Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sagigilid Empowerment

by Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva

One of the priceless treasures that God has given to the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church Worldwide is an endless thread of testimonies of the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ from our members. One of which is the testimony of Bro. Bimboy Soque.

His boyhood and early youth were spent on the streets of Manila. On the surface, he was an industrious boy selling cigarettes to jeepney drivers and passersby. This gave him reasons to keep himself a regular “street boy.” But he earned more money from robbery and theft on the streets. Every now and then, he would find a parked car which he would illegally open and then, steal valuables in it. At night, when selling cigarettes was over, he would board on jeepneys and rob their passengers.

He was also a drug addict, just like the many other street boys he mingled with.

Bro. Bimboy would always look back at his past with deep gratitude to the Lord Jesus Christ. God willed that he would be invited to a youth camp. It was there that he heard about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ; Bro. Bimboy accepted Him as Lord and personal Savior. His life was totally changed.

Today, Bro. Bimboy is a missionary. He has dedicated his life to the Lord in going to the mountains and other remote areas to share about Jesus.

The Philippines has a perennial problem on the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. This problem remains whether the economy is good or bad. Bro. Bimboy was living in abject poverty. He was forced by circumstances to practically make the streets his home. Because he was poor, he could not afford to study. Instead, he worked to survive – even if he was just a boy. He is part of the marginalized sector. In Filipino, he is a “sagigilid.”

Could a robber, forced by poverty to be a law-breaker, draw near to God? Yes, if he seeks the Lord with all his heart. Yes, if he wilfully chooses to ask for God’s forgiveness and then, genuinely repent from all his sins.

Could he be blessed? Could his life improve? Yes, because God promised His blessings to those with clean hands and a pure heart.

The Word of God says:
            “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face” (Psalm 24-3-6, New King James Version).

Many Filipinos are still marginalized or “sagigilid.” While they compose the population’s majority, they are still struggling to make their voice heard, to be significantly represented in crafting policies that could make economic growth inclusive of their interests as well. They work hard, but survival is still on a per meal basis. They are the same people that Bro. Bimboy is ministering to in the mountains and other remote areas.

We share Jesus’s love for the “sagigilid’ and we lovingly pray for them. But we must also have tangible actions to improve their plight, to empower them. So that no one would be left behind while the country’s economy improves. So that we could lessen the gap between the rich and the poor. May all nation-loving Filipinos work together to make this happen.

With God, nothing is impossible!

Shalom! Shalom!

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