October 2012 - Vol.  63

Reflections on Friendship.

by Dave Quintana

For many years now, I have been sending a Christmas letter recounting a bit of the past year as well as some thoughts on how I have experienced God working through it all. Many people have responded encouragingly over the years, saying that they greatly look forward to hearing from me and that I should write more. A similar thing happened a number of years ago when I shared some writings about a one-month mini-sabbatical that I took working with the poor in the Philippines. So, what you have before you is their fault! It is also the result of me getting a bit more reflective in my old age, and growing in my desire to attempt to share the riches of God’s dealings with me.  [excerpt from the Introduction to Daily Meds from the Q Source Book]
Friends Help
Friends are a gift of God – a constant source of help and encouragement. In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 9 a paralytic’s friends take him up onto the roof of a house where Jesus is teaching and lower him through the ceiling because that is the only way to get him close to Jesus. You see, these friends are willing to do whatever it takes to get their needy friend into Jesus’ presence. Those are the kind of friends I want! In a silly movie (“As Good As It Gets”) waitress Helen Hunt tells abrasive neurotic Jack Nicholson that he must say something nice to her. After a few feeble attempts he stumbles into telling her, “you make me want to be a better man.” That’s the kind of friend that I want to be to others – making them want to be better men, and better women. I like the way Pete Greig puts it – we “choose to be friends travelling together and dreaming along the way.” 
They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:2-5 NIV translation

Dave (center) addresses young people in Khandala, India
Friends Accompany
I have been blessed to live in Latin America (San Jose, Costa Rica), Asia (Manila, Philippines) and Europe (Belfast, N. Ireland and London, UK) as well as my native United States. In each of these places I have also been fortunate enough to travel rather extensively. And you know what I’ve found? That God gives me dear friends, “special friends,” brothers and sisters of the heart, “soul mates” – with whom to share life and service in each place along the way. It is not good for us to be alone. God gives us other people to share and enjoy life with along the way. I am delighted in God’s call to me to forsake marriage and family in order to live a life consecrated to him in a special way. And I am also delighted that he grants me married brothers and sisters, dear friends to be encouraged by and to encourage in return.
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. 
Proverbs 18:24 NIV translation
Friends Labor
Some of the most interesting stops along the way in this journey called life have been connecting with other Christian ministries. In them too have I found the Lord gifting me with intimate companions and friends – fellow-workers in the Lord’s vineyards. They inspire me and they challenge me. They help me to be more appreciative for what I have, and they help me to open my eyes to see more of what I could be for the Lord. Let me introduce you to a few of my friends. I thank God for old friends such as YWAM (Youth With A Mission), and their heart for the lost and their willingness to dare to do crazy things for God. I thank God for new friends as well, friends like the YMCA in Munich (and other places) that combine cutting-edge youth ministry with rich and full community life. Can I encourage you to surround yourself with friends that are like you, and friends that are different than you are? With friends who will accept you as you are, and also challenge you to not just stay that way?
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel. 
Philippians 1:27 NIV translation

Dave (left) on a tour of the squatter area by Payatas dump in Manila

Friends Challenge
Another friend that has impacted me significantly is CCDA (Christian Community Development Association). They are often found working in difficult areas of inner cities, labouring in love the 3 R’s – relocation, redistribution and reconciliation. Their radicalness has made me uncomfortable and challenged my mind and my heart as well as my lifestyle. I also think of my friend Bo who felt led by the Lord to open a home for abandoned elderly in the Philippines. This “Anawim” (or “home”) is a stirring example for me of what the Lord can do with “an open mind and a broken heart.” Or gosh, I could tell you lots of stories of my friend Jodean who works with the poor (“He Cares”) in and around Metro Manila – and the mark made upon my life from the challenge that came to me from my week living and ministering with them that I will carry with me forever.

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight;  stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. 
Isaiah 1:16-17 NIV translation
[Dave Quintana is an elder of the Servants of the Word, a missionary brotherhood of men living single for the Lord. He is also a regional coordinator for the Sword of the Spirit in Europe and the Middle East. He currently lives in London, England.]

Daily Meds from the Q Source
By Dave Quintana, published by Tabor House, 2012, 250 pages, $11.00

Dave Quintana's daily meditations and Bible readings to stir our minds and kindle our hearts in 2013. He explores themes important to all who search to be wise men and women in the Lord, and provides a wealth of personal experience from living and ministering in Central America, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Expect to be challenged. Expect to be inspired. Expect to meet the living and loving God. Order one for yourself and more to give as gifts!

 Living Bulwark (c) copyright 2012  The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom
email: living.bulwark@yahoo.com