Just weeks ago, I saw three of our former patients, some of whom had been our most critical cases: Rusalin, the little girl who once fell into a type 1 diabetic coma and had acute kidney failure; Subliki, a young boy who fell from a tree and was impaled through his back and out his abdomen; and Sawini, a young man who had had severe malaria. In each case, God lovingly brought them back from the brink of the grave.
I wish you could see the smiles on their faces in person, smiles that you made possible by sending missionaries to pray with them and help them get lifesaving care. Your prayers and partnership have made our ministry possible. Thank you.
We have no doubt that God called us to the Palawan Project. He has used us as a blessing to many here and has grown our characters. Moreover, God’s work among the Palawano has grown in many ways. One of the most encouraging examples is how two Palawano families recently left Kamantian to start a new mission school and share the good news of Jesus in the unentered village of Mermá, deep in the jungle. Although most of our time has been spent in the lowlands serving in a supportive role, we are thankful to have been a blessing in small ways to Mermá and many villages throughout the mountains.
Our journey in missions started with God giving us the desire to reach the unreached, and it has been a blessing to serve the last several years in the Philippines. However, several months ago, we began to be impressed that we could do more for Him and with Him in sharing His love with the lost. As we noticed an increase in the number of Palawano and Filipino workers on our project, we started to understand that we must “decrease” so they could “increase.” It is exciting to say that after much prayer and discussion, God has opened the door for us to use our gifts and skills in another part of the world — in Mali on AFM’s Malinke Project, working with the Toorays.
While researching our new project, we found the needs of Mali rather shocking. First, only about two percent of the population is Christian. Second, about 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Lastly, many do not have access to sufficient health care. Within those figures are the faces of some of the world’s poorest people who are sick, dying and in need of Jesus.
I have found this quote quite stirring: “Medical missionary work brings to humanity the gospel of release from suffering. It is the pioneer work of the gospel. It is the gospel practiced, the compassion of Christ revealed. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it. God grant that the importance of medical missionary work shall be understood, and that new fields may be immediately entered” (Medical Ministry, p. 239). Using my medical experience to augment the disciple-making arm of the other ministry activities will be exciting and fulfilling.
By the time you read this, we will have traveled to join the Toorays on the Malinke Project in harmony with the counsel for immediate action, meeting with them before they leave for their furlough in April.
We have prayed much about this decision and have seen God’s providence and leading. While we are sad to leave the Palawano project, we know the work and large team of missionaries remaining in Palawan are in God’s hands. As stated above, the work of the Palawano believers in Marma — like Jilin, Junie, Meleni and Pidlli — must increase, and that of foreign missionaries must decrease.
We feel God has called us and equipped us for our work in Mali, and we invite you to continue to partner with us in this exciting new venture to reach the unreached.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
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