Hope Amidst the Storm

By Melvin Baclay

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

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Homes razed to the ground. Lifeless bodies littered amid piles of rubble. Mothers wailing and mourning for the loss of their children. Hungry people helplessly walking, looking for food and water to survive. This is just an obscure picture of what we could see in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Nightmare becomes a more pleasant word and to say that a storm struck the country is an understatement.

With all this, skeptics could easily ask, “Where’s God?” And unbelievers have just added one more reason for them not to believe.

But for the faithful ones, they understand.

They understand the impermanence of earthly life, earthly homes, earthly treasures.

They understand that anything can happen even to the faithful because even Job who was blameless before God lost everything except his life.

They understand that God’s love and His existence can’t just be disproved by unpleasant circumstances because they too are parts of life and have their own purpose.

They understand that some “whys” can be left unanswered for they know that not everything are meant to be fully understood by our limited minds; some things are meant to be put inside our baggage of faith.

They understand that at times, we lose loved ones in more painful ways. But there’s undying hope in their hearts of that glorious morning when lives will be restored and loved ones reunited.

Also, they understand that sometimes, it takes pain to feel God’s comfort, bruises to know He heals and brokenness to know that He restores.

And finally, they understand that “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28, KJV). For they believe that “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 (NIV).

You Know Better Than I

By: Jenny Jane Pino

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” John 14:1

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After my class, a call from my mom brought me to tears. I sat appalled thinking about the news that my “papa” was suffering from a life threatening drug reaction from the prescribed medicine for his kidney infection.

“How great is the love of God to you that you are still alive!” This was the doctor’s comment upon seeing my father which made me think that maybe I would no longer be able to see him. The doctor added that he had gotten 10 patients well cared in the hospital but only one survived. However, my outpatient father miraculously got to the hospital as if nothing had happened. God saved my father`s life. But things went from bad to worse due to the infection that was becoming serious, and a Major Surgery was the only better option.

Right after our conversation, I got on my knees and cried to God, begging to give my father a minor surgery instead because of the financial problem. Moreover, the major surgery couldn’t assure my father’s safety due to his heart enlargement and hypertension. But sadly, God didn`t answer my plea. After several days, the laboratory result showed that there were three rare kidney stones and were too big to be broken down by a minor operation. Again, I prayed to God, hoping for another intervention. But instead of pleading, I complained and questioned God why it had to happen when I chose to follow Him to serve here in Korea rather than practicing my profession. I could have been with my father to take care of him. Then I added, “God, major surgery costs a big amount of money. Lord, please help me to ask all my savings from my “Samonim”(Pastor`s wife) for the operation.” I was confident that this time God would regard my prayer. But I ended up dismayed. “Samonim” couldn`t give me my whole savings for some reasons. I prayed to God with complaints, “…How are we to attend the needs? Lord, I want to see my father again when I get back home.”

I almost lost hope because even my father wanted to put the operation off. In my distress, I even forgot that God had already showed miracles. But this favorite text of mine, John 14:1, reminded me and pushed me to have the operation done. So, I talked to my mom and she responded positively. She loaned money from the bank.

Weeks after, we pursued the plan without even thinking what would happen next. This time, I prayed earnestly without demands, “God, thy will be done, for you know what’s best for us. Save us!.” Then God`s great deliverance came upon us: First, the doctor offered some help by referring my father to his specialist friend to have the operation done there to assure the safety and to have professional fee lowered. And they did it on December 23, 2011 (My 6th month in Korea). The operation was successful without any complication and the recovery was faster than expected. Second, the members at Junghwa-dong SDA Church, the church where I’m serving, raised money and paid half of the total amount of the operation which was the reason why Samonim didn’t give me my savings. My co-missionaries wholeheartedly gave a hand as well. Indeed, God clearly orchestrated the entire event far better than what I had asked for. And He showed that everything is under His control. So, let NOT your heart be troubled. Believe and always believe in Him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFPXljeseY0&feature=youtu.be You Know Better Than I ( Click the link to watch the video.)

 

 

Chosen

By: Krystel Arvae Magro

 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

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The ever-loved chant “Once a missionary, always a missionary!” has been well inscribed in my every nerve and I promise to God that I will forever be His missionary for as long as I live. That is despite the fact that my term here in Korea is nearing its end.

How fast time flies!

My term, short as it seems, was filled with wonderful experiences, lessons and revelations about God, His awesomeness, His goodness and His faithfulness. These realities have been very apparent from the moment I heard His call. And having responded to that call, He subsequently revealed to me the answer to the question which had been hanging in my head, unanswered. And what a great impact did it have to me to have finally understood what used to be so vague, so difficult to understand.

