One Hand At A Time

I had the privilege to volunteer in an outreach event by Gideon International last Sunday at the Main Street (Vancouver) Car Free Festival. I’ve always been wanting to join their outreaches but my time never permits. Thank God for asking me to slow down that these days, I have more free time. Such a blessing just to be a part of it.

With the goal of the outreach to share Jesus and evangelize, we used nail art to be able to bridge that. I, myself, have never done nail art. That was my first time. I was so surprised that people were happy with what I did. I really felt that my work were really not that good. But I was thinking, maybe God made them see it beautifully. ūüėÄ

My favorite part about that whole event was to be able to talk to women who are in the different walks of life – students, single women, wives/mommies. I always enjoy hearing stories of people. And to be able to do that while doing their nails, it was a humbling experience. I mean, who am I to do their nails when I’m not even equipped. Who am I that they would trust me with not just their nails but with their story? They don’t even know me. And really the best, best part of it was to allow me to pray for them and remind them that God loves and cares for them.

After that event, I went home with my heart so full. That was God’s. The people that He brought there, He appointed it.¬† Those people were meant to be there to be reminded and¬† be reconnected to their Maker. My prayer is that those hands I have held will have a personal encounter with God and will really know and receive Jesus. That I leave to God.

I’m just amazed how God can use “nail art” to be able to share His love. One hand at a time, there’s an opportunity for the gospel to be shared.

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There’s another outreach event coming on July 8th. If God is moving you to be part of it, let me know and I can connect you.

What I’ve learned is that when we make ourselves available for God, He will use that. No matter how lacking we are, how unequipped we are, no matter how prepared or unprepared we are, we just need to be available. Because that’s when we will see His glory, His power, His amazing work. When we decrease, He will increase Himself.

Then I heard the voice¬†of the Lord saying, ‚ÄúWhom shall I send?¬†And who will go for us?‚Ä̬†And I said, ‚ÄúHere am I.¬†Send me!‚Ä̬†Isaiah 6:8

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AO#3: Otella

Best birthday gift I could give to my sister is to feature her here on my blog site (LOL).

Kidding aside, since it’s her birthday, I’d better take this time to really give her an appreciation which is long over due. Ate and I will always have that chasm in between us which makes our sisterhood just tighter. We dearly miss Amity. Too bad, Ate has been stuck with me cause I only have one sister to run to since Amity passed away. LOL. That didn’t really give her an option, right? ūüėÄ

There are so many things I appreciate about Ate. Not sure if she knows that. But I’m just really grateful that she’s been very patient with me. Her calmness and gentleness is contagious. There might be times that I may have offended her but she just remains calm. She just brushes it off. She doesn’t sweat it. And I needed that in our family.

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She is also my cheerleader. She encourages me. She is a good listener. I can rant about anything to her. We can just talk endlessly if we have all the time. It’s usually sometimes me who can’t make time. But she always does when she can. And I really appreciate her for that.

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I am grateful that I can lean on her. When there are times in our family that I am panicking already, she would always assure that we can find ways. For so many times that I haven’t been there for my parents, she has always been there which caused me not to worry. That’s something I will always be grateful. For just assuring us her siblings who are far that everything at home is okay. It means a lot.

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Happy Birthday Ate! I love you so much and I truly appreciate everything that you have done for me, for all of us. The previous years were tough with so many things that we went through but you remained steadfast in your faith. Your stillness in God is inspiring. I’m just glad that you are my sister and for also not allowing anything to ruin our relationship. That we owe to our Lord. He kept us tight in His love. I don’t mind being single forever as long as I will grow old with you. Haha!

How old are you already? LOL xoxoxo

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“Plogging” – First Attempt

Last Saturday,¬† some of my friends and I went to Central Park in Burnaby for a “plogging” experience. We all love to jog or run or walk for exercise. And so this time, we added some twist to it by making it more purposeful.

I learned about plogging from a post in FB.  And according to Mr. Wikipedia,

Plogging” is a combination of¬†jogging¬†with picking up¬†litter¬†(Swedish:¬†plocka upp). It started as an organised activity in¬†Sweden¬†around 2016 and spread to other countries in 2018, following increased concern about¬†plastic pollution. As a workout, it provides variation in body movements by adding bending, squatting and stretching to the main action of running.

