“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God”
Every time Ate Tanette and I are invited to visit and minister to our CLSF churches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) namely, CLSF Dubai, CLSF Abu Dhabi and CLSF Sharjah, we always imagine beautiful and majestic palm trees that vigorously grow in the desert sands of the land and those that were carefully planted at the center island of their well paved and modern highways that adorn their newly built, ultra- modern and “out of this world” metropolis. I remember the scripture that says that the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree and grow like cedars of Lebanon (Psalm 92:12). The palm tree in the Middle East is known for its long life, stately beauty, uprightness, usefulness and fruitfulness. The palm is the only tree that thrives in the extremely hot, harsh and almost waterless condition of the desert. The cedars of Lebanon, on the other hand, are known for being the largest of trees in the forest reaching to heights of about a hundred feet. It is majestic, stable, durable and incorruptibly strong. It is known to live even for a thousand years. This is an amazing analogy of the righteous: fruitful and upright palm tree; strong and majestic cedars of Lebanon!
Amazingly, this is the very condition and character of CLSF Dubai!!! For the past three years that we have visited them to speak in their anniversaries and minister to and encourage their leaders, we are amazed how they continue to flourish and become strong in this desert land. Last Friday, November 12, CLSF-Emmanuel Dubai, lovingly nurtured by their head pastors, Pastor Sonny Colendres and his wife Ate Fedelyn “Ate Fed”, celebrated their fourth year church anniversary at the beautiful Traders Hotel. Their theme was “Inherit the Land” highlighting their vision and mission to plant four more churches in the other four Kingdoms of the UAE. Incredibly, in just about four years, CLSF Dubai has extended the “tent” of God’s love to two more Emirates: Abu Dhabi (two years ago) and Sharjah (three months ago!). Out of UAE’s seven Emirates, CLSF has already planted a church in each of the three afore-mentioned Kingdoms or Emirates. Now, they aim to plant at least four more churches, one each for the other four more Emirates namely: Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Umm Al Quain. Indeed our CLSF churches in the UAE are fruitful and thriving like the palm tree and are strong like cedars of Lebanon!!!
More than 300 believers and guests attended and filled the ballroom of the Traders Hotel in Deira, Dubai for the celebration. Pastors from eight other Filipino churches (non-CLSF) joined the anniversary service which was held from 9:00am to 5:00pm of continuous and endless praise and worship broken only by a sumptuous buffet-style very late lunch at around 2:00pm!!! The CLSF brethren seemed unmindful of the time, totally lost in their extreme joy and gratitude to our God for His mercy and goodness!!! Our pastors and members from two other CLSF churches namely CLSF Abu Dhabi (Pastor Francis Sese-his wife Ate Era is in the Philippines on vacation) and the newly established CLSF-Sharjah (Pastor Edgar Rivera, formerly of CLSF Mandaluyong and Pastor Ramir de Villa) also came. May CLSF-Dubai, CLSF-Abu Dhabi and CLSF-Sharjah continue to thrive, bear fruit and multiply like the palm tree! May they be forever strong like cedars of Lebanon!
Also published on Eagle Christian, Issue No. 269, November 14, 2010