What to do when healing takes time

Last week from an intense stomach pain and vomiting, I was rushed to the ER, after 8 hours waiting and tests, I was then rushed to the OR to undergo appendectomy-needles to say it was a crazy 24 hours from a normal work day straight to the hospital.Going to the hospital was quite a big deal for me. Why? simply because its my 1st time and for so many reasons why we all hate being hospitalise and to make things worse complications arose and I needed to stay for 5 days.

It was quite intense but I learned so many things being a patient for 5 days about the healing of our physical bodies and some ailments of our soul. Here are some of them:

Healing takes time even if the remedy has been applied! So don’t be an overachiever in this season and have more grace as well for a person undergoing healing and restoration.

Complications can happen as part of the procedure; but it can also happen due to neglect and mistakes. Let’s take heed !

Routine checks are crucial in keeping progress. In as much as I barely had any sleep with the constant checking of vital signs by the nurses- that routine strictly monitored my health. Same thing goes for our heart and our soul, it needs regular regular check-ups to avoid a cluttered  and weary spirit. Our bible reading, our constant sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and covenant friends are always ready and available to check our hearts and souls for free, so have a daily dose of it!

Healing requires a team effort not a solo event. From the daily delivery of food, to the maintenance cleaning the room, to the nurses, residents and specialised doctor- healing comes quickly with the help of a team- don’t isolate and never do it alone.

No matter how good the food are, when appetite is gone, its almost useless. Kinda reminds of how sometimes in our zealousness to help a person, we shove as many truths to them as we can(Im so guilty of this haha), I realised it will be better if we give them only what they can understand and absorb for this season. Bite size portions of truth, a great dose of encouragement faith and hope!-

Patience, patience, patience  to yourself, to your wounds, to the people constantly poking and checking on you, to the medicines constantly being given and to the people patiently walking with you.

Communicate, communicate, communicate -your progress or even the lack of it, everything that seems unusual-let the doctor or nurses decide what information is helpful or not. Communicate and keep on asking question. People cannot easily discern what you need at times unless you tell them directly-ask for help!

Words spoken, time spent and gifts given matters, no matter how quick, no matter how simple. Sincerity and thoughtfulness goes a long way in breathing life to a soul.

I thank God that no matter how much pain I have to go through, He is consistent and committed to keep me healthy mind, body and soul. I’m also thankful for covenant friends who’s committed in walking with me every season of my life.

 

 

 

My World Conference Highlights Part 2

Our heart is so full and our spirit filled with every great adventure and surprises God has lovingly prepared for all of us at the Every Nation World Conference so here’s part 2 of my highlights for this trip: Check out part 1 here

The faith stretching supernatural provisions

I have countless stories of our campus missionaries testimonies on how God has provided for them for this trip, from a family who has completely blessed one of our campus missionary airfare and free accommodation to a luxurious hotel, to last minute special gifts to a money being saved up 3 years before this event took place. We are so blessed to take part in this event, we thank God for provision, we thank God for sowing a vision in our heart, we thank God for everything has been deposited in our lives.

We are super proud of our campus missionaries (specially the younger ones) who took that step of faith to register super early to the conference and believed until the last end and saw God’s faithfulness.

The Global Friendships Built

Though I wont remember all the names of people I have met, the joy of having this so much friends from all over the globe was amazing. Everyone just keeps on building, connecting, eating out, inspiring one another, challenging each other’s faith to honor God and make disciples.

I’m so privileged to meet a LOT of students and campus missionaries from our family here in South Africa, and though externally we look super different coming from 2 continents-im glad to have heard the same passion and faith, some of the same challenges and struggles we all go thru as well as we pursue to advance His Kingdom. But the best part of it is the willingness to try and hear one another’s story, going the extra mile to connect and built even if we are continents apart and the desire to lock arms in building a stronger team to change the campus change the world!!

The Unceasing Passion to Reach the World

During the International Staff Meeting, our Regional Leaders were inspiring us on what God is doing in different continent- I saw so many heroes of faith, people who has laid down their lives in sharing the gospel no matter what the cost, pastors, missionaries, young professionals and even students are now on different parts of the globe sharing the love of Jesus to a world starving from the true Saviour and and real love.

