Friday, November 14, 2008

Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays, and Pastor Siodora

One time on a flight I saw a short video on the life of Reggie Jackson, the baseball celebrity who retired at the peak of his career with the Oakland Athletics in 1987. 

A few years ago, Margaret and I met him briefly. As I shook his hand, I mentioned that the only other famous baseball player I had ever shaken hands with was the great Willie Mays. Reggie immediately grabbed my hand again as Willie Mays was his hero! 

Meeting the famous Reggie Jackson and Willie Mays however, is nothing in comparison to other people we have met...such as Pastor Evangelista Siodora, the little man barely five feet tall with a big heart who died in his 70s. He pioneered the Philippine Missionary Fellowship, and for 40 years took the gospel to small villages and tribes throughout the country. 

Once when asked to visit the United States to speak in meetings, he applied for a visa at the US embassy in Manila. They rudely asked him why he wanted to go to the USA. He politely replied, “I don’t want to go the USA; it is God who wants me to go to the USA! Who would want to go to the States? I am only going because God wants me to go!” (He got his visa!) 

On one occasion in Manila about 1974, Pastor Siodora knew I was very discouraged. At a meeting for pastors and leaders, he called me aside, sat me down, took my hands in his and for 20 minutes (with his face only a few inches from mine) preached and shared from the Word of God the encouragement we have in Christ! He helped get my focus back on the Sovereign Lord. 

Yes, I have shaken the hands of Reggie Jackson and Willie Mays, but so what? God touched me and so many others through the life of a humble, zealous, godly Filipino, the truly great Evangelista Siodora.

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