With $75 in their wallet, they embarked on their journey of faith to Vietnam. . .
“LITTLE BECOMES MUCH WHEN YOU PLACE IT IN THE MASTER’S HANDS”
Pastor Archie and Sister Kathy Manoto have been IT missionaries for 17 years now. Before their journey with the IT family started, they were serving as local missionaries in Palawan. They were pastoring and teaching in a Bible school until they received the call from God to go on a mission in Vietnam.
At that time, many Vietnamese refugees were staying in Palawan and somehow it helped Pastor Archie and his wife become more familiar with their culture. Pastor Archie recalled the time when he attended a mission conference and the speaker asked him to pray for a particular nation. There were many flags in front of the stage but when he opened his eyes, one particular flag caught his eye and his heart – and it was the Vietnamese flag! He told himself, “This is the country I’m going to pray for.” His burden for Vietnam started and it grew deeper. Pastor Archie knew in his heart that he was called to go to Vietnam.
When Pastor Archie and his wife decided to leave Palawan, they sold all their possessions so they would have money to go to Vietnam. It wasn’t easy and they had to face some challenges. They encountered some delays before their planned departure, and they had to wait for a couple of months before they could finally go to Vietnam. Also, there was no budget airfare back then, so their plane ticket cost a lot. But the Lord’s plan still prevailed, and the couple flew to Vietnam by faith!
The day before their departure, Pastor Archie and Sis Kathy didn’t have enough finances to pay the travel tax and their pocket money. Therefore, Pastor Archie tried to sell his old laptop to a friend, but his friend didn’t take his laptop. Instead, he gave him financial support. On the day of their departure, Pastor Archie and Sis Kathy were ready to leave what was secured and convenient. After paying the travel tax, the couple had $75 left. With $75 in their wallets, they embarked on this journey of faith and arrived safely in Vietnam.
Later that evening, the couple met for the first time the team leader in Vietnam who hosted them, Dr. Egay. He was kind enough to help Pastor Archie and Sis Kathy exchange their US dollars for Vietnamese Dong since USD isn’t accepted in Vietnam. Dr. Egay told them $100 would be enough to have it exchanged for Vietnamese Dong. Before they handed it to him, they looked at each other knowing that their money was not even $100. When Dr. Egay counted the money, he discovered that the couple only had $75. Pastor Archie and Sis Kathy felt embarrassed because they went to Vietnam having just $75. Their first year in Vietnam was really challenging for them. They had to adjust to the culture and with each other as a new couple. They also had to learn the language. Then, they encountered another dilemma. Sis Kathy had a hard time conceiving a baby because of her health condition. On top of that, they were also struggling financially. Everything seemed difficult.
Their faith was tested, and they admit having doubts about whether they had really heard from the Lord that they should be in Vietnam. It was that moment when the Lord exposed their true motives and what compelled them to take that courageous step of faith to go to Vietnam. Pastor Archie admitted that he was confident that his wife could get a job in Vietnam to support their mission since she is a teacher. He thought they could be tentmakers which could help them get through their mission rather than trusting God fully.
Just then, an unexpected blessing came, Sis Kathy got pregnant! She also got a great job offer as a teacher in a school. It was very promising, and it would be a good way to support their ministry. However, the Lord prevented her from working. Because of Sis Kathy’s constant bleeding, the doctor advised her to have complete bed rest during her pregnancy, hence she couldn’t go to work.
Instead, God used Pastor Archie to work as a teacher. He isn’t a teacher by profession, but God did the unexpected. Since his wife couldn’t work, the director of the school asked him to teach. Pastor Archie didn’t believe it at first and thought it was a joke. But the school director told him to do a demo class and by the grace of God, he got the job and he started teaching. That incident was used by God to reveal where his confidence came from – it was from his wife who could get a job and not from God! But when God did the unexpected through him, he realized that his trust should be put in God alone. “It was God who made the miracles and not by our abilities.” Pastor Archie added.
After Sis Kathy gave birth, they decided to go full-time in the ministry and trust God completely with their needs. For 17 years in foreign missions, they fully entrusted God with everything, and He never failed to provide for them. “We’ve experienced miracles upon miracles, but the greatest miracle for us was when God called us and gave us the privilege to serve Him” Pastor Archie commented. They witnessed how true God is to His word. The $75 they had when they left the Philippines was multiplied by God and they were able to put up several ministries and churches not only in Vietnam but also in Cambodia where they are serving right now. “That $75 represents our lives which we gave to Jesus, and He multiplied it.” Just like the song says, “Little becomes much as you place it in the Master’s hands.” Pastor Archie added.
When you least expect it, something happens that makes you realize that God’s up to something. We are so blessed to serve an awesome God and the more we trust Him the more He amazes us! Father, we give praise, glory, and honor to You for being a generous God, who did not even stop short of giving Your own Son Jesus for us.
Matthew 14: 19-21
And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were leftover. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
(Written by: Venus Jablo)