During my childhood years, being the second  of the five girls in the family, I must admit I had a little attitude problem. One time, I was really being stubborn with my mother and it happened with the presence of my father. When he couldn’t stand what he was hearing any longer, he interrupted angrily, “That’s the result of your mother’s attempts to get rid of you from her womb.” That was the most painful thing I’ve ever heard in my whole life. It pierced my heart. It made me feel unwanted; it made me feel unloved. Because of that, I became aloof from them. I grew up battling against insecurities with unspoken pain and unanswered questions.

Almost 3 years ago, when I heard God calling me, I responded. He then opened my heart to receive His love which my heart couldn’t contain. He also opened my mind for a greater understanding of His plan.

Even with the several attempts to get rid of me from my mother’s womb, God held me tight and did not let me go. And I know now why He did that: it’s because He loves me so much and while I was still in my mother’s womb, or perhaps even before I was conceived, He already has chosen me. And what an amazing thing to feel that my Savior, the King of the Universe chose me to work for Him and His kingdom. His love just fills me now giving no room for any grudge, any pain that used to lay hidden at the corners of my heart.

There may be times when I will be tried as I continue on this journey, but I will always remember that strong and loving hand which held me tight not to let me go when the enemy tried to get rid of me years ago. He chose me and I choose to serve my God whose love restored and saved me.

“Lord, Please Do Something”

Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”  Jeremiah 33:3:(KJV).

 

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  •   How would you feel when everybody in the class misbehaves or competes to be the best runner, or shouts as hard as he/she can? Our answers may vary according to our temperaments. We may have mixed feelings: angry, sad, discouraged, bored, tired, etc. which may lead us to think of another strategy on how to stop them.

    The hardest part of being a teacher is handling students in different levels. Should I be angry at them, or, should I strictly impose policies for them to follow? Sometimes it’s really hard to maintain our ROLE as English teacher and our IDENTITY as Missionary.

    One of my students, a five-year old boy, is the best runner in my class; he never gets tired. One day, when I was about to start the class, I told them to go to their proper places and be ready for the prayer. That boy went to his usual seat and prayed together with his classmates.

    It happened that our lesson was about animals. I asked them one by one what animals they liked most. “Tommy, do you like horses?” I asked. He said, “Yes, I do,” and he started running around the classroom. I told him to stop but he didn’t listen to me. So I asked him again. “Are you a horse?” With full enthusiasm he answered, “Yes, teacher! I am a horse!” So everyone in the class laughed at him. Then, he stopped for a while, stepped on the table and jumped on my shoulders. What a naughty kid! He made me a horse.

    I prayed hard to God that the next time we’d meet they would become good and obedient. Little by little they changed. Truly, I can’t do anything by my own strategy. I need God’s power and strength the moment I feel weak, tired or whenever negative emotions creep in. Every time I pray to my Invisible Partner, I always say, “Lord, please do something for me that I could survive; that I would be patient enough in dealing with my students.” Every time my students misbehave in class, I just bow my head and silently talk to God: “It’s Your turn, Lord! Please do something for them!” And He never fails to hear me. Here’s a powerful Bible verse known as “telephone” verse found in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” (KJV).

    It’s God’s presence that enables me to handle things. And I truly believe that He’s just a prayer away.

Ordinary People

Ah Sovereign Lord, I said,I do not know how to speak…. verse: 7 The Lord said, you must go to everyone I send you and say whatever I command you. verse: 8 Do not be afraid of them,for I am with you. verse: 9 Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth. Now,I have put my words in your mouth.” Jeremiah 1:6-9 (NIV)

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As a simple individual, I know my limitations and capacity. I can’t speak clearly. Sometimes I stutter and sometimes I speak too fast with an intonation that sounds as if I’m angry.

When I knew that I had to teach in a community center, I was afraid. I said to God, “Lord, you know me. I stammer. I have pronunciation problems. Please help me, Lord. I don’t like to put your name to shame, so please dear God, put your words into my mouth as I teach them. Please cover me with your glory, oh God.”

On my first day, I couldn’t understand my feelings. I was with a korean to guide me going to the center but we lost our way so we arrived 10 minutes late. The students were waiting. They were ready for the class. Standing in front of the class, I smiled and said “Hello! How are you today?” They responded enthusiastically. I then introduced myself and I let them introduce themselves as well.

After our class, one student accompanied me to the office. While walking, she told me, “Teacher, you speak clearly and pronounce words well.” “Really? Thank you,” I said. I was amazed by what she said.

I’ve been hearing the same comment as I continue teaching them and I praise GOD for using an ordinary person like me to show His faithfulness.

The LORD covers me while doing the ministry. He hides my weakness. He shows His strength. He puts His words into my mouth. I’m never afraid cause JESUS is with me.

