FEATURED, Just My Thoughts

On Courageous Caitie

I don’t personally know this little girl, but her story touches and breaks my heart. I was not able to follow the whole thing and to this day, even after she has passed, I cannot yet bring myself to read her parents’ posts or look at her pictures. The first post I read, when Courageous Caitie came to my attention a few weeks ago, was one where a picture of Caitie’s bruised arms were shown. A picture of her smiling through all the equipment connected to her was also there.

Oh the courage of this little girl indeed! A tiny body enduring so much, and still having the ability to smile through it. And her parents! Their unwavering faith in God. Watching their baby go through, cry through everything she did must have been torture. Being torn between crumbling like children themselves and being strong for their little one. Being torn between trying every possible treatment in the book and letting Caitie’s body rest. But through it all, they remained steadfast. Not knowing whether God was going to heal Caitie or take her, they still trusted God and believed that He is good. How blessed was she to have been loved, cared for, prayed for by such faith-filled parents.

Now that Caitie is resting in God’s arms, I cannot begin to imagine how much they miss their precious princess. They must be at peace knowing that she is safe, no longer suffering, and happy in heaven, but their hearts must be longing to hear her laughter, see her beautiful face, hold her hand, and cuddle her in their arms. I look at my 1 year old baby (who is also Kaitlin) and I think about my two older daughters. I can’t imagine losing any one of them. It would be too painful. I mourn and cry with the Lucas family for their loss. I pray that the Holy Spirit and the love of so many friends and strangers alike would comfort them in this season. And at the same time, I celebrate with them the life of their courageous Caitie. At such a young age, she touched and inspired so many of us.

I believe that God never moves without purpose and Caitie’s death is no exception. What that is exactly may escape us, but I know her death leads me to pray. I pray that all of us parents will never take for granted the time we have with our children. I pray that we will not be consumed by the trivial, but invest in the most important — God, family, people. I pray that we will celebrate our children, love them, appreciate them, teach them, build them up. I pray that when we (or even they) die, there are no regrets because we loved them well, in words, in actions and with our time, while we were alive.

Children are a blessing
    and a gift from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 CEV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; 

his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1 NIV 

The Lord works out everything to its proper end— Proverbs 16:4a

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NIV

“When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

 

 

 

Discipleship, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, YOUTH MINISTRY

H.O.N.O.R.

King and I were invited to speak to the youth of Muntinlupa in their leaders’ summit last year. I had the privilege to share about H.O.N.O.R. to the women. And believe me when I say, I preach to myself as well.

H.UMBLE.
A person who comes from a place of honor comes from a place of humility.
Philippians 2:3 says “do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility consider others better than yourself.” It does not mean low self-esteem, like putting ourselves down, thinking that we are worthless — that is NOT humility. It means putting our egos aside and treating others with high regard, so that we can listen to them and consider that we can learn from them.

Humility is knowing who we are in Christ and knowing the gifts God gave us, but KNOWING OUR PLACE. It’s not about us or our abilities. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about God, and the confidence we have in Him and through Him.

1 peter 5:5-6 says “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Humility is having a submissive spirit, giving an ear or taking heed to others’ thoughts, especially of those who are more mature and more experienced than us. It does not mean giving up your own ideas or beliefs, but taking into consideration that they may have a point and what they are saying might help you.

James 3:13 13 says “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

The more we seek and know God, the wiser we become. The wiser we become, the more humble we become, realizing that it is He who makes us wise, that it is He who enables us to love, that it is He who is in control. It brings us back to our place — WITHOUT GOD, WE ARE NOTHING.

O.PEN TO CORRECTION.
The more we grow and mature, the more open we should be to correction, not the other way around. Sometimes we think that because we are older or because we are in a certain position, we think we know better or we know it all. We are not beyond correction. In fact, we need to hear it all the more. It is critical as our territories expand, as our influence grows larger.

And correction may come from anybody. It’s easier (not easy at all sometimes, but easier) to receive correction from authority figures. But when a friend, peer or even someone younger corrects us, we get defensive. Let’s ASSESS ourselves instead. Let’s not be so quick to judge the person giving us correction. Focus on the plank in our own eye rather than on theirs. It goes back to humility, knowing our place, having a submissive spirit, so we can hear them out and receive the correction.

Proverbs 10:17 says “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”

We are not the only ones affected when we do not heed correction. Not only do others suffer from our mistakes, we also set a bad example to them.

