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I'm a Filipino-American, working remotely from Illinois, doing missionary work in Asia 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
God is calling us to himself. This alone encourages me to go and become a witness for Jesus. I go and share Jesus to others because God’s calling is before me and moving in the lives of the people whom I am with. There are some verses from the Gospel of John that illustrates this truth about God’s calling and his missionary character. Let me cite John 20:21-22 to you. “Again [Jesus] said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ Then he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at David's Reflections
(This post is my response and reflection in the aftermath of the tragic death of teachers and students, 19 children, of the Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, Texas.) What would a weapon of war look like if it is turned into a tool for feeding the hungry? The prophets of the Old Testament have struggled to answer this question. Read Isaiah 2:4-5 and Micah 4:3-5, and you will see the imagery of swords being turned into plowshares. “God shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2022 at David's Reflections
A story is told of a young boy hearing for the first time the story of the Pentecost from his pastor. The pastor shared the events of the Spirit coming down and the disciples speaking in many languages. The young boy exclaimed: “Pastor, we must have missed that Sunday.” Today is Pentecost Sunday. The Bible tells us that “Peter and John came down and prayed for the [disciples] that they might receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15).” Pentecost is the time when the earth is renewed (Psalm 104:30), young people prophesy (Joel 2:28), followers of Jesus speak different languages (Acts... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2022 at David's Reflections
“Growth in spirituality is never only a matter of confirming the known and familiar,” Charles Ringma states in his Dare To Journey (1992:110). He describes our life with Christ is more of radical transformation, a restlessness and a vision for what is to come, than contentment and conservation. He cites Paul’s words in his Epistle to the Romans saying: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13). Hope here is an application of joy and peace. God’s Spirit... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2022 at David's Reflections
According to the U.S. Census in 2020, the population of “Two or More Races” in America increased by 276% compared to the 2010 U.S. Census. Now, around 10.2% of the U.S. population identifies as being multiracial. Though the population of multiracial adults is growing at a high rate, it is still a relatively new concept. The U.S. Census Bureau had just introduced Americans’ ability to choose more than one race in 2000 ( Growing up as a kid, and even now as an adult, I dreaded the little checkboxes under the question of what race you identify with when filling... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2022 at David's Reflections
What are things or events you remember like it was yesterday? In the post-resurrection story narrated in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John, we read the disciples' encounter with Jesus. (See, John 21:1-19.) They remember it so well that the writer mentions the number of fish that they caught that same day. Verses 11-12 say: “Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn ‘Now come and have some breakfast!’ Jesus said.” Their fellowship with Jesus did not just end with this breakfast. It continued... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2022 at David's Reflections
Have you ever danced with a homeless person? Have you ever sat down and ate a hearty dinner with someone not like you? Have you ever celebrated the Fourth of July or an extravagant birthday party with a person from the street who smells and for obvious reasons does not belong to the joyous occasion? You probably know by now the point of these questions: Being with persons who feel like they do not belong to the moment. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, we read of the story of the son who squandered his inheritance and lived an... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2022 at David's Reflections
Bosch, David. 1991. TRANSFORMING MISSION: PARADIGM SHIFTS IN THEOLOGY OF MISSION. Orbis: Maryknoll, New York. Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg. 2015. SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES HANDBOOK: PRACTICES THAT TRANSFORM US. Revised Edition. IVP Books: Illinois. Nouwen, Henri J. M. 1996. MINISTRY AND SPIRITUALITY: CREATIVE MINISTRY, THE WOUNDED HEALER, REACHING OUT. Revised and Compiled Edition.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2022 at Reference Books
Peter was there when Jesus started speaking to the crowd. He spoke to the people standing by the lake. His words did not make sense to him. This Rabbi Jesus came and got into his boat. He continued teaching from the boat. Everything he said did not make sense. Then, he turned around and asked Peter to go fishing with him. Peter went reluctantly. He knew that, at this time of the day, any fishing expedition would end up a failure. But he still went. And when the miracle happened and the boats were filled with fish, lots of them,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2022 at David's Reflections
“Darwin is my comfort zone. This city is so familiar to me. I have no ambition of moving to another place or even traveling to other states here in Australia.” Emma expresses this sentiment to me. We are on a virtual meeting. I am here representing FMWM-Asia, providing some form of encouragement to our Asian missionaries like Emma, who are out there doing God’s work. Emma Betonio Agarao, or Pastora Emma to most of her Filipino friends, is a Free Methodist cross cultural worker in Australia. She came in 2000 and started a fellowship in the city of Darwin. Although... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2022 at David's Reflections
Our Lectionary Readings from the Gospels is found in Luke 4:21-30, where Jesus mentions two foreigners, Zarephath and Naaman. These two are outsiders, outside of the promise for the Chosen People, and yet they received God’s blessings, God’s provision and healing. As a result, “all in the synagogue were filled with wrath” (verse 28). When was the last time you saw an outsider receive God’s goodness and, as a result, your heart was troubled? “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2022 at David's Reflections
When we see a ship, we think of the ocean. When we view a paddle and a canoe, we cannot help but think of the many adventures we will be facing. We look forward to traversing rivers and going to new places. Adventures galore! In the same breath, when we see God in his holy temple, we also think of the oceans of people scattered in the world. We cannot help but think of global cultures, of people who need to hear the gospel. We long to share God’s love and holiness to everyone out there. This is why when... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2022 at David's Reflections
