Both Matthew and I (Lee) Dwinells felt the call of God to missions early in our Christian walk more than 25 years ago. Matthew specifically felt the call to serve in the Philippines. God has been laying the foundation throughout the years, 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 2005 where our son, Christopher, was married and catapulted our desire. We had been leading the Gospel Outreach team in our local church.
During our visit to Manila we providentially 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 lived 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 and, 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.
A year and a half later, God opened a door to serve in an orphanage in Mexico which served as the linchpin to our ministry here in the Philippines. We sold our home, 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 from our experience with the Adamek family.
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. Working with Dean caused our desire to reach people with the gospel to grow in intensity. We used times of discipline to point to the great mercies of God, to alert the children of our common state of depravity in terms we both could understand. We pleaded with them to cry out to God and 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. T his spirit continues at our own orphanage here in Cebu, Philippines.
As part of the body at Cross of Grace Church we became acquainted with T ony 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. T ony connected us with Pastor Cornelio Ebo and His Dwelling Christian Church in Cebu City, in the Visayan Islands, which by the way is where Lee..s grandfather was born and raised).
We continue in the spirit of grace with the hope that God will use us in teaching children to break past the bondages of sin, to cross over from the trappings of poverty to lifestyles supportive of a community built on families rooted in Christ, desiring a better tomorrow for all Filipinos by sacrificial living and giving of time and resources, becoming the future leaders of their generation and this nation, willing to do their part to help usher in the Kingdom of God.