Proverbs 12:1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

Let’s not be stupid. 🙂

Proverbs 15:12 says “A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.”

Let’s not just wait for correction. Let’s consult the wise. SEEK GODLY COUNSEL.

N.ON COMBATIVE, NON-COMPETITIVE.
In any relationship, it should not be about who is right or who is wrong. It’s not a competition of who is smarter or better. What is important is the relationship, the person, not our ego.

Prov 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Prov 25:15 says “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.”

Sometimes when we want to get our points across, we tend to be hard and harsh, but a gentle word and gentle tone is really more effective. LOVE IS MORE EFFECTIVE. Tough love, meaning not watering down God’s word and firmly sharing our stand, is necessary at times, but it does not have to be harsh and mean either.

Truth is good, but timing and tone must always be considered.

Ephesians 4:2-3 says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, PEACE. We give importance to these when we come from a place of honor.

Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

When we come from a place of honor, we speak life, not death.

1 Peter 3:4 says “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

God wants us ladies to have a quiet and gentle spirit. It does not mean that we who have strong personalities, have to change our personality. God created us each uniquely and I believe part of that is our personality. He is, however, concerned about our character — that with our strong personality, we know our place, we have a submissive spirit, we don’t need to be aggressive to be heard, but we quietly trust in the Lord.

O.THERS-CENTERED.
Servant leadership.
John 13:12-15 says “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.””

It shows us what kind of leader Jesus is. He is not proud, not lording it over his disciples, not demanding to be served. He is God and yet he washed his disciples’ feet. This is the example He set for us. Serve, rather than seek to be served.

We need to think beyond ourselves and what we want or what we think we should have. We need to think about others even if we’re the leader. In fact, we need to think about others ESPECIALLY BECAUSE WE ARE THE LEADER. Our position should not be a hindrance, but should be the MEANS for us to serve others.

Mark 15:33-39 says “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!””

He is God yet He allowed Himself to be sacrificed so that our sins may be forgiven and we may have access to the Father. He is God, yet He became last so we could come first. Sometimes, as spouses, as parents, as children, as teachers, as leaders or whatever position we may be in in life, we need to be last so others can be first.

R.ESPECTFUL
1 Peter 2:17 says “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Respect EVERYONE, whether they deserve it or not. Human to human. The way we would want to be treated.

Respect in speech and in action, whether behind their back or in front of them. No to gossip.

No to coarse joking. Be careful that we still show respect. Let us not over estimate our friend or loved one’s ability to take a joke. We may already be hurting them.

No to over familiarity. Even if they are our helpers at home, employees at work, or they are under us or they are younger than us, it does not give us the right to disrespect them. We need to treat them with respect all the more, given our position. We gain respect when we give respect.

Sometimes it’s hardest to show the proper respect to our family or closest friends because we think it’s fine, that they love us no matter what, that we don’t need to consider what they feel, that we don’t need to say sorry. Let us show them the proper respect, most especially because they are the people who love us unconditionally.

Notice that everything points to HUMILITY. It is what honoring others is all about. Couple it with INTEGRITY. Honor must not stay within church walls, among church people. It must be a LIFESTYLE.

PROVERBS 22:4 Nasb The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
Proverbs 29:23 Nasb A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

GOD HONORS THOSE WHO HONOR OTHERS.

Another blog on HONOR – Manny Pacquiao: A Man of Honor

Other blogs on RESPECT – Overfamilarity and R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Another blog on CHARACTER VS PERSONALITY – I CHOOSE CONFLICT 2

Just My Thoughts

God saved me!

A nerve-wracking thing happened to me last Friday. After a great meeting in church, I headed down to this Japanese store called Daiso to buy some clay that I had promised the girls. Our center is in a mall, FYI. I was carrying my bag on my shoulder, my ipad in my arm, and my car keys in my hand. I found the clay, paid for it, said hi to friends I bumped into, walked to the car, dropped a couple of friends off at another mall, got home, dismissed our stay-out helper, gave Danae the clay, and checked on sleeping Noelle. I was home for about 15 minutes before I had the urge to check my messages.

The ipad was missing! I checked the car and it wasn’t there either! King was speaking at a high school retreat far away, so obviously he couldn’t help me. I tried calling the church, but there was no answer. Thank God my friend (and church staff) Ria picked up her cellphone when I called. She was already out of the office, but I told her the situation and she was on top of it right away. She called one of our church guards to go down to Daiso and check. I was sure that I left it on the counter when I paid.

