Two texts of Scripture come immediately to mind when I think about my time at LCP. What else would you expect from a pastor? The first passage is Paul’s prayer of Thanksgiving for the church in Thessalonica and the second is Jesus’s short parable of the Kingdom of God in Matthew 13.
For me, LCP exhibits the same three things for which Paul was thankful in the young church in Thessalonica: her work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I was truly amazed at the comprehensiveness of the work of faith in which LCP has been engaged. I saw it in the pre-schools; the School on Wheels, the soup kitchens; the weekly Bible studies; the Spirit filled worship service; the daily staff devotions; the clean, safe residences and the lovingly cared for children who live in them; the health clinic; the physical therapy program; the chorizo manufacturing livelihood project; and the scores of sponsored children and families. The comprehensive nature of the program was mind boggling considering that LCP has only been at work for a short 30 years.
I also saw LCP’s work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in the smile of a CP afflicted child fully included in a pre-school class and lovingly assisted by his mother. I saw it in the huge well-used Bible in the lap of an elderly woman in one of the community Bible studies. I saw it in the hopes and dreams of the girls in the Wee Women’s Dorm, the younger boys in the Hanson House, and the older boys at the Consuelo Home. I saw it in the eyes of our sponsored child and her mother. I heard it in the stories of the alumni. I saw it in the joy and excitement of the high school, college, preschool and School on Wheel’s graduates. I saw it in the teamwork, dedication, enthusiasm, and wisdom of the staff. I saw it and was humbled by it. Jesus said that faith can move mountains. LCP is living testimony to that truth.
LCP is an exhibition of what Jesus spoke about in what I think is his shortest parable of the Kingdom of God in Matthew 13:33. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like the leaven hidden in three measures of flour that eventually leavens the whole batch. LCP graduates are that leaven from my perspective. LCP nurtures and equips them and then sends them out into society to infuse it with the Kingdom of God. As a result, LCP is not only serving the children and families of Dumaguete but also the wider society through them.
We are deeply appreciative to have had an opportunity to help out with the community Bible studies and at the soup kitchens. I must admit that I felt a little unprepared and not really sure what passage of Scripture to choose for the studies but the one I finally did choose, Matthew 5:14-16, seemed to work.
One thing that I thought about when I saw the overwhelming involvement of the mothers of sponsored children was what it would take to get the fathers more visibly involved. Perhaps the Holy Spirit was opening our eyes to a new opportunity. On my return, I took the liberty of speaking to a colleague who has been deeply involved in men’s ministry for a number of years. Our conversation has only begun and I hope that the Lord will grace us with some useful ideas to share.
The trip is best summarized for me by the reaction of one of the congregants in the church I am temporarily serving as interim pastor. She looked at my face, heard some of the stories and said that I should go on more such trips because I looked so refreshed and excited about what I had seen God doing at LCP. For her to see that in me in spite of my struggling with jet lag was a testament to the amazing ministry of LCP.
My wife, Kathy, and I look forward to being advocates in the future for the program in the Mid-Atlantic. We now not only have a wealth of information and experiences to share, we also have the excitement and compulsion to share it.
By: John Paderson, LCP Volunteer