U-turn

by : Devie Lou Bulahan

Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

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One afternoon, I went to the subway station to fetch my co-missionary. I was expecting her to arrive on time but she was delayed. I wondered what took her so long. After an hour of waiting, she finally reached the subway station. I asked her the reason of the delay and she told me the whole story.
She was actually paying attention while travelling and was determined to be on time until she was interrupted by a stranger who kept on staring at her. She tried to avoid him by keeping her head down. After a while she was surprised seeing the man already standing in front of her. He offered her a smile which bothered her–too bothered that she missed the station where she was supposed to drop. So in order for her to get to her destination, she had to take a U-turn.
Reflection: We are just travelers in this world. Our ultimate destination is to be with Jesus in Heaven. Jesus is our map. He is the way, the truth, and the life. But Satan keeps on interrupting for us to be delayed. We sometimes are hooked with technology. There are times when we get so engrossed with facebook, liking and commenting here and there until we have already missed our time with God. At first, we feel guilty of sin but gradually, if we leave our hearts unguarded, we become lovers of the mundane rather than lovers of godly things.
Let us remember that God sent the Holy Spirit to teach and remind us about the important things we tend to forget. We have to listen to that voice. Let us also be reminded that if at times we fail, He is willing to forgive us and to cleanse us in our unrighteousness if ask Him to. We always can have a U-turn and be forever reunited with Him.

Teaching and Learning

By: Jane Lo  Samilo

Get wisdom! Get understanding!Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;Love her, and she will keep you.” Proverbs 4:5-6

ImagePatience is one of the characters that I have learned as a missionary here in Korea. I don’t like children especially the naughty ones. However, I have come to know and love them all as time passed by. I have noticed that the kids are becoming more courteous each day!
It was one Sabbath morning; I was all by myself handling the children’s Sabbath School program. The kids were so active that it was so hard for them to pay attention even for a very short period of time. I was so upset by their behavior but I kept extending my patience. I didn’t want to get mad, but they were like bears with sore heads. I was quiet for a time. I stared at them with total silence! Some of the kids noticed that I was quiet and upset that they began to say, “Teacher, story!” But I ignored them and walked hastily out of the room. I went straight to my room upstairs and shut the door. The kids chased me up there. After a while, I heard a knock on my door. I tried to ignore them; however, they decided to open the door without my approval. 
They all came closer to me; one by one they gave me a hug and said, “I’m sorry, Teacher!” My heart melted right at that moment. I was so touched and couldn’t believe with what they did.
The incident paved a way for these kids to get better and I’m just grateful to God that it happened.
Jesus was certainly true when He said that unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
We must aim for a humble heart to accept that we can commit mistakes. Moreover, let us ask God’s power to help us to be teachable and dependent to our great and patient teacher, Jesus Christ.

God Understands

By: Brenda Bantinay

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28

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I arrived here in Korea on October 24,2012. It was indeed an unforgettable date! I traveled alone going to my mission field. The pastor of my co-missionary just gave me instructions on how to get to Yocheon where my pastor was waiting. He also got me a ticket and brought me to the bus where I was supposed to ride. Then I asked the driver to drop me in Yocheon. I was worried because he only responded through sign language. But praise God because I was able to get there.

When I got off the bus, I immediately recognized my pastor because he was wearing a uniform with an Adventist logo on it. Then my co-teachers welcomed me when we arrived. After a while the head teacher told me, ”You must teach the students in English fluently.” These words scared me. In addition, she didn’t provide any materials to be used for teaching. At first, I felt so worried and pressured. I didn’t know what to do without a guide. I also struggled with the behavior of the students. Sometimes they even threw papers in front of me and insulted me with harsh words.

After a couple of months since I arrived, my head teacher handed me two books and said, ”Use these and make a one-year lesson plan with each book.” I started to do it but the task was just too heavy for me that it took a toll on my body. Pimples and allergies started to come out. I was so sick so they brought me to the hospital. With God’s ever loving and gracious heart, I got well and was able to finish the task given to me.

One Sabbath afternoon, my Samonim invited me to join a Bible study. While I was there, our head teacher asked me, “ Why are you here? Do you understand Korean?” I felt so embarrassed and hurt. I cried out to the Lord for help. I said, ”Lord I cannot bear this anymore so please help me. Help me to share your love to the people around me and glorify your name.” After that, I felt comforted and I felt that God was just by my side. God helped me to understand everything and He guided my path.

Then I heard a small voice telling me, “Use your talents that I’ve given you.” I was inspired to hear that small voice. So, I started to go around. I started to visit houses. I distributed books and tracts to offices and stores. I also visited my Filipino and Korean friends. I offered a prayer and shared the love of God to them. Even though I was doing it alone, I felt that God was with me. I was also inspired to do my chores like cleaning the classrooms and church and even helping the church members in washing the dishes every Sabbath. I also started to cook for my head teacher. I was surprised when she told me that I was the first missionary to treat her that way. We became closer and she started to open up her personal life to me. 
Everything is better now by God’s mercy. Our head teacher became my dearest friend and the students who used to misbehave in class have changed a lot. These experiences have taught me a lot. Indeed, God is powerful to change the life of others and I am so happy because He intervened.

“Everyone has trials, sorrows and temptations. We must not entrust our problems to people but cast everything to God in prayer. We make it a rule never to speak a word of doubt. We can do much to brighten the lives of others. Our words of hope and holy cheer will make them stronger.” (E.G.W. “Step to Christ” English-Korean Edition. Estate, Inc., MD, USA. Korean Publishing House, Seoul, Korea, 2004).

