Meet My Buddy Dave

Just returned for lunch with Dave White. Dave is a special guy. He and I were friends in seminary back in the 1980s. We commuted to Talbot together from the beach area. Dave went to the Philippines as a missionary. I stayed in the States as a pastor. Dave has had an incredible ministry in a very fruitful field. He began by planting churches. Then he trained pastors. Now he trains and oversees a team of men who train the pastors. The way in which God has used Dave and Sandy White to expand His Kingdom in the Philippines is amazing and incredibly inspiring.

But the fruit of Dave’s ministry hasn’t come without a price. Back in the late 1980s, during the White’s first term in the Philippines, Dave used to tell me that the pollution in Manila was so bad that he had black soot in his nostrils after he returned home from jogging. Recently, Dave’s health has deteriorated to the point where he can find almost nothing to eat that does not ‘go right through him’ (paint your own picture here). It has gotten so bad that Dave must bring his own food with him when he takes his wife out for dinner.

The reason? Dave found out that his body has literally been poisoned by various metals and other pollutants that he has inhaled in the air, or otherwise ingested in Manila.

Things are looking better now, however, since Dave and his family came home on furlough. The doctors have finally figured out what’s wrong. Dave is on the mend. And the variety of things he can eat is increasing week by week. Dave will be here until June. Then he and Sandy and Kevin (their teenage son…daughter Julie is at Biola) will return to Manila. I hope we’ll get to hear a report from him some Sunday at OCF in the near future!

I can’t help but to reflect long and hard about Dave and Sandy White and the sacrifices this family has made for the Gospel. And then I think about my own pilgrimage and how easy it has been in comparison. God has been much too gentle with the Hellermans. He probably figured that I didn’t have what it takes to face the challenges that my buddy Dave has faced.

I came away from my lunch with Dave all the more grateful for Christians in third-world settings around the globe who sacrifice so much to share the love of Jesus with those who haven’t heard. Spend some time with someone like Dave White. I guarantee it will expand your horizons and give you a God’s-eye perspective on your own life and ministry!

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2 Comments on “Meet My Buddy Dave”

  1. Irma Iwamoto Says:

    I have been very impressed with the person and ministry of Dave White since he first visited our church several years ago. He has kept us informed over the years about his work in the Philippines and how it has grown. He also asked for prayer for his health which had been deteriorating as you describe.
    I did not know you had been friends for years and have maintained that friendship. I hope Dave and his wife come again to visit our church as they are on furlough. Thankfully, his health is improving and hopefully he will regain his strength before they return to the Philippines. Thank you for your comments and for bringing us up to date.
    Irma Iwamoto

  2. Pat Momary Says:

    re spending time with a returned field-worker: the only way to get the full picture of what a servant-heart can cost us. Your blog paints a wonderful description of that cost on the part of Dave and his family. Thanks, PM

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