When I found out about this, I was like, why not do it? I’m glad I got some friends who were also supportive ūüôā We had fun! And, we were happy that Central Park was clean. We did not get a lot of garbage. Good job to the park users! Keep it up!

 

We just didn’t do plogging, we did some “serious” work out! ūüėÄ Central Park has work out stations and there was also a group doing Tai Chi, so we tried everything!

If you are interested to join us for plogging, let me know. We will go to other cities and hopefully we can encourage all the joggers to be ploggers!

 

 

Courage to Slow Down

When God answered my prayer to work for a different company, I was very happy and excited. I had been praying for it and this year I just felt that it was the right time. And indeed, God confirmed it. You can read more about that here.

My first few weeks in the new company were just refreshing. It started slow so I got a lot of time to learn and read about the company. As weeks continued to pass, I felt that the pace was still the same. It’s a pace that I was not used to. And it became a struggle for me. Most of us struggle with busyness in our day to day work. I did not know that slowing down would also become a struggle for me.

My heart started to complain. I started to grumble. In all honesty, there was no reason to grumble at all. During those weeks, my mind kept telling me to be grateful because I am very blessed and I am in a very good place. But you see, I entertained discontent in my heart. It was like that for weeks. I was already thinking of not extending my contract. I wanted a working environment that was the same as my previous company. I was struggling to adjust and embrace change.

I became stubborn for those weeks, playing deaf with God’s Word until He had to deal with me. He led me to Numbers 11.

“…but for a whole month‚ÄĒuntil it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it‚ÄĒbecause you have rejected the¬†Lord,¬†who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?'” – Numbers 11:20

“Now the people complained¬†about their hardships in the hearing of the¬†Lord,¬†and when he heard them his anger was aroused.” Numbers 11:1

Those verses described me, grumbling and complaining. I was asking God if His answered prayer was really what He wanted for me. I asked God, “Do you really want me to stay?” Very discontent. Very ungrateful.

God’s word for me this year is COURAGE.¬† I was thinking it was courage for things that He wanted me to pursue this year, courage to pursue bigger things that will help me accomplish my own personal goals. However, God’s thoughts were different. I did not expect at all.

All my grumbling weren’t because of my work. It was my heart. God asked me, Do you have the courage to stay in the company where I put you even if it is an environment that you are not used to and that you will struggle to adjust?

“So if you are tempted to walk away, make sure to seek God, because you never know what he might do if you have the courage to stay. ” –¬†Divine Direction by Craig Groeschel

And He did not end there. Slowing down was not just in terms of work but on everything.¬†I was planning so many things that I just wanted to keep going. I wanted to accomplish a lot that I can’t just slow down. But God wanted me to slow down on everything, no exceptions. And that was the most difficult. I had so many things I wanted to do this year – starting to build my company, starting a business back home. But then God said, drop everything. Pause.

That was it! Courage…to slow down. It’s so hard. I felt like I’m going to run out of time if I pause. I felt like I will be losing my opportunity. But who am I to question God’s ways? I need to be courageous in pursuing a life that takes time to relax, to rest, to think, to reflect, to prepare, to plan.

By God’s grace, I obeyed.

How has it been so far? I’m so happy to say that it has been so liberating. I didn’t know that God can truly give me this season to just enjoy the flowers on the wayside. I am learning to appreciate boredom. I have more time now to reflect. I don’t feel the pressure of making things happen. I don’t think about things that are years and years ahead. I am learning to just think about the next few days. Importantly, I am enjoying this time of letting God use this season of my life for His work.

Indeed, there is a time for everything. We all just need the courage to embrace that.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
   a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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AO#2: Women at the Well

(Me, MJ, Marj, Ate Beth, Ate Don)

I was thinking what I should call these lovely women… I like Women at the Well. Each of them has their own story of how Jesus met them at their own “wells” of life. And if not for Jesus, I will also never get to know these women. He is the reason why we are where we are.

Today is a reminder of the Good Friday that happened more than 2,000 years ago. And because of that, I am able to celebrate this season of my life with these ladies.

