Ala grew sicker and sicker. She lay on the floor, arms outstretched, hands stiff as if they were paralyzed. Alarmed, her family asked Mandu, a Palawano church lay-leader, and his wife Nuriya to come and pray for her. Mandu and Nuriya assessed Ala as best they could and found that her pulse was very weak. She seemed close to death. They prayed for her, asking God’s healing. After the prayer, Ala’s family asked if she could stay at Mandu and Nuriya’s house that night. The next morning, Ala felt much better, so she got up and went home! She gives God the glory.
Mandu and Nuriya reported to us that more and more people are now coming to them for healing prayer. Nuriya explained to me, “We are not doctors or nurses, and we have no medicine, only simple remedies. What can we do but pray? But God is working and showing Himself strong. Even though we don’t know very much, at least we know God, and He knows everything.”
Mandu and Nuriya minister in our most northern church, about a 90-minute drive from Brooke’s Point, our lowland base, and then a half-hour hike into the foothills. There are very few resources in their area, so it is wonderful that they are providing a health ministry of simple remedies and prayer.
One of our smaller congregations is located in the village of Kabangaan, perched on a steep mountainside. It is led by Palawano laymen Jun and Precel, and they have been conducting outreach some distance from their church for several years. A number of people have been baptized, and there are now plans to erect a church for the new members.
As I was meeting with Jun and Precel this past Sabbath, I was reminded that, in God’s plan, all things come together eventually. It all began years ago with a family that was living in Kemantian at the time. Although the family did not go to church or send their children to our school, I and my team members had opportunities to interact with them as we treated them for various health issues. When they moved away, we didn’t know what seeds had taken root in their hearts.
This past year, our daughter Christina and her family were nurturing the church in Ipayu near Kabangaan along with Jun and Precel and getting involved in the lives of the members. As Christina became better acquainted with a girl named Manilin, who was baptized in 2018, she found that she was having Sabbath issues at her high school and was considering dropping out. We assured Manilin that she was welcome in our high school in Kemantian if she was willing to live that far from home. Though Manilin and her sister were eager to come, their father was adamant that they attend the public school. After seasons of prayer and further invitations, the father finally agreed that Manilin could go to our school, but her sister would have to wait for another year.
Manilin is a very cheerful student. She is spiritually grounded and growing, careful in her studies and determined to pass so she can go on to college to become a teacher. She wants to help her Palawano people and support her parents and younger siblings.
This past Sabbath as I was sitting on the porch of a family’s home and listening to Jun teach, I began wondering who this family was. I recognized their faces, but I couldn’t place them. After the service, I asked the father, “What is your name, please? I recognize you, but I don’t remember your name.”
“My name is Suni,” he replied. “I am Manilin’s father. Also, you took care of us years ago when we were living in Kemantian.” Then I remembered that the leaders had recently told me that Manilin’s father had experienced a change of heart since allowing Manilin to attend our school. He was becoming more open to God.
I marvel at how God works. This family we helped years ago who seemed uninterested in receiving the gospel were now opening their hearts and home so that they could hear the life-giving words of Jesus, and their daughter was preparing for a life of godly service.
Please pray that the church plant in Kabangaan continues to strengthen and grow. Pray for the ministry of the lay-leaders Mandu and Nuriya and Jun and Precel, and pray that Manilin continues to shine for Jesus.