Behind the Scene

One of the blessings I will forever be grateful to God is to have the gift of administration (1 Corinthians 12:28).  Having this gift has allowed me to take responsibilities that I didn’t know I am capable of doing, not just for the church but even at my work place or in my own personal day to day life. The credit all goes to God for entrusting me to do all types of work that He has been preparing me to do.

And do you know what’s great about this gift? It allows you to see what’s happening behind the scene. You get the privilege to see how God works and makes things happen.

Last weekend (June 9-11), our church (CCF Vancouver) went for our first ever church retreat focused on intentional discipleship. Our church leaders asked me to help in organizing the retreat, and as always, it is a privilege for me. No better way to use my time than doing things for the Lord.

When you plan for an event, your enemy is perfection. Of course, you want everything to go as you expect it to be, that includes the things that you can’t even control like weather. But just like any event I have helped organized, not everything we planned went smoothly. That’s why it is very important for me to always let the Holy Spirit lead me. It is not easy when you want to be in control of the flow. But God was not just at work for the event, He was also at work with my heart.

By God’s grace, I learned to submit and recognize the authority of the leaders of the church. As we did planning, there were disagreements but I always reminded myself that God gives wisdom to our leaders to make the right decisions as the Spirit led them. So, if I have to adjust schedules of the event, I must submit. I tell you, it’s never easy.

By God’s grace, I learned to say no to activities that will take my time to focus on planning. Weeks before the camp, I had to free up my weekdays after work so that I can work on preparations for the camp. I had to turn down invitations. It was not easy but I am no superwoman. I can only do much for a day.

By God’s grace, I learned to be more patient. During the last days before the camp, there were so many last minute changes and concerns which some required coordination back and forth. These things were inevitable. And all I can do was to ask God to just sustain me and give me the right heart. It wasn’t easy.

God showed to me that despite my lack of and my weaknesses, He can accomplish great things because it is His work. All His doing.

When the sunny forecast months before turned to a heavy rain forecast weeks before the event, we kept praying. God heard our prayer! We never experienced rain all throughout the weekend. Even if the forecast for the day showed potential rain, rain did not come. We were able to enjoy our outdoor activities, our baptism  and our camp fire fellowship. Only God can do that.

Weeks before the camp, as I was finalizing room assignments, I had some challenges. All I did was really pray that everyone will find their accommodation comfortable. Then, last minute changes happened which surprisingly helped resolve the challenges I had. A family has to cancel because of a sad news that they had to leave the country on the day of the retreat. God reminded me that indeed He is the one who could only appoint people to be in a certain place, event and time.  With that incident, God showed me how He can use something unfortunate into something good for His work. He cares about the details.

God also provided us a beautiful venue for the retreat – Camp Charis.  It’s not just the place but also the people who worked at Camp Charis. They were very accommodating with our last minute requests. I saw God working through them. Everything we needed, they were able to provide. Only God can do that. Indeed, no one can hamper His plans.

When we had our second round of baptism, we thought we will not be able to use the pool when we changed our time. Nothing can stop the work of God. The group who reserved to use the pool decided not to use it as they had to leave immediately at that time. Just amazing! To add, there were 7 people who planned to be baptized but it turned into 17 people including our NxtGen Kids! Amazing!

One of my favorite to witness behind the scene was the work of the volunteers. On the day of the event, all I did was coordination. The volunteers were the ones who were doing things in action. They used their gifts, talents and skills for God’s work.  There is no big or small gift, talent or skill.  All are needed to do the work of God. And it’s just amazing to see and discover potentials of people.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another… Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

I can not put into this blog everything I experienced with God behind the scene. In every little detail, He was there.  It was a Spirit-filled retreat. And my prayer, that retreat would leave marks in the lives of all who were there to cause them to act to the purpose of why they were in that retreat in the first place. And that is to pursue INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP. Same prayer goes to myself.

To God be the glory!!!

IMG_1154IMG_1186

 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

The Pork That Got Away

It was a pleasant late afternoon when we arrived at Sweltzer Creek Campground. It didn’t rain as we thought it would. We got the chance to setup all our tents and canopies without getting wet. That was a Yay! All of us were just looking forward to the weekend to get away from our day to day activities and enjoy the outdoor life even just for few days. And not to forget, we were able to have bonfire (no fire ban) and roasted marshmallows! That just completed our camping. Yay again!

First night, all good! It rained some time during the night. Still good. We woke up into a cloudy Saturday which we kinda expected. Still good. Rain or the weather did not bring us down. As we started our day, cooked breakfast, got all the meals for the day prepared, then, our major camping setback happened. Karla, one of my friends went to get  the pork meat that we were planning to grill for lunch. She had it out the night before to have it thawed and ready to be marinated. And then she could not find it. So I started looking for it as well. And I could not find it. Everyone who woke up first started looking for it. Inside the vehicles, inside the coolers, everywhere. We all could not find it. Then, for awhile ( a long while probably for some of us *wink*), our shoulders just dropped. I, personally, got a little bit pissed.

That was not just a few pounds of meat. That was an amount to feed 20 people. I was so looking forward for boodle fight over lunch with grilled liempo (marinated pork belly). All of us were. That was like the turkey of Thanksgiving.

We only came to one obvious conclusion that someone took it. Not a bear for sure as it did not leave any mess. Unless bears now can carry a bag and be selective of food. Only the meat was taken and nothing else. Funny when most of our food were just on the tables. Whoever took it must have the time to go around.

How it really happened, we really don’t know. It’s a good lesson for us next time we go camping. Don’t bring pork! Lol. I mean, always secure the food. Well, we just hope that pork served really the need of whoever took it. We’re still grateful we did not lack and even had a lot of extra food. There must be a reason why that was taken away from us. We really don’t know. We ended up mostly eating fish. Healthy! Haha!

Thinking about it, it made me appreciate more the important things that I have that are harder to let go. Even if we did not have the lunch that we imagined it to be. It was not the end of the world. We chose to enjoy the rest of the weekend with the most important that we have – great company of friends. We all had a great time together and we all were kept safe throughout the weekend. That’s the most important. This disappointing event will eventually turn out to be one of our “legendary” camping stories in the future. And we will just laugh about it.

We will always remember the story of the… PORK THAT GOT AWAY.

——————–o——————–

So what do you think happened?

a. Someone took it

b. The bear took it

c. The pork became alive and ran away

d. We were all just imagining that we brought pork

e. The guys who had a drink the night before ate the pork and did not remember

IMG_0649