I truly appreciate the love they show through enouragements, prayers, time, blessings and just being there to listen. They get busy at times but they always make time. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Love you ladies! ūüėė

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As I commit to be more appreciative to people, I will use my blog as one of the platforms to do that. And why I’m doing this? (Click ->¬†Here’s why )

AO#1: Papa & Mama

As I commit to be more appreciative to people, I will use my blog as one of the platforms to do that. And why I’m doing this? (Click ->¬†Here’s why )

I start my Appreciate One (AO) per week with the people whom God has used to bring me into this world – MY PARENTS. Meet Rodolfo and Susana, aka Bonjing and Bebe ūüôā

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You would agree with me that a page in a blogsite will never be enough to appreciate our parents. But don’t worry, this will not turn out to be a novel ūüôā

My parents are not perfect. They are flawed just like all of us. But one thing that they really showed to us which I truly appreciate about them is they choose to accept each other’s weaknesses. That is very important to us, their children. And, I’m just grateful that in the midst of¬† “crazy” & “chaos”, my parents choose to love. Being single and still waiting for my own time of hopefully being married someday, I need that example. Papa & Mama – thank you for not just loving us your children but also showing to us what love should be through your commitment to each other.

It was when I started working and left home that I have understood the depth of the love of my parents for us, their children. I know my parents love me, I never doubted that. I just did not really realize how sacrifical and unconditional that love is until I started living on my own.¬†There are days at work when I just felt like giving up. Or, I would complain of being tired. But then, when I look at my parents who until this day never stopped working so hard, I feel shameful and ungrateful. I’m just glad that Papa & Mama would always keep telling us when we were younger about how their life was during their time. It was never easy. I always tell myself¬† – “Just imagine if Papa & Mama would just give up because their tired and quit their job?” But because of their love for us, they kept going no matter how hard the days were. Papa & Mama – thank you for showing to us your love through your hardwork. Thank you for not giving up on those difficult times. Thank you for choosing to give what is best for us. I truly appreciate that you have all brought us up in a family where laziness is intolerable. Because of what you have shown us, I have learned to value hardwork as well.

One of the things I enjoy in our family is our meal times. Mama loves to cook for all of us even up to now. We all love to eat. I am glad that my parents showed to us the importance of having good meals on the table. Good meals mean that we are well provided. And the reason I enjoy and appreciate food everywhere I go is because of that. It reminds me of the good meals I had growing up. It reminds me of family. Papa & Mama – thank you for all the delicious food you always provide for us on the table. Thank you for showing to us your appreciation for food – all the grilled, the raw and the greens. I truly appreciate that you always made sure we don’t go to school on empty stomachs.¬†And because of that, we all learned to cook & prepare our own meals.¬†

The most important that I am most grateful to my parents is for forcing us to go to church every Sunday when we were young. There is no escape. Our family today has differences on the church that we are a part of. However, I am still grateful that my parents introduced to me who God is. That became the starting point of my faith today. Papa & Mama Рthank you that you brought us up in the knowledge of God and His Son Jesus. I truly appreciate that you have instilled to us the importance of having God in our life. Because of that, I have learned not to walk in my own ways but have been learning daily to abide and depend on God.  I may have not understood everything you asked us to do before, but now, everything made sense. 

As I say, there are so many things I am truly appreciative of my parents. However, these few I mentioned are the ones that truly had made an impact in the adult years of my life. I am always grateful that my parents never stopped being parents even if most of the time I don’t ask their help, seek their permission or consult them anymore. However, they are just there, keeps reminding me like a 5-year old of the do’s and dont’s in life. And, I have learned to appreciate that also. They have always been supportive in my decisions no matter what.¬†My parents keep me grounded. And, I thank God for giving me parents who love us, never gave up on us and continue to stay with us.

 

 

 

 

A Conference to Remember

From a worshiper to a worshiper:

Just this weekend, I attended the Worship Central Conference.¬†I wasn’t really planning to attend as I thought the conference was just for the worship music ministry of the different churches. However, some of my friends who planned to go needed a closer place (which is my place) to stay for overnight as they will be going home late. I was thinking, if I would be staying up late to wait for them, why don’t I just go with them. And, good thing I didn’t have a plan for the weekend. I checked the conference details and I realized the plenary sessions and workshops were actually applicable to any Christian believer. So, I went.

I attended with no expectation but just to meet God in that conference. And indeed, I got what I needed and more.

