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!!!

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 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)

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Utterly Grateful

Throughout this birthday week, God has reminded me of how blessed I am with relationship. In all honesty, I am never used with people who are not my family in going out of their way just to show me how much I mean to them. I am humbled and grateful. Learning from the past, I’ve learned to lower my expectation on people to avoid being hurt and disappointed. I have to learn and re-learn how to give without expecting anything.

Probably that’s the reason why I always feel overwhelmed on any gesture (nothing is little or big for me) of goodness and kindness from people. It’s a blessing you can’t contain.

“It’s the thought that counts.” That is so true for me. I may not be able to express it properly, but I truly appreciate the time, the prayer, the thought, the present, the encouragement,  the greetings, the conversation, and even just checking on me if I’m doing okay. Every time someone blesses me, I always think of ways on how I can pay it back. I just feel like I don’t deserve such blessing. Then, God would just remind me that I have to learn as well to accept and receive with humility. That I should also allow people to bless me as it is a privilege for them as well. Same that to bless others is also a privilege for me.

Thinking about all of these, I am also reminded of how GOD as a GIVER is. Everything He provides, He does not expect anything. Indeed, we can never out-give God. We think that we are giving back so much to Him – our time, our resources, our wealth. But the truth is, the amount of blessing He gives to us is immeasurable. All we need to do is to open our two hands and receive His blessing.

And do you know what is the greatest gift that He can give us? His Son Jesus. I owe my life to Jesus. He is the ONLY ONE who can never disappoint me. He is the ONLY ONE who can live up to my expectations. Jesus is the ONLY ONE who saved me from all the pits that I have fallen into without expecting anything in return. He is the source of my joy, my peace and my strength. He is a GIFT none can compare.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10

If you want to know more about Jesus, feel free to message me 🙂

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A recap of my 32nd birthday

THANK YOU EVERYONE for all your kindness and goodness! You know who you are 🙂 I can’t believe my mom prepared so much food on my birthday even if I am away from them!! Family Love is the best! ❤ ❤ ❤ And yes, I got a hair cut and for the first time have highlights on my hair! *winkwink*

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Sometimes, you need SPONTANEOUS

My good friend, MJ and I were few of the last people who stayed longer at church last Sunday. We were just taking our time as we didn’t have plans after. And then, randomly, we decided to watch any movie we can catch when we arrive at the theater. However, traffic began to move slowly. And so, we decided to go to Aberdeen Mall instead to buy some brush pens at Daiso and grab dessert after. Everything was just so random and it felt good!

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This is one of the things I missed! To be able to hang out with friends without setting a date or planning ahead. I remembered the conversation I had with my other church friend, Andie, weeks ago about the things we missed back home (in Manila). Going out with friends were more spontaneous there as compared here.

Thinking about it, I realized, I, myself, have become that person who wants everything planned ahead. I, myself, have started to become unavailable to spontaneous invites. Not that I have to say “Yes” all the time. It’s just that I don’t want to reach that day when people would just stop asking because I have given an impression that I can’t make time anymore for anything unplanned.

The truth is, there are those days when there are unplanned circumstances that you just want to share it with someone immediately – in person. Nowadays, things are mostly shared through messaging or social media. What happened to, “Hey, can we meet? I need someone to talk to.” Or, “Are you home? Can I come over and hang out for a bit?”

I know there is always a right time for everything. It’s not all the time that people can just be available, even I can’t always be. It’s just that somehow, we have lost that spontaneity because of social media that we don’t see the need anymore to meet up and have a good conversation. We feel like everything is just out there and that’s good enough.

I’m not sure if this is just me, or few of us who miss life back home. Or, is it really a reality that most of us do not realize?

DON’T let your BUSYNESS STEAL your AUTUMN

Just few days ago, I had this sort of epiphany while I was walking. When I looked up and saw the leaves were turning red, I was like – “Since when did this start to happen?”

I had a sudden realization that it was already autumn. I totally didn’t notice it.

And, that’s when I had to take a pause.

I realize I was starting to miss out the little things that I used to appreciate and be grateful for even just when I walk home.

Things have been very busy at work that I can’t help but think about the things I need to do even in my sleep. Just too much.

And so, I told myself that I can’t change the busyness at work but I can change how I deal with it.

