I miss writing here. I miss having these precious minutes when I would just intentionally sit down in silence with a Google Doc file, just typing in thoughts about circumstances or life in general. I have been struggling to find stillness lately thus the priority level of writing here (or even reading books) on a monthly basis fell to the bottom. I do not want to complain about it because it is a learning process but I also do not want to just let activities consume me. And so with the Lord, He fights the moments when I have to prioritize spending time with Him in word and in prayer over my must-do’s as well as intentionally resting/sleeping over the pressure of meeting deadlines.
So here’s what has been happening lately…
God recently opened doors for a new gospel territory.
Mid-February, God personally spoke to me in Luke 14. He told me to not cling on the people who keep on rejecting the invitation of God to have fellowship with Him. He instructed me to go out there and start looking for those who are really seeking. He said to me, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”
I prayed about it and God showed me a vision of five girls in high school uniforms from afar at a covered court, encircled as a group and just talking to each other. In response to His word and out of a cancelled appointment, He led me to the school of a friend (Mark) who has been praying about discipling others.
That same day, Mark and I went inside the said campus and shared the gospel to the students. The students we shared the gospel to amazingly responded to the invitation of Jesus! They even made themselves available for weekly Bible study meetups. And even though it was personally risky to commit to meeting up with them twice a week for two weeks, God helped me out with my schedules. He made me available and He made them available as well.
Five weeks later, because God has been orchestrating it, Mark is now discipling about nine guys. He has been following-up on them in cell groups and one-on-one Bible studies. Yes, they have been learning a lot from their personal Quiet Times lately! Praise the Lord!
God also led me to invite friends/co-laborers in Christ (two of them formerly studied in the said school while two of them live nearby) to join me in sharing the gospel inside the said campus. Currently, there are five cell groups of girls inside the campus on two different days! Yes, they have been memorizing the verses from the Bridge-to-Life gospel illustration already! Praise the Lord!Please include us in your prayers! 🙂
I recently started a part-time teaching job in a Uni!
After six months of praying and waiting and relying to God even more, I officially started my first term as a teacher in a University! I kind of talked about it here and I want to really talk about it more but it’s best that I don’t detail the experience on the internet.
But I would just like to express here how I am so so thankful to God for allowing this opportunity! It never felt like I was doing it alone in spite of me being anxious about it. I have always felt that He was the One maneuvering the things for my good and for His glory! I am still adjusting to this current set-up mentally and physically. But I am sustained by His grace.
There are four cell group leaders in the campus where I am teaching, discipling about 18 student-athletes on a regular basis. The spiritual battles are so real but we are continuously praying and hoping for God-led ministry breakthroughs here!
I have been facing a lot of ups and downs in my corporate job.
Last January, I celebrated four years of tenure in the company I work at. I also recently received my first official promotion ever since I started working as an employee in 2012. The last time I talked about my corporate job in this blog site was here and the journey has not been easy but it’s not the type that I would fly out of the ride and die; it’s the type that I know I am able to ride it only because of God’s grace.
The drastic and constant changes in the industry urge the company I am in to keep up and perform faster. Nothing like this for the past twenty-five years, my colleagues would say. The demands to meet deadlines with quality output keep on increasing. At the same time, the battle to not let my corporate job take over my life and decisions has been real.
I don’t know how God is doing it but He wins over by knock-out. Even though everyday feels like, “I think I really need to extend time after work hours”, “Should I delay my personal time with God to meet my targets?” or “Should I reschedule ministry to finish these deliverables?”, He leads me to His will — Christ over career. Christ’s labor over corporate work. Repeat.
He touches the hearts of my boss and colleagues (despite the pressure that they are also carrying) with understanding and kindness even though I often show up at work with a headache and sleepy eyes. He paves the way so I can stand firm on level ground even though I am often stressed out and pressured with things. Praise the Lord!
New leaders are emerging in LAYF-LPU despite discouragements and constant spiritual battles.
I am not sure if I already shared it here but last October, God planted a church in one university in Manila and we are so honored to be His co-laborers for this. It’s called LAYF-LPU (Lakas-Angkan Youth Fellowship-Lyceum of the Philippines University). Our friends Jerome and Faith recently created a Facebook page for it! Please visit it here!
This plan never crossed my mind when I first met-up with Bernadette (Buds) after my month-long discipleship training in 2017. But plans like this He already wrote before history even came to existence. Since this is my first time to do this, I have been learning a lot not only about what it means to love like Jesus but all the more about how to live like Jesus. God blessed us with Martin as our overseer. He too has been learning a lot!
We started our gospel series from October to December, had our first ever Christian fellowship last December, and ended the year with two men leaders and three women leaders. Grace joined us after she came back from her month-long discipleship training last year, while Kenji joined Martin in handling the gents’ group. Twelve students from this college community participated in Encounter God Retreats last June and November. Buds and Kenji already attended a cell group leadership conference last October.
Martin is currently training six men to be disciplers also. Marilyn with her disciples, Faith and Hannah, joined the team also just this February — moving the count of women leaders from three to six.
