Visiting the UAE last month was an amazing experience. The last time I was in Dubai was six years ago, after a trip to Israel, and while I was seven months pregnant with my fourth child.
This trip was unique because we got to connect with Filipinos. Meeting with Filipinos every single day and getting to know their stories and spiritual journeys was especially meaningful to me.
In the evenings Edric and I would speak, along with Elijah, who was the only one of our kids who came with us. (It gets expensive to travel as a family of seven!) Elijah got a special treat because he was turning thirteen.
Edric and I spoke on marriage, courtship, parenting, homeschooling, and personal finance. What a privilege it was to be able to talk to an audience who was so engaged, eager and appreciative. People were tired from each day of work but they sat through our nigh time sessions very attentively.
We ended our days very late but it was worth the investment of time and energy. Ministering to Filipinos overseas blessed me in a special way. I realized that all over the world, God is at work. He is moving in the hearts and minds of people. We can be a part of this work or we can sit on the sidelines and let these opportunities to experience God’s transforming power pass us by.
During one of our lunches with some couples from CCF Dubai (a branch of our church), they opened up to us about the story of a family who was in dire financial straits. The husband and wife were jobless and in desperate need of money. Since the husband had cases against him for debt, he could not be employed until these cases were settled. Both the husband and wife had come to know the Lord and were convicted to make changes in their lifestyle to avoid future debt. In the meantime, their children were pulled out of school and they had no means to buy food or pay rent. No employment options had opened up for either the husband or wife in many months. And even if other Filipino families had pooled together resources to help them out, this was not a sustainable fix. When this case was presented to us, we didn’t have great advice to give, but we did what we knew to be the best solution. Even if this family was absent during that lunch, we huddled together in prayer, beseeching God to do a miracle.
That evening, we received word that the wife was hired at the exact moment that we had implored the Lord! She updated the couple who had told us about their story. When they informed her that we had all been praying, she inquired as to the time. It was 1 PM when she got the call from her employer and that was the very hour that we lifted up her family’s situation to God!
Edric and I witnessed other stories of God’s handiwork in the lives of the people we met and connected with. These brought us spiritual encouragement and deep joy. Once again we came to the conclusion that it is a privilege to serve God.
Personally, I believe that the great reward of serving God is being witness to the transforming power of His grace. The more Edric and I get involved in ministry as a couple, the more we see that God is real, present, and actively at work to perform His will and purposes in the lives of people.
“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.” Philemon 1:4-6
Here are some visual highlights of our visit:
The Burj Khalifa – tallest building in the world
Snow Park in Mall of the Emirates