With that, I made a choice not to allow busyness steal the things that I value.

  1. Never allow busyness steal your good working relationship with your co-workers. If you are busy, everyone else must also be. It’s really tough when you want certain things done but you can’t have it right away. I’m learning a lot these past days on how to just relax and trust that the people you work with will make it happen. And also, don’t forget simple manners like saying thank you and please.
  2. Never allow busyness steal your meal. Eat wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whatever time it is. Our brain needs nutrients to function. It’s plain common sense. I’ve learned to carry with me my lunch bag anywhere I go now. Never go hungry. And, bring extra for the team!
  3. Never allow busyness steal your time to rest. Less activity during weekdays after work or no activity at all really helps. It allows you to just enjoy a good evening by reading a book, watching a movie or doing something creative.  The next day, you are recharged again for your work. Being busy at work and after work will just kill you physically and mentally.
  4. Never allow busyness steal your time for family. I’ve been guilty on this for the past weeks. I just felt so tired that I could not even make time to talk to my family. And that’s because I was also going out somewhere after work. At the end of the day, go home and spend time with your family. See your friends on weekends.
  5. Never allow busyness steal your quiet time. This is a very important time of the day for me. This is the time that I get to spend with God in prayer and reading the Bible. This is what I need to be able to go to work with full of encouragement and strength. Apart from God, I could become the worst co-worker ever.
  6. Never allow busyness steal the opportunity to be a blessing. It’s tough to look after another person’s interest when you have so much on your plate to do. I believe a little encouragement is already a blessing. Just imagine a workplace with bunch of people who encourages one another? One thing I need to keep on learning is to appreciate hard work of people, and say it out loud.
  7. Never allow busyness steal your laughter. We all need to be serious with what we do at work. But a good laugh is sometimes not bad. Need I say more? 😀
  8. Never allow busyness steal your hope. When we see a long list of to do’s, we feel like there is no end to everything. Also, we get so clouded with so many things happening at the same time that we feel like things might not work as they should be. One thing I just keep reminding myself these days, “Never give up!” Just keep doing your best! It will work out!
  9. Never allow busyness steal your growth. Just because you want things done, doesn’t mean that you just do them without really learning. Tasks must also help us grow and improve. We are not just merely doers, but we are also learners.
  10. Lastly, never allow busyness steal your autumn. Never lose a grateful heart. Appreciate the little things around you. Thank God for your accomplished day. Enjoy your way home by not just thinking about work but also enjoying the autumn breeze and clear sunny afternoon. Live.

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There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Could Have Been

There are days that I long for my sister, Amity. Days that I wish I can just talk to her. She is irreplaceable. We had conversations that I can never have with other people. Her opinion and insight just matters so much to me.

And today is just one of those days. I played all the music that she used to like. Looked at old photographs. I just wish I had more pictures with her when we were already working. Then, I started googling her name to see if there’s anywhere in the internet that I can find her.

And I found this…

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An archive of the list of LET passers last 2006. We totally forgot about this. The Monday after Ate passed away, she was suppose to take her oath taking as a licensed teacher. But with everything that had happened that time, we didn’t care anymore. It didn’t matter anymore. But now, seeing her name in that list for the first time, it made me think what she could have become.

Some or maybe most may have not known, while Ate was ranking high in the insurance company she was working that time, she was also pursuing a different career. A teaching career for special children. If you know her really well, you would be surprised. You see, my sister had little patience with kids. She pursued that career because of a dream that she wanted to achieve long term. She was thinking that by taking that step, it would take her to greater heights. However, that experience changed her. She became in love with teaching, especially with the special children. I remember when she told me stories of how she dealt with the kids, instead of losing her patience, she would just find humor and laugh about it. She even showed us photos of her students. I never thought Ate would stand long when she was doing her practicum, but she did.

I can’t even imagine what could have been her life as a teacher. All I know is she will for sure do great things. It’s just sad that we never get to see what she could have become. Hopefully, someday, my family will be able to fulfill all the dreams that she had for all of us. So that all her hard work will not be put in vain.

Ate is not just family or a sister. She inspires me. As what I always say, she taught me how to dream big. She is one bubbly soul.

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I always miss you Ate. I love you so much!

