Jan 21, 2011

The Ping Pong Gospel

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..." Ecclesiastes 9:10

I realized the other day that I have not written in my blog since last year.  So for those of you who are wondering, yes, I am still alive; yes, I am healthy; yes, I am back in Pagudpud; yes, I am still having a wonderful time!
Today was a marvelous day, despite the rain that is pouring outside right now. Before my trip back to America, I met an Adventist woman who has not come to church in years. Maralin is a private practice nurse and a good friend of Norman, another friend of mine who introduced us. Today was my second day to talk with Maralin, and it ended up with the same result as last time: me feeling absolutely overjoyed with life! I LOVE talking with her! She has such a carefree, happy attitude, but at the same time she is so thoughtful about life. She has a heart of service and a passion for God. She doesn’t wallow in the problems of life, but she takes a stand against them and does her best to work for good. So today we talked, discussed a portion of Ephesians, and prayed together. When I said I had to go, she apologized for not having something to give me to eat. I told her, “No, you have already given me something—conversation. I love conversations with you!” To that she replied, “I like your face!” and we both laughed. Filipino humor is becoming more humorous to me…
This afternoon, Kim, Pastor Marc, and I went to see Uncle Mario, the man who will be receiving his prosthetic leg which was made in the states. He was SO HAPPY!! He won’t be receiving it until Monday or so, when Emily’s dad (who is visiting) will be able to fit it for him. Pastor Marc said he doubts that Mario will be able to sleep until then. Uncle Mario told me eagerly that when we leave, we need to leave him a picture of us with our signatures. That way he will have a tangible way to remember us. “I pray always for you and your schooling,” he told us, gesturing his folded hands toward Heaven. “You are a gift to me.” Yeah, I was pretty stoked with life after talking to such joyful and marvelous people today.
In other news, we have several new ministries. First, as was expected, Dr. and Mrs. Mitzelfelt arrived with me last week. Since then, our clinics have grown significantly. We now have them three times a week with a lot more people. The medical SMs have had a lot more to do, and so many more people are being helped now.
Another ministry that debuted last Saturday night was our Ping Pong ministry. While I was gone, Aaron crafted a ping pong table. He painted it green and everything. Saturday nights, we’ve been having all the AY from the region come over for games or movies or food or a combination of it all. This Saturday, the seven of us SMs, seven AY, Pastor Marc, and Uncle Ely had a ping pong night. It was really fun! Since then, we’ve been playing some every day. But besides having lots of fun and improving our hand-eye coordination, we’re using the table to reach out to others. There’s a young man our age who is newly baptized. He works in the market and is unable to come to church. I saw him in the market on Monday, told him about our table, and invited him to come play that night. I was a little uncertain about whether or not he would come. But there he was at 7:30, ready to play! He hasn’t been able to come to any church functions since I’ve been here. Now…we’ll just see what happens.
Construction has been going on the hospital again. There are about five local workers who are here every weekday to work. Kim and Aaron try to talk with them when they work together, but sometimes it’s been hard for them to connect. Now, though, instead of heading home right away after work, the workers stay and play ping pong with the guys. It’s been a great way for them to start connecting more—by having fun and enjoying one another’s company. Making friends.
Whether we are talking in a Bible study, giving computer lessons (I’m teaching a friend of mine here), or playing ping pong, we’re all taking part in ministry: a ministry of friendship, of influence, and above all, of love. I think that’s what true missionaries are all about. No matter if we live in the States or abroad, we can be missionaries to the world by demonstrating God’s love in all that we do. I think that’s what we’ve been called to do. We’ve been called to live a life where all of our actions are for the purpose of glorifying God and passing on His message to His people. And God can use anything to reach people.

Even ping pong.