While I was waiting, I just kept praying and asking God to save me! It was extremely careless of me to lose something so expensive, just like that. Plus, it was given to me by my mom. I could probably live with myself more if I’d bought it myself. Although I would have also died if it were King’s that I’d lost. He just “loves” that thing.

After around thirty minutes of calling each other back and forth, Ria told me that my ipad WAS there. They just needed me to give them information that would assure them that it really is mine. Whew! As my kids would say, THAT WAS “CLOSED”!

God indeed saved me — from the guilt, from the shame, from having to explain and apologize to my mom who gave it to me, to my husband who already thinks I’m extremely forgetful, and to my kids who use it! I sooo appreciate Ria and our guard Martin for going the extra mile for me. And the people in Daiso….who says Filipinos are corrupt? There are still honest, good-hearted, LIVING Filipinos today. They could have said it wasn’t there or pretended that they didn’t see it, right off the bat. But they didn’t. I have yet to personally thank them, but I believe that God will reward them richly for their honesty and kindness. 🙂

Family, Just My Thoughts

God of Miracles

Last August, after King’s ordeal with his slipped disc, I got to talk to Danae about MIRACLES. I don’t remember exactly how I explained what a miracle is, except that it is something only God can do of course, but I told her that daddy getting well without surgery was a miracle. I called it DADDY’S MIRACLE. I then told her about HER miracle, that she was born with her umbilical cord wrapped twice, tightly around her neck. I told her that it could have caused her to be disabled to say the least, but praise God that she was spared from that and that her body and mind are functioning properly. That’s actually an understatement. She’s extremely active AND smart!

I didn’t know where the conversation would go, but I was pleasantly surprised by her question. “What’s NOELLE’s miracle?” I didn’t have to think hard because Noelle’s case of bloody poo when she was around 3 months old came to mind. Noelle pooped constantly. No farting, all pooping. And we found blood in her stool. We saw a number of doctors, feared the unknown, feared that she would have to go through an endoscopy to check her stomach at such a young age. But again praise God that it didn’t have to go that far. It was just a case of a really bad allergy to chocolate, which she was getting from me as I breastfed her. When I stopped eating chocolates, she stopped having bloody poo.

Inevitably, Danae’s next question was “What’s YOUR miracle, mom?” This one I had to think about. I was never hospitalized until I gave birth to Danae. I had no sicknesses or any medical issues whatsoever, my entire life. The most truthful answer I could give her was my salvation. My miracle IS my salvation. If Jesus did not save me, I would not be who I am now. I would not be where I am now. If Jesus didn’t save me, who knows what kind of life I’d be leading?

Just the other night, many people witnessed God’s miracle on King. At our church’s Volunteers Appreciation Night, he (a.k.a. Bruno Mars) along with the other pastors danced on stage. If you didn’t hear about his ordeal, you really wouldn’t know that he has a deteriorated, herniated disc, with nerve impinged, on his lower back. He did not break dance of course, but he danced nonetheless!

It just reminds me to NEVER FORGET WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE! REJOICE AND BE GRATEFUL! I am grateful for King, Danae and Noelle — alive, healthy, and happy. I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for my miracle. I am SAVED, FORGIVEN, FREE! 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

GOD VS SATAN

Just before Danae went to sleep, I reread the story of Adam and Eve to her. In her THE JESUS STORY BOOK BIBLE, the title of the story is The Terrible Lie. There were many lessons for her which I related to what she sometimes does, and by the end of our discussion, this is what she told me…

“Mom, pretend this is my heart (pointing to her chest and writing on it). SATAN Vs. GOD.”

I was so amazed at her revelation. There IS a struggle in our hearts. A struggle whether to obey God or not. A struggle to please God or do the opposite. God wants to “win” our hearts because He loves us and because we belong to Him. Satan wants to win our hearts to steal, kill and destroy it. He hates God and because we are God’s beloved, he’s after us too. He is so afraid that when we discover our true identity as children of God, he will have no more lasting power over us. That when we discover our God-given purpose, we will do mighty exploits for God.

There are times, after getting the rod and while having a discussion, Danae tells us that Satan tells her to disobey. SIX YEARS OLD and Satan is already after her. He must be shaking in his boots, knowing this girl is going to do great things for the Lord.