Waiting

By: Maria Eleofe Melgar Magtahas

Blessed are those who listen to me,watching daily at my doors,waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.Proverbs 8:34-35

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Life is full of waiting, isn’t it? All of us have our own reactions when we are asked to wait–reactions that would encourage or discourage others.

One day, I had to go to my students’ house for our class. I hurriedly walked to get to their house because the weather was so hot. When I arrived, the kids were sleeping. At first I was a bit happy because I thought I wouldn’t have class with them. But their mom asked me to go back to my place and be back after 20 minutes. I pretended not to understand what she was saying because I didn’t want to wait. So she called my Samonim (Pastor’s wife). She asked if I could wait for 20 minutes or go home and come back to their house in the evening. When Samonim told me about it, I was devastated. I was thinking how inconsiderate she was. Didn’t she see that despite the hot weather I really came to their house just to have class with her kids? And now, she wanted me to wait? And in the first place, our schedule must be followed. If her kids are sleeping and she doesn’t want to wake them up, she should just cancel our class for that day. I had lots of complaints but of course I didn’t show it. Instead, I told my students’ mother that I would just wait. So I waited for 20 minutes. While waiting I was thinking about my reaction. I was sure God knew what I felt and the complaints I had in my mind.

Then a thought hit me: How would Jesus react if He were asked to wait? Would He think the same as I thought? Would He also complain?

Then I realized how long has God been waiting for His children to come to Him in repentance. Jesus is still in the most holy place waiting for us to be fully changed. If He would complain and if He is too tired to wait, many of us won’t be saved. He willingly waits for His people for them not to perish. He has been so patient in waiting for us to become pure and holy worthy to be in heaven. Proverbs 8:34-35 says “Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.” As it turned out, I was so blessed to have waited for my students that time for it helped me build a good relationship with them, and so with their parents. My God is always awesome.

Convicted to Help

By: Bebeleth Parennas

Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (v.31) whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:33, 31(KJV)

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“Lord, please bless those people who show eagerness in doing thy work. And bless also those who have the heart to help for the furtherance of thy Ministry.” This was my prayer before I took a nap one day. I was so sleepy and I wasn’t feeling very well that time. I lay down on my bed with peace of mind, trying to close my eyes. Few minutes passed, I heard a voice whispering into my ears saying, “get up.” I tried to ignore it because of my sleepiness. But as I kept on ignoring it, there was something in my mind that I couldn’t explain, so I got up and knelt; I prayed again. At that time I told God to give me strength, asking Him to take out the sleepiness I was feeling. Then something came to my mind that gave me physical strength.

I changed my clothes and went to the place where I’d usually do my exercise. A started to walk. There were no people except me. Until I saw some dogs coming towards me. When I turned around, I saw an “Ajuma” (Korean term for a married woman). I greeted and smiled at her. She smiled back. I asked her if she exercised there every day. “Sometimes,” she answered. She told me that she wanted to walk the dogs and the weather was good that day so she was there. She gazed at me which made me feel conscious and uncomfortable. Then she asked, “Are you American?” I smiled and started to introduce myself. When I told her that I came here as a missionary, she started to talk a lot. Then I asked her in korean, “Do you know God?” She answered, “Yes.” And so I tried to share to her what I could by using some of the basic terms that I knew, but I ended up gazing at her mouth trying to catch the words that she was saying. As she kept on talking. I heard the word “Mideum” which means “Belief or faith.” “I believe in Jesus, in fact I have a church,” she said. Right then I felt that my skin became tighter which I couldn’t explain. I found myself in silence, but as she kept on talking, I got the courage to invite her to our Church with which she answered “yes”. “Our God is the same; We believe in Him even if we cannot see Him,” she added.

I felt so happy and blessed that time. We continued to talk and it was so amazing how God enabled me to speak “hangukmal” (Korean language). I patiently answered her questions and shared more of our beliefs. Then she asked me, “If I rent an apartment in the Philippines, how much would be the cost?” As I was explaining, she took 20,000 won from her pocket and put it on my hand. I used it as material for my explanation. When I felt like everything was clear already, I returned the money to her. But she grabbed my arm and put the money back to my hand and took another 10,000 and gave it to me. I tried to refuse but she said that she really wanted to give it to me. Then she put her finger on her lips telling me to be quiet.

What had transpired that day left me in awe and wonder. Then I remembered the one who asked me some help for their crusade and how I prayed to help for the other mission, too. I wanted to cry because of happiness and how God answered my prayers. I raised my head and looked above and whispered a prayer of thankfulness to God.

After that, we separated from each other but she called me again and gave me a pair of training clothes. With heart filled with joy, I gazed up on heaven again telling God to bless her for her kindness and conviction to help. “As we associate together, we may be a blessing to one another. “ The desire of Ages p.83.6

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