The trip took nearly three hours today as our team went to a place called Lamdas. I had been there once before, about four years ago. To say it is a remote spot would be a tremendous understatement. In fact, when Jesus said to take the Gospel to the "uttermost part of the earth", I suspect that Lamdas might have been the place He had in mind! It certainly qualifies.
Lamdas is in the remote inland mountains of Negros Island, not far from the border that separates the two provinces of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. It is in an area where Pastor Joseph Zerna ministers to a congregation, known as Mayapusi Christian Fellowship Church.
Here in Dumaguete, there are numerous evangelical works around the city. But Lamdas is another story. In this remote location in the volcanic highlands MCFC appears to be the only evangelical work that is going on. We are told that some of the people in this area have rarely seen a white visitor. It is that far off the beaten path.
When we arrived today, more than 200 people had gathered out of curiosity at the barangay basketball court. As we played the music, the number of people increased. By the time the service was over, the crowd had nearly doubled, and 186 of them responded to the Gospel invitation.
The tall (bald) guy wearing the "wife beater" on the ldft side of this photo is one of those who came forward when the invitation was given.
While the girls sang, he, along with several other young men, were shooting pool just outside the basketball court. I approached the fence area to say hello and to invite them over, but it was obvious they wanted nothing to do with us. They laughed and muttered something under their breaths and treated us with disdain. The same attitude was exhibited as the service progressed. Brenda Lincoln and Randall Robertson offered songs. Randy Lincoln gave his testimony. A drama skit was offered. Through it all these guys continued to laugh in a manner that was obviously one of mockery.
As I began my message (with Pastor Josue Cadiao interpreting) I issued a challenge to these - and other men who sat beyond the basketball court. "God is not only for women and children" I said loudly. "He is a God who desires relationship with men as well", I continued, as I began to tell the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were thrown into the fiery furnace. "In fact", I reminded them, "REAL men worship God!"
I noticed that this man looked up from the pool table, and fixed his eyes upon me. As I preached and Bro. Josue translated, the fellow moved closer and closer to the court. I will never forget the look on his face. At first, it appeared to be a look of anger, but soon it became obvious that he was listening intently.
By the time the invitation was given, he was on the basketball court, and coming forward with scores of others. When he stepped forward, several of the other men followed his lead as well.
It never ceases to amaze me regarding how God can work on those who you would think would never be interested in "churchy stuff".
We serve an awesome, life changing God. Please pray for this guy at Lamdas, that God will use him in a mighty way to lead other men to Christ!