Evangelist Ministers to Surrendered Rebels in Philippines

A group of some 80 rebels of the New Peoples Army who recently surrendered arms in the Philippines are now presented the gospel of Jesus Christ, according to a report of the evangelist ministering to them.

The rebel contingent of some 70 men and 10 women of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered last month at a Philippines Army battalion in Maramag, Bukidnon on the island of Mindanao. After military officials learned that some of the rebels were listeners of a local evangelistic radio program, they invited the preacher, Dante Dangallo, to lead a series of seminars to aid the rebels’ personal transformation.  Dangallo, who preaches weekly on station DXGT in Maramag, shared a basic gospel message the first week.  “I gave them the opportunity to put their lives to Jesus,” Dangallo said.  “All of them were crying.” The following week, according to Dangallo, one of the rebels and two military officers attended a Christian & Missionary Alliance (CMA) church service in Maramag.  As the government has promised aid and relief efforts to assist the rebels’ integration into society, Dangallo has committed to follow up his work with them.  Dangallo, a former CMA pastor, is an evangelist of Allied Ministries International, the parachurch program of Allied Mission Church.

The New People’s Army is the armed guerilla group of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its aim is to overthrow the government.  It has been officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Secretary of State.

Links:

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/11/15/11/military-says-80-reds-surrender-bukidnon

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

Gratitude is a Serious Matter

As the family took our seats for the annual Thanksgiving meal yesterday, I read to them from the Bible and pointed out the seriousness of ingratitude toward God.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness”, I started from Romans 1:18.  Continuing to verse 21, I emphasized that “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.”

As the passage in Romans asserts, the existence and benevolence of God are self-evident.  A life of ingratitude, then, reveals an idolatry of self-obsession.  No person on earth is ever ‘self-made’.  Our very life and breath is birthed from parents and ancestors.  Our health is nourished by a complex system of natural resources (and made available by an efficient market).  Our education and skills are passed on from teachers and a tradition of knowledge.  Our possessions are manufactured by producers and so on and so on.

If thanklessness is a social vice, how much more grievous is it toward God!  All of life is ultimately a gift and a grace.  We depend on others and certainly on God.  For this reason, our vocabulary must always include a ‘thank you’. Otherwise, we deserve the sentence of ingratitude reserved for all who suppress the truth of our existence from – and in – God.