We teach Danae to fight. She knows what is pleasing to God. She knows what God says. She can fight Satan with God’s word and with her faith.

Six years old and she is already aware that there is a struggle in her heart. She said she wants God to win her heart. Hopefully, one day soon, she will not just want God to win her heart, but she will CHOOSE to really give her heart to Him.

Family

SMALL FAVORS & TINY MIRACLES

That Monday, August 15, began as usual, although King had been complaining of lower back pain for a few days. Danae and I were even discussing where we wanted to go since it was (and is for every week) King’s only day off. After breakfast, he bent down to plug in the electric fan in the kitchen and could no longer straighten up completely. I was in the room then and just noticed him inching his way, holding his back and stomach in pain. I didn’t realize it was THAT painful until he laid down on the couch and said he couldn’t move anymore. It was too painful. I asked him straight away if he wanted to be brought to the ER (although my mind was racing, not knowing how on earth I was going to do that). He declined. We didn’t know what it was either, so decided to observe first. I didn’t text anybody, but because I saw my mother-in-law and my friend Michelle online, I decided to ask for their prayers. Immediately both suggested to go to the doctor and both offered to help out. I wasn’t panicked yet at that point because King didn’t want to go to the doctor yet, insisting it was just a really bad muscle pain, but at least I had people available to take the kids in case we needed to go. 1 Advil and 1 Ponstan later, he was able to walk with crutches to the car. Yeng and Michelle Remulla came to get the kids, and the in-laws were on their way to meet us at the hospital. With our situation — no helper, no yaya — that was some favor!

We drove up to the ER around 6pm. I asked if there was a valet because I didn’t want to leave King and drive all the way to the underground parking lot (the nearby one is under construction). The guard told me the valet service was closed for the day already, but after a few minutes, he told me that a valet staff was on his way to help me out. He parked the car for me, got my ticket, and came back to give the key and ticket back to me. I was so thankful!

The ER doctor found no abnormalities in King’s x-ray and so deemed that we were okay to be discharged even though the pain was still there. He assumed that it was just a severe muscle strain. But somehow we ended up with the decision to be admitted, and when we were turned over to our assigned Orthopedic doctor, that doctor immediately ordered for an MRI. If not for that MRI, we wouldn’t know what we’re dealing with. So even though that doctor was that guy (check previous blog), he did one good thing.

The insurance liaison came and told us that the room we wanted, the cheapest private room, was not available because they were fully booked. We had to occupy the more expensive one, BUT at the price of the cheapest one. Like a hotel upgrade! Our room was huge. Beds were uncomfortable (for me, that is) but the space was good for the kids.

And like I said in my previous blog, there was no shortage of kindness or generosity from our families and friends. My mom took Danae to and from school. She and my brother would bring clothes & food for us. I got a few hours off from the girls one night, care of Michelle. My in-laws (King’s parents, sister, nieces, brother, etc) took care of the girls for 3 nights — a first for us, but we were confident that they were in good hands. Our visitors not only asked us what we needed, they brought what we needed and more — food, groceries, supplies, prayers and encouraging words.

King with Paolo the PT

We certainly did not run out of things to be grateful for. I am most grateful for the God that we love and serve, the God who is all-knowing and all-powerful, yet is loving, kind, and good. We were told that if there was no progress in therapy, surgery would be the only option. But He is, for now, HEALING KING THROUGH THERAPY and there seems to be NO IMMEDIATE NEED for him to undergo surgery — for his deteriorated and protruding (slipped) disc to be removed, and then replaced with a titanium cage. Serious as it is, because the disc is impinging a nerve and anything can cause another episode, we have been seeing God move in how King is progressing. On the first day of his therapy, which was twice a day, he could barely even raise up his leg while lying down. There was no way he could push himself to move more without any pain. But on the third day, he sat up! (3rd days are really powerful!) By the fourth day, he stood up….and walked!!! By the sixth day, they already had him on a bike! The hospital’s physical therapists are awesome, by the way. They are friendly, kind, and always encouraging.

First Rehab as Out-Patient

It’s been 12 days since King’s diagnosis and the start of his therapy –17 therapy sessions in total so far, 5 more to go before the Rehab doctor checks him again. Though he isn’t back to normal and cannot go back to work yet, he’s doing great! And though the doctors have said that sadly, he cannot go back to sports anymore or even carry his kids, we are believing for complete healing, whether through therapy only or surgery.

