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David
I'm a Filipino-American from Illinois doing missionary work in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, with my wife, Sarah, and my children, Carmen and Jacob.
Interests: I am interested in songwriting, reading, running, writing, singing, volleyball, playing blues on my guitar, hiking, jazz piano playing, and basketball. I am an avid Chicago Cubs fan and crazy about the The Bears. I believe in The Big Blue Nation where the UK Wildcats rule in all basketball games.
Recent Activity
Today, we will look at the Easter narration through the experiences of two persons. We will reflect on the experience of John and Mary Magdalene, and their responses to that first day of the week, the fist day when they learned Jesus rose from the dead. (Let us read John 20:3-10.) I was in first grade when I learned that butterflies came from caterpillars. The first time I heard about this, I said: “I do not believe this.” It took a lot of explanation from the teacher to get my attention. The final act that turned me around was when... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2019 at David's Reflections
Most of us are broken and yet have a sense of accomplishment for today’s events. We cry. We sigh. We choke on our words as we share. We are gathered around tonight to recount our recent visit with the children at the Bantar Gebang or garbage mountain. One team member, with tears in her eyes, shares her experience of praying with the children, holding their hands as they sing together, and listening to their stories. Today, we have seen God move among the children of this community. Amidst the tears and laughter, these children speak of liberation from violence and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2019 at David's Reflections
“How did you become a Christian?” “Did God ever speak to you through a dream?” “What is the most difficult time in your life as a missionary in Taiwan?” Q & A time. These questions belong to 5th and 6th Graders from the Manahanim Elementary School. These are very serious questions. No one would expect these sort of questions from any elementary school aged children. I am here in Bekasi, Indonesia, visiting the Christian Education ministry of the Mahanaim Foundation, our host for our team. We are a group of twelve people from the seminary in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, coming to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2019 at David's Reflections
I do not know how to describe it. I have this constant feeling that I am missing something. I go through the day always watching out for something to happen. And yet, at the back of my mind, I have this apprehension that it has already passed me by. I ask God to stay close with me. I pray that in the midst of this nagging emptiness and search for an illusive spiritual experience, my Lord and my God will be by my side. I do not know what else to say, and to whom should I go, but to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2018 at David's Reflections
My heritage is Filipino. My upbringing is American. I am one Filipino-American (FilAm) who is caught in-between these two worlds. Some days I feel more like one over the other. My roots are in the Philippines, but my citizenship is in the USA. You can just imagine the constant "turmoil" I have in my own personal reflection time. This struggle for identity is coming out in the open at this time of the Philippine General Conference 2019 (PGC2019), here in Butuan City, Philippines. Let me back up a little bit. I am here in the Philippines as a visitor and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2018 at David's Reflections
“Now I know what you were talking about, Pastor. After the police arrested me because of my Christian faith, I remember the story you told us before, when you were in prison yourself.” These are the words of one anonymous brother who is sharing to Pastor Ben Mann (a pseudonym) his experiences with the local authorities. Ben Mann, an FM pastor here in Asia, recounts to me this story over breakfast here in Thailand. We are here for a time of resourcing and mutual encouragement. We have different sessions to consult on the state of the work, as well as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2018 at David's Reflections
Today, I want to share with you a testimony of a sister who experienced God's healing and faithfulness. (I am sharing this story with her permission.) God is using her here in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. This is her story: Good morning! I am Loisa Tai, married to a Taiwanese man. We have two wonderful children, a daughter, who is 21, and a son, who is 18 years old. As a woman married to a man with a different culture, language, and belief, one must have the courage to face every circumstances. But I am so thankful we survived our first few... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2018 at David's Reflections
One day, an 8-year old boy was playing on a beach somewhere in Florida. He was digging a hole and collecting the sand to make a sand castle. After a while, a man came by and talked to the boy. He said: “Little boy what are you doing?” But the boy just kept digging and storing up sand for his sand castle. “Let me help,” the man continued. “I can take a picture of you and document your progress. Meanwhile, I can play some music for you on my smartphone and encourage you while you work.” After a while, a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2018 at David's Reflections
I am eating “Arsik.” Arsik is a fresh water fish cooked in a spicy sauce which is a special delicacy for residents in Medan. It is a bony type of fish and usually eaten with rice. Indonesians, especially those living here in the city of Medan, love to show off their native flavors, including Arsik, to foreigners visiting their country. Shirish and I are here in Medan for a few days of meetings with our new found friends. He flew in from Mumbai, India, and I came straight from Kaohsiung, Taiwan. We were invited by a group of Christians who... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2018 at David's Reflections
I always thought that one of my strength is “vision casting.” I guess you can simply call it “talking.” I like talking to people, most especially when we are all connecting with a vision or a plan to do something meaningful in the coming days. So, a month ago, I was at a missions congress in Hong Kong. Free Methodists from all over Asia were there to participate. I was talking to one youth leader from Cambodia. He is beginning an outreach program to orphans and vulnerable children. He works with parents who are willing to open their lives to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2018 at David's Reflections
"I come inside through the big wooden doors. These are elaborately decorated with religious symbols of dragons, monsters, and fiery animals real only to an Asian religious practitioner. I see many people with their prayer sticks. I smell the incense engulfing the whole prayer room. I come inside this beautiful temple and soak in the presence of spirituality that I cannot comprehend. To my right, a person whom I presume is an expert--not only because of his dashing robe and regal hat, but mainly because of his confident way of explaining things--is showing some visitors the way to use the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2018 at David's Reflections
I am here in South Asia, for the last 20 or so days, meeting up with pastors and local leaders, teaching from the Book of Mark and encouraging everyone to be serious about their study of God's word and its application in their daily life. I have travelled to six different locations. I have eaten the people's local food; lots of dal, jero, and chicken curry. I have seen the diversity of cultures and languages here. Most of the locals have mistaken me for one of them. Obviously, I have the Asian look but once I open my mouth and... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2018 at David's Reflections
