IF SHE CAN DO IT, WHY CAN’T I?

by Roxanne F. Ybanez (37th Batch)

An old woman church member unknowingly made me realize the importance of regular communication with God. This 62-year-old halmoni (grandma), who walks with cane and has difficulty in her vision, makes it a point every day to commune with God. As far as I know, she doesn’t have a family who takes care of her. Though she eats with us everyday, she seldom sleeps in the church. When my partner had left, she would always hug me asking if I was just fine; gave me bread and rice cakes; and, ate with me. And whenever she would see students, she would tell them to look after me. When my friends would come, we also invite her to have fellowship with us–she can even eat bulad (dried fish) and ginisang monggo (sauteed mung beans) and other Filipino dishes I offer. She loves to mingle with missionaries, which makes me feel at home though away from home.

She would cry to God in prayer here in Taebaek Central Church, unconcerned about what others would say. I was moved by her love to Jesus and I’m certain that she’s providing a good testimony before us and especially before Him. After watching her one time, I asked myself, “If she can do it, why can’t I?”

As a result, I started doing the GT (Godly Time) once again.

Instead of becoming enamored by our success today and our plans for tomorrow, we should remember that our task is not to please the people around us. Our purpose is to win the eternal approval of our Lord. Our commitment to Christ will be tested as well. We may falter and need to be restored. Sometimes we will have to pay a price–suffering rejection or lesser than that. But the only way to know the joy of Christ’s approval is to give our lives unreservedly to Him. When we do, He will work through us, as He did through halmoni to encourage others like me!

We find courage to stand when we kneel before the Lord, and we need each other not just for social interaction but for spiritual, too. Whether it’s through a close friendship, church, small groups, or whatever else, we all need to be close to other Christians who will encourage us in the faith and help keep us accountable. We need others to walk with us. In other words, we need people to help us grow spiritually, just exactly like what happened to me here in Korea. Now I can say I’m one step closer to God through my church members and especially through halmoni.

I pray that I can also be a blessing here in my mission field in return to their goodness, while we are continually growing to be like Jesus!

A God Who Saves

by Charlene May Edan (30th Batch)

Strong winds and a long series of rainy days aren’t usual here in Korea. The weather has been gloomy for quite a while now and these days remind me of my experience in the Philippines when I was assigned as a missionary in Tanza, Cavite for a month while waiting for my visa in coming here.

I woke up earlier than usual one Saturday morning in October 31, 2009. It was a stormy day, since “Santi,” a typhoon, was dominating the northern part of the Philippines. It was the fourth typhoon that had hit and had been devastating the country in just a month’s time.

I felt scared as I listened to the sound of the strong, howling wind and looked at the trees waving back and forth and at the heavy downpour of rain brought by the typhoon. It was an awful sight. Actually, that was my first time to experience a typhoon since typhoons aren’t that common in Mindanao.

I felt sorry for the people who could be affected by that typhoon. I was glad that I was inside a two-story church building, safe and sound. I said my prayers of thanks to God that morning and closed the windows because the rain was coming in.

I was surprised to see my Korean partner, Baek Sung Gyung (Anna), sleeping so soundly on her bed just next to my bedding on the floor. I wanted to go back to sleep since it was really early. I tried hard but I just couldn’t, so I went outside to do my morning routine. It took me a while to return. But when I came back, I realized that the wind was blowing even stronger than before. It was blowing so hard that it threw open some of the windows in our bedroom, so I closed and locked them. Because it was still early, I decided again to go back to sleep.

But while I was heading to my bed, I noticed something that looked like a piece of Styrofoam, about 1/4 of the size of the mattress, covering the whole head portion of it. I was wondering what that was and where that thing came from. I started to look around and didn’t see anything unusual. But when I looked up, I found out then what had happened: The wind had blown in so hard that the metal frame holding one of the ceiling tiles in place gave in. Because of that, a piece of the tile fell straight down onto my bed. When I tried to lift it up, it was quite heavy, perhaps around 3-5 kilograms.

I was thrilled to imagine what could have happened to me had not God woken me up that early or if I didn’t listen to or obey His voice. I didn’t want to imagine the result.

“God has still a plan for my life,” I told myself.

I praise God for His great goodness towards me, for being so loving, merciful and gracious. I thank Him for preserving my life continually, not only once but for many times already.

Because of that experience, my heart was opened to a new meaning of Psalm 91, specifically verses 9-11:

9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.

God is faithful in keeping His promises. Let’s continually trust in Him Who knows what is to come and is the only One Who can protect and save us. Let’s listen and obey His voice daily as we live our lives.

