Volume. XXXII, No. 15
Sunday, 08 October 2017

Lessons from the House of Hope Ministry - Cebu, Philippines: Part 2

Last week Elder David Yeo introduced us to the House of Hope (HOH) and his reflections from his visit to the Philippines and subsequent dinner meeting with six of the workers in Adelaide in July 2017. Elder David was touched by the honesty and humility of these workers who were initially introduced to the HOH when they themselves were treated for drug addiction and through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ became believers. We shall now continue with the lessons learnt through this ministry…

I do that I will understand and profit from God’s word.
Some hear of God’s word and then it is forgotten after a while. How true that is for men. Let us be honest with ourselves, frequently, what we hear and read may just reside dormant and buried somewhere in our grey matter, unless it is forgotten with time. Some need to experience and perhaps see God’s word in practice so that they are better able to remember the value of the Word of God.

The HOH men have taken the same journey as most of us.  They start by reading and hearing about Jesus Christ. And as they observe the marvelous work at the HOH ministry, they then experience and remember the grace of God. It does not stop there. These HOH men are then spurred into action so that they may truly understand and profit from the Word of God.

Each HOH addict who undergoes the program at the HOH has a different outcome. Some will go on to become useful citizens in the community. Some may relapse and succumb to their addictions. Others become faithful doers by returning to HOH to serve in the ministry of their calling. I can testify that they are returning to the HOH not because they are drawn to earning a good wage. Most of these men, could earn far more than the stipend that the HOH can offer. They could have worked secular jobs and contributed monetarily instead of working full time at the HOH. What these men teach us is that when it is their true calling to serve, it is insufficient just to pray for the lonely and lost, the poor and starving, the sick and suffering. Nor is it sufficient only to give monetary alms to alleviate the condition of those who suffer and hunger. Is it not better to be like the HOH men who do practice God’s Word with action, as a testimony of their salvation? Is it not better to have the testimony of our faith matching the words of James 2: 17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

Let us then visit the widows and elderly. Let us care and encourage the sick. Let us challenge ourselves to literally feed the hungry stranger sprawled in the squalor of their blankets around Adelaide. With some prodding, we may give some money for the sake of our conscience. Sometimes, it may be better to make and offer a sandwich to those who need food. If the secular world operates the soup kitchens of today, then, what about us Christians? Does our testimony show evidence of action that we have truly profited from the Word?

Don’t cry for me
There was sadness, anguish, prejudice and despair in the former lives of these men from HOH caught in the snares of addiction. But a new morning has broken in their lives where he gentle voice of the Holy Spirit leads them to the path of a certain hope far away from the vice-like grip of a former dark existence. When you hear their testimonies, and understand the personal sacrifices that they make for the residents who are undergoing drug rehabilitation, you are moved to tears. However, the men from HOH will say “Don’t cry for me”.

Many wives of the HOH men work to support the husbands’ ministry. Their work is demanding both physically and mentally. It is hard for us to even begin to understand caring for drug addicts. It requires your presence with them for many hours at a time. Someone is required to be physically on site by 5am each day and others have to sleep in the HOH property as constant supervision is required for the residents. Quietly, some have shared with me that they are burnt out. It is certainly demanding to counsel those with issues of addiction daily. Our first response is to lean towards feeling pity for these HOH men. But, remember their plea “Don’t cry for me”.  What we may not comprehend is that for them, the spiritual rewards are great and they far outweigh what we perceive as their suffering.

We were told that they have annual retreats. A time of rest and a change from their routine. I salute these full-time staff and volunteers of the HOH that they do not unselfishly plan a separate retreat just for themselves. It is hard for us to understand, but their rest is still doing their part in the changed lives of the addicts. To understand this tireless work that they do, and the bond between the staff and residents, you need to stay for a while in Cebu. They do their daily devotionals, exercises, meals, work and worship together. They sit around the compound fellowshipping with and encouraging one another. Men who work at HOH do not view the residents merely as residents, but as their family, their brothers of a common Father.

If rest from their daily HOH commitment is offered, they will most probably accept it, but I have not, in the last three years of interaction with them heard them solicit sponsorships for holidays away from the HOH. When they rest, they want to rest with the people that they love.  Such is the gratitude and such is the love they have for the residents that their service at HOH is their life and they work tirelessly for the Lord. They are proud men and their pride stems from knowing that it is only Christ who truly guides and encourages them in their calling. Their rest is going to Christ with their heavy burdens. They claim what the Lord offers “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

If we should feel some pity for these men then it is best that our pity is transformed into charity and energy to serve alongside them. If we prayerfully feel that they need support in kind, then may God move us to provide for their needs.  If we are pricked by the Holy Spirit in our hearts to know that they need rest, then offer rest to them by going to Cebu to contribute our time. If we are led by God to know of the needs for their families, then provide for their families. But do not cry for these proud men of HOH for their reward and rest is in doing their calling. Instead, admire them and learn from them. They know that God has placed many sheep in their care and that these shepherds in Cebu are ever alert, never craving rest, never slothful because that careless attitude that places their sheep in grievous danger of relapsing into the sins of addiction.

To be continued…

More Lively Hope



- Welcome Preacher Hai Seng Lim to the pulpit.
- Adult Sunday School: From today and for the next 4 or 5 Lord's Days, the topic is "How to study the Bible". All worshippers are encouraged to attend.
- Wedding congratulations.
- Adult and Junior Daily Manna & RPGs for next quarter available in the foyer.
- Special thanks to all who provided hospitality to Rev Hyun Choi; Organisers, helpers & participants in last weekend's Integrated Fellowship Retreat.
- Kitchen Duty helpers - This week: Team C. Next week: Team A.

Praise & Thanksgiving
- New worshippers & church activities in the past week.
- Journeys mercies for all arriving safely at their destinations.
- Anniversary Thanksgiving: True Life BPC (S'pore) - 14th; Ebenezer BPC (Melb) - 18th; Life BPC (S'pore) - 67th; Maranatha BPC (S'pore) - 27th.

- Healing: Rev George van Buuren; Pastor Daniel Mwinzi (Kenya); and others who are unwell.
- Journey mercies for all travelling.
- Holiday Bible Club: Pr Hai Seng Lim, organisers, helps and students.
- Las Vegas shooting: comfort for those who lost their loved ones; healing for those injured.
- Health & safety in pregnancy.
- Year 12 exams.



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