Global Ministries Co-Executive Presents Award of Affirmation in the Philippines
During a recent visit to the East Asia and Pacific Region with Xiaoling Zhu, David Vargas, Co-Executive of Global Ministries, had the opportunity to meet with Rev. Berlin and Melinda Guerrero and other leaders of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). Rev. Guerrero and his wife Melinda were invited to attend the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis this past summer, but were denied a visa by the United States because of supposed “terrorist activities”. Berlin and Melinda have dedicated their lives to walking with the poor in the communities where they serve. Rev. Guerrero was arrested in 2007 on several false accusations and was brutally tortured during his stay in prison. At that time, the UCCP and partners around the world mobilized advocacy efforts for his release, which eventually came after almost a year and a half in prison.
Because Berlin and Melinda were denied entry into the United States to receive the Award of Affirmation at the General Assembly, David Vargas and Xiaoling Zhu decided to take the award to the Philippines to present it in person. During the presentation, David acknowledged the injustice of the visa denial and their courage to serve the “least of these” in spite of the persecution that they have experienced. With tears of joy, Berlin and Melinda humbly received the award and re-affirmed their commitment to the people they serve, even if it would mean giving their lives. What an example of commitment and humble service in Jesus name.