King doing the big march.

We are grateful for the small favors and tiny miracles that we’re being given. I say small and tiny not to diminish God’s strength and power, but to acknowledge that He works in many different ways. We believe He is absolutely able and He knows what is best. So we do our part as we pray, believe, and wait. 🙂

He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those greatand awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. Deut 10:21

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jer 32:27

Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

Ten Times Better Already

We named Danae after Daniel of the Bible. He’s one of our favorite people, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They had great faith and courage, and were ten times better than their counterparts. But before I continue, this blog is in NO WAY AIMED TO MAKE YOU COMPARE YOUR KIDS or other kids to ours. We are not claiming that our kids are ten times better than their friends or other kids. We are, however, claiming that they ARE ten times better….than their parents!

For one thing, Danae is so much more mature than I or King ever were when we were her age (5 and a half). Noelle’s vocabulary is more extensive than mine or King’s when we were her age (2 years & 5 months). They are both articulate, smart and very confident.

I know I performed in school quite often (a pre-school play, field demonstrations and the like), but I was never comfortable in front of many people. I wasn’t comfortable with even a few. In grade school, they would get me to join declamation contests, and maybe because I was pushed, I’d agree. But I never won anything because I really am not much of a performer. Sure, I can speak. But that’s it. Now that I’m older, I am way more confident than I was, but Danae was BORN confident and fearless. Unafraid of almost anything. Adventurous too! I thought at first that Noelle was timid, but she’s pretty fearless too. I saw that when she almost jumped from the boat to join King in the water (Coron) and when she danced with us on stage in front of hundreds of people (Victory Alabang Leaders’ Night). I guess it just took a while for her confidence and fearlessness to come out.

I’m amazed at how expressive Danae is. I thank God that she trusts me and can freely share things with me, without any fears of being judged or being reprimanded (though there are times that I do reprimand of course). I guess that attributes to her confidence and fearlessness too. It doesn’t take much to draw things out of her and she can articulate her feelings well. That’s God’s grace right there. I’m so grateful that she and Noelle need not be caged because of insecurities and fear of rejection, like I was when I was young.

I’m amazed at how my girls take on food. Well, Noelle eats almost anything so it’s no surprise that she eats almost any vegetable. But I was surprised at how receptive she was to the idea when I introduced malunggay capsules in their diet. She doesn’t care if her food turns green. She’s the one who reminds me and is excited to put the green powder on her food! Eeew right? haha. Danae is a bit like me, somewhat picky when it comes to food, though she eats most vegetables and is eating those that I only started eating a few years ago. I still don’t eat onions to this day and Danae, if she sees them, doesn’t eat them either. She does eat them unknowingly when I feed her (hehe). I wasn’t planning to give her malunggay capsules since she drinks milk (Noelle doesn’t but needs calcium), but she was also interested. I knew putting it on her food wouldn’t work but I was surprised that she wanted to try swallowing the capsule. I thought she’d have a hard time, it being her first time. She didn’t! No struggle at all. While 33 year old me, still struggles with tablets sometimes!

I’m tempted to say that I know these things are so shallow, but they’re really not. They mean a great deal to me. I am grateful that as early as now, their communication skills and eating habits are already good. As early as now, they are already confident and fearless. As early as now, they are getting to know and learning to love the Lord. My girls are a handful and are very strong-willed. I see so much of me in them, which makes me fearful of who they will become. But seeing that as early as now, they are already ten times better than me, gives me the hope that they need not make as many mistakes as I did and that THEY WILL DISCOVER THEIR GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE & DESTINY EARLY, and FLING THEIR LIVES TO IT.

FEATURED

FRANTIC and FRUITFUL FEBRUARY 2

A friend and church-mate, Ms Evelyn Ong, and her group built this tradition of blessing the girls of Marillac Hills, Muntinlupa every year. This is their fourth year of doing this outreach, and they gave me the privilege to share God’s word.

Because it was February, the theme was God’s love. I had the liberty to choose what message to share and because the girls there have sensitive cases, I chose to share about Identity, but the bottom line of every point was how much God loves them. My brilliant husband gave me the idea for a prop to use as the object lesson.

I made a mini cake out of clay. I created it myself and I thought the outcome was pretty good. It was my first time to make one. I loved my creation. It was valuable in my eyes. It was complete, whole, beautiful.

