It was our first date in quite a while, and we went to our favorite pizza place over on the beach. We were having a good time talking and eating, when an elderly man from North Carolina stopped by our table to ask about the pizza. We chatted for a few minutes and then he rejoined his party, which was seated next to our table. I couldn't help but notice that he was seated with a Filipino mother about 20 years younger than him, two 20-something kids and an elementary age girl. This man had flown from North Carolina to spend a couple of weeks with the 20-something daughter. Her mother, brother, and the little girl were along for a vacation, as well.
Living here in the Philippines, we see old white men with young girlfriends or prostitutes daily. I never get used to it, but I think that I try to ignore it. Taking the family to town for groceries the other day, I swerved the van to avoid an gaunt old Caucasian man with long grey hair on a motorbike. He was stopped in the road and a prostitute was hopping onto the back of his bike. Outside of the grocery store, another elderly Westerner strode by with his arm around a young Filipino man. Sex is not free, but it is cheap. That's why it is so shameful. Sex was never meant to be cheapened by lust or money.
The sexual relationship is sacred, meant to be shared by a man and a woman within God's covenant of marriage. Marriage is a sacred picture of the relationship that Jesus Christ has with the church. It's a pure love, not to be shared with others for money, lust, or power.
But, let's get back to Matt from North Carolina and my date night with Gina. As we got ready to leave the pizza place, Matt came over to talk. He was telling me about his multiple trips to the Philippines. About his room rate and his stay with the girl from Laguna and her mother... etc. Then, he mentioned something that seemed unusual. He said that he had sat next to some missionaries on the airplane. That they help children living on trash dumps. They have bracelets with different colors about hope, he said. Well, Matt had me at hope! I pulled out a gospel bracelet from Threads of Hope and said, "I have a Threads of Hope bracelet right here that I'll give you." He eagerly stretched out his left wrist. I hesitated for a second and then tied it onto his wrist. "Did I have the courage to tell him the gospel?" I asked myself. But...That's why we're here! So, I pointed at each color on his wrist and said, "God is holy. We have sinned and are spiritually dead. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He gives us new life. And, to grow in Christ each day, we read our Bible and pray."
As I drove my sweet wife home, I thought about Matt. A really old foreign guy with a hard-faced young lady. Two people missing the point of sex, marriage, and life. Life is about a real, daily relationship with Jesus Christ. Life is about living out the plans that He has for you: Being part of a marvelous relationship, a world-wide relationship called the Bride of Christ.
That's why we're missionaries here: To bring the hope of forgiveness, acceptance, and real life through Jesus Christ to the children, families, and adults in a little beach town called Puerto Galera.
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.