Have you ever considered the possibility that you are right smack dab in the center of a window of opportunity? There are times when we know we are in the center of God’s will and times when we wonder what God is thinking. But then there are other times, that when looked at from the perspective of before and after an event, the awe and wonder of the window of opportunity becomes ever clearer. Our team that went to the Philippines on a recent work and witness trip have had just such a life experience.
This was the trip that almost wasn’t. The weeks leading up to our trip were filled with volcanos erupting, earthquakes tremblin, and what, at the time was a virus called Coronavirus, that at the time was just beginning to spread outside of China, and the word quarantine was readily spoken about. All of these reasons along with our team members facing various health obstacles had us seriously considering canceling or postponing our trip. However, as the team began to really pray, one at a time, we were able to share with one another how God gave us each a peace that surpassed our understanding and we knew He was saying, “Go!”, even when the world around us was saying “no”. And so, “Go”, we did.
Our days at the GMA Church of the Nazarene/Lingap Bata Child Development Center were filled with painting, electric work, eating, cleaning, brick work, eating, building a book case, connecting with the people, teaching a drama for an outreach presentation to the community, did we mention eating? However, as our group looks back and reminisces, not one comment was about what we did, but about how we fell in love with the people there and how they loved us with the love of Jesus. Stan James said, “The church showed us such a beautiful Christ Spirit in all they did, for us and the community. Would that every church was as they are.” Bonnie Boyd summed up this same thought with, “The church in GMA are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They cared for us in every way, always giving, so respectful, and fun.” We miss them all dearly, and they hold a special place in our hearts.
Since returning home, we look back at how much has changed in the few short weeks since we have returned. The airports in which we traveled are no longer accessible. The ability to travel outside of our homes is an obstacle, let alone half way across the world due to the Co-Vid19 outbreak that is now affecting our entire globe. And once again, we realize that there was a window of time, that presented us with an opportunity that was meant for exactly that moment in history. When God calls, we can trust His leading.
We aren’t sure of the kingdom or long-range impact our visit there made. But we do know that there is a group of people who made a lasting impact on us. People we are now lifting in prayer during this global crisis, by name and face, because they are held in our hearts, personally. It was for such a time as this that God called us to “Go”. And we are so glad that we did.
Submitted by Pastor Lynette Cherry, Pueblo First Church of the Nazarene
In January 2020, Guam First Church of the Nazarene welcomed 51 members of a very special Work and Witness team from South Korea to their island in the Micronesia District. The Kwon Kwan Church of the Nazarene joined the Daekwang Church of the Nazarene for a ten-day project to repair and refurbish many places on the Guam campus. Janet Wilkins, who is the Work & Witness Coordinator of the Philippine/Micronesia Field with her husband, Kevin, said, “These churches ran a perfectly planned project/mission.”
The Korean churches organized their own transportation and brought several cooks to provide the meals. They wired the funds early so that everything they needed was ready for them when they arrived in Guam.
“Every group that had a part in ministry (teaching music, calligraphy, VBS, youth events) was well organized and very prepared. They were fun and energetic,” said Janet.
The ten days in Guam was a multigenerational, multinational, and multicultural experience for all involved. Koreans, Chamorro, and Americans joined hands and hearts to work, witness, and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. Pastor Oh Won Keun led the Korean team to join hands with many island nations represented in the Guam Nazarene church to do maintenance and repairs on the church campus. They installed new lights, refurbished the church sign, organized supplies, and hauled away much trash. They scrubbed, cleaned, scraped and painted many surfaces. Janet Wilkins said, “I was very blessed to work with Pastor Oh who is a servant leader.”
The Korean team was quick to say, however, that it was not all work. They enjoyed fun ministry with the Guam children and youth group. They offered music class, calligraphy class, did face painting and led in a Vacation Bible School. All ate together, worshipped together, learned together and then had fun at the beach together!
Guam Nazarene Pastor David Ackerman said, “We will feel the effects of their wonderful ministry for many years to come.”
Ara Cho of the Daekwang Nazarene agreed with Pastor Ackerman, saying the Korean churches were equally blessed by the experience. “During the mission, I realized that God wants to work through each one of us no matter what type of person we are.”
Nara Shin of Kwon Kwan Nazarene added, “During the VBS program, there was time to praise with youth and children in Guam. To see the youth and children praise so passionately and to see how big of a heart they have for God was so encouraging and brought me tears of joy. I am excited to see how God will use Guam Nazarene Church in the future!”
Wonbin Bae of Daekwang Nazarene said, “Coming back from this mission trip, I found I love the church more than ever and want to get more involved in my church and to fully worship God. I am deeply thankful and blessed for this experience.”
Minji Lee who is also from Daekwang Nazarene said, “I am reminded once again of our father’s love and grace that we don’t deserve. I am so thankful that my faith has grown stronger through this mission trip.”
To Pastor Ackerman, the Koreans’ sentiments echo his own. He offered sincere thanks to Korean churches, saying, “Thank you friends for coming to our church, making new friends, and helping us with many projects. You have made a lasting impact.”
—Submitted by Philippine/Micronesia Communications Team