There were so many sessions and workshops that I needed time (which was the whole afternoon today!) to digest, chew and absorb everything that God has reminded, revealed, rebuked, taught and spoken to me.

The theme of the conference is: “STEP IN”.

Here are my reflections/take-aways/action points from the conference:

  • The story of the Samaritan woman (John 4) reminded me of how Jesus steps into our life, not to make us feel guilty of our offenses and sins but to have a personal relationship with Him. He exposes our sins to us but He does not leave us in that situation. He offers love, hope, redemption and forgiveness. And importantly, He wants us to be aware of our sins but He gives us the assurance that He still loves us. He does not want us to doubt of His love, ever. And that’s what the Samaritan woman experienced at the well. It changed her life and influenced other people.
  • The story of the lame person (Acts 3) since birth sitting at the Beautiful Gate asking for alms rebuked me of how I respond to the homeless people I see on the streets.¬† In all honesty and I’m not proud of, I always have the feeling of fear when I see homeless people on streets. I feel compassion and really wants to help in my own small ways however, fear precedes more. And this has been a struggle that I’ve been praying for a long time. And God just broke my heart. The words that really etched in my mind were – Fear Less, Love More. I have to stop seeing them as what the society sees them (homeless, addict, etc.). I have to start seeing them as people whom God also loves and whom God also sent Jesus for. ¬†Just like me, they are people who need Jesus to set them free¬† and save them from their brokenness. And I really pray, that I will be able to find ways to reach out to them.
  • As I was reflecting on the story of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37), especially on these verses: “The hand of the¬†Lord¬†came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the¬†Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it¬†was¬†full of bones.¬†¬†Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold,¬†there were¬†very many in the open valley; and indeed¬†they were¬†very dry. “… God opened my eyes to a very relevant truth. I am standing on a valley of dry bones. God did not just bring me here to Canada to start a new life. He “set me down in the midst of the valley”.¬† For almost four years, I still keep figuring out why God put a desire in my heart to come here and why He brought me here. There could be so many different reasons, but I believe His revelation this weekend is one of those reasons why I am here. I just don’t pray for this nation, I need to break my heart and weep in prayer for this country. God seeks people He can use to breathe into so that through them, He can give life to those dry bones. I must become the hands, feet and voice of God. Where? In my families, in my circle of friends, in my neighborhood, at my workplace, on the streets.¬†
  • Another comforting reminder also was the importance for us believers in understanding and in knowing the authority that we have in Jesus Christ. Even if I was at the conference, there were those moments that I would think about my Monday meeting at work. You see, I’ve been doing meetings with senior leadership for so many times. However, I would still feel nervous. And because I am just new to the company, all the more I feel more nervous. I don’t want to mess up and leave a bad impression. But those words from the conference, “AUTHORITY” in Christ put a peace in my heart. God brought me to that new workplace not to be defeated by my own self-focused worries. God brought me there because He knows that I can be a platform, for Him to do something in that workplace. He has given me the authority to speak blessings, to encourage, to be a light, to excel, to influence – not to FEAR, but to LOVE.
  • Greatly reminded of what the true heart of a worshiper should be. As the speaker Pete Greig said (in the context of worshiping in songs)…

“Worship is not being excited about the music or making music. Worship is being excited in meeting Jesus through the music.”

And my longer version that I need to keep reminding myself daily…

“Worship is to be excited not on the things that God has prepared us to do

…not on the music or making music

…not on the outcome of circumstances

…not on the answers of our prayers

…not on the provisions & victories

…not on the ministry work or task

…not on the people we encounter.

It is to be excited on the presence of God

…on meeting God

…on knowing God

…on experiencing God in every detail, in every moment of our life.

Worship is being excited on Jesus!”

We must be like Peter, always ready to plunge!

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‚ÄúIt is the Lord!‚ÄĚ Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on¬†his¬†outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. (John 21:7)

The most amazing thing in that conference is to see, feel and experience the presence of God in a very tangible way. And I pray that all of us who attended there – singing songs of revival and surrender, nodding¬† and saying Amen’s to the messages, have responded not just within the halls of that building but have responded beyond those walls to our God who is seeking worshipers that He can send to valleys of dry bones. May we Step In.

When we step into the presence of God, we just don't chill out.