But this scene touched my heart the most: our spiritual family in Europe consistently plowing thru hard soil, planting on the seeds on the gospel no matter how long it would take to bear fruit. This continent who has long been missionaries to the world has now become a ripe mission field and our leaders has called us the continents of Africa and Asia who has been recipients of the gospel from Europe to lock arms and GO and sow that same seed of the gospel back to this continent.

europe-1

Watch the video of the prayer here!

Let’s all set our alarm 9:38am every morning and pray for workers to be sent into this mission field, for partners to rise up and send more missionaries and for prayer warriors to intercede for Europe.

For everything the Lord has shown this week, everything He has made known, the people I have the privilege to meet, the places too beautiful for words, His presence that is so real and His love made tangible in every language and expression possible. Thank you Lord,You are the author of impossible dreams come true, our faithful Provider, our loving Father who bring us to the best adventure ever! The World Conference gave us a vivid picture of what you are calling us to do, the people from every nation gave us a glimpse of Your image in different colors, shapes, sizes, culture and age. And all together we say “Here we are! We will GO!!”

My World Conference 2016 Highlights

I can’t imagine where to begin writing about this experience- it’s supernatural, its awesome, a God-sized dream come, a history marker and a personal encounter all wrapped up in one only its so so so much more than that! But here goes some bits, pieces and nuggets of the grandest event this year in our Every Nation family:

A Picture of Consistent Committed Leadership

This week I got to see Ptr. Steve, Ptr Rice and Ptr Phil all in one event- the founders of our movement. I’ve known them since I was a student and in my almost 2 decades of being part of this family (I started in Kid’s church btw-hahaha joke!) –their consistency, commitment and character is a shining beacon of great leadership for me, more than their giftings, more than their vision, more than their accomplishments. I’m sure they are not perfect, but I love how their radical passion from the moment they stepped into our nation as fresh graduates is still as the same if not greater for sharing the gospel to the next generation.

founders
Salute to our founders and spiritual fathers, also took the chance                to photo-op with Ptr. Phil Bonasso 🙂

A Growing Multigenerational Movement

We are a multi-generational movement and as much as we put emphasis on raising up the next generation of leaders , the steady presence of our heroes of faith who has paved the way and remains to build also continues to inspires us to be pioneers and history makers, both is vital and important for our family. I have a glimpse of this attending the different workshops in the conference

From this young boy being trained by his mom to encourage and prophesy to our senior leaders at the Prophetic Workshop

boy

To this lovely couple in their golden years who just decided to be a cross cultural missionary in our Cross-Cultural Mixer:

what a great example of faith

Its never too late or too early to serve God!

This is Ethan sharing to me what he learned at the Kid’s church conference:

ethan

To these amazing people working behind the scenes:

bts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God has indeed called us ALL to GO and make disciples, no one is exempted!

The presence of loving spiritual fathers

One of my most favorite part of this conference is observing the dynamics of our leaders-in front, alongside and even behind the scenes. And while much is to be told of a lot of people’s humility and servant leadership, the evidence of having spiritual fathers is what Im most grateful about.

From making sure that our Jesus is the centre of the whole event more than the vision, to ensuring our core values is at the forefront, to emphasizing on raising up the next generation, to that gentle nudge that we have to be healthy and take time to rest, to a push to preach the gospel no matter what the cost is-this is fathering at it finest, God giving us spiritual fathers, God fathering us all throughout the process.

 

fathers
Our spiritual fathers praying for our regional leaders

 

More highlights on the next blog…

Cooking and Cross-cultural Campus Ministry

If there are two things I’m currently learning and re-learning right now- its cooking and campus ministry. I’ve always thought that because my mom has taught me to cook at the early age of 5 that I would never miss Filipino food because I know how to cook them, but going to another continent left me clueless as all the familiar things and ingredients I was used to being available is not easily found.

The same thing is to be said about doing cross-cultural campus ministry, you think you’ve trained and harnessed yourself in ministering to the youth of your nation and then all of a sudden God calls you to another continent, another culture, a totally different environment and now its step 1 all over again.Here’s some lesson’s I’ve learned 6 weeks in the beautiful nation of Kenya. May it be an encouragement to all cross-cultural campus missionary newbies:

Observe and enjoy the local food.                                                                Before I left the Philippines, I was talking with 2 veteran cross-cultural missionaries from Tibet and Nepal and I was asking them how do you learn the do’s and don’ts of nation as of course I don’t want to do anything offensive to the nation. They only have one answer: OBSERVE!!I found it so simplistic and yet one of the best advise I got.                                   So 6 weeks in here right now I’ve learned that as much as we love a daily dose of rice, Kenyans also has a regular pattern of eating and its generally meat and a variety of carbohydrates to go with it-ugali, chapatti, noodles, mash potato/unripe banana and yes occasionally rice.

