Matthew and I both felt the call of God to missions early in our Christian walk over 25 years ago. Matthew specifically felt the call to serve in the Philippines. Ever since then, God has been laying the foundation, preparing our hearts and opening doors. Our desire to reach the lost with the undeniable truth of the gospel grew in intensity after our visit to Makati City in Manila in 2003 when our son, Christopher married. When we wandered down a side street in search of the street market and great bargains, we could not help but stumble over the feet and even legs of squatters who camped on the outside walls of the Catholic church, or the little boy who stood behind us patiently at McDonald’s until we offered him a bit of money, or someone shooed him away. As we battled to discern who was truly in need and who was the simple beggar, God planted a seed of passion in our hearts we found we could not deny. In the span of time since then we sold our house, Matthew’s business of more than 20 years and joined the Rancho 3M staff to work in the office at the orphanage and teach English. God in His marvelous grace continues to grow us in humility and wisdom.
When we first came to Rancho 3M we committed to two years but felt we would probably stay three. We came with the understanding that God had placed a call on Matthew to serve in the Philippines. And, for that reason the director of the orphanage, Dean Adamek had been preparing and training us just for that purpose: to run an orphanage in the Philippines.
Upon our arrival, in Guadalupe, we immediately joined the local Sovereign Grace church in El Paso, Vista New Life Church now known as Cross of Grace Church. The trip from Guadalupe, Mexico to El Paso is about an hour. As part of the body at Cross of Grace Church we became acquainted with Tony Walsh who is in charge of outreaches to the Philippines and provides solid Biblical training to those pastors and wives who desire a better understanding of the Gospel. We spoke with Tony during one of his visits and shared our desire to serve in the Philippines.
Approximately two years after our first meeting Tony, he put us in touch with Pastor Cornelio Ebo and His Dwelling Christian Church in Cebu City, (the Visayan Islands where Lee’s grandfather was born and raised).
Working at Rancho 3M caused our desire to reach people with the gospel to grow to such extent that we attended evangelism seminars, we read our bibles and books on evangelism. More importantly we prayed that God would use us and that He would touch the heart of the children there. We used times of discipline to point to the great mercies of God, to alert the children of our state of depravity in terms we could understand, we’ve pleaded with them to cry out to God and have prayed with them regularly.
We have seen the lives of many children change as a result of the concerted efforts of the Rancho 3m staff. One only had to look into the eyes of a child whose life has been dramatically changed to see the marvelous hand of God.
Once, after reading 1 and II Kings and feeling heartbreak after heartbreak to have learned of one who would follow hard after God, but then his sons did evil in God’s sight. This scenario was repeated time after time. Though we would find one faithful before God who accomplished great things in His name, time and again their sons would turn out evil beyond imagination. So when we pondered how only in the time of one generation the zeal for God could be completely lost we were saddened, almost distressed. But all the more we sought and continue to seek for better understanding of the word of God and the Gospel and, to understand God’s people and how better to serve them because it is God’s will that all people would be reconciled to Himself.
It was our impression though, that if the Philippines was where God indeed wanted us to serve, that the opportunity would arise out of our relationship with Sovereign Grace Ministries and that the ministry must be an extension of a local church body in the Philippines. This criteria has been met:
- We are coming alongside a church that already has a relationship with Sovereign Grace and in fact, Pastor Cornelio will be attending the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College in Gaithersburg this September.
- We met Pastor Cornelio through Tony Walsh who ministers to a team of pastors there, Pastor Cornelio included.
- The orphanage is an extension of Pastor Cornelio’s church: His Dwelling Christian Church.
Our burden, our desire is: to see generation after generation living for the Glory of God, obedient to faith in Christ Jesus, who in turn will bring up generation after generation of children who are faithful to God’s calling, who bring glory to God with all of their hearts with all that they do, as long as the Lord tarries. And, it is with this hope, this vision that we go to the Philippines.
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