This summer... I plunged into a different kind of journey... not expecting it will be an experience that will truly change the state of my heart and my personal views in life. And I felt that the past years of my life have been wasted in nonsense blabbers and complaints.. when in fact, I should have used those precious time in a more fulfilling mission.
I'm born Adventist - since the very first second of breathing, I grew up in an Adventist-based home and lifestyle. Numerous No's in my list has been added as I age each year... not completely understanding the real essence of being an 'Adventist'. Back then when I decided to be baptized, I thought everything is already in order.. that I've completely deciphered all the meanings involved in being a true Adventist.
This summer of 2012 proved me wrong. People in different walks of life proved something that pushed me to be more willing to listen and accept the real truth. Yes, I believe in God, I pray, I have trusted Him all my life... but that wasn't enough. I realized I have been gifted with talents I can use to testify about Him. For the past years, I have kept muted in sharing the gospel.. I was too insecure and shy and embarrassed to even speak about Him and my religion. I can't explain to my friends why I don't eat pork, why I don't use jewelries, or why I even attend Sabbath. Sad fact is, I usually get swayed by reckless YES to peer pressure, that I took Sabbath for granted.
Not until this summer vacation was I shaken in my present spiritual state. I was too focused on academics, too focused on trying to please everybody that I've forgotten the real deal. It's always for the Lord, not for our own recognition. As it is written, "Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it for the glory of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
We have been called to stand as His witnesses. All around me, I've seen hardened hearts, unwilling to accept God.. but if one is just willing to reach out to them... to invite them to a simple seminar... you will see how God works in mysterious ways.
The first entry to this inspiring journey took place in Bacolod, when I attended the Youth Alive, Drug-Free Life one-week event in CPAC. There, God used this girl to plant seeds of inspiration within our hearts. Through her, being as a roommate as well, we were enlightened and energized to take part... to be part... to reconnect strongly with God.
Second one, it took place a week after we returned home from Bacolod - our district's retreat entitled 'Reaching UP, Reaching ACROSS and Reaching OUT. There, God used Pastor Orbe, Jr. to instill in our minds values and reminders we tend to forget, especially the two powerful instruments in this fast-paced world: Reading the Scriptures and Praying unceasingly. His powerful words shook my entire being... since at that time, I've started reading the Bible with much gusto and divine guidance. God used Him there and then to push me deeper into loving God, into reliving my relationship with Him.
Third one, was Vacation Bible School, where I led with three churchmates, as we conducted the two-week event, with much readiness and excitement to teach the kids about Jesus. Watching the video during the graduation day got me teary-eyed, I've never felt that before.. that overwhelming feeling of being able to serve God through teaching these kids. Before, it's just a rush... just an obligation but this summer, it was more than that. It was more of a worthy mission, a goal of leading this young lives closer to their Maker.
Fourth step to the journey was our church one-week crusade, where I became involved as well. This activity coincided with the VBS and the early serenading in different homes. The theme is 'Paglapit kay Kristo' (Becoming Closer to Christ)... and each night, I was truly blessed by the messages, as God used another man, Joe King Tamon who has become a good friend since then. Through him, the messages have been delivered, the seed of stronger belief and renewal have been planted in our hears, in my heart. And through that, I was geared up for the major Hope Channel crusade in Bayanan the coming week after that.
Before we ventured to the crusade, I traveled to General Trias, since I was requested to be their guest speaker, during their banquet. And when I was starting to speak, the decorating panel on my left was pushed down by the wind... and later on, the LCD screen on my right fell down as well... as rain slowly drizzled. But, I kept on speaking.. for I strongly believe what I was about to say that very night will inspire those youth. Even if I'm stranger to them and honestly not good in speaking in Filipino, will you believe me if I told you I spoke almost straight Tagalog without buckling... and delivered my message even with just one messy practice of my slideshow. Truly, you can do all things when the Holy Spirit fills you and you let Him use you for God's work.
And yes, the fifth step to my spiritual journey was the district crusade in Bayanan, where almost 20 souls were baptized at the culminating activity. Despite being physically exhausted in the middle of the week, I kept on, for the Lord continually gave me strength so that I can serve Him throughout that week. Health and home topics were discussed and I can see in the people's eyes how much they are blessed, despite the different obstacles in the first two days of the crusade. But God is beyond powerful, prayers were voiced out and the crusade was done with much success and glorification to the Lord.
After that, I was asked as speaker for Camella Church's VBS and I was just as eager to speak to the kids... it's a way to lead them to Christ, so I didn't say NO to the offer. I genuinely agreed and on that afternoon, seeing those kids listen and respond, made me feel so lucky, God chose me to do that simple mission for Him that very hour.
So much experiences, I can't count anymore how much I'm grateful. And just recently, I couldn't ask for more with a defining moment to come.. when the Hiking-Retreat of our district youth is pushed through despite the obstacles that arrived before the date. But God is good, amidst the tears, He let me open a random verse which actually empowered me not to lose hope but believe in Him, without doubts. And sure He did make a way... through our district Pastor's help, who led this event, CLIMB: One Strong Empowerment. C
Climbing Mount Talamitam was sure not easy... but the journey to the top gave us so much things to reflect upon, so many lessons learnt and to be applied in our young lives. Even the humble retreat that we had after descending from Mt. Talamitam, proved so inspiring, that the very last hour of the retreat, I spoke up and was into tears. I've never been so shaken, so torn.. that I'm completely pushed to the brink of not wanting to continue Medicine. Sabbath classes this second year was not too much of an issue before this summer... but after everything that has happened to me, I was truly confused. What our Pastor said, about the 'enemy' doing all things' to distract you especially when you're enroute to serve the Lord is really applicable to me right now. I'm so much enjoying serving God.. that the 'enemy' is now using my dream course to take me away from it. When in fact, I want to be a doctor for His service...and decisions have never been this complicated in my life.
But I'm not regretting anything... my love for the Lord has always been there.. but it has been so much bigger now, I'm just overwhelmed by His goodness and mercy. I've never felt this free and happy that I get to serve Him, not thinking about my handicaps nor differences... but just focusing on being able to use my talents to glorify Him.
I felt like I'm truly a different ME, and I hope I can continually persevere in my faith.. and truly be used for God's work, because I'll be ready and willing to do so.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY...~