“I pray that I would still see my Dad…” she started sharing some of personal things that were going on in their family but tears overwhelmed her.  She grabbed a handkerchief but was too slow to cover her eyes as tears went streaming down her cheeks.  We were all quiet as a friend who sat next to her tried to comfort her.

This was just one of the things that was shared during a youth leadership session with 21 young people from our outreach in Norzagaray Hills Village.  Due to the Advisory Council meeting that day, we planned for these young people to come to the office for the meeting in the afternoon.

We went through some initial materials on group dynamics and after our break, proceeded to talk about some more serious stuff.  These young men and women have very difficult backgrounds and I thought it would be more appropriate to begin by addressing the intra-personal issues they may have in relation to how they think God perceives their situations to be.

We went through the material that I had used so many times with the young people in recent years.  It is entitled “Our Thinking Vs  God’s.”  This scripturally-based comparison would help a person understand what he is going through and have a glimpse of how God is looking at the same picture but with His divine perspective.  Many of us are going through our daily grind wondering if God really cares or understands what we go through.  And if He does, why is it that help is so slow in coming?

We went through those individual points and I shared some of my personal testimonies highlighting some of the scriptures.  Then I asked them “how about you?  Which of these thoughts are you entertaining right now?  Where do you need God’s word to be made manifest in your life?”

“I can’t manage..” said one young person.

“I have little faith…” another at the back said

” I am afraid…”

And the rest shared.  I asked some of them to share more according to the level of their comfort, and this young person said “I pray that I would still see my Dad…”

I challenged them to start telling themselves the words of God in their lives. I challenged them to look past the physical things and through the eyes of faith, look at how God is looking at them – not with the strict, let-me-measure-how-right-you-are-doing-your-life kind of a look, but rather, a very compassionate Father who desires to lift us from where we are and take us to where He wants us to be.

When the tears of that young person had subsided, I gathered them in a circle.  We prayed and I lifted their some of the concerns they mentioned:

– a job interview for one of the leaders

– forgiveness and reconciliation between family members for another young person

– provision for the mother of a young person whose health condition seems to be deteriorating

– provision for a medical check-up for one of the leaders

– money for tuition fee for those who will be graduating from highschool

– for all of them to do well in their studies

– for the NHV youth group to really come to an intimate relationship with the Lord.

We sang “Ang Tanging Alay” as our closing prayer.

Thank you Lord for the opportunity to minister to them.  The burdens they carry are too heavy for their young hearts to fully understand.  Give them hope. Give them your peace and your joy.  Let them see Your perspective in the light of Your goodness and grace. Let them all come to Jesus and believe.  Let them know how much You have loved them from the very foundations of this world.  Thank you for taking care of them.   I know that they are special in your sight.  They may be going through difficult times now – but they are like a bruised reed, that you would not break.

I commit all of them in the precious hands of Jesus, who loves them more than anyone else would, and could.

AMEN

Advertisements

I have been involved with the youth ministry for the past 22 years. It has been a very educational experience, to say the least.

I have been wanting to gather my thoughts and put them in one place so that it would be easily accessible to youth leaders and significant adults who are given the burden to mentor the next generation.

If you feel the call to invest your life on a younger person’s life, then feel free to visit the blog specifically designed for youth mentors and ministry leaders.

Feel free to visit this blog:

http://mentoringjoshua.blogspot.com

See you!  Together let us make an eternal investment by investing our lives on the next generation.

December 6th was a stressful day because of the myriad of details that need to be taken care of.10th Wedding Anniversary Portrait

Car needed to be cleaned because it was going to be used a the bridal car. It gave me a good excuse to buy flowers and have it arranged right at the floral shop!

Cake and cupcakes ( made by Wifey) need to be delivered to the venue and then come back for the whole family to attend the wedding which I officiated.

