A story of how Rio is compelled by love to give up her life for another
Rio had a comfortable life in the Philippines until it was interrupted by love. She had been a worship leader in her church for over 15 years, a successful job as an online English teacher, and a community of friends and family she adored. Little did she know she would soon have to give up everything and set off to another country.
During a worship team gathering, Rio had heard an older lady speak and share stories about her time in Indonesia. This woman encouraged everyone to pray for a certain people group in Indonesia.
As she would have done with any other prayer topic, Rio went home and kneeled to pray for these people. She felt lead to continue praying for these people and would do so for hours and hours.
“I would just kneel on the floor and I cried, I cried a lot. I didn’t even have the words to pray but I felt God put such a burden in my heart for these people.”
This went on for months. Rio didn’t understand why she had felt such love for a people she had never seen or met in her life.
At times, she could only utter, “I know you love them Lord and I love them…whenever I think of these people, God’s love for them overwhelms me. My heart is so small and God’s love is so big,” she said with tears falling down on her cheeks.
Eventually, she felt compelled to ask the woman why she kept crying and why she strongly felt love for these people during every prayer.
“Maybe God is speaking to you,” the woman said.
It has never occurred to Rio that God could ever call her into a completely different life.
“I had a church I am comfortable with; I had people I am content with; I am confined in my own world, and leaving that was not part of the plan.”
Rio couldn’t continue in her normal routine anymore. Her heart kept aching for the people of Indonesia. During this season, Rio felt that God wanted her to take a leap of faith, so she quit her job and decided to focus more on her ministry, unknowing of God’s desire for her to go.
“I never wanted to be a missionary. No, it is not for me, I would say. I admire people who do missions but I was never bold. I was so scared of sharing my faith, so I convinced myself that I am called to disciple and counsel people who are already believers.”
Rio didn’t know what would await her in Indonesia. She had never known any Muslims before and had only heard of the militant Muslim groups in the Philippines. Her friends warned her that the people over there were vicious, that she must not go. She heard of the many cautions to take–what to wear, how to act, what to say, and all the code words she needed to use while talking about anything Christian. She decided.
“I go or I die.”
For the first time, Rio heard the mosque prayer calls five times a day and felt as if it was a cloud over the Indonesian people. While studying the language, Rio prayed for a community to connect with in this province. She later received a random call from people who were looking for an English teacher in the province. This must be the community she had prayed for so she quickly responded and agreed to the task.
When she set off to Indonesia, she didn’t even have a place to stay nor a platform to do the actual mission work. All she had was this unique love for these people.
“These are my people, my brothers, my sisters. Sometimes God just wants us to go and just be among the people and pray for them.”
Rio joined us at MediaLight for a couple of weeks and blessed us with her presence, joyful heart, and soulful worship. It was inspiring for all of us to hear her story. We send her off with prayers that God would use her to reach this people with the gospel.