On the other end, Kenya as I’ve observed is quite a religious nation (much like the Philippines), families value attending church together on a Sunday, most of the students I’ve met recalls being in kid’s church wether its Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian or Moslem. A lot of the students are often part of the church where their parents are in and they are not ashamed to say it. Taking note of this value and culture really helped us to focus the discipleship on asking questions on the depth of their relationship with God (vs teaching per se) and probing on their perspective on church and discipleship.

Stick to the basic food you’ve cooked hundred of times.                                So I found out I can only eat Kenyan food so many times, but my Asian palette would still come out. So I’ve tried cooking adobo- it was fine but the soy sauce here was different. The sopas really went well -its perfect for the weather here! Bistek also was well loved as beef here is super cheap and their staple meat. The not so successful ones are chopsuey-I guess its too oriental for their palate and beef caldereta- I couldn’t find the right tomato sauce here as I found out their catchup=tomato sauce.

Likewise going to the campus consistently, prayer walks, doing 121 and small groups is smoothly effective. There are a little bit of difference in how you approach it but applying the principles of discipleship truly works- no need to invent a new one just customize a bit so that it will be received better by the culture you are in. An example of this is how we package our small groups, in the Philippines we call it Victory groups, for here we are calling it “Discovery groups”, I thinks its quite a novel idea coming into a culture that is very much saturated with great bible scholars and teachers, it encourages our students to really encounter God personally thru His word, it gives them an avenue to speak up and say their thoughts about the passage and not just listen to an expert teacher.

Share recipes and learn the local cuisine.                                                        So far I really loved their nama-choma which is basically grilling of meats, (south Africans calls it braai)I enjoy it with kachumbari (salsa). I also enjoy chapatti (much like a burrito wrapper) with beef stew, as well as samosa (like empanada) with milk tea.

I have yet to attend a local church here but I would seriously love to, I hear some of the church around the neighborhood and them praying and worshipping for hours is really something I would love to be imparted on. One of the student is inviting me to attend a keziah- an overnight worship and prayer meeting-Im super curious, I’ll share with you once I got a chance to do it.

Some of the challenges they faced here as shared (which is much the same globally as well) to me by the locals are “missional” thinking- the urgency of evangelism and even the vision to disciple other nations; the heart of discipleship and Lordship- the knowledge of do’s and don’ts is very strong and evident, but the challenge of finding someone to walk you through the journey is much more real; a church that focuses on young people is also not common. I think any disciple of an Every Nation church would seriously see all these challenges as perfect opportunities and reason to plant churches here.

Barely short of 2 months and this nation has been such a great teacher to me, but the grace to learn and unlearn, the joy to persevere and trust, the commitment to grow and mature that I can only attribute to the best Teacher of all- Jesus!

Better Together: Sharing Testimonies and Covenant Friends

The first Wednesday of the month is something I always look forward to. Monthly we have our Every Nation Philippines Meeting and all our campus missionaries Metro Manila gets to reconnect and see each other -the classic extrovert me is just super happy to see so many people.

But these women are some of those on top of my list of people to spend time with, why? because we have been sharing lives the past few years and we have grown better  just from sharing our pain together, our laughters together, life’s challenges and also its victory. We intentionally built relationships with each other and today we get to enjoy its fruit thru teaching and coaching one another and simply being covenant friends.

Every meeting was unique , but if there’s always one thing consistent with our meeting we never go home without bringing a peace of each other ‘s victory and powerful testimonies. Today I got to hear these stories of personal and ministry answered prayers from these women of faith:

