Friday, April 1, 2011

A Dream to Realize - A Promise to Keep

Almost 22 years ago, Maria-Luz Roda Bautista became my wife and immigrated to the United States of America. Though many who casually observed our union assumed she was eager to come to the U.S. and live the good life, all those who truly knew her understood that accepting my proposal and following me to minister in various ministries, missions and outreaches in the inner cities of the US and around the world meant stepping away from deep involvement with a tremendous ministry in the Philippines. In many ways, it was for her a heart-rending decision. When she left, Luz always dreamt of reestablishing a deeper presence of ministry in the Philippines for us. We nurtured that vision through financial support, by sending others to the Philippines as both short-term and career missionaries and always dreaming we ourselves might be able to do more than just participate in a once in a while ministry visit that had to piggy back on urgent family business as a condition of our return.

As I write, My Luz is now on her way to the realization of this 22 year-old dream and the promise I made to her that we would one day re immerse ourselves in mission involvement in the Philippines beyond giving and sending others. For the last 4-5 years, we have been laying the ground work for what we sensed was the Lord’s moving us towards the opportunity to bring our dreams into the realm of reality. Through the pioneering ministry efforts of her Brother Ramon and his wife Nene, we have all worked together to establish a beachhead in the Bohol community with a broad spectrum of ministry that includes very needy families in extremely poor conditions, street children and college boarding students away from home.

Thanks to the involvement of our home church, Grace Church in Racine, we have made significant steps towards building upon the foundational elements of ministry we’ve been establishing in Bohol. For starters, our church collected supplies for over 200 children which we shipped a week ago for the children we have supported in Manila and Bohol. Luz has 4 duffel bags of supplies she is hauling by herself to distribute immediately upon her arrival that not only have those supplies, but contain hundreds of Ziploc bags that will assist us in distributing rice Luz will purchase with donated funds for hundreds of families! It is our desire to assist the growth of the mercy ministries we've help to start there and to partner with local churches to minister on a broad scale including church development, poverty relief and educational support with deep and lasting impact. Luz will recon the areas we have targeted, plot a course for our next steps and prepare the way for a team we hope to send from Grace Church Racine in 2012. Luz is ecstatic and we’re thrilled as a family to be directly engaged in ministries we have prayed for and supported for so long.

The time Luz will spend in the Philippines will be both challenging and fulfilling. I will try to keep everyone abreast of her progress and prayer concerns. Thanks to all of you, our friends, for your encouragement and support over the years and for this mission in particular. This is only the beginning of a great opportunity to serve others and bring greater glory to God. Stay tuned and stay prayerful! Until Next time…