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…

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.

Better Together: Team Teaching on Purity

Last Friday I got a chance to share with our Friday Youth Service leaders about a Valentine month ender message on Healthy Boundaries and Purity. I will be blogging about that message soon but I have learned so much just simply bouncing off and getting feedbacks from other people I want to share that experience first.

Studying the Bible

There are just countless of verses to use and numerous angles to take to discuss this so though it took lots of time, there’s just a joy wrestling with God’s word knowing how it will cut your heart first before your intended audience. At the end of it there’s just peace in finally understanding, this is what God wants to communicate from this verse for this specific group of people. Then prayers would flow and now you are really pumped up to finish the whole message.

Embracing Feedbacks

Early on my first years of doing campus ministry, my pastor in Victory Los Baños really trained us on the diligence of writing a message. He challenge us to prepare well and try writing it verbatim, I know this is not for everyone but for me it was really helpful as fully writing it clearly shows my thought pattern, the clarity of the message and the strategy of delivery. Plus it also helps in making very smooth transitions, adding and editing things based on the time given and grammars can also be easily edited as we have a very unforgiving crowd of UPLB students back then. Next is  the diligent process of asking feedbacks, I remember he would really challenge us to finish our messages early, that way we can practice it with him and or the other staff, our messages really comes out way way better than it started. Though this task may seem quite strenuous for some, the saying remains true: “two heads are indeed better than one”

Collaborating with others

For this specific message my first life line was Mye, one of our pastor’s wives and a campus missionary by heart, I know she just spoke about this topic a week ago so I got a copy of her message right away. Her notes really helped me focus on the verse I need to zero in and I got a lot of power lines as well such as:                                                                       God’s standards vs. people’s opinion and experiences                                                You cannot live on borrowed convictions                                                                       Your standards determine the way you act

Maya was next, she’s one of our  diligent theologians in campus ministry and as we have just been from a Systematic Theology class I want to make sure my Bible interpretation was spot on. I’m really glad I passed the test. (yay!) The basic premise of my message was really embracing purity as our God-given identity. Maya expounded my message by explaining to me that its God faithfulness that He gave us standards on purity and He did not leave us clueless on our own. She also emphasised on the rewards of purity

Next I got to call Fidel, my campus director at EN Campus Fort to find out if I’m on the right tract for what he intended the purpose is of the Leader’s Huddle. He added in that he wants the student to really go home hungry for more of the Bible and he wants them to have greater accountability in the context of community. Perfect, it has helped me channel all my applications to really gear towards a deeper understanding of His word and a push for more transparency and vulnerability from our student leaders.

Wrapping things up

Final touches on the message and added in one of Dove’s commercial: When Did you stop thinking you are beautiful? and posted this question in the end “When did you stop thinking you are pure”?  Also inserted some of my I learned it the hard way moments and lots of my past mistakes. I got to bounce it off to Em as well, one of our campus missionaries atEN Campus Fort and she added in this concept of faith, fact and feelings, which was really so good I wish she would blog it as well. One of her powerlines: “Your feelings are valid, but its not always right” (boom! pak!) I’m glad for her affirmations as well on where the message was headed. She wrote a perfect one-liner summarising what I want the students to bring home that night:                                                                   “Purity is not a status to be attained. It is an identity to be lived out.”

Questions and Answers On the actual talk itself, Im super happy that Sonjia (Fidel’s wife) was there along with our other campus missionaries, Ella, Reynette and Em. The discussion was really a joy as all of us are really excited to interact with our leaders and hear their hearts. We all come from different backgrounds and seasons and it made the answers a lot richer.

Final thoughts

Overall I think more than the students learning from us,                              We got to learn a lot from each other as well.

Indeed we are better together!

Lessons of a missionary newbie part 2

Our 11 days trip to Vietnam and Cambodia might be one of the top 5 things that happened to me this year for so many reasons but on top of the list will be that its a God- fulfilled promise. I’ve always have 3 nations in my heart Mongolia, Vietnam and Africa and Im glad that finally after many years of waiting i got to visit one of them.

I’ve learned so much from this trip and one of them is to celebrate diversity!! 
Sometimes in our head its our common default to lean along choosing people who are most likely like us-how we work at the phase we wanted and how we wanted it. But thank God we are too unique to find so many people like us, I think its God’s grace and mercy upon us that despite of how alike all our DNAs our (99.9% according to Science), we are made super different in so many ways.

I cannot even describe how unique we all are on our mini team of three. One loves to wake up really early while another stays up late to keep abreast with Eat Bulaga’s kalye serye. Two of us are adventurous foodie while the other would want to stick to a diet of unli rice and meat- true-blooded Pinay indeed! I love observing how different we all are and yet it never becomes an issue.
In terms of ministry one of us is a worship leader while the other one is a frustrated singer haha.
It doesn’t matter really because she’s the evangelist in our group, just leave her for a few minutes in any corner and minutes later you’ll find her having a new friend-she has a way of making people really feel comfortable when she’s around its a gift really. As for me, Im the organised teacher who takes super long time studying and organising everything.

In terms of preparation, i love how one of us is really good in the computer, she prepares all keynotes-no complaints, no questions ask just pure servant leadership! Initially I was supposed to go to this trip alone but I thank God’s providence and sovereignty He gave me a team. And what a team we made, while one is teaching, the other would be leading worship while the other one will be the host. On another end, while one is doing the workshop, another one will be the game master and the last one will take of the technicals. I love how we all take turns in doing what we love to do, what we don’t normally do, what we need to learn to do, excelling in how God wired us to be and yet in the same breath doing and learning what the circumstances called us to be. I do believe that we don’t need superstars in this line of work, rather team players who will do whatever it takes to win and shoot the ball as a team!

As we start our day every morning i love how one of us is just consistently sincerely grateful to everything God has done the day before, she prays from the heart every breakfast and im blessed just really watching her do it. And as we end our day, the other person just remains to be that perky, jolly person amidst our exhaustion, its always like her day is just starting no matter what time it is.

So here’s some encouragements to all team leaders of future missions trip:
a. no one is an accident in your trip, God has placed them in you team for a purpose
b. learn to spot and mine all the hidden gems every team member carries
allow them to shine in their element and be stretched learning a new skill
c. keep the healthy tension of being teachers and perpetual learners at the same time
d. be a constant encourager and set up your people for success
e. keep on modelling and learning, re-learning and un-learning even.

To Lynn and Melfer, my mission trip buddies, thank you for making me a better person in this trip!
Cheers to more front-row seat and God-sized adventures 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….