“I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” — Philippians 4:12
The grass hut, a “Bahay Kubo,” her grandparents once called home is far removed from the lifestyle Marianne Dublado enjoyed after moving to the United States from the Philippines as a seven-year-old. Each trip back home over the years and her growing relationship with Christ began to change Marianne’s perspective on trusting God, living simply on purpose — and giving faithfully.
“God has been shaping my heart,” said Marianne, of life since becoming a believer in 2007. Marianne was baptized in 2011 at The Loop Campus and later began attending the Downtown Campus, where she feels a great sense of community and accountability.
The first day she heard Pastor Gregg speak about MISSION 1:8, the two-year Houston’s First generosity initiative that began in 2013, the Lord challenged her to give, but she found it difficult to give above a tithe. One problem — forgetfulness. She decided one way to remain faithful was to schedule her giving online. “I don’t have to think about being consistent in my giving,” she said. “As I began to realize the money isn’t mine, but the Lord’s, I noticed He was breaking the chains of greediness in my heart.”
As Marianne began releasing her own preferences to the Lord in sheer acts of obedience, she began to see even greater purpose and ministry in her career as a social worker counseling patients in a Houston area HIV clinic. “Patients with HIV weren’t necessarily a population I was passionate about initially,” said Marianne, but God continues to confirm her call to minister to them.
When an opportunity arose to go on a mission trip to Africa, she hoped to go to Sudan, but God had another destination in mind. Instead, He purposed her to go to Kenya, the country with the fourth largest HIV epidemic in the world. There she interacted with orphaned children with AIDS whose parents had succumbed to the disease.
Marianne thinks back to the choices she has had and the way God has guided her life as she handed control over her life and finances to Him. She listens closely as He guides her in knowing whom to help and when. It’s freedom in giving and being obedient that doesn’t produce a feeling of deprivation, but of great satisfaction and fulfillment of God’s purpose in her life. “That’s how God works,” said Marianne. “Giving is really an opportunity to love.”
Visit the giving page to establish your online giving and join Marianne in being intentional about your generosity to what God is doing through Houston's First.
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