Thinking of God’s love makes us feel very humble. This thought, as shown by Jesus’ death, should bring our minds closer to God–feeling and receiving His mercy, tenderness and forgiveness.

The Grasp of the Little Hands

By: Lyshiel Sagga

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” Revelation 3:5

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My first observation day with the little kids was quite tough. I was surrounded by wiggly cutie little kids whom I couldn’t understand. “How do I start my conversation with these children?” I asked myself. While listening to their rambles and babbles, one little girl grasped my hand saying something I couldn’t understand. I nodded at her with a smile but with zero understanding of what she was actually saying. Then she pointed her little finger to the button of her jacket as if asking me to unbutton it and take it off. After removing her jacket, I thought she would play just like the other kids but she didn’t. She just kept on holding my hands, pulling me going to her room. My partner noticed that this little girl became close to me.

That night, thinking of my new cute friend’s gentle grasp on my hand, I thanked God for giving me the chance to be His missionary in this foreign land.

We are the hands of God to hold the hands of the little ones, to guide them, to love them and to tell them about the love of Jesus. And for us to be able to show and lead them the right way, there’s only one sure Way whose hand we shouldn’t let go of, Jesus Christ.

“First Things First”

By: Ivone Lamanilao

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

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I’d strayed away from God for two years! I was discouraged when I failed to pass the Nursing Licensure Exam twice. I became rebellious in the sight of God. I seldom asked God for something, and when I did it’s all about questioning of what God had done in my life. I graduated BSN with a huge debt. I had a student loan that cost 20 thousand US dollars, excluding the 10% annual interest. I was so depressed. I threw questions to God like, “How could I get rid of it? Why did God allow me to finish college and bring me this failure?  How can I pay it?”

I remember that I promised God to go back to missionary work once I would finish college. However, my family and friends were against about it. I begged them to allow me to go and serve the Lord. However, they didn’t listen. They said, “How will you pay your loan if you are a missionary?” My family sent me to a review center. There I took the test, but their plan was not God’s will for my life. I didn’t pass that exam. I was frustrated and upset of my family that I left the church. My heart wouldn’t listen to any advises. So, I went to Manila and looked for a job but nothing happened for a year. I was a total failure!

So when my cousin told me that his employer needed a private nurse, I grabbed the opportunity to have work by taking care of a geriatric old folk. At that time, I decided to take the board exam for the third time around. I reviewed while watching the old man. However, I wasn’t informed of the last day of filing for the NLE at PRC.  Again, I asked God, “Lord, why do you always fail me? What do you want me to do in my life? It seems that you are happy to see my failures in life! Where is your promise to answer those who call upon your name?” I was angry with God. I didn’t want to trust Him anymore.

Then, a realization came to me. I had promised for three times that I would serve God. And I failed to fulfill those promises three times as well.  Whenever I was asked to serve God through the 1000 MM, I refused. One day, Ma’am Vil called up and asked me if I would join the 1000 MM training. And without hesitations, I accepted the call. I knew it was God’s leading and I’ve realized what He wanted for me to do, it is to serve Him first! He says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.

We should be very careful about making promises. Deuteronomy 23:23 says, “You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth.”

Stop Looking On People But To God

By: Shiela Corro

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. Matthew 13:22

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“Pastor, I didn’t know that you will be transferred to another church”, said one member of the church during the bible study.

Vivian, her English name, is the owner of the Tous Les Jours Bakery in Gohan. She was a very supportive member in the church. She gave snacks for the kids during pathfinder time. We were happy having her in the church but she couldn’t always attend every Saturday. So, we had a Bible study with her on Thursdays.

I thought our Bible study had helped her faith keep stronger. However, we were wrong. When Pastor Sung Jin Kim was transferred to another church, she suddenly quit attending church services. Later on, I heard that she started attending in a Sunday-keeping denomination. My heart sank when I knew about it. All I can do is to bend my knees in prayer because I believe that God will bring her back to our church.

Our human effort can help people know about God but the will to follow God is definitely their own choice. Sometimes people go to church because they like the preacher or the singers but when the people they admire are gone, they also stop going to church. The people fail to fix their eyes upon God, the author and finisher of our faith.

Circumstances like these are inevitable but this should not discourage us. This should not stop us from doing God’s purpose. We have to proclaim the gospel with love and faith, for that is what we are here for.

“Ikigai”

By: Eiryk Dan Trazo

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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Dan Buettner, is a famous American researcher and explorer who had traveled around the world in search for places who have the longest living people and to find out the secrets of long life. His aims were to know the kind of environment the people are living in and what do they eat. After doing a lot of researching and travelling, he came to conclude that Okinawa, Sardinia, and Loma Linda are the places in which large groups of people live longer than most of the average humans. These places are referred as blue zones. Upon interviewing some of the residents in Okinawa, Japan he found out that aside from the food that they eat which is mostly home grown fruits and vegetables, one of the reasons behind their long life is what the Okinawans called “ikigai”, which is roughly translated into English as “the reason for which they wake up in the morning”.

What is your main reason for waking up every morning? Is it to teach English? Is it to do better today than yesterday? Whatever it is, it affects your day. Often times we find ourselves not wanting to wake up and we may have many reasons.

It might be that yesterday was a disappointment and you are afraid that it would happen again today or it can be fear from overwhelming responsibilities that you face each new day. Well, prophet Isaiah has something to say to us, he says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall;” Isaiah 40:28-31. Knowing that we have an everlasting Father who gives us strength to deal with challenges of the day is a beautiful thought to wake up each morning.

Remember that when we open our eyes in the morning, let God be our reason! To SERVE Him should be our main purpose as we continue to do His work in our respective mission fields.