LifeLink Devotions

Monday, April 24, 2023

In 1951 my parents had just gotten married and were preparing to go to the Philippines as missionaries. Unfortunately, they never went due to a health issue my mom developed. Instead they became missionaries with the American Sunday School Union and planted churches in rural Pennsylvania.

In 1980 I became involved with the Philippine ministry. But I never knew about my parents’ plans to serve there until 1991 when I was planning my first trip to Davao City. With tears in her eyes my mom told me how the Lord was fulfilling her dreams through me. For 43 years I’ve developed a deep love for the Filipino people, and been blessed with numerous lifelong friendships and ministry opportunities. And based on something that happened on this last trip, I don’t think it’s done.

As I travelled through the mountain regions of Mindanao, the Field Supervisor of the ministry told me something that brought tears of joy to my eyes. I was overwhelmed with humility and honor all at once. I could not verbally express the gratitude I was experiencing in my soul.

“Pastor John, we want to ordain you as an ECOFI pastor so you are one of us,” he said.

I literally had to ask him to repeat it because I couldn’t believe I had heard correctly. As he said it again my tears flowed uncontrollably. The Lord Jesus was choosing to bestow on me an honor I could never have dreamed of having in this life. He explained that I would be considered an official partner in the ministry, with full ministry rights and privileges. It was an honor I cannot explain. It was as if the Lord Himself was reaching down and thanking me for 43 years of faithful service and sacrifice.

When we returned from our mountain ministry adventures, I was asked to submit all my doctrinal paperwork to the ordination council. My wife was able to find it in my files and send it to me. On Wednesday morning I was called in for an interview. I was impressed with the integrity of their ordination system. Then, that evening, during the Pastor’s Conference, after the message, I was called forward along with four other Filipino pastors. We knelt in front of the ECOFI leadership as they laid hands on us and prayed over us, commissioning us for lifelong ministry as an ECOFI Pastor and leader.

Then came another surprise. They asked me and the American Director of the Ministry, Dr. Hank Roso, to kneel in front of them as they anointed our heads with oil and prayed over us. In this symbolic anointing they declared that we were called to the highest positions of leadership in the ministry and were granted the Lord’s commission of appointing and anointing others for their leadership.

It was then explained to me that the next night at the Pastor’s Conference we would have the privilege of anointing and praying for the Filipino Director and the district supervisors. They would then join us as we anointed the heads of all the pastors and pastoras who were at the conference – almost 400 of them. It was an amazing night as we saw the work of Jesus in their hearts as they surrendered to the call of their Lord to be devoted to the Gospel ministry. It was a time of overwhelming spiritual renewal and commitment.

I don’t know how to fully express to you what this all meant to me. But I want to ask you something. Are you serving the Lord so faithfully and sacrificially that He is preparing an honor for you, whether in this life or in His presence? Is your passion for the Gospel so powerful in your life that you are ready and willing to go wherever He directs you to whomever He leads you and courageously tell others about the saving love of Jesus?

I hope so. There is nothing more fulfilling in life than to be honored by the Lord.

Pastor John

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