“I am sorry for all the lies I told you.” Ms. Trie is going around asking forgiveness from her friends and relatives. You see, Ms. Trie is a new Christian. In the past, she worked as a fortune teller. She would foretell people their future and use her tarot card to promise healing for the sick. She would asked money in exchange for her services. Now, she has given her life to Jesus. She expresses this decision by burning all her books and other tools of the trade of fortune telling. She continues in this walk of faith by going... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2022 at David's Reflections
“Why are you all singing?” The neighbors from the apartment complex are asking Ms. Holly (not her real name) about her group’s activities. Ms. Holly is a cross cultural worker living in Country-VN. In this country, it is illegal to share the Christian gospel to others. The neighbors are suspicious of this group’s singing and wary of the presence of a foreigner in their vicinity. They are thinking this gathering is a group of Christians singing hymns and reading the Bible. If the neighbors feel they are right, then they can call the authorities and report the group’s illegal activities.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2022 at David's Reflections
MONDAY PRAYER: “Help me Lord to be content with second place and to make allowance for the fault of the other person. May I be quick to forgive, even as You, my Savior, forgave me.” (Colossians 3:13. The Message, & New Living Translation). Our Lectionary Reading from the New Testament for this week is from Colossians 3:12-17. This part of Scripture admonishes us to pursue peace that is founded in love, a love that is described as a life full of humility, kindness, and forgiveness. “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts, and keep you... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2022 at David's Reflections
Take Me Away (2022) January 2, 2022 (CHORUS): Have no fear. God is near. He said: “I am the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He will be with you ’til the end; His love will remain. His yoke is easy, his burden is light. Come close to Him. (Verse One) I heard them shout, a thousand voices in the night. I felt the doubt, I was afraid of the light. Then, an angel spoke of the Messiah’s coming day. The mother and child, and I heard her say. (Repeat Chorus) (Verse Two) I heard their pleas amidst the waves and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2022 at David's Reflections
A Song of justice from Psalm 146 Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2021 at David's Reflections
This Advent Week’s Lectionary Reading from the Gospels is from Luke 1:46-55, Mary’s song, The Magnificat. The song speaks of Christians ushering in justice in the face of great political opposition (‘God bringing down the mighty’) and encouraging everyone to walk in humility before our God (‘God exalting those of humble estate’). Allow me to share about the second part, about humility. What is humility? According to Adele A. Calhoun, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. Humble people let go of image management and self-promotion. They honor others by making the other [persons’] needs... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2021 at David's Reflections
In the Christmas story, the mention of light is everywhere. John’s version in John chapter one describes Jesus’ coming as the “light that gives life” (John 1:4). Imagine you are a plant or a tree. You reach out to the sky and spread your limbs to receive the life-giving light from the sun. You do not want to possess it because no one can control it. You do not want to turn away from it, because doing so would be inviting death. All you need to do is to submit to the light, spread your leaves, so to speak, in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2021 at David's Reflections
At one time, the angels were gathered right before the moment of the first Christmas. They were all discussing ways of announcing the Messiah’s birth. One veteran angel said: “Let us gather the heavenly host, an army of our kind, and appear to the people in the heavens right above them. Let us display our power and shine a heavenly light around them. Let us sing of God’s glory and announce our presence with loud trumpet sounds. Let us declare the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world.” Everyone seemed to agree, except one young angel. This young... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2021 at David's Reflections
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3) What is this joy that the writer talks about? I remember walking towards a water well knowing that my supply for drinking water will be replenished for the next few weeks. After having being thirsty for quite sometime, each step I was taking became steps of anticipation for the satisfaction I will soon receive. I felt a burst of joy at the first gulp of cold water. Now, I know what joy there is from this act of drawing water from a well. I think this is... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2021 at David's Reflections
Today is the first Sunday of the Advent Season. The first day is an announcement of God’s rule over the whole land. The Lord proclaims deliverance to all peoples. He rescues those who are down and helpless. Will you do the same? “In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:15. ESV). “Watch out and keep praying that you can escape all that is going to happen and that the Son of Man will be pleased with you (Luke... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2021 at David's Reflections
Preparing the way for the Lord’s coming. Luke speaks of this Advent theme from the life and ministry of John the Baptist, retelling a prophecy from Isaiah. (See Isaiah 40:3-5.) Nowadays, preparing for the Christmas season has been relegated to the mundane exercises of gifts and decorations. In the Bible, preparation meant “going through fire” (Malachi 3:3) or “coming to the Lord in repentance” (Luke 3:3). Isaiah 57:14 reminds us that we need to “remove every obstruction” so that we can build a way to God’s holy presence. So, what preparations are you making these next few days? Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2021 at David's Reflections
“Your talk today made me think of my neighbor, and how I can find ways to share the gospel with her,” Mary J. shares with me at the hallway right after church. “She says she is a Christian but she also believes in some Eastern religions and does different pseudo spiritual practices.” Last week, I was in an Illinois church sharing about God’s work in Asia and preaching a sermon on “becoming a source of God’s comfort to the people around us.” From time to time, people like Mary J. would come and give some feedback. I appreciate these few... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2021 at David's Reflections
“We love them for who they are.” One Free Methodist lady from Illinois tells me her story of loving the kids from their community. “They are a handful, but we love them just the same,” she continues her sharing with me. This month of October, I visited several churches and shared about God’s work in Asia. At many times during my visit, I would sit down with the pastor and a few church leaders over a Sunday church potluck dinner lunch and we would visit. I would hear stories of God’s work in their locality. For example, Wednesday evening becomes... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2021 at David's Reflections