family in the front! I asked them if they wanted to get baptized just because of me. They said that they wanted to follow Jesus.”

Friends, take Jhamil’s challenge to you – reach your family for Jesus! You can have the joy of seeing your family come into the kingdom because of your efforts!