The date was March 10. Dr. Joy Tica, an ANM ministry partner in the Philippines, heard that the government had postponed all mass gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But she had spent months planning free medical clinics in different parts of the country. Should she reschedule? Her team was willing to go and serve regardless of the danger.
They flew out of Manila and were advised that the last return flight would leave from Davao City Airport on March 16. They conducted their clinics and made their way back to Davao. Joy told us, “Around 6:00 p.m. we started for the airport, but it took us four hours to reach the terminal. When we arrived, the building was dark, the parking lot was empty, and people were nowhere to be seen. I inquired what was going on from a guard and he said, ‘All flights have been canceled until further notice!’”
It has been said that joy is not the absence of problems but the presence of Jesus. True to her name, Joy and her companions chose to rejoice in the Lord. When a myriad of questions flashed through their minds at the news of being stranded 600 miles from home, they prayed rather than panicked. They sought the kingdom of God first, trusting that He would supply all of their needs.
Through a series of miracles, He did! All the good and perfect gifts came from Him. The team received food, shelter, and financial assistance. Strangers even provided board games. Phones and the internet kept them connected to family. Materially, God provided everything. They were at peace and grateful. They also became a blessing to those outside their new temporary door.
Joy and her team distributed 100 packed snacks with salvation cards, leftover from their outreaches, to those serving the Davao community. ANM sent them funds from generous donors. They used what they needed for themselves and helped others with the rest, assisting two pastors with food, buying medication for a Muslim man, and paying for a woman’s hospital bill. They purchased bread for 100 families and 25 senior citizens. Joy commented to ANM, “This is not about us or about money, but about you! When I cried out for help, you rescued me and my team. You responded to the need so we could become your hands and feet to the local people. You enabled us to continue ministry where God had planted us. Thank you so much for giving!”
From bread and vitamins distributed among people in the streets to their eight remaining boxes of sterile gloves that they donated to a hospital, everything they gave was prayed over and included a gospel tract. They silently prayed for each person that a seed of salvation would be planted in their hearts.
This is a perfect example of how ANM works through native missionaries. You give, they give, and God gives back: “…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). Available and ready to act, they never waste an opportunity to show the love of Jesus and advance the gospel. And you are right there, too, as God does amazing things through His faithful servants.
On May 14, after two months, God miraculously brought Joy and her team home.