Hugs and Kisses

by Bambie Taniongon

But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write into you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 1 Thessalonians 4:9

“Are you Ready?” I’d say in a loud voice, “Yes, we are!” is the answer of my very cute, alive, alert and enthusiastic kindergarten kids. I meet them four days a week and to be honest, I didn’t like them at first.They were like the cartoon characters, Tom and Jerry. They’d run here and run there; shout here and shout there; fight here and fight there. They were very annoying!

There was this particular 4-year-old boy in the class. He was the most aggressive among all the others. He would influence others to run around with him. He was the master of bullying and fighting. I tried to come to him before our classes started, but he would run away.

Even so, if I got the chance, I would still cuddle him, hug him and do just any possible thing I could to gentle him down. I would sometimes rebuke him saying “Changnan hadjima! (Don’t be naughty!). Then he would say, “ Yes!” Sometimes, those two korean words are effective, and sometimes they’re not. After the class, I would try to be so gentle and sweet with him again.

The class term finally ended. He is now 5 years old. And again, I am his room teacher. His hyperactivity isn’t gone but every time he comes to our class, he runs to me and hugs me, and I cuddle him and kiss him. I always remind him not to be naughty anymore.

I recently noticed that more and more children would come to me and hug me; they want to be hugged as well. These little sweet gestures make me feel closely connected to them the way I really want to.

I receive a lot of hugs from them everyday as I give them mine with a kiss. I want to make them feel loved. I want to be a channel of God’s love to them because heaven will be more beautiful when I see them there.

Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. “

Don’t Cry

by Lady-ne Barrientos

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Trials, hardships, and difficulties? I have enough strength to endure them,” I said to myself before coming here in Korea.

During my first three months in my mission field, everything was endurable until one day, one of my middle school students named Johnny, said something that really got me so badly.

He said, “Teacher, go back to the Philippines. I don’t want to see you anymore. I don’t like you!” Instead of getting angry, I just smiled and continued discussing our lesson.

But he kept on annoying me so I asked him, “Do you really want me to go home?”

“Absolutely!” he replied.

So I got my bag and hurriedly opened the door . Unexpectedly when I was about to open the door, he held my hand and begged me to stay. I didn’t want to cry but the tears just fell down my cheeks and my heartbeat went a little slower than usual. That very moment , I asked myself, “Where is my strength?” I felt like quitting.

When he noticed that I was crying, he sat beside me and said, “Teacher, I beg you to forgive me. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just wanted to know how strong you are. I know you’re here in Korea not just to teach but to serve God. Am I right, teacher?”

“Yes,” I replied.

Then he said, “So don’t cry. God doesn’t want to see you cry. He wants you to be strong everyday. Do not be weak. Be courageous.”

While listening to him, I was amazed and I felt relieved. After thanking him, I immediately went to my prayer room, kneeled down and prayed to God.

My student was right. Let us be courageous everyday. Sometimes, when we feel like quitting, let us remember that it’s just a test. If we just cling to God and submit everything to Him, He will give us the strength to endure.

And let us remember this: God doesn’t want to see you cry.

The Passenger

by Mark Lester Dondonay

 “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-7

Overcast clouds covered the sky. It was gray all over and the rain was attempting to fall. I finished my class, then packed my things. It was going to be my first time to visit Samcheok City which is only a 10 to 15-minute bus ride from my mission field. We were going to have a concert at a church there. Knowing that they invited non-SDA friends, I was excited.

After lunch, I and Banjo, a fellow missionary, waited for the bus downtown. Finally, the bus stopped right in front of me. I got on, dropped my fare and found a seat comfortable for me to sit. The misty wind was cool. It was like a whisper of music to my ear. I enjoyed the green trees and colorful flowers along the way. But I could not see the blue sky. If the sun were up that day, it would have been a perfect ride.

Passengers got on and off the bus every time it stopped. “We’re close to Samcheok,” Banjo said. I just kept silent. The bus stopped again. Then an old man came in. I could tell by his smell that he was slightly drunk. I could not understand what the driver was saying but he was so mad at the old man. “What’s the problem?” I asked the man behind me. To my surprise, the old man could speak English and he was really frank to say, “I have no money.” Banjo and I offered to pay the fare for him to avoid delay but the driver and the other passengers said, “No, it’s ok.” I really felt pity for him. The driver eventually ran out of patience that he took the old man’s hand and forcibly dragged him off the bus. That scene touched my heart. I asked myself, “Why couldn’t they just give him a ride?” The reason was that he was drunk.

That experience gave me a lesson.
When the end comes, many will not be fitted to claim the promise of eternal glory because of drunkenness to the world. Like the old man, he wanted to get a ride but he was drunk. It was no big deal for me but for the other passengers, it was.

The bus is heaven. The driver is Christ. We are the passengers. If you’re not suited to have a heavenly ride, you can’t enter its gates.

God showed His love to us by sending His only son to save us from our sins. Now, we are already His. He took us out from the dark world and put us into the marvelous light. As Paul says, “We are the children of light, not of darkness.” Yet, we still have to choose.

Remember

by Elisa Geollegue (36th Batch)

 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

I was in a hurry one Friday afternoon to buy some stuff for the missionary meeting. I started to study my map for it was my first time to go to the place. As I arrived at my destination, I was enticed by the beautiful things around me. I kept on checking the time so I could go home before sunset. Time flew so fast for it was almost 6 o’clock, but I still wanted to go around so I kept on giving myself extensions, not minding the still small Voice in my head saying “Go home. It is already Sabbath.

Only when I had felt so tired did I decide to go home. But wait! Something is missing! Ah! Where is my wallet? Oh no! How can I go home? I did not have any money, even a single cent in my bag! I started to feel scared; I was shaking while I walked back to every store I went into. But it was nowhere to be found! Oh no! I should have listened to You, Lord! Now I have to spend my night here and wait until my partners will look for me. I could not call them as well because I don’t have a phone and I did not have any phone number of anyone that could help me. I stopped for a moment and prayed sincerely. After I prayed, I felt a little bit comforted. So I went on looking for my wallet again.

Once in a while, I would close my eyes and whisper a prayer. Lord, I’m in great trouble because of my stubbornness, forgive me and help me. I stopped at the corner of a store and when I opened my eyes and lifted my head, I saw something familiar! “That’s my wallet!” I shouted. Then the sales lady handed the wallet to me smiling!

I have never been glad all my life!  Thank You, Lord for your mercy. I went home learning a lesson and preaching to myself!

Sometimes we act like criminals, robbing God’s precious time with our own selfish motives like surfing the net, doing the laundry, going to the grocery, ect. Friday afternoons seem very long; we tend to convince ourselves that it is not Sabbath yet. But when Saturday comes, we tend to shorten the time and say that it is already sunset even though the sun is still up smiling and shining so bright. It is so sad that most of the time we reason to justify our selfish acts. The time of sunset and sundown here in Korea differ from the time of sunset and sundown in the Philippines mainly because of the seasons, but wherever you are always remind yourself about the principle of the Sabbath.