And while God is moving outwardly through this youth fellowship, He has also been moving inwardly to our hearts. After all, God is after our being not our doing. He always checks us if it is really for Him that we’re doing it. And if there’s anything in our motives and thoughts that isn’t in the right place with God (may it be impurity, pride or independence from Him), He prunes it like how a gardener would prune roses so they’d blossom beautifully and longer.
It has been painful but our Gardener knows what He is doing. He prunes us for our good and for His glory. There were Wednesdays when Martin would approach me and we would ask ourselves if this still makes sense, especially when people who used to be so active in fellowship would bid bye without a word. But these thoughts would humble us and remind us:
- that LAYF-LPU is not ours,
- that we can’t battle things with work but with prayer, and
- that God is not after our feelings but our faith in Him.
Please include LAYF-LPU in your prayers! 🙂 Praise be to God!
After six months of preparing and battling, praying and testing, and raising funds for ICLS, finally, FINALLY we are three weeks close to it.
I initially thought that ICLS (International Cell Leaders’ Summit) preparations from our end would be just include some winds. Last year September, we had an initial planning meeting where we had a group quiet time on the chapter of Matthew 22. Then each one prayed about it for seven days to make sure that everybody’s decision to join this much-awaited ICLS is God-led and God-confirmed.
After 7 days, we set our weekly prayer meetings intended for this event. We also did brainstorming of fundraising initiatives. The confirmed participants from our ministry area was 9 last October, 12 last November and 14 last December. By end of December, the 14 of us had our flights booked and our initial registration fees paid.
Then come 2019, the winds came with some waves: our faith were tested. Hindrances in the schedule attacked 3 of our friends, putting them on the spot of either risking their scholarships (in essence, their college education) and their sports team to join this event or to just not go to this event. We all prayed about it. I struggled in prayer about it as well. But at the end, the 3 decided to not risk their scholarships and sports team.
Their decisions made me sad. I know they want to badly join the event. They did their best to come into terms with their coaches and teammates. I also know that they need to join the event because they have not been exposed to leadership conferences or trainings in spite them being cell leaders for more than a year already. But I am convinced that it had to happen.
I learnt along the way that even though we badly want to follow Jesus, the bigger question is: How bad do we really want to follow Him? I learnt along the way that hindrances were meant not to attack us but to test us. If we relate it in the context of Luke 14: How can one say that he or she is willing to lay down his or her life for Jesus if he or she cannot risk what he or she has on earth for the sake of something that is eternal? I am sure we all learnt from what happened.
Then March kicked-off not only with winds and waves but with a little rain. Seven days away from the deadline, we were still at 20% of raised funds. This had me anxious for an entire week. This had me frustrated towards my fellow brothers and sisters especially those whom I think were not exerting any or much effort to raise funds or not showing sympathy to those who were.
This also had me angered towards those who have been constantly late and absent to our prayer meetings. In the context of Luke 16:10, how can one be a faithful leader if he or she cannot submit to a simple schedule like this? There were days of confrontation and days when I wanted to give up on people already. There were days when I thought, “God, is this really just our level of faith?”
But I am convinced that this too had to happen.
The Holy Spirit challenged and corrected me: Like, in the context of Luke 16:10, how can I be a faithful leader if I am easily affected by the quirks and foibles of 10 people? Such realization was a hard pill to swallow but I praise God because if He did not allow such situations, I would have not known of my tendencies to be so arrogant.
By God’s grace and provisions, we were able to pay for all our registration fees just at the nick of time. Still, we are continuously praying. All glory to God!
My on-going thesis/research proposal is a mess.
I spent two months crafting a thesis proposal up until the methodology part only to find out a month before the deadline that one of my variables was not making sense. Yes, I also had the same question: Why that late? Instead of grumbling, what I did was try to defend that variable to my thesis advisor. Unfortunately, I was not able to convince her. This means that my thesis proposal must be done from scratch immediately.
This obviously got me sad and worried. I am still, up to this day, trying to find some motivation to start over again and to not worry about the deadline. God has been pulling my thoughts on Philippians 4:
- Worry is self-sufficiency. If I long for God’s sufficiency, finishing this thesis proposal before the deadline won’t be impossible.
- Worry is a sign that I am not praying enough. It is a sign that I am not presenting my thesis to God in every situation, in prayer and petition. This is the reason why I ended up with no peace in my heart.
- Worry is a sign of ungratefulness. I have been so focused about starting over again that I have forgotten that I won’t reach thesis-writing if it wasn’t for God’s grace. I have been so focused on what must be done that I have forgotten to rejoice, rejoice and REJOICE in the Lord!
I had mornings when I did not want to/ could not get up from my bed. I had nights when breaking down comes before sleeping.
There are days when I would get swallowed up by ungodly and impure thoughts against myself and against other people. Tears were shed out of frustration. But God…. Oh, but God.
His word remains my hope. His presence remains to be my comfort. He understands me more than anybody else even myself. He uses the right people to encourage me and to remind me of where my eyes should be. He keeps me on level ground even when my knees shake in pursuing the things He has called me to do and even when the world has all the right reasons to shut me off.
And by that, He is my peace. In a world full of “This needs to be done”, my Lord and Savior is my peace.