  • a dream condo that is rented out at a super cheap rate:                           Renting a cheap condo in Metro Manila at the place nearest your work is a piece of heaven on earth if you know how traffic is in Manila. Finding a cheap one is almost close to impossible, so to have a couple personally approach you and say: we meant to buy this house and rent it out for business, but God is challenging us to partner with you thru this and rent in out at the cheapest possible rate. Now that’s close to impossible and you know its only God’s hand and favor working and did I say its fully-furnished as well? Keep on believing God for your dream house at an impossible price.                                                                                                                                                          
  • the joy of biking and moving on                                                                         A lot of students think that their campus missionaries are like super men and women, how we wish we really are like that and that we don’t get hurt, stumble or fall. But the reality of life is real and challenges are a constant reminder of how much we all live under the grace of God’s goodness. I love the fact that no matter how personal our story sometimes gets these women are never lacking in humility to share their vulnerabilities, to share their stories, to ask for prayers and to enjoy the comfort of spiritual family and love the freedom accountability brings.                                                                                   
  • the power of being a blessing to an establishment                                      With all the counselling and one on one discipleships we get to do every day, we cant help but sometimes really based our “office” on a fast food chain nearest the campus we are ministering to. But this campus minister took it to the next level when she started praying for that establishment, believing God that she’ll get to share our vision of reaching students to the owner. Lo and behold, she got to do that and beyond, she got so much favor that they are willing to rent out their function room for free so that a discipleship group could meet their once a week and pray for the campus nearby. Truly we serve a good of unending faithfulness and surprises, don’t be afraid to believe for the impossible.                                                                                          
  • the joy of celebrating new seasons and existing ones                            Whether you are currently super challenged in your transition or enjoying a new season, nothing beats celebrating and sharing its joy and pain to a  group of covenant friends-someone who have seen how you started, people that walk with you in this journey, the same people who’ll be celebrating with you or comforting you in succeeding and trying.                                                                                                                                             I guess this is one of most important aspect of this constantly meeting together, we learn about commitment to a person’s growth, we challenge each other to believe for greater things, we celebrate the diversity of each one’s strength and wintogether as they fulfil their calling. We open our lives to previous “strangers”, we intentionally build trust and ended up being friends. We share endless stories of God’s faithfulness and endless lessons from His word and are in a constant cycle of discipling others and discipling one another- Indeed we are better together.

Ignite Aftermath II: Leadership Lessons BTS

If you want to catch up on Ignite Aftermath I here it is
Confession time, there are some bad leadership decisions I’ve made the last few weeks and how I wish I could turn back time and undo them- but we all know I cant. Times like this I can only rely on God’s encouragement, the power of His truth and His supernatural grace.  He just reminded me that:
 
Grace can also mean the acceptance of the reality that mistakes are bound to happen as we continue to lead, yet we cling on to the truth that His call and great plans remain in tact and on track. We can never mess up God’s plan nor diminish His faith in us!
 
And we can also CHOOSE to repent, apologize, bounce back and move forward. If you made a mistake the past few days, don’t beat yourself up, don shrink back from leading, and never listen to lies. Embrace correction, grow up, look up (shame is from the enemy) and stay on track.
On the other hand, today’s blog highlights some great leadership examples I’ve observe behind the scenes at Ignite 2015.
The true heart of leadership is a heart willing to serve and sacrifice
From every student volunteer who, instead of just sitting down, listening and learning, CHOSE to help, pack ids, do the designs, attend never ending rehearsals, stand up for 3 days as an usher, prayer warrior or part of security…To every young professional who has supported the never-ending, over-priced fund raising items of the students. These are professionals who even carved out days in their leaves just to be part of the production, or security or ushering teams stationed at the yellow area, giving their support and energy. To every campus missionary and Every Nation staff going above and beyond the call of duty, sacrificing whatever they can.To the businessmen who have sown in campus ministry, who even offered their cars and houses just so some of the delegates can stretch their budget to attend the conference.
I remember in this picture of the VIP lounge at Ignite Day 3:
Joe was giving instructions to those who are going up to pray for the different spheres of influence. You can imagine how unnerving it was, in a sense that there are lots of great men and women there from different field,even one of the senators of the nation was there. I really loved it when Senator Gringo Honasan said this: “Whatever you need me to do, that’s what I’ll do”There was no sense of entitlement, no hint of needing any VIP treatment.
We salute you, everyone, for everything you did and continue to do.
Leadership is fuelled by unending support and commitment to the cause and to one another
This is one of my favorite shots during the Ignite Pre-conference:

 
It was the first time one of our Hub leaders, Jeff Dacumos, would stand up and preach to a crowd of 4,480 student leaders from 36 nations. We believe in him. We knew he would do a great job but nothing could fully capture how supported he is by these campus directors surrounding him and praying for him.
This other picture is Dan Monterde, our conference director, rallying more than 686volunteers a few minutes before gates opened, reminding them that this is not just for any great event, or church or for the leaders, but its impact is on the generations to come.

