Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Greetings from Mindoro!

Sometimes my work can be very discouraging. Over and over again, I'll start
to see Doors opening only to find them closing up again.

I wrote you a while ago about Eddie. Eddie and his wife are both shamans.
Eddie became sick, though, and he finally admitted that neither he nor his
wife could heal his sickness, so he came to me for treatment. I have been
treating him for 5 months now, and he hasn't recovered.

I have found in my medical work here that if a person changes their life and
turns to God, they get better. I know that this wouldn't fly in the
scientific community, and even some Christians would be skeptical. I just
report what I see. I started treating Benson (the spinal Tuberculosis
patient who was nearly paralyzed) at the same time that I started treating
Eddie. Benson had been sick with spinal Tuberculosis for over 4 years. He
was also nearly paralyzed. Eddie, on the other hand, had a simple Urinary
Tract Infection with a Kidney Stone, and had been sick for a couple of
weeks. When Benson came to me he decided to leave the old ways and give
himself completely to God. Eddie promised up and down to change his life,
leave the old ways, and most importantly to not practice witchcraft while
under my care.

Benson kept his commitment, Eddie didn't. Now, 5 months later Benson, with
a nearly hopeless prognosis, has made an almost complete recovery and is
walking around stronger than I am. Eddie, on the other hand, with a simple
problem, is still suffering.

Very soon we are going to have to give Eddie an ultimatum. Jesus told his
disciples that if a person or town didn't receive them, they should tell
them that the Kingdom of God had come near, and then shake the dust off
their feet and leave. I still want to help Eddie, and I can find ways to do
so, but he persistently refuses to follow the rules of spiritual and
physical health, and soon I will have to leave him to his own decisions.

Eddie had so much potential. He had so many contacts in the highlands.
Highlanders come through his home almost daily asking for his help. And
even as a shaman, he came to me for help. But like the rich young ruler,
the allurements of his power and the enjoyable things of the world proved to
be more tantalizing than life and health. I am going to have to let him go.

And yet, not all is lost. Benson had been trying to come to me for
treatment for 2 years, and Eddie was the first shaman to allow him. Now,
after living with us for 5 months, learning about God regularly, and
receiving several dreams from God, Benson has declared his faith. He is our
very first highland convert! Praise God! May God guide us and give us
wisdom to disciple him into a mature disciple and disciple maker!

Our missionary, Abel, who has been working with Eddie, has also had
opportunity to witness to several other highlanders who have been living
with Eddie too. Raquel and his wife and son were on the edge of death from
Measles when I was called. After their complete recovery, Raquel and Abel
have become close friends. Abel has shared stories from the Bible every
morning and evening with them and whoever else would listen. They tell Abel
that they are not yet ready to switch allegiances, but they believe the
stories that Abel has been telling them. May that seed germinate, too, in
God's time.

A small boy, named Dadi, also was living with Eddie when I started working
with them. It turned out that Dadi had been left there by his father who is
an elder in the highlands. He came to visit, and agreed to let me treat his
son, who had Lymph Tuberculosis. Dadi and Abel have become inseparable, and
I pray that the seeds planted early will bear fruit in time too. I also
pray that Dadi's father will soften his heart as a result of our help, and
allow us to begin working in his village in the highlands. Already Abel has
visited several times, and has been welcomed gladly. They have staunchly
refused to allow us to move in, however.

As I began writing this, I was discouraged about the doors that have been
slamming in my face. In the Psalms, David often started writing a
complaint, but before he got very far he couldn't help but start praising
God and seeing His deliverance. Similarly, as I have written, the doors
that have been closed on me recently seem to have dimmed, and the doors that
God is still using, or could use in the near future have appeared to me.
May God continue throwing doors open faster than Satan can close them, until
the Tawbuid are reached for Christ!