Next week will be my first time to participate in a major U.S. election, to vote for a president and other government leaders. Last year, on March 19, 2019, after a five-year application process, I was sworn in as a U.S. citizen here in Alabama. I thank and praise the Lord for His wisdom & guidance and for my husband’s patience during the application process.
I also thank God for His favor as the immigration office provided step-by-step instructions in the process. I was touched during the citizenship ceremony when we were given a copy of a letter from the president with a welcoming note. He wrote something like, “Our nation’s history is now your history.”
It will be my first time ever to vote for a national president. Why?
On May 11, 1992, there was a presidential election in the Philippines. It was supposed to be my first time to vote in a major national election. However, on that day, my father passed away. Distraught with grief, I forgot it was election day. In 1998, after six years, there was another presidential election, but I was already overseas serving in missions.
For the next 20 years, I was in-and-out of the country. I am embarrassed to say that I did not participate in the elections during that time. I did not think that my vote was important – that my one vote mattered. I regret that I did not exercise my right to vote and did not uphold my civic responsibility.
In the mission field where I served, the country was socialist. The common people did not have rights and freedoms – religious, political, freedom of speech, etc. The people who protest against the government are sent to prison or flee the country. Citizens do not even have the right to vote for their president; only certain members of the communist party can vote. For many years I lived in that country. I had fears not just for my life, but for the lives of my Christian friends. I was very cautious not to endanger others with my religious activities.
So, when I moved here to the United States of America, I saw and experienced how people are so blessed – not just with material things but also with political and religious freedom. Over the past seven years, I have gotten to know more about this country, its history, and its culture. I now like grits and turnip greens. I learned that the best time to shop in Walmart or go to the gym, so it won’t be crowded, is during ball games.
I’m very blessed and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this country which upholds political and religious freedom – where people have freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government, freedom of religion, etc. I am very thankful to the Lord also that this country is not just caring for their own, but also for the religious freedom of people in other countries.
According to an article in the November 2019 edition of Decision Magazine, “Approximately 80% of the world’s population live in countries where religious liberty is threatened, restricted, or even banned.” In response, the government recently formed the International Religious Freedom Alliance.
David and I pray earnestly that many people, especially Christians, will participate in government by exercising their right to vote and will take their citizen’s duty seriously. We pray that many Christians will vote for government leaders who will uphold biblical values – those who care for the poor, for strangers, for the oppressed, for those who are persecuted for their faith and especially for the voiceless and helpless unborn children.
These words are heavy on my heart:
Surely these things happened to Judah according to the LORD’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive (2 Kings 24:3-4).
My encouragement for this coming November is to please PRAY and VOTE! Pray for the country. Pray for the Lord’s mercy and intervention. Vote for those candidates who uphold biblical values and care for those whom God values.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD… Psalm 33:12
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace (shalom) (Numbers 6:24-26).
Vicki Creel became a U.S. Citizen through naturalization at a ceremony in 2019.
(Editor’s Note: Vicki Creel, a native of the Philippines, met her husband, missionary David Creel, in the U.S. David has been an engineer with Far East Broadcasting Company for 30 years. They have lived stateside while David has traveled the globe with FEBC, and Vicki has worked in FEBC administration as they waited for her citizenship to be awarded. They anticipate moving to serve in Cambodia in 2021.)