A Bumpy Road and an Answered Prayer in Southern Palawan
by Daniel Hosford
As I rode along in the small van, bouncing over a rough road in southern Palawan, my eyes took in the vivid scenes flying past outside the van’s windows.
Huts and small bamboo shacks flew by, too many to count. Vivid green fields of rice paddies danced with the wind, against a backdrop of lush jungle mountains. A few muscular water buffalo trudged along the side of the road, as chickens and children scurried out of the way.
Beside me sat a young missionary. His eyes lit up as he told me stories of the difference he and his team had been making in the region. As we passed through his childhood hometown, he told me that his father had passed away when he was young, making it difficult for his mom to provide for their family. As we talked, I mentioned that my wife was Canadian, and with a big smile he proudly pulled out a Canadian $50 bill that had been given to him. He told me that he had been collecting currencies from around the world. He told me that sadly he would have to give it up soon, as his sister was struggling to stay in school, and he had decided to exchange the Canadian money for local currency, to help her with tuition. I asked how much he made, and he told me he was blessed to receive a missionary stipend of roughly $90 USD/month. He told me how happy he was to assist the dental team in their work and also to share Jesus with other young people. He told me how he also got to help produce media and religious radio broadcasts sharing his faith. His desire was to spend his life serving God.
His eyes brightened again as he shared that a group of his friends wanted to go hold a volunteer dental clinic in the remote regions up in northern Palawan. He told me that the whole team had been praying because they did not have the money needed for gas to be able to drive their vehicle five hours north to serve these people. I asked him what it would cost for the fuel needed. He estimated that it would only cost about $130. One hundred and thirty dollars. That is all that was holding this team of dentists back from being able to share hope and help with others. He said that he knew God would provide, and they were waiting on Him.
To me, $130 USD feels seemingly insignificant. In the United States, it’s almost like pocket change. It could buy one night in a hotel, two tanks of gas, or a pair of quality shoes. $130 just kept ringing in my ears. How often do I spend that amount without even a thought, when that is all that was preventing a dental care team from being able to minister to a whole community in desperate need. One hundred and thirty dollars.
Lost in thought, I gazed out the window once again. A little tear trickled down my cheek as another village whizzed by. I thought about how big the need is here in the Philippines. I knew that every village I was passing likely needed a dental team and clinic, and a Bible worker and church building to share Jesus with the many hurting precious people. I realized how far just a little could go. I realized the sacrifices that this team were making for missions. Although I often feel like I am supporting God’s work, I realized in an instant that I am not sacrificing for God’s work. The beautiful thing about a mission trip is how it can cast a fresh perspective on life. And this was one of those moments for me. Here I was, traveling along on a bumpy road, surrounded by those who are truly sacrificing for God. And I was not.
Snapping back into the present, I knew that I could make a difference right here, right now. I reached down to my pocket and pulled out my wallet. Flipping through the bills I counted out $130 USD and handed it to him. A little shocked, he wrapped his arms around me. He told me how he had been praying and praying that God would provide enough money so they could afford the gas to be able to go and serve.
I looked back down at my wallet, and I only had a few more bills left. My mind wavered for a moment. I felt impressed to give him everything in my wallet, but then I thought, “What if I will need it on my trip home? What if…?” Seeing his gratitude and dedication to service, I knew what I had to do. I reached in and handed him the rest of the money I had with me. His eyes widened again, and he questioned, “Are you sure?” I told him, “Yes. I’m sure. I want you to be able to keep your Canadian bill. I want your sister to be able to stay in school. I want you to be able to continue being a missionary. You have given more to me than I have given to you.”
As I looked back out the window, I thought, “What am I even doing with my life? How did I get to a place where I am so focused on making money that I forget how much of a blessing money can be when it is given back to God.” I thought about my life in America. And I felt a bit rebuked. People here are pleading with God for a little money to buy gas for their vehicle so they can go and minister to others. Then a disturbing thought hit me. “When was the last time that I pleaded with God for means to reach the lost? When was the last time I had sacrificed for my Jesus? When was I going to let God change my stony selfish heart with a heart that is willing to give everything for His work?” The questions continued as another little tear trickled down my cheek.
My trip to the Philippines is over. I am now sitting on an airplane taking me far away from this mission field. As I think back on my time in Palawan, I realize afresh that I have another mission field to attend too; That is my own heart and my own home. I pray that God will give me His heart for the lost. I pray that I will surrender my will and life and my money more and more often. I also pray that this small story encourages each of you to sacrifice what God has given you and see what God can do. If you don’t have $130 to give, I would ask you to think about how you could sacrifice to assist God’s work with what you have. If you think consciously about where your money is spent, it does not take too long to set aside a few bills. There is so much need around the world, and our funds can go far. But what I am realizing more and more is that it is not just the money that counts. While funds are desperately needed, what God really needs is our hearts—hearts that will actually live and sacrifice for Him. Hearts that long for Him to come back so much, that we will give everything that we have, our money, our time, our lives, so that others can be in the kingdom of Heaven. Whether or not Jesus comes in our lifetime, this generation will still be either saved or lost. And I want to let God use my life in a way that more souls will be with Him forever. Who will join me?
“Only one life twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” - CT Studd
Daniel Hosford is a freelance videographer and loves telling stories of missions through film. Having traveled to 67 countries, and producing thousands of videos, he is more passionate than ever to utilize technology and media to spread Jesus. He and his wife Heather live in Michigan.
World Church Prayer Requests
June 9-15, 2023
- Pray for God to raise up missionaries and Bible workers for the needs across Palawan and the many other areas across the worldwide mission field.
- Pray for those who lead and help the many Global Mission Urban Centers around the world. Pray that even more “Centers of Influence” can be developed in unreached cities.
- Pray for General Conference missionaries working with Adventist Missions, as well as the missionaries working with ASAP Ministries, Jesus for Asia, Adventist Frontier Missions and our many other supporting organizations.
- Pray for believers in the country of Iran. This country has nearly 84 million people, and there is no official Adventist church or membership.
- Pray for God to open the doors into North Korea where we currently have no Adventist presence. Pray for the Christian believers there who are suffering for their faith.