The wedding of Andy and Jorie started at about 30 mins after 3PM.  It was a simple yet very relaxed wedding because I wanted Andy and Jorie to be comfortable by injecting some humorous stuff along the questions I asked them.  Andy was able to get Jorie’s sweet yes 10 years ago, 7 minutes ahead of when I got Sheila’s ‘i love you too…”

I told Andy that we are going to be brothers for life now – since we got engaged on the same day and got married on the same date…(with a gap of 10 years!)

At the end of the reception, my little plan was put into action.  Aron sang “I’ll be” by Edwin McCain as Larry Parane played the guitar as his accompaniment.  I came out from my hiding place and handed the flowers to Sheila as I led her outside to dance as Aron sang that beautiful song…

dance Hans followed with 2 songs (The Way You Look Tonight) or it could be something else, I need to check my details now.  We just quietly danced as some well-meaning friends looked on approvingly.  Pretty soon, all the wedding photographers were there covering our simple anniversary celebration. Hans sang another song…Containing the tears . . .

When it was over, I led her to the laptop and watched on the projector screen the powerpoint presentation I prepared containing the greetings of friends here and abroad.  Even the Chief Justice joined and accommodated my request for a greeting and sent his the day before the anniversary!car

At the end of the presentation, wifey was overwhelmed and turned to me and cried.

It was priceless.

kiss1

Thank you Lord God for this most awesome gift.

A young friend took off for the United States today. His flight left at 10:30 AM today. I did not get to see him anymore the past couple of days as he was also busy getting his things prepared, being with his family and all the myriad things an overseas worker would need to consider.

I was really glad that he was able to come over and spend the night with us last month. He even cooked dinner at home. After dinner, we drove to a nearby Seattle’s Best for our one-on one, brother to brother talk. When he first got home, I was able to join him and other friends for a dinner. Well he privately sought me out because he needed to get something off his chest. And there at the Seattle’s Best, was our one and only opportunity to have that talk.

It lasted up to almost midnight. The coffee shop was already about to close, but the manager sensed the earnest private conversation taking place and was very careful not to interrupt.

He shared about the all too familiar difficulties of being away from home. Of going through homesickness and feelings of isolation. Of working so hard and wondering if in the end, it was all going to be worth it. We talked about his faith, his challenges, his misguided perception of God’s love for him, his plan to get married next year… it was a great time being with him. I took note of his need to read letters from home when he is far from the signals of any telecommunication networks.

He asked me a question that evening which stayed with me, and perhaps will be one of those questions that will stay for a long time. But this time, I knew the answer to his question. I suspect deep down, he knew the answer as well. But the circumstances in his life distracted him for the most part, in believing the answer to that. The answer to his question while easy to give, is quite challenging to live out. It takes faith. It takes dependence and it takes surrender for one to really experience the deepest grace from the question he asked.

Lord, take care of my younger brother as he set sail for another chapter in his life overseas. The challenges are many and the temptation to get distracted from his relationship with you would be constant. Embrace Him Lord and never let Him go. Remind him that He is your son and that You are fond of him. Protect him Lord from any accidents, any accusations or any untoward incidents that will negatively impact his work and his dreams. Bring my younger brother safely back to us next year. Bless the work of his hands. Thank you for his life. Thank you for his strong sense of responsibility which is becoming un-common among the younger generation. He is trying to live a selfless life for his mom and siblings and niece and nephew. People are counting and relying on him for their financial well-being. Bless his family through him.

Thank you for J.D. I am proud to be one of his mentors and older brothers. I look forward to his return. I entrust his safety and well-being in the hands of Jesus, who loves him more than any of us could.


In the precious name of Your Son,

AMEN

I am sitting on the small veranda of our cottage here at the SEP camp with our dogs (Beans, Toepy and Peanut) occupying their floor positions) – watching DORM 4B and 4G go through their modern dance routine outdoors.   They looked good wearing maroon T-shirt for girls and tealed blue shirts for the boys.   It is an awesome sight.  Young people having a grand time.  Not having any cares for awhile – just focusing on friendships that surround them.  With the gentle late summer breeze , they are comfortably rehearsing for dance presentation they will be performing for the whole camp tonight.

I have seen this sