Take A Break!

by Angecor Delgado

Are you stressed out, bored, and tired of teaching English and all the other things that come with it like making lesson plans and stuff? Have you also gotten uptight with tasks regarding your classes? And with all these things going on, have you tried dropping them all for a while and relaxed yourself by enjoying the snow or the bright sunshine?
Those were my feelings on the first month of my stay here. I was filled with loneliness and stress. I was bored and tired. I was also pushing myself a little bit too hard because teaching is not my profession.
In life, I learned that what does not kill me makes me stronger. But once in a while it is also a good thing to loosen up, find time to meditate and appreciate the little wonders and gifts from God. Psalm 104:24 says,

“O Lord, how many and varied are Your works! In wisdom have You made them all; the earth is full of Your riches and Your creatures.”

These are the things that make my effort all worth it. With the knowledge of God’s creation, all knowledge that I try hard enough to gain will not be in vain. Romans 12:11 says that,

“Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.”

While this text suggests enthusiasm in serving God, we all know that human beings deserve and need some break time. For a hunter to keep his bow more fit to use, he needs to loosen its string and let it go slack. A bow that is always bent eventually breaks. People are also like that. That is why we all need to take time to rest.
After long, tiring days of work, Jesus had prescribed time off for His wearied disciples. He also set the Sabbath for all of us to rest from all the work. Should not we take His example seriously? Start by setting aside a special time to relax physically and renew yourself emotionally and spiritually. You will be at your best for the Lord if you take time to loosen the bow.
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Trusting God

by Jaclyn Gay Agum

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)

Have you asked yourself, “Why am I here?”

“I’m not an English teacher. I’m not even good at English but why am I here?”

“How could I be a missionary if I were to do the mission which I’m not good at?”

These are my questions before I was sent to this foreign land. Each day of my stay here was a stressor. I would always wake up with the questions, “What will I teach today?” “How will I make them listen?” “Will they enjoy it?” “How will I make my class interesting?” These are questions of an unexperienced teacher

I tried to remember how my teachers taught me before. I wasn’t a good student. Thus, frankly speaking, I couldn’t remember their techniques. So I told God, “I don’t know why You sent me here but it’s all up to You.”

My constant prayer was, “Lord, please teach them through me because I don’t know how to do it.”

I also prayed, “Teach me how to teach so that they will learn from me.” It’s hard to be an English teacher in this place.

As days passed, I got used to everything I was doing, even to the point of not being satisfied with my performance every time I finished my classes. But I would always tell God, “I’ve done my best and I know You’ll do the rest.”

When my term ended, I didn’t extend for another year even if my church wanted me to. I was exhausted with the experiences I had and said I will never go back.  I’m glad I survived.

For nine months I worked happily in the Philippines in my own profession. But God kept calling me back. For many times I asked Him why I should go back. I’m not a teacher and there’s a lot of available missionaries out there. Why me? I need to work for my family and I’m also doing missionary work while working in my country. So what is He calling me for? But in the end I gave up and said, “Okay, I’m going back!” I got tired of being stubborn so I quit my job and went back to South Korea.

My second mission field was one of the best! The place was so peaceful and relaxing, and I had such a great partner. God used her to answer all my questions. She said I wasn’t sent here only to teach English but for God to teach me how to trust Him fully at the same time. Like what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:24,

“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (NIV)

God did everything for me at my first mission field but He isn’t done with me yet. My partner once told me that God isolated her in that mission field for six years to make her a better child of God, a better missionary with faith as strong as iron molded in fire! Wow! That was pleasing to my ears. Who wouldn’t want to be like that? She didn’t finish college but she wasn’t worried. She said, “I’ll finish my schooling later after God is finished with what He wants to accomplish in me.” She had let God take charge of everything. I realized I still lack that kind of faith.

When my term ended at my second mission field, I didn’t go home. I decided to accept the extension offer. I asked to be transferred to another place because I want to test my faith and trust in God. I was transferred to Seoul where I didn’t want to go because I know temptations would always be knocking at my door there. But as what Paul said in Romans 8: 31, “…if God is for us, who can be against us?” I don’t want to be stubborn this time. I feel the changes each day as I stay here and I know God will do more things to me and prepare me for my future adventures with Him.

Our trust in God is the only weapon we have in this foreign land and in any place He wants to send us. I never wished to stay here for six years like my former partner, but if God would mold me within those years then I’m going to trust in the Lord with all my heart for He said in Jeremiah 29:11,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

He takes charge of my life as well as my family back home.

