When Finding Nemo first came out in film back in 2003 we totally missed it. As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember one of our co-workers giving Sheila Marie a stuffed fish that same year for her second birthday. I was told the fish’s name was Nemo as evident by his ‘lucky’ fin. I however had no clue. This was our first year of ministry in the Philippines on Palawan and we were busy helping tribal people in the process of Finding Jesus.
Since then we’ve had the opportunity to watch Finding Nemo a number of times and I would say this is arguably one of the greatest cartoon films ever created. After all, who can forget lines like, (insert surfer accent) “Taking on the jellieees! Dude, you’ve got some serious thrill issues.” Back in Palawan, currently the gospel is being preached among the Calamian Tagbanwa and when I stop and think of the work this takes, it makes me want to say to our co-workers as little squirt said to Marlin, “Dude, you totally rock!”
Our co-worker Nate recently wrote, “Teaching people who have never clearly understood God’s word is slow going… sometimes painfully slow, but taking the time to teach steadily from the beginning has been so worth it!” He went on to say, “As we teach about Jesus, people really connect the dots right away and He makes sense to them.”
In Finding Nemo, in order for Marlin to save his son Nemo, he had to venture off the reef into dangers unknown, cross the ocean and fight of some hungry sharks and other creatures of the deep. Despite the danger, Marlin’s love for Nemo compelled him to set out on this incredible journey. Along the way he found help from forgetful Dory, a 150 year old sea turtle named Crush and numerous others along the way.
So what’s the point? Whiling Finding Nemo is a cool cartoon, Finding Jesus is of far greater importance. Leaving “the reef” per se to travel across the ocean into challenges unknown so that we might teach people about Jesus is not always easy and fun but it is worth it. Why do we do it? It’s because His love compels us! As for these other fish in the ocean such as Dory & Crush, planting tribal churches doesn’t get done alone. It requires help along the way. To that extent, my wife and I might be nothing more than an old sea turtle and forgetful Dory (Shay for sure is our little Squirt), but coming alongside of our co-workers in this incredible journey is a privilege we wouldn’t change for the world.
Please pray for the continued teaching among the Calamian Tagbanwa as they are in the process of Finding Jesus. Blessings to each of you and thanks for your partnership in helping to see the gospel preached among the least reached people groups in the Philippines.