This is one of Ate’s favorite artist and song. She influenced me to enjoy jazz music.

I MISS YOU

I’m just thankful to the person who created the Timehop application. It’s an application that will feed your Facebook photos and statuses from 5 years ago until last year. I just like it so much because it reminds me of good memories from home.

And yes, I’m really missing home. I miss my family. I miss my friends and Manila discipleship group. I miss my friends from my previous company. I miss my favorite hang out places – Kapitolyo, Korean convenience store at Ortigas, Megamall, Powerplant Mall, California Garden Square.

Since I got back from my last assignment in 2012, April 2012 to May 2014 I believe are the most unforgettable years of my stay in Manila. These are my pruning years and never thought my last years in Manila. But as I look back, I am just glad that I really made the most in spending and investing time with people. I can not go back anymore. But I can always look back not having what ifs.

And that’s the reason why I miss home so much. I left at a time when there was so much growing, so much relationship building, so much learning.

I’m excited of how much people have changed when I go home next year for vacation. It’s a sad reality that people move on with their lives without me being part of it. However, I know that when I go home, I still have that spot in their lives just as they have in mine. That’s what’s comforting.

Our life here on earth is only meaningful when we invest our life not on things that moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. We truly never know where the next years would take us, but surely, when we invest our life on people, regardless of where we are, that’s what make living more purposeful.

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with my family – this was 11 months ago, we stopped by an overlooking site at Negros Oriental

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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19

A Weekend to Remember

I have so many take homes over the weekend and so many things to be grateful for.

Last Friday night, together with my friends Linda and Shannon, we went to see the 47th Singing Christmas Tree Show at Broadway Church. There were Christmas carols, drama and acrobats. It was really cool – they were doing ice skating on stage. Linda and I got so curious that we went to touch the floor of the stage after the show to see if there was real ice. Well, it wasn’t. (hehe) The story was very simple but it conveyed a very important message, reminding everyone that we can do all the Christmas traditions we got so used of since we were kids but those can never replace the true meaning of Christmas. The gift-giving, parties, decorations, big preparations are worthless if we will never understand what Christmas is all about. Here’s a cute video about First Christmas.

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Saturday night was a Christmas get-together with my Filipino friends from work whom I consider family here in Canada. The group has gotten so bigger with almost everyone having their own families and kids (except for me and a few…nyaha!) Parties are more fun now with all the little kids running around and entertaining everyone. My only take home from this night that will last is a grateful heart. God designed us to be relational and He provides those people whom He wants us to build relationships with. He knows that we can never do things on our own and that’s why He gives us friends.

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Today, Sunday was another blessed day. I had to get up early in the morning to prepare my own share for the breakfast potluck at First Baptist Church (and skipped CCF service today). Gloria, also a Filipino was the one who invited me for their ministry breakfast potluck. Some of the people at the breakfast were also those I volunteer with at Tuesday’s Soup Kitchen at their church, including Gloria. It was just nice of her to extend the invitation to me even if I don’t go to their church. It’s just amazing how God could bring people together on certain events even if we are part of different congregations. Being connected to one Source who is Jesus can indeed unite people. And, I believe that’s why Christmas brings everyone together.

After the potluck, Gems (who was also with me at the potluck) and I attended the worship service and watched the movie, “The Exodus” after.  Here are my take homes from both:

  • No matter how good we think we are or we do, if we never received Jesus in our life, we will never have the right to be a child of God. We will be merely one of God’s creations, but never part of His Kingdom. 

 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:9-13)

  • We can only do so little with our own strength. But with our little faith, it can move mountains. The movie “Exodus”, even if a lot of scenes were not based on Biblical truth, it still emphasized the importance of faith not just in any god but to the one true God. Moses, just like most of us didn’t know the Lord growing up. But God used him for a greater purpose that’s why God spared his life when he was still a baby. His personal encounter with God was what made him go to deeper faith in trusting God as he led the Israelites out from Egypt.

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

I am forever grateful to God for His amazing love that He will never stop offering to us through Jesus Christ. As John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, hat he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

And now, my take away questions for you:

How’s your relationship with God?

Have you received Jesus in your life?

Why do you celebrate Christmas?

What do you hope to be better this coming new year?