In the year 2006, I was in my proper year in dentistry when our church sent a team to Coron, Palawan, Philippines for a medical, dental and evangelistic mission. An old man who waited the whole day to get medicines and have his teeth removed was used by God to open my eyes to see the great need and ignite the passion to help in the mission field. Since then, I’ve been joining medical and dental missions.
A great turning point in my life happened in 2013 when typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated the Visayas region. My heart was pierced as I watched the news; I couldn’t believe the aftermath of the typhoon. The Philippines has experienced many strong typhoons in the past but none that left this kind of devastation. I knew that my dental skill was not needed at that time, but a strong desire to just be there and do whatever I could do brought me to my knees. I wept and plead to the Lord to send me and be His hands and feet.
One of my mentors helped me get connected to a team of doctors who were going to Tacloban. I stayed and helped there for almost 3 weeks. Though it was a heart crushing, chaotic time, little did I know that the Lord was starting to change my heart’s desires. I was supposed to go and work abroad to support my family and the ministry. But no matter how noble my reasons were, like the Lord says, “Many are your plans, but only mine will stand.” The calling was clear and affirmed.
After many struggles and bargaining with the Lord, I finally obeyed and resolved in my heart to be in the ministry full time.
Dental health in the Philippines is greatly neglected because many are poor and cannot afford to avail dental services. The fee for one tooth extraction is equivalent to a family’s food budget for a week. So they would rather choose to bear the pain than to starve.
In the year 2014, a friend of mine invited me to help in a one-day mission in Payatas. He said they needed a dentist for the kids. I know many of them are poor, so I went together with another friend who is a dentist, too, and some young people from our church. That was the time when Ferdinand Medina (Executive Director, Sparrow Music Philippines) and I got reconnected after our meeting in Tacloban.
I’ve been hearing stories about the lives of people in Payatas but to see it and hear it straight from them is a different story. So when I learned about Sparrow Music, I was glad because I know this will be an avenue for the kids and their families to know more about the Lord, an organization that can be used by God to bring hope and change.
The opportunity to visit the Sparrow Music kids every year since 2014 and bring along some of my friends and youth from our church is a great privilege to serve the Lord. Hearing their dreams and getting to know more of them, not as patients but as kids, warms my heart. As I hear each of their stories, something is being changed in me as well. And seeing the volunteers dedicating their lives to be an instrument of hope changes and strengthens me to press on as a worker too in the ministry of the Lord.
Kids from Sparrow Music are God’s way of reminding me that life isn’t about being fair or unfair. It’s about His grace made available to everybody. That life situations is not the mere measurement of how deep His love for each and every one of us.
John 14:12-14 says, “Truly,truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
These verses are my daily reminder, as I work and serve the Lord.
For the past 3 years, I have seen how the Sparrow Music kids grow and improved. May the melody they create bless and bring glory to our King. May their lives be a living testimony of His goodness and loving kindness to all humanity.