We listened to a very touching sermon in our church’s worship celebration yesterday. The speaker and his wife had been regarded as pioneer “musicianaries” who share the love and truth of Jesus Christ with the people of Japan through the black gospel music genre. Thousands of people hear and sing the gospel every year. However, two years ago, his wife succumbed to ovarian cancer. The speaker’s journey of love for his wife, faithfulness in ministry and faith in God inspired many in the congregation, myself included, to readily serve as His scattered witnesses. Whatever contexts we may be in and and in spite of the challenges we might face.
When the service ended, I had the chance to reflect briefly on the sermon with one of the leaders of our church. He knows that my wife Dahl and I are missionaries as well. In fact, he and his wife are our prayer partners. At the end of our conversation, he said some chilling words, “Sana hindi mangyari iyan sa inyo ni Dahl.” Or, “I hope that doesn’t happen to you and Dahl.” What he meant was that he was praying that Dahl and I be spared of such painful experience while serving in ministry, especially when we are out of the country.
I admit that I was affected by that statement. When Dahl woke up this morning, my first words to her were, “Sweet, I love you. Don’t die on me, okay?” Naturally she was startled. When I explained the context of my statement, she hugged me and led in prayer.
This month, Dahl and I are marking 31 years of serving together as full-time workers in the gospel ministry. God had called us to serve Him in different parts of the country. He called us to serve among the urban poor, fishermen, sugarcane farmers, professionals, the rich and influential. We even served in Costa Rica for few years. We also had the opportunity to minister in more than 20 countries so far. We thank the Lord Jesus for the privilege and the honor of serving Him all these years.
There have been many challenges along the way. However, like what our speaker said yesterday, the most difficult one is losing your spouse, best friend and ministry partner. Sana nga, hindi mangyari iyan sa amin ni Dahl. But that day will come. I hope later than sooner. Meanwhile, by the grace of God, I promise this: I will walk in faith in Jesus with Dahl. Wherever He leads us we will follow; whatever He feeds us, we will swallow. My desire is to please the good God who has loved us and called us to be co-workers with Him in His redemptive mission. His grace will be sufficient for me; it always is.
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6, Christian Standard Bible