Steadily Carrying On

by Rachel Aguilo (33rd Batch)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

Being a missionary and a teacher is not easy when it comes to dealing with children and also communicating with the people around you. I recently experienced being compared to other missionaries who had served before me. I was sad to hear those words and thought that maybe I should just go home. I even told my pastor that I have to go home. I am not that talented like the other missionaries who came before me. I also heard that some parents said I am not close to my students and that my students don’t enjoy studying English because they are bored. I tried to listen to some of the advices from friends and then I turned to read the Bible and prayed sincerely to my Saviour. He comforted me. I sought the Lord earnestly in my trouble and received consolation for I believe that Jesus loves even me.

My heart seemed to be completely shattered–I don’t have my laptop anymore and I don’t have people to talk to instantly at home because I live alone now. I don’t go online a lot these days. Having no Internet connection seemed to bother me at first but now I just tell myself to carry on. While I struggled with the decision whether to continue or not, I kept praying to our Lord to lead me in doing the things I have to do. God told me to sacrifice things that I don’t really need during my work and I did. I begged God to give me patience and wisdom for the betterment of my work in this place.

I try talking to my students more often now than before and now I make it a habit to play with them during class to keep them interested. I join them in watching English movies, playing word collapse, hangman, or anything they feel like playing so they won’t feel bored. I just make sure they get a good laugh. Now I am having a great time with my students and I hope to have a fun time with them everyday until I finish my second term, by God’s grace.

Giving Our All for His Service

by Celle Bagnol (27th Batch)

  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” Psalm 28:7

It was really my dream to be employed and have a successful career right after my graduation, but sometimes our plans fail in order for God’s plans to succeed. We have our own plans and desires yet God knows exactly what He wants us to do so that we can be of great help in His ministry. Though I failed in my own plans, I just let Him lead me and I left everything in His care.

 
It was last 2006 when I found myself in the quiet campus of the 1000 Missionary Movement, wondering what on earth was I doing there when I never even thought of becoming a missionary. During my missionary training, I realized that the prayers I had were answered in a different way to fulfill the task He had given me.
 
I then learned that I have a great responsibility with the light He has shown me. I learned that I have a task that taught me to come out of my shell and tell the world about the wonderful love He has for me and the people around me. I need to tell them the joy of knowing and having Him.
 
Upon learning that I would be assigned in South Korea, I was filled with fear because I know I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t know how to preach, didn’t have the ability to give Bible studies nor even sing. But I entrusted everything to God, knowing that He placed me in my mission field because He wanted me to be there and that He would equip me in order to accomplish what He wants me to do.
 
I’m in my third mission field now and about to go home soon. All these years of serving God here in Korea has been so fulfilling and rewarding though it isn’t perfect and smooth as I would like it to be. I have experienced a lot of ups and downs. However, through those thorns, I learned to trust in God in everything and be fully dependent on Him.
 
My dear fellow missionaries, as we trudge along this path towards our heavenly destination, let us always ask for God’s power to be our armor as we press forward in our service for Him. He never promised us a wide and easy way, but instead assured us His faithfulness and loving-kindness.
 
Whatever circumstances you are facing now, be reminded that He has a great purpose for you to fulfill His work right where you are. Let’s keep on praying, being firm in our belief that His magnificent power and ever abiding presence are with us. Let’s believe that we can be living examples for the people we meet everyday.
 
“If we surrender our lives to His service, we can never be placed in a position for which God has not made provision. Whatever may be our situation, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexities, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend. if in ignorance we make missteps, Christ does not leave us. His voice, clear and distinct, is heard saying, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” – EGW, COL p. 173

Safe in His Arms

by Jenelyn Balagot (35th Batch)

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

It never occurred to me that there would be pick-pockets, thieves, robbers and even burglars here in Gangwon-do. This is due to the fact that ever since I came, I had been enjoying a life of a well-observed peace and order. I also noticed that Koreans have the same behavior. They feel so secure to the point of simply leaving their stuff unattended. With this kind of atmosphere, I felt more and more secure. Yet even though I live in this kind of environment, I never ceased asking the Lord to keep me safe at all times since we’re still living in this sinful world.

