Monday, January 5, 2015

God’s Protecting Hand (OJT – Part 2)

Many times when we are working for God, His protecting hand is over us keeping us safe from seen and unseen dangers. Rujan* and Rob* were assigned for their OJT on an island in the southern part of the Philippines and what adventures they experienced there! Here are their stories.

Even during the first week, Rujan and Rob felt God’s protecting hand over them! Rob said, “Last Sabbath, we were invited to another church in another place. After the program, we were returning to the site for our evening meeting on 2 motorcycles. I was ahead of my partner, Rujan and his driver. I did not realize that we were in danger at that time! But suddenly 2 more motorcycles sped up behind Rujan and his driver and were trying to do something to be able to “kidnap” the motorcycle and take it away. We sped faster, hoping to reach the main highway where more people were so we would not be hurt as it seemed that the men could hurt us. Later we learned that these same men had killed several people earlier. It was a race for survival and we hurried to the main road. Soon we reached it and jumped off the motorcycles to ride a bus going to our site. Those people who were trying to overtake us stood around staring at us, talking in their own language and we didn’t know what they were saying. The bus soon came and we jumped on and praised God for keeping us safe! We soon found out that stealing motorcycles is very common in this area.”

That night their topic was the Bible Sabbath and obviously, the devil wanted to make problems and distractions for Rujan and Rob, but God’s protecting hand was over them and they were saved! But that wasn’t the only time God kept them safe. Because many of the children coming to Rob’s children’s program were coming from a place quite far from their site, Rob and some of his friends would bring them home every night. The road was very dark and the homes were very far, but every night the Lord’s protecting hand was over them. Rob made it a point to pray with the parents of the children, for which they were very appreciative and continued to let their children attend his program. More challenges arose when the electricity went off just as they were to start the program, but God helped them to be able to still continue anyways.

Rujan, the adult evangelist, said, “About halfways through my one month program, it was exactly 6:30 in the evening when I was ready to start and suddenly we heard gunshots nearby. I was tempted to be afraid, but remembered God’s promises and instead of fear, I felt peace. That night 2 men were killed (not at our site, but nearby) and our attendees were afraid to keep attending. Satan was really trying to cause problems! But we kept on praying and God kept on helping us each step of the way.”

During their visitation, Rujan and Rob found a lady who had just returned from a northern island where she had been working as a helper for an Adventist family. This lady had been observing the ways of the Adventists and was very impressed with everything she saw. But then, the owner had a relative who was sick and couldn’t afford to pay for his helper anymore and so she went home and that’s where Rujan and Rob found her. She wanted to attend the Adventist church and learn more about Him!

Rob was so inspired with the commitment of his children to the truths they were learning each night! When he challenged them to try a 10 day trial and put God first and many of them did! One girl started cooking some of her own food when her mother fixed food with unclean meat in it so she could follow the Bible.

But the most inspiring experience came the final weekend. Rob described it by saying, “When one of my students, a 14 year old girl, approached me late in the program and asked to be baptized, I was very surprised. She had wanted to be baptized before, but always said, ‘in the near future – not now.’ But the last Friday, she told me she wanted to be baptized that Sabbath and had always said in the future before because she knew that parents didn’t approve of her decision. After the program that night, I went with her to her house to talk with her parents. Her father said she could be baptized when she turned 18, not now. So I decided that the girl could not be baptized because we don’t want to baptize a minor without the parent’s consent. Sabbath came and the girl asked to go with us to the baptism and just watch and see what it’s like. But when we arrived at the site, I was surprised to see her stand in the line of the baptismal candidates. I asked her, ‘Why are you here? Your parents won’t allow you to be baptized.’ She looked up at me and said, ‘Kuya (older brother), no matter what happens to me, my decision is final and I must follow Jesus.’”

“I thought to myself, ‘Now I am in big trouble with the father. What will he say when he finds out about it? Surely he will get angry with me!’ Then I prayed, ‘Lord, please solve this problem that you will touch the father’s heart.' Soon the girl was led into the water and tears filled her eyes as the Pastor pronounced the vow before baptized her. That evening, I went with her to her parent’s home and all along the way, I kept praying for wisdom to know how to handle the father. I was so surprised with her parents’ reaction! They were not angry and the father said, ‘Well, if that’s your decision, we can do nothing about it. I don’t want you to stop learning and continuing to grow. Be faithful to what you learned.’ We prayed for them and left, praising God!”

He added, “I learned not to be weary in well-doing. Though every night, we walked about one kilometer sending the children to their homes, when I saw some of the baptized, it was all worth it! We visited with the parents, too and thus won many hearts. We never left their homes without a payer and though we were tired going back to our home, our hearts were full of happiness and joy!”

Over and over again, Rujan and Rob saw God’s protecting hand and care over them during their OJT. Rob said, “Always depend on what God can do through you! You might face giants, but go forward and God will take care of them! Sometimes God allows trials to come to us to help us look more to Him. He know that through Him, we can do all things!”

*Not their real names.