WCKC’s First Tracts Distribution in Juksan

In spite of the non-stop pouring of rain for days, it didn’t stop the missionaries in WCKC (West Central Korean Conference) to bring “sunshine” by distributing more than 800pcs. of religious tracts in Juksan.

We were so excited not only because of the opportunity to meet our fellow missionaries, but also because the activity is extra special. Extra special because it was the FIRST ever tracts distribution activity done in the place.

According to the Junior pastor of the church, there are at least 13 other Protestant churches in the area. So it’s a bit of a challenge to hand out the tracts to the people because most of them go to church on Sunday. But praise be to God for the people readily accepted the tracts. Even though the weather did not change into bright and sunny day, the “Light of God” shone brighter than the sun through the tracts.

We were divided into 4 groups with 3-4 persons each.  Although the Pastors, church elders and even some members were busy or would rather stay at home to rest that day, they came to assist us. The pastors and elders led each team to their designated areas.  

 

My team was assigned in apartments. We put the tracts in mailboxes and slip them in each apartment doors. We’re instructed to slip tracts only to those doors with a sticker identifying them as Christians. But still, even though there were no stickers, we still slip tracts on some doors praying that they will open their hearts and mind to the bidding of the Holy Spirit.

 

After the festive lunch prepared by the church members, we headed out to Anseong with the Junior pastor and his family and one church Elder. We watched the famous traditional Korean drumming and dancing, called Samulnori, courtesy of Juksan church.

It was indeed a memorable tracts distribution experience for us. We are so thankful that we we’re able to share to the people the truth about the true “day of rest.” May God bless those who received and read the tracts.

 


Let Go and Let God

by Journette Vernadawn Dando (29th Batch)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

My own experience brought me exactly to where I am today. Before I became a missionary, I tried to find a job in Manila by chance. Because I was a fresh graduate and had no work experience, I had difficulty finding the right one. So I prayed everyday, asking God to help me find a job. A few days later, my aunt told me that one of her friends was looking for a “clinician” (caters to outpatient department clients and promotes pediatric products) at Philippine General Hospital, thus she referred me to him. Since the job would not compromise my Sabbath keeping, I accepted it without any reservations.

After my contract as a clinician, I applied as a medical representative. Because of my previous experience, it was no longer difficult for me to get the position. Although those occupations were not relevant to my line of educational degree, I grabbed the opportunity. I became more acquainted with my work; I gained friends; and, I learned to love it. However, it was not permanent. So after the term, for me to be more productive, I worked as an elevator operator for a month while waiting for another response to my application. After that, I was given a chance to be employed again as a medical representative. Unfortunately, I was asked to report every Saturday. Although disappointed, I realized that it was not the job God wanted me to have.

I decided to go back home in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, while planning what to do next. While on vacation, I was given an opportunity to be involved in a small group of young people who conducted an evangelistic crusade in a remote area at Marcos, Ilocos Norte. The group was able to bring 50 precious souls to Jesus a month after. I was exceedingly glad that I became part of a very successful evangelistic effort of that group. They were still young but were very willing to work diligently in God’s vineyard. Our leader, who was a former senior missionary, encouraged me to join the 1000 Missionary Movement. That was then the start of my journey as a missionary.

So far, I have learned that in life, when there are times that we fail in our expectations or we do not always understand why God allows certain things to happen to us, we just have to “let go and let God“ execute the things that did not work out. God has always something in store for our future. Small things fail to happen so that greater things can prevail. We just have to keep on praying, keep believing, and keep hoping. Proverbs 20:24 says, “Since the Lord is directing our steps, why do we try to figure out everything that happens along the way?”

As the saying goes, “Our lives may not be going the way we planned it, but it is going exactly the way God planned it, because nothing we have done or haven’t done can cancel us from our destiny as long as we choose to put Him first place in our lives.”

May we ever be found trusting His heart, letting go of futile personal plans, and letting God lead us on to becoming the best person HE wants us to be.

Always PUSH

by Angecor Delgado (32nd Batch)

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. 2 Samuel 22:31 (NKJV)

Do you ever wish God spoke to you? In those days when the Lord did not speak directly to people very often, He chose to speak to a boy named Samuel, whose name means “I asked the Lord for Him” or God heard.