Let us give all our plans to God and wholeheartedly trust in Him. Let us not lean on our own understanding of what is happening around us. We have a lot of worries but we also have a great God who takes good care of everything for us. He even makes us do things that we never thought we could do–like teaching English!

Work NOT for Men

by Arlie Joy Mantos

“Whatever you do, do it with all your heart as working for the Lord not for men.” Col. 3:23

“Useless! Useless! Useless!” “Do I have to do this?” “Do I need to stay away from my family for all this?” “I think I don’t have anything to do here.” “I feel so tired of doing nothing.” “I want to do more for God. I want to be really busy in doing His work.”

Those were my thoughts on the second month of my stay in here. I was filled with loneliness, but God showed me that He loves me so much and He encourages me through His words in the Bible.

Working for God is not useless especially when you are working with Him and not thinking about pleasing others.

Though I feel like I am not doing anything here but I realized that just by being here I can let God use me to let other people see Him. And that is a great task to do…for God, with God!

I am Only a Child

by Jenyve B.  Ibanez

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. ”               1 Corinthians 2:1, NIV

The Apostle Paul preached the gospel not with eloquence or superior wisdom. He felt weak and incompetent. Most of us also feel the same way. It is normal to feel nervous when speaking in public.

A promise is given that the Holy Spirit will guide and empower us. The power of the message is not in the speaker but in the message itself. This way, we will not boast of our own abilities. The people will believe the message because of its truthfulness and not because of its impressive presentation.

If we are convinced simply because the speaker is lively and well-known or eloquent, we are not really putting our faith in God’s words but in the excellence of a human being like us.

“I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” Jeremiah 1:6, NIV

We don’t have to be excellent in public speaking or in giving Bible studies before we could work in God’s field. His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). He promised to be with us, to rescue us and to put His words in our mouth (Jer. 1:7-9). We are to depend wholly on Him and on the Holy Spirit to teach us what to say or do at the right time and place (Luke 12:12). We are not to trust our own competence, lest the power of the message will be in vain.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the promise that You will be with us to help and teach us what to say or do at the right time and place whenever we share Your message of salvation. Help us to trust in You and not on human abilities. Put Your words on our mouth that we may speak words of love and grace, in season or out of season. Amen.


When God Establishes

by Jovet Ballescas

“Then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second.” Heb. 10:9

Have you lost something or someone dearest to you? Have you asked God WHY these things are happening to His people?

There is a missionary assigned in one of the most challenging mission fields in South Korea. He was living alone in a quiet, Eden-like country church that is surrounded by trees, hills and wild animals. But everything changed one day when one of his students gave him a pair of chicks to care for. This missionary found a company in his new pets. So he took care of those tiny and noisy yet cute creatures until they become mature roosters–ready for chicken adobo.

However, this missionary was shocked to see the feathers and heads of his pets left in their cages one morning. He asked God why He took away his partners in his mission field. So this missionary investigated and discovered that the dogs from the nearby factory were guilty of the crime. Out of his anger, he tried to seek revenge and justice.

The following night he made what was left of his pets as bait for the dogs to come back. His hours of waiting paid off. Out of the dark grassy area, the hungry dogs excitedly came back to finish their leftovers. With gnashing teeth and a baseball bat held tightly, this missionary was ready to strike the dogs down but his angels whispered to him not to do so. He lowered his bat and sought for God’s guidance.

The following day, a church elder came and the missionary told him what happened. So they approached the owner of those dogs. Upon hearing about it, the manager of that certain factory apologized for the damage and offered 150, 000 won for it. The church members and the missionary were happy and they purchased ten hens out of that amount. Because of that incident, this missionary learned how to completely trust God. He is also thankful for God established in him full dependence upon His plan.

This missionary is happy serving God in the same mission field. He is staying in a different building now but before he left his old place, he made friends with the factory manager and workers. He would also play and feed those dogs whenever they would come to visit his place.

That missionary is your humble servant, Jovet Ballescas from the 29th batch. My fellow workers of God, allow Him to take our priorities and let Him establish His will in us. Let’s thank Him for every circumstance that may come and trust Him of our futures, careers, partners in life. Let us let Him direct our course for He knows what’s best for you and me.

