By Susanna A.
How overwhelming the task of a missionary seems on the surface. Can you imagine trying to convince everyone you meet that you are right and they are wrong? That’s what most people think missionaries do. Some people think it is unjust, close-minded and intolerant. If I were them, I would just think it impossible. How on earth can you convince anyone to believe all the truths of Christianity, if they have no particular desire or inclination to believe them?
This is the good news for all missionaries: We don’t have to! We don’t have to prove it at all. Because our Truth is not an impersonal belief system. It is THE Truth. It is a PERSON, who wants to prove Himself to us. It is Jesus Christ. Like the early Christians we pray, “Lord, grant to thy servants to speak your word with all boldness, while YOU stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4: 29) The burden of proof is on Him, not on us. Praise the Lord for that! We tell people “If you seek God’s kingdom first, He will give you everything else you need.” And the next thing you know… He does!
This is the story of a young man named Ramon. Ramon is 20 years old. He lived with his girlfriend Kring Kring, and their one year old son. They were expecting their second baby when they met a bunch of FMC missionaries who invited them to join a Bible study. Ramon had never read a Bible before. He had lived a wild youth, part of a dance troupe, drinking too much, involved with gangs and far from God. But with that Bible study and the ones that followed every week, things began to change. In the course of the next six months, Ramon and Kring Kring decided to put God first in their life. They experienced the overwhelming grace of God as they received the sacraments of Reconciliation and Matrimony.
Ramon and his family, like many in the Philippines, led a hand to mouth existence. With two young children, trying to complete a degree in Office Administration; and with an unreliable job killing and roasting pigs for fiestas, finances were even tighter than usual. One day they had no rice, no diapers and no milk for the babies. “I don’t know what we’re going to do,” a worried Kring Kring said to Ramon.
But Ramon was a new man. “Is your faith so small?” he asked her, quoting his favorite verse from Luke 8:25. Then He turned to God: “God, You PROMISED You would provide for us. You are the Provider! I challenge you to provide us with rice for my family!” Seems like his faith was larger than the size of a mustard seed.
The same day Ramon received a call from a friend: “Ramon, do you want to participate in the Barangay Gwapo competition?” (A barangay is the smallest unit of local government in the Philippines, similar to a neighborhood. Gwapo means someone who is attractive or good-looking.) Apparently someone had dropped out suddenly from the competition, and they needed someone to fill in. Ramon was astounded at the unexpected answer to prayer. “I don’t have any time to prepare. I don’t have any clothes to wear.” But he decided to do it. He borrowed clothes from Sammy, the only male missionary on our team. His talent was dancing, but he had no music to dance to. He came to Sarah, and she went through the music on her computer. The only music she could find that he could dance to was a song called ‘God is Enough’ by Christian rap artist Lecrae. (Sounds staged, huh? God is the Master Playwright, after all.)
He got up on stage, said a prayer and gave it his best. Kring Kring said, “Before when Ramon used to dance, it was like he had a devil in him. Now when I saw him dance, he was totally different. He was smiling!” In the question round, Ramon told the judges that what set him apart from the other contestants was that he was a religious man and that he feared God.
And yes… He WON! The judges commented on how humble he was, and said that helped them to make their decision. His prize was 3400 pesos ($80), enough to buy plenty of rice, milk and diapers, and even share with his relatives. God was the One who proved to Ramon that His Word is true; that He really is a Father who cares about our daily needs; and that He longs for us to trust Him, and come to Him with childlike faith.
Ramon and Kring Kring have become active and hard-working local mission partners with FMC missionaries. They still struggle to provide for their family, as well as members of their extended family that need their help. Let us know if you feel led to help support them during this difficult time in their lives.
By Susanna A.