An Indian volunteer pastor challenged us, “You Filipinos are enjoying your good life in this country (restricted to Christian missionaries). Did you realize that many of your countrymen are dying without Christ?”
I prayed for a week after being convicted so deeply because of my longtime dream to serve in the ministry. As I tendered my resignation, my Managing Director offered me a fifty-fifty percent sharing of the profit of his hundred acres of spices and turf plantation.
I wrestled for a few days about the offer and decided to reject it. I dedicated my life to serve God.
I went to Cebu, an island far from my home in the Philippines. A lady doctor that I met overseas offered me a part-time job opening a spices plantation and managing their large tract of farm land away from Cebu City while I served the Lord’s ministry. The plan failed.
I served the Lord by faith, without a job and no clear support for three solid years from 1990 to 1993 in any way He used my life. I did not know where my food and other provision would come from.
I lived in my best friend’s farm house for a few months and commuted to the city to attend a Christian church service every weekend.
One Sunday after the worship at my church, a friend invited me to join the local preacher and workers meeting. One of the association leaders asked me, “Why don’t you get a formal training in Bible seminary before doing mission work in the area?”
“I am praying about it.”
At the back of my mind I was talking to the Lord, “I do not know what to do. I followed Your direction to me to serve You. Now I am here for You. Do as You please.”
Suddenly my sense came back to the conversation, “Is there a chance for me to go to Bible seminary?”
“Yes, we will help you. Come to Cebu Bible Seminary next week and we will discuss your plan.”
Things started to fall into place. The president of the Bible seminary offered me a scholarship. They allowed me to teach the youth Sunday school in one of the city’s local congregations.
My friend’s family allowed me to use their private beach house close to the Bible seminary for free.
I relied on the Lord for all my needs. Sometimes a check or bank remittance would come from unknown senders for my allowance. When my shoes or clothes wore out friends or donors provided my needs.
One Friday evening, I was visiting a sick father of one of my fellow seminarians who needed money to buy medicine. I gave him my only six hundred pesos (about 15 dollars).
“Lord it’s up to You to feed me. His need is more urgent than mine.”
On Monday morning, I opened a mail from a family friend with eight hundred pesos with a note, “This gift is for you. Last week during our evening family devotion my youngest son Mickie told me, ‘Mom let us send Lilian eight hundred pesos, she needs it.”
I walked most of the time to save money. One Sunday on a crowded street, a pickpocket snatched my purse. I shouted and sat on the sidewalk crying, “Lord Jesus, help me. My only money was taken.” Within five minutes a hand dropped my purse beside me with the money still in it. “Thank You, Lord Jesus for helping me.”
After graduation from seminary, they hired me as faculty. In less than two years they promoted me to be an academic dean. God blessed me to serve as Vice-President.
My sister, who did not make it to medical school, joined me at Cebu Bible Seminary. She graduated with honors. She met a Christian spouse in the seminary who became a high ranking merchant mariner. They are both involved in the ministry and are generous financial supporters of the Lord’s ministry in the Philippines.
My adventure of obedience uncovered many blessings. Desperation and heartaches behind my wandering molded me to be patient, loving, forgiving, and passionate to reach out to the lost souls. What else can I ask for? The Lord arranged, provided and opened my lifetime ministry service to Him.