LOVE

by: Joyful Lazo

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”-1 John 4:8

LOVE — a short, yet powerful word.

Because of this…

a smile is worn on the face,
because of a sweet embrace;
a heart is soften
of a word gently spoken;
a face glows
and it always shows

that…

a love sown in the heart
would brighten a day from the start.

What inspiring words you should say
But do we feel this everyday?
As we get up each morning and go to bed at night
Do we think of God’s love that we might show the light?

In every word uttered
Does it show we read God’s word?
As we spend our time
Do we reflect God’s love divine?

Missionaries we all are
Yet we have drifted afar!
We grasp those worldly pleasures,
Neglecting the heavenly treasures.

Every early morning of each day
God has a lot of things to say
But we just snuggled on our comfortable bed
Ignoring the words He had said.

God is longing for our attention
That we may earnestly fulfill His mission
He wants our hearts to be filled with love…
A love from God, a love from above.

“Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God can make it known” (DA p. 22)

Bonuses and Other Stuff

by Melvin Baclay
There is no mistaking that God sends His missionaries to places as He sees fit. And if we choose to believe and obey, if we point our visual arrows upward first then sideward, we will be able to see things as God wants us to. It will then be easier for us to realize that every tough or challenging circumstance has its purpose and that every good one has its own purpose as well-with a bonus. No one can be more generous than God.

THE BOXES AND OTHER STUFF
To be sent here in Korea means to fulfill our vow to go wherever God sends us. It also means to touch lives and be touched; to teach and be taught; to feel weak and be strengthened; to be humbled and be lifted up. It is like a jumbo box with everything in it: temptation and self-control; strengths and weaknesses; night and day; soft drinks and water; breakfast and sleep; exercise and sleep; GT and sleep; anger and patience; sticks and hugs; Facebook and sleep (oops!); and of course, stress. Inside also are the teachings, the learnings, the new friends, the culture adjustments, the students, the Bible studies, the language barrier, the missionary retreats, and the 24/7 Wi-Fi connection with a perfectly reliable signal and a direct connection to the Creator called PRAYER.

If your box has bigger and more unfavorable stuff inside, I’m sure prayer can take care of those. Remember, they are not just there for no reason. And if you remove negativity (a very destructive element) that blocks your good vision, you will be able to see that together with the jumbo box is another box wrapped in red with a gold ribbon (actually, you may choose your color) with the label- BONUS BOX.

I don’t know about you but inside my bonus box are the different tastes of kimchi, the six-month carpentry experience, the snow, the lovely flowers in spring, the colorful autumn leaves, my netbook, my key holder collection, my 300 plus (and still counting) Facebook friends, my hundreds of photos and many, many more.

THE MOST RECENT ADDITIONAL IN MY BONUS BOX

Changbogo was a great Korean warrior and a hero. To commemorate his heroic deeds, Wando holds a festival named after him on every fifth month of the year.

Last Saturday, I watched a concert that featured the 70’s and 80’s country music as one of the highlights of the festival. After a few songs, the host came up the stage saying something I couldn’t understand. As soon as he stopped talking, the people faced the sea in silence as if anticipating a tsunami.

Then I heard a soft beating of the drum, which thrilled my nerves. Suddenly, a smashing sound hit our eardrums while our eyes were riveted to a series of blazing balls coming out of the sea like a fountain of colorful burning lights dancing in perfect rhythm with the beautiful music. Within a split second, an enormous fiery rocket popped from the sea with a whistling sound. It exploded in the air with a bang and the debris of gleaming lights were like stars in circular formation that spread like eagle’s wings and slowly vanished into the night sky. One after another they popped out. As long as the music lasted, the dancing of the stars that gave splendor to the deep sea and the dark sky went on and on. Then out of nowhere, a multicolored glowing bird came flying and swaying above the fountain of sparkling lights as though rejoicing for what could be seen underneath.

It was pyrotechnics in its psychedelic perfection! I wished it did not end, but it did. The night sky turned black again. The music stopped. And we were back to our senses once again after a half-hour of dumbfoundment and awe.
Then a thought hit me. There is a place prepared by my Father where the shining light from my Saviour’s glory radiates through the city of pure gold; where the angels blow the trumpets and sing a joyful melody as the saints march along the golden streets. It will not be just a thirty-minute man-made spectacle. It is going to be a heavenly reality that will never end. And it is my ultimate desire to be there. Let us work harder to help others be there, too.