CMS Mission Partner, Dianne, reflects on the fruit and faithfulness of God as she leads a children's ministry in the Philippines.
“You did not choose me but I have chosen you…….that you might go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you.” - John 15:16
I went back to Philippines in January 2018 with a broken arm. A good way to start the year! But I knew that way back God chose me to come here to the Philippines and therefore he would fix it.
In January 1976 I was driving my rusty little VW over the hills to Camp Raglan where 120 plus children were arriving for a week long camp. I read the verse for today on my dashboard which said ”…the Lord has chosen you…to serve Him.” - 2Chronicles 29:11. At that moment the word “Philippines” flashed across my mind.
I told the Lord “I don’t want to go there!”
I could go to England yes, because I could visit relatives I’d never seen before. However I then added “Well Lord, if this is really from you please make it clear!”
The next day my director went to our P. O. Box for the mail. I hardly wrote letters, so I hardly received any. He gave me a blue airmail letter, which was my first ever letter from the Philippines, and it contained a direct invitation to join the children’s ministry there! Since then, I’ve known very clearly this whole time that God has chosen me to minister in the Philippines and he provides what we need to obey him.
Fruit that I’ve seen
Our fruit for Jesus just keeps on growing! From teachers sharing the Gospel in their classes, parent’s Bible studies and the odd parent our Principal leads to the Lord, to children and staff devotions in the Children’s Home and visiting disabled people who are “shut ins” in their homes.
We held a Summer Children’s Camp, to which 80 came. I worked with four Bible Clubs which saw 80 plus come to Jesus. Two training seminars brought in another 170 children. A very meaningful event for me was hearing the blind pastor in our Camp for Disabled clearly preaching a salvation message along with his own personal testimony using his braille Bible.
Overall, I can conservatively estimate that 400 people have come to Jesus in the past year, most of those mainly children. What incredible fruit!
Fruit going on for Jesus
Another area where I have seen fruit is in the ongoing involvement of former students. We held reunions for both former Bible College alumni and Children’s Home alumni, which brought about 80 people to tell their stories and catch up with us. A good number are involved with churches, some with Christian schools and some are overseas or in far distant places. Three new teachers in our school are former pupils and converts, who want to continue this legacy.
To top it all off one of our former children’s home boys, who is now a businessman, contacted me a month ago from Qatar. He had started a church plant there for a Baptist church a few years back and wanted lecture material on children’s ministry so he could teach their members! How is that for fruit going on for Jesus!
“Whatever you ask in my name, I will give to you”. – John 14:13
Another story is very close to my kiwi heart! One of the most joyful events in the Children’s Home is when we celebrate a children’s birthday. All was set for the day. The decorations were ready, the gifts were wrapped, the games were prepared, and the favourite food was ready to cook. And of course we had a cake. Unfortunately, we had no ice-cream! We had prayed, but there was just not enough in the budget for it.
However, the Lord says “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.” - Isaiah 55:8.
Early next morning there was a knock on the Children’s Home door and a man entered with a steel container with two big tubs of ice-cream! The owner of the Popular Ice-cream Company was having his birthday that day and he thought he would share his blessings with the children in the home. Everyone was surprised and jumping with joy. Thank you Lord!
If you remember, at the beginning of this article, I wrote about how I broke my arm at the beginning of last year. Well it has now healed beautifully and I can even do push ups! In reflecting on the fruit that I’ve seen God grow in the last year, I am constantly reminded, just like with the story of my broken arm, when God chooses you he provides your needs!