This Black Saturday (Great Sabbath), I share with you some thoughts on prayer and the disciplines of grief, forgiveness, and generosity--excerpts from Henri Nouwen's writing. "Can I give without wanting anything in return, love without putting any conditions on my love? Considering my immense need for human recognition and affection, I realize that it will be a lifelong struggle. But I am also convinced that each time I step over this need and act free of my concern for return, I can trust that my life can truly bear the fruits of God's Spirit." (Nouwen, Henri. 1992. The Return of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2018 at David's Reflections
We ate good food. We shared many stories. We encouraged each other with visions of our God working in Southeast Asia. How can we participate in God’s work and follow His leadership in this region of the world? I am here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, visiting with our Free Methodist (FM) missionaries. My primary goal is to see for myself some FM ministries located here in Thailand so I can prepare a mission trip for the following year and bring some students from our FM seminary in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. So, while I am learning new things about the work, I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2018 at David's Reflections
“What can we say the kingdom of God is like? How shall we put it in a parable? It is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which, when it is sown, is smaller than any seed that is ever sown. But after it is sown in the earth, it grows up and becomes bigger than any other plant. It shoots out great branches so that birds can come and nest in its shelter.” (JB Phillips NT) Everyone knows that investing one’s money in a bank is a good thing. You make deposits because you know that in the future you... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2018 at David's Reflections
I am learning the names of the pastors and leaders. There are more than 35 in attendance to this 5-day Pastors’ Training Seminar. I try my best but in the end, I can only remember a few. I give more emphasis on knowing the types of ministries these pastors are involved in. Here are a few question I gathered as I went around talking to our Nepali pastors. How do you write songs for your worship time in your local churches here in Nepal? Some of these Free Methodist pastors write their own worship songs. Pastor Padam uses his sarangi,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2017 at David's Reflections
Kul and Minu invited me to their home for a time of dinner and fellowship. I gladly accepted their invitation. It would be a good break for me from my usual time of lectures and teaching. And besides, they have one-year old Joyce, whom I met earlier, and she is such an adorable baby. She has the prettiest smile and would respond to my questions when prodded. It did not matter that she understood my questions, or if I can understand her gibberish baby talk. Her giggles and passionate monologues were always fun to watch. I looked forward to meeting... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2017 at David's Reflections
Ten years ago, these young people were children visiting our ICCM (International Child Care Ministry) centers, and some of them were sponsored children. Now, they are active youth members of our local Free Methodist (FM) churches in Cambodia. They help out in the ministry in many different ways. One of these is going out with the local pastors to help in the outreach ministries. Some of them tell Bible stories to children. Others manage the sports activities. A few share the gospel to local mothers and parents in the areas where they visit. In short, these young people are active... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2017 at David's Reflections
We said our goodbyes. Carmen and I hugged each other. Yesterday, I said goodbye to my daughter, Carmen, and my son, Jacob. They won’t have the chance to say goodbye to me because my departure time for Cambodia is one of those early flights. I need to leave the house by 5:00 in the morning. Saying good bye to my family never gets any easier. I have been doing this work for over ten years. And every time, leaving the family in Kaohsiung still leaves me with a hollow feeling inside. I still struggle with the act of giving a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2017 at David's Reflections
We are back in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It is good to be here. This is where God wants us to be, for now. This is where my children's friends are, most of them. This is the city we call home, until the time when God sends us again to another place. I like staying here in Kaohsiung. I love the food and the hospitality of the people. Maybe, not too much the weather. I could live without the humidity and pollution. Some days, the horizon is clear and we can see the beautiful mountains from a distance. I like staying here... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2017 at David's Reflections
“Let us pray for the Clementes.” They all gathered around my family, the four of us, and prayed for us with everyone extending their hands in a symbolic gesture of affirmation and faith. This prayer time is extra meaningful, not only because all of the church members who are praying for us are our good friends from many years, some from 25 years ago. Their prayers are also significant because this local community is giving to us, their missionaries, out of their poverty. This local church is a small congregation of 50 or so, and financially challenged, and struggling to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2017 at David's Reflections
We were huddled in front of the campfire exchanging stories and singing songs, old songs. “And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own.” I started with this song, and Sarah C., Sarah P., Cindy, Joy, and Marlene joined in the next few lines. We sang in harmony. We did not care when we messed up verses and interchanged lines from one stanza to the other. We were having a great time. “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee.” We moved on to other hymns and great old gospels.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2017 at David's Reflections
“I want to serve the Lord,” Mr. A shares with me his frustration. “But I cannot. I have to take this job to provide for my family.” He recounts an earlier attempt to play the piano for a local church. The music ministry was fulfilling but there was no steady income. He had to find work somewhere else. Mr. A is a professional musician working here in a restaurant here in Taiwan. His wife, Mrs. J works in the same location as a singer. Let us call them A&J for short. They sing in a restaurant, seven days a week,... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2017 at David's Reflections
"And can it be that I should gain. . . " This great Charles Wesley hymn will always be a part of my ... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at David's Reflections
"Though your sins are like scarlet / they shall be white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18) I find myself singing the song based on this Isaiah chapter. "Though they be red, red as crimson." Today, my devotions start with the book of Isaiah. It is a liberating thought to know that all my sins are washed away. His mercy set me free. I continue singing the song that I learned when I was in college. "They shall be white, white as snow." I remember now how hard it was for me to sing this song. Let me reminisce a little bit.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2017 at David's Reflections