It was a humid and windy Sunday afternoon and I was pretty busy cleaning, washing my clothes, and preparing my sermon for our evening worship on Skype. I was at the office when our representative called to check if I was ready. When we finished talking on the phone, I felt that Someone was whispering to me. So I stood up and followed what the Still small voice wanted me to do. I was puzzled why, but It urged me to go directly to my room. When I peeped from my window, I saw an enormous fire at our neighbor’s stained glass window, and wondered where the huge fire came from. So I quickly ran to the kitchen to check if there was also fire inside our church. I found out that the fire started from our neighbor’s repair shop. There was a strong wind at that time and I was anxious should the gigantic fire reach our gas range and heater since it was just a short distance from the window. I was alone, I couldn’t ask for help since my pastor and his family were away. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t help but hold my Bible, kneel down and pray. Having decided to PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens), I asked God to save my life and the church, believing in His wonderful promise that He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

While I was praying, I heard the sound of a fire truck. My church members were shouting, calling out my name. They found me kneeling in front of the window, tapped my shoulder and we immediately ran to escape from the fire. We could still feel the blazing fire as we gathered outside and continued to pray. I called up our conference’s missionary representative to inform the other missionaries to also pray for us.

I am certain that the only real defense of a Christian in such a time as that is prayer. More prayer, more power. Finally, after four long hours, the fire ceased.

Basing on my experience, the Word of God is tested and proven.

Face Your Fear

by Angelyn  Abanilla (29th Batch)

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.  Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)

Doing what one doesn’t like to do is one of the hardest things for me–and this kind of thing worries me a lot.

I joined the missionary work to fulfill my commitment to God for helping me accomplish my college degree. I have the desire to conquer the hearts of people living in the mountain areas, but God has another plan for me. This situation reminds me of Jonah as he tried to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish instead of Nineveh. With a slight difference, the story seems like mine. I was dispatched to serve in South Korea and everything seems strange and scary in a sense that I am afraid to do the things that I’ve always never wanted to do. I feel like being in a fiery furnace because this is one of my greatest fears–teaching!!!

During the few months of staying here in my mission field, I struggle each moment because I don’t have enough confidence in doing the task that was given to me. I absolutely hate teaching or even standing in front of an audience. But then, I realized why God has given me this kind of work: He wants me to be trained in this field for me to be useful in His ministry.

As His ambassadors, we don’t have to remain what we are, but rather God molds and qualifies us as we answer His call. Only God knows everything about us. We may sometimes think that we can’t do such things for we don’t have the qualities fit for that task. When Moses was hesitant to go back to Egypt considering his inability to speak eloquently, God told him, “Who hath made man’s mouth?” (Exodus 4:11).  When Sarah doubted to conceive a child being in an old age, she was told by God, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). With God nothing shall be impossible. If we allow Him to lead our lives then we can see that His guidance is with us. Praise God for His mercy endures forever!

I have partners here in my mission field and God is using them to cheer me up. With God, I can make it. Whatever God has given us, we can use those gifts for the furtherance of His work. By accepting the challenges, we would grow more mature in Him and in the end, we can feel the real joy and happiness in serving our God.

At present, I’m still working here as a missionary teacher for the second time. Meeting my students each day and doing every activity with them build up my confidence. It makes me feel useful in God’s service. Doing the tasks given to me each day and trying to do them in the best way I can, with God as my strength and my hope, I continually pray that I may be able to share His love with the people in my sphere.

By surrendering our plans and desires unto Him, we can have the satisfaction in ourselves and know the fact that He is in control of everyone’s journey in life. We will never overcome our fear unless we face it boldly with God as our ultimate Source of courage.

As quoted in Christ’s Object Lessons p. 354,

“The Lord desires us to use every gift we have, and if we do this, we shall have greater gifts to use.”

We all have the gift from God above and the only way to know what those gifts are is by allowing God to lead our lives and to participate in His work of sharing the good news of salvation to the world.

Wedding Feasts

by Arlie Joy Mantos (35th Batch)

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine–the best of meats and the finest of wines. Isaiah 25: 6 (NIV)

Our church would often host wedding parties on Sundays and that means a lot of food would be served. As a missionary, I help in preparing the food. My special talent of wrapping “ulam-sam,” a kind of Vietnamese salad, was discovered. I would wake up early on that Sunday morning and help. I’m happy to experience this and I’m learning as well.

When it’s time for the visitors to eat, I serve “hubakso” a squash soup. I get to see many people–young and old, rich and poor, and some missionary friends.

Sometimes we run out of food. One jipsanim (deaconess) would be so busy cooking more food and some of the young church members would also be very busy serving the cooked food. All would be very anxious. This situation reminds me of stories from the Bible.

First, the story in John 2:1-11 when Jesus performed the miracle here–making wine out of pure water. I can just imagine the servers as they thought of what to serve after they ran out of wine. Maybe they were so anxious, but Jesus came along to help and made the finest wine. What a relief to those servers! And so, the party continued.

I also think about the feast that Jesus is telling us. This would take place not here in this world but in the world to come, where we get to eat lots of special food (that will never run out) and eat together with friends–young and old, rich and poor, missionaries too! All will be there, not as servers or guests but as brides of the King, the Groom Jesus.

See you on that day!