To say we were totally blown away by the welcome we received in Dipolog City, Philippines, would be an understatement. Wow, from the second we stepped off the plane we knew we were welcome.
Pastor Greg Begafria, his wife and children and many other pastors and missionaries and family members from the family of churches called Shiloh Bible Baptist Church were standing there waving and smiling holding a sign that read “Welcome Love In Action Ministries/Children’s Fair.”
Then was received many hugs and handshakes. The children took our hands and placed the back of our hands on their foreheads. That’s how they show respect to their elders.
It was a grand welcome and one we have been looking forward to. We loved these precious people before we met them. Love In Action has been able to do a lot of work in the Philippines by supporting the work of these indigenous pastors and missionaries. Now, to finally meet them face-to-face is incredible.
They would not let us pick up our bags and suitcases. They started serving us immediately, which is very humbling. Then after photos and some talking, we all piled in vehicles and drove two hours to Sindangan where Pastor Greg, his wife and children and church are hosting the conference and children’s fair they invited us to speak at.
Once at the church, they showed us around and then brought out the food. They grilled fish and served it with rice and wonderful freshly picked fruit.
They knew we were exhausted, so after talking some more they took us to our hotel and showed us to our room. After a few minutes we noticed the a/c wasn’t working very well, so I talked with the hotel folks and they came to check on it. They couldn’t fix it, so they moved us to another room where the a/c works very well.
I called Pastor Greg to let him know we changed rooms. About five minutes later there was a knock on our door. It was Pastor Greg and his wife making sure everything was OK. Wow! We consider ourselves pretty good servants of the Lord, but these precious people have already shown us we have a long ways to go to become as humble and wonderful servants as they are. They truly take Jesus at His word when he says the greatest among us are those who serve.
By His description, these Filipinos are great, and we definitely agree with our Savior.
Then this morning Pastor Greg and his wife and another lady from church came to bring Martha roses, flowers and a beautiful plaque they made themselves for her birthday. They even made the picture frame it is in. Of course Martha had tears in her eyes as she graciously accepted their gifts. They said the children were practicing singing happy birthday to Martha, so they can sing it to her later this morning.
It is such a privilege and very humbling to be here in Sindangan serving Jesus with our Filipino brothers and sister.