God created us, therefore He knows every single little detail about us. God created us beautiful, whole, at peace, and with a purpose. We are His creation, His most valued, His masterpiece, His beloved.

Everybody thought my creation was nice. As I ended my “preaching,” I asked a volunteer to come up and destroy the cake. A couple of them didn’t want to do it because it was too pretty to destroy. The whole place echoed with shouts, as they seriously tried to dissuade the last volunteer from touching it. But she finally did, at my encouragement.

When sin, whether our own or others’,  destroys, devastates, depresses us, we end up different from how God made us, how God sees us. No longer beautiful, no longer whole, no longer at peace — broken, bitter, disillusioned, lost.

My cake looked trashed. The princess was on the floor and cut in half, the decorations were a mess. Some even said it had turned ugly. Many agreed with me when I asked, that that was how they felt at times after bad things happened to them.

Just as I can easily recreate what my volunteer destroyed, GOD CAN EASILY RESTORE AND RENEW WHAT SIN AND SATAN HAS DESTROYED. Just as only I can fix the mini clay cake and make it look exactly the way it used to look because I am its creator, GOD IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN MEND US, mend our broken hearts and bind up our wounds BECAUSE HE IS OUR CREATOR. He is THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN MAKE US COMPLETE, make us beautiful and whole again. The only one who can give us peace. The only one who can bring us back to our original purpose. The cake cannot fix itself. We cannot mend ourselves. But I can make my cake look even better after it has been destroyed. And GOD NOT ONLY CAN, BUT WILL GIVE US A NEW HEART even after we have been destroyed, and MAKE US NEW CREATIONS!

That is the great hope we have in the Lord. That is how great His love is for us. 🙂

YOUTH MINISTRY

FRANTIC and FRUITFUL FEBRUARY 1

The month began with a plan. We wanted to hold a party for this home for orphaned kids called My Father’s House. We, the youth staff and I, could have taken the easy route — organized, planned and executed everything ourselves — but we didn’t. We wanted the youth involved. We did not want to just bless the orphaned kids, we wanted our youth in Alabang to step out of their own worlds and give of their time, energy, and talents. We wanted them to learn from the experience, and even teach each other during the whole process. We wanted to give them an opportunity to bond with each other and with the kids of My Father’s House.

We called the event LOVE IS IN THE HOUSE. It was a post-valentine party held last Saturday in My Father’s House’s grounds and the theme was LOVE. We put up 6 teams (Food, Program, Games, Logistics, Music & Dance, Documentation) and gave the volunteers their respective assignments. We can proudly say that everything we did for My Father’s House was the hard work of our youth — from planning, to marketing, to cooking (special thanks to Chef Len Santos-Ding for opening her kitchen to us), to packaging, to setting up, to marshaling the games, to distributing the prizes and gifts (special thanks to Victory Alabang and Cong. Ruffy Biazon), to dancing and singing, to just sitting and spending time with the kids. We made sure that during lunch, each table had at least one of us there to talk to the kids. I even saw some of our youth helping the little kids cut their chicken and feeding them. It was truly a heart-warming sight.

We did not allot time for a full preaching because we didn’t just want to tell the kids that God loves them, we wanted to show them by serving them. They were blessed by our efforts, and we were blessed by their smiles, their joy in singing to God, their excitement in participating in the games and in winning prizes, their gratefulness for our visit. I even got a couple of random hugs from the kids!

We also asked the kids ages 11 and up to make a drawing of what God’s love means to them. The top 3 were asked to explain their work. One boy’s simple but beautiful work said that he is a son of God, and I guess he felt that was enough to explain that. Another boy’s equally beautiful work said that God loves us because He gave us a “home.” I was touched when I saw it. He explained that God created the whole world for us. One little girl’s work was more intricate and we were intrigued by her drawing. She explained that even when we make mistakes, God still loves us. We gave her the grand prize, a gift certificate from Yellow Cab, courtesy of Ms. Faye Bonifacio.

I believe our party was a success! We got the youth involved — they did the work, they served others, they built relationships, they learned, they shared, they taught, they gave. We got to bless a wonderful bunch of kids and we were blessed by the whole experience as well. What a great way to spend the last weekend of the month. I am so proud of our youth and their work! Plus it was my first time to organize an outreach like this haha! On to the next project, woohoo! 🙂