10/29/2016: A Mother’s Prayer

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Before surgery

A Mother’s Prayer

Philippines

Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:37–40.

I am Elena Atwat, a young woman 28 years old, and I live in Banga, South Cotabato on Mindanao Island in the Philippines. Before my family and I were converted to Seventh-day Adventism, our religion was Balik Islam. In fact, my father was an imam for many years.

In the hospital
In the hospital

My husband, Jing, had a Seventh-day Adventist cousin who often visited our house. One day the cousin came to our house with a man named Temtem. They told me that they wanted to talk to my father, and they asked for permission to have a Bible study in our home. My father willingly accepted their offer to study because he wanted to compare the Bible with the Qur’an.

Years went by, but still Pastor Temtem and Jing’s cousin kept coming to study with my father until finally he understood that the Sabbath day is the true worship day. With my father’s encouragement, my mother, my brothers, my sisters and I all became very interested in Seventh-day Adventism, and we all began to observe the Sabbath. Later, Pastor Temtem held a 2-week evangelistic crusade in our town, making the rest of the Seventh-day Adventist doctrines very clear in our minds. When Pastor Mike Bauler came and visited our place in November 2014, my family, including my parents, brothers and sisters, decided to receive baptism.

Beginning to heal
Beginning to heal

A year later, Pastor Mike Bauler came back and visited our place again. This time, something very special happened: God used Pastor Mike to answer my prayers. I had been asking God for someone to help my little daughter, who had a cleft lip. To my joy, Pastor Mike noticed her situation! It was such a relief to meet someone who cared and could offer to help.

My poor daughter’s plight had often made me cry. Even though she was less than 3 years old, she still knew that she looked different from other children. Every morning, after taking a bath and getting her hair combed, she would look in the mirror, put one finger to her mouth, and say, “I have no hole in my mouth. I’m not cleft lip anymore. Look Mama, I am pretty, right?” As this went on morning after morning, it nearly broke my heart.

When children asked my daughter, “Why do you have that in your mouth?” she would answer, “My father cut it. That is why there is a tear in my mouth.” Then the other children would laugh. I felt so much pity and pain for my daughter because even at her very young age, the other children bullied her and made fun of her.

No more cleft lip!
No more cleft lip!

God is really good! When Pastor Mike saw my daughter, he told me there was hope for her if she could have surgery, and that he might be able to raise funds to pay for it. He also held out hope for my nephew, who likewise had a congenital defect and needed surgery.

I thank God for Pastor Mike’s church in the United States who raised the money for my daughter’s surgery, and I thank Him for the ministry of Mission Project International which has such a sincere interest in helping the poor who feel that there is no hope for them. Most of all, I am thankful that my family heard the truth that can save us. I thank God that I can look forward to His gift of eternal life in a land where no children suffer!

Elena with her daughter
Elena with her daughter

“My brethren and sisters, give yourselves to the Lord for service. Allow no opportunity to pass unimproved. Visit the sick and suffering, and show a kindly interest in them. If possible, do something to make them more comfortable. Through this means you can reach their hearts and speak a word for Christ. Eternity alone will reveal how far-reaching such a line of labor can be.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 36.

By Elena Atwat. Submitted by Pastor Temtem Piedraverde. temtempiedraverde@yahoo.com. Support for Pastor Temtem’s work in the Philippines may be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058, or online at www.missionspro.org, marked “Philippines.” Contributions to help poor families and fund Dorcas work may be marked “Poor fund.”

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