And if that’s not enough, the brilliant people behind Ignite decided to launch the newest committee we have for Ignite: Volunteer care, a built in program inside every committee to ensure that everyone working within, around and behind the scenes knows exactly that they are fully supported and we’ve got their backs.
Leadership requires audacious faith to do the impossible

Given the chance to do a video on Ignite, I would really love to make one just on how much faith our student leaders have shown all throughout this season, especially with all the fund raising activities needed to be done. Some people don’t understand just the amount of faith a student from the province needs to muster just to be able to join this annual event. Here are some examples of their faith in action:

Our students from the Visayas and Mindanao regions needed to raise up around P10,000 for airfare, accommodations and food. While it may not seem like much for some, that is way more than the amount their parents are earning monthly. For some of these kids, it’s actually their first time to ride a plane, to go to Manila, to see a mall and to watch a movie.

I’ve heard so many stories of great faith one is a student from General Santos who had to endure wearing a mascot costume for 2 hours just to earn P200. A student in Iloilo did manicures and pedicures to raise funds. A girl from Davao who colored other people’s hair. Our students in Tacloban made coffee jellies until midnight to sell at our Sunday Service the day after.

To every student leader who believed that God would bring them to the Ignite Conference and every campus missionary who never gave up on bringing as many students as they can through whatever means-your faith is such an inspiration. Thank you for not giving up!!

To be continued….

Lesson’s shared by students for the students

 Last March 14, 2015, we had our Discipleship 2015 Conference for all our leaders in Metro Manila. In Victory Fort, more than 1,000 leaders attended, representing families, young professionals, students and even senior citizens all leading their own Victory groups.

As much as the event promoted the urgency of doing evangelism, my personal highlight was really processing with the students about what they learned and what God has been teaching them recently. As I was listening to them and how personal their lessons were, I knew that they are really developing the art of listening to God. Here are some of their stories:
1.Learning to be strategic.
One student upon hearing Ptr. Rice Brook’s message on evangelism at the conference shared the value in strategically talking to people we want to reach out for God. She just realized that in as much as building relationship and sharing stories is good as a start up for engaging others-we must eventually focus on praying and deliberately doing whatever is necessary to lead the conversation to the gospel. Sharing stories and being a friend is not enough, we want lost people to know God.
2.Set an example for others.
Being on time at school may be one of the basic task of a student but we all know that for some people it’s a struggle. So when one of the students shared about how God convicted her to be on time for her class, I super appreciated her honesty and her fear of God in not allowing even the “smallest things” to detract her away from being a good testimony for others to follow. She shared of how sometimes it’s difficult to invite her classmates to attend church because she’s always late for class, as well as other Christian leaders in the classroom.
By the grace of God, let’s be excellent student, that when other people would look at our lives, they would know that God is alive (buhay ang Panginoon!) when they see how our lives would mirror God’s glory.
3.Say no to compromise.
As a new graduate, one challenge is finding the right job and an environment where we can also grow steadily as a Christian. For quite some time I’d been encouraging this leader to find a new job as her current work exposes her to things that might compromise her relationship with God. This year she wrote it on her faith goals to believe God for a better work and better working hours. This month she shared of how God opened a door for her for a better job, great working environment and better schedule- God in indeed faithful.
If you are in an area that might compromise your relationship with God, be eager to get out and believe Him for supernatural favor!
4.Go, not wait.
Lastly, this leader shared about her quiet time on the day of Discipleship 2015. She said that from Matthew 28:19, one that we know so well, God really impressed on her the word GO!
As a background story, she told us of how recently she’s been noticing from the younger leaders that she was coaching, that they have become accustomed on just waiting for somebody to be passed on to them or connected to them at the youth service or literally be given to them vs. initiating to go out and personally invite their classmates and friends.

She emphasized that God has called us to GO not WAIT to make disciples, GO NOT WAIT for them to come to us, GO into the “harvest field” NOT WAIT for them to attend our youth services. I could not have said it any better, this girl is just a true-blooded evangelist.
I’m really proud of all these student leaders, it’s such a privilege learning together with them. And in as much as a good lesson from the Bible, or a sermon, or a book or a podcast is very much valuable in coaching them, I believe one of the best thing we can also teach young leaders is just the heart and diligence of patiently waiting and listening to God and a submissive will to always obey. Remember Jesus’ affirmation of Mary’s diligence to listen to Him: “ but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke10:42,NIV