Occupying a room all by myself on the third floor of my church’s building, I never fail to pray before going to my night’s rest. Though I’m alone, I had no worries. I sleep soundly every night. I have the feeling that God is always there, keeping me safe. And every morning, I would always unlock the door of the second floor as part of my routine duties.

But last June 14, when I went down to unlock the said door, something strange caught my attention. There were pieces of broken glass on the floor and the door was already wide open! I assumed that some church members might have come in and were renovating a part of the church but nobody was there. It was still early in the morning, too early for them to come and work. I then checked the possessions of my church and everything was in place. I went back upstairs to check the office. As soon as I entered the office, my heart beat faster and faster (tachycardia). It even grew worse when I discovered that the computer set was gone! Before I called my pastor to inform her of the incident, I sent a thanksgiving prayer to God for keeping me safe that night. I felt so blessed since the office and my bedroom are both on the third floor!

Indeed, if we dwell in the shelter of the Most High, the Lord will guard and rescue us in times of trouble. We just only have to put our trust in Him and surely we will always be safe in His arms.

Love or Hate

by Michella Gonzales (33rd Batch)

Which is easier: being a missionary or being a teacher? What if you’re doing both jobs? I would like to share a real incident that happened inside my own classroom.

I was in a roomful of 18 five-year old students. Each of them seemed to be doing well and everybody was seating quietly until a little boy pulled the hair of his seatmate. The other boy started to cry. Then two students stood up and told me they wanted to go to the toilet (which is prohibited). When I told them they couldn’t go, they started getting angry. Then some students stood up on the table and sang some songs. From quiet, lethargic students they transformed into a chaotic mob of tiny boys and girls. With all my might I tried to calm and ask the students to go back to their seats and be quiet. But then a little girl started shouting and said, “Teacher, shiro!” (which means “I don’t want to”). She was disturbing the class. Trying to ignore her, I asked all the students to stand up and sing a song, and I gave stickers to those who participated. But this girl remained in her chair and therefore lost her chance to have a sticker. That was when she started crying.

Throughout that day my mind was full of misery and pain because one girl hated me. I didn’t know what to do and the thought that we will never be friends again bothered me. I went to school the next day and could you guess who met me at the door? Yes, that same girl–with arms wide open waiting for a hug and a greeting kiss! She never mentioned the things that happened the day before. To her, it was as if nothing had happened.

If only us grown-ups could have the love of a five-year old! No wonder God said in Matthew 18:4,

“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

As Adventists, we are proud to be commandment-keepers. But do we keep the greatest law of the universe? “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Now when faced with a vital question to love or to hate someone, I just think about this little girl who taught me to love and to forgive unconditionally.

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!

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.

Resurgence

by Lovrell Blanco

“This is what the high and lofty One says he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15

 Resurgence. “What does this word mean?” I once asked when I first heard of it. Our representative answered, “It is a revival.”

“Revival of what?” I continued.

Most of the missionaries assigned here in South Korea are alone in their respective mission fields. Missionaries by two’s are just too few that you could just count them with your fingers. Working alone in a world wherein you cannot communicate well weakens your interests, vigor, and I could say, spirit. You long to see your friends and batch mates, but unfortunately they are hundreds of kilometers away from you. Visiting them is also not an option since you have a lot of things to do every day. You could not just drop your tasks and go. Some missionaries are already counting down their remaining days of stay, even when it has been only a few months since they arrived in their mission fields.

“I want to go home now,” some of us would exclaim. More grumbles would go like these: “I have no one to talk to; I cannot understand the sermon every Sabbath.”

We have a lot of complaints and longings. However, after six months of seclusion, we could say at last, “I can see my friends; I can laugh out loud; My heart can enjoy to the fullest. I can do a lot of things that I cannot do in my mission field alone.”

Yes, that’s resurgence! You are bringing back the ones who were asleep into activity and prominence. The ones who seem like prisoners bound by chains are now alive and very active. Yes, you are socially revived but are you spiritually renewed?

“If any man would come after me, he must take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) This is daily renewal, daily revival. Do not just wait for that meeting after every six months and depend on it to be revived, but instead, with patience and humility, endure without complaints the loneliness and the culture differences. Continually act as one who is being “sent” to represent Him in your mission field. Pray, for God Himself promised that He will revive your lowly spirit and your contrite heart. God alone can fill the emptiness of your heart. “Renew and be revived daily and follow Me,” Christ bade you.