Missionary Couple To Indonesia

“The Indonesians love my dad very much. Maybe because he is so funny. He can crack jokes, exchange conversations, give prophesies and deliver talks using Bahasa Indonesia. The people look up to him. My Mom, on the other hand, loves travelling. She is very close with Indonesian women,” thus said Chepe excitedly when asked to describe her parents, Ed and Pearl Paalam of Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao (Southern Philippines), our missionary couple to Indonesia.

It was in May 1993 when Ed and Pearl had their first mission trip to Indonesia. Earlier, Ed mentioned to Frank Padilla that in his prayers, he heard the Lord's call for them to serve in Indonesia sometime in 1996. While in Bacolod in 1992, Frank asked Ed when he intends to start his mission to Indonesia. “When I replied 'sometime in 1996, ' Frank corrected my perception of his question. When Frank said that he was referring to the immediate future, I said, 'We're ready now!”

It seemed that Ed and Pearl had all the advantages for this call. Three weeks after their marriage in 1970, Ed had to work in Maluku, Indonesia where he met an Indonesian coworker who knew how to speak Tagalog when he was assigned in Davao (Southern Mindanao). Since he was eyeing a promotion, Ed unhesitantly sought to learn the Indonesian language through his friend. It took only a year for Ed to be conversant in the language. Pearl, who was then pregnant with their first child Chepe, followed Ed in Indonesia after a year. She learned the language as well, and it became Chepe's first language. With its pleasant people and varied cultures, Ed and Pearl learned to love Indonesia as their second home. Besides these circumstances, the Lord's profound messages for Ed regarding his mission were all etched in his heart. As Ed said, “I examined my heart. It was and still is filled with the zeal to pursue the mission there not just as a visiting elder but as a resident missionary couple. ”

C’mon Pearl

Everything turned out fine for Ed (who has been very busy evangelizing since 1989) and Pearl as they came to and from Indonesia, while being the Area Head of CFC in Mindanao.

Ed also found himself in Indonesia (and at times Singapore) four times a year, with each trip lasting for 30 to 45 days. Every time they came home, Ed and Pearl made sure that they made up for lost time with their children, Chepe (26), Ronald (24) and Orland (19). “We spend quality time with them without missing the training and discipline in the Lord they needed, ” Ed stressed. As Chepe related, “Aside from our regular one-to-one with our parents, we also have a regular meeting which we call 'family conference.' They see to it that they pastorally care for all of us. We are very open to one another. We treat each other as a peer group.” Ed added, “They accepted what we were doing ever since … for the last 9 years. It was God who prepared them. ” Well, God did not only prepare them but equipped them with the same arms .He gave their parents. All three, whose lives were all touched by the mission their parents had been doing, are all very active with Youth for Christ. While Orland is still in college, both Chepe and Ronald are fulltime pastoral workers for YFC.

Then came the day when they had to make their final decision of being a missionary couple. “Before we decided to be a missionary couple, I only had one struggle: I had a hard time convincing Pearl. ” Like any mother, she always had that “special attachment” to their children. “She couldn’t let go. Every time I mentioned the matter of being a resident missionary, her face would turn sour. Confident that God will bring both of us there, my only weapon was patience. I simply allowed God to touch her. Nevertheless, I was persistent in mentioning this matter to her for 18 months. The elders in Manila were already asking 'WHEN?' To me, it was not a matter of whether or not we're going. The question was really 'WHEN?'” For Ed, the surest way to know was when Pearl says YES.

Pearl: “In mid-1997, the Lord spoke to me through our youngest son, Orland. It was his prompting that touched my senses. He said, 'Mom, we're all grown-up now. You must be confident with the kind of training in the Lord you and Dad had given us since 1981 when we got into the renewal. You can leave us with peace and confidence in the Lord. Go and join Dad in Indonesia. This left me thinking hard, until I found myself to be receptive of the possibility. Finally, I said YES!”

For Ed, it was a long wait… waiting for God's timing, but waiting with expectant faith. It was a dream come true for him when they finally agreed to be a missionary couple to Indonesia by the end of 1998. This doesn't mean, however, that leaving their three wonderful children behind was just a piece of cake for Ed. “Being away with the very people you raised and love dearly is never an easy task. However, Orland said the right thing to his mother. This is the very confidence we have in the Lord. Also, the knowledge that we are doing what God wants of us is our way of coping. ”

Ready For Battle

While waiting for the time to leave, Ed and Pearl still spend most of their time in Cagayan de Oro since Ed is among CFC's Regional Heads in Mindanao. “I get invitations from different regions also. However, I spend most of my time in our region considering my limited time here. This year, our elders assigned me a smaller region, North Central Mindanao (3 provinces against my previous regional assignment of 7 provinces) which allows me more time to visit each province. ”

Ed and Pearl are geared for their mission this year. Ed is very grateful that he has upgraded his Bahasa Indonesia from the secular/business world to the spiritual realm. “Thank God, I could already be well understood inspite of the continuing need of learning more. …

Singapore is another country which Ed and Pearl will be frequenting. “Late last year, we have been accepted at St. Ann Parish where the biggest housing complex is under construction. When I was there in October 1997, many of the flats were almost finished. We presume that occupants started pouring in after a month. Last December, we were able to establish the leadership structure needed there for us to move forward. 1998 is a very exciting year in this area!”

Finally, Ed and Pearl has this to say: “Missionaries living and going abroad need the prayers of all. Everyone can be a part of this aspect of our community life by merely praying. There are many challenges abroad and everyone’s prayer will make a difference. One of the greatest needs is for us to pray that in countries where CFC was started mainly by Filipinos, may they be like the fruitful seed in the Lords vineyard in order to attract and influence the local citizens in a more powerful way. We are all convinced that CFC and its Family Ministries is the creation of Gods own hands. As long as we continue to allow Him enthroned in our midst and to be the Lord and King who is leading us in this battle, we will definitely win!”

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