|My first patient in San Teodoro, is a small Mangyan man.|
Last weekend I traveled with the Christian missionary group, Team Jesus, to serve Mangyan tribes in Mindoro. In the morning of the first mission day, our devotion was based on Ephesians 4:28 and it spoke of three types of people: those who steal to get what they want/need; those who work to get what they want/need, which is how we most are; and those who work to get what they want/need to be able to GIVE, which is how God wants us to be.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:28)
"So that he may have something to share..." It was a fitting devotion for a team set to serve. And on the opening at the first site in Baco, the Barangay Captain who spoke (in Filipino) said, "The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. And it is probably why these people are here." Why were we there? When I heard all that I was tucked away inside a classroom, trying to steal a few sleeping minutes before the work starts, and tears just started falling from my eyes. He continued, "In my long life, I have not experienced something like this..." Usually, you come to a place like that hoping to bring God's blessing and instead you are blessed by their graciousness. I was in awe--God was with us that day.
Becoming A Mission Dentist
10 years ago, when I earned my license, I took an oath of service. While the work I do in the my clinic is service just the same, I've always known that I could be more, do more and give more. I knew I was meant for something else and when I joined the ARMS Mission in Bicol, it opened a whole new world to me. So when I was invited to be a part of Team Jesus, I did not hesitate.
A few months ago a friend suggested that I could teach in Dentistry School. Thinking that it had always been my dream, I was convinced that the way it conveniently landed on my lap meant that God wanted me to do it, so I heeded the call and submitted my CV to a University in Manila. The application never materialized, however, it went back and forth. There were demands I simply could not meet and it suddenly felt heavy in my heart, so I couldn't commit. At a point, I even asked God, "Is this not what you want for me?"
Then while I was in the mission, I suddenly realized that if I became part of the academe, then I would be tied to a schedule and wouldn't be able to give room for a missionary life. Things suddenly made sense and I felt my heart delight at the thought. It was clear--this is what God wants me to do.
Joining Team Jesus
Call it accidental or destiny, I hear it as God's calling. My friend was merely asking for me to fill in for her, for a single mission, but as it turns out she was set for migration to Canada, and needed a "permanent" replacement for the team. She joked, "I'm passing the baton to you", and I laughed, not realizing the my new reality.
Team Jesus was formed, post-Yolanda, but the heart of the team is consist of Christian missionaries serving in he Name of the Lord, far longer than that. They are partnered with the Philippine Army, and with their protection and assistance, are empowered to serve the Mangyan tribes in Mindoro (and other areas). I met amazing hearts this weekend. It is my dream to possess even half of the passion they have in their hearts. Next month I am set to travel with them again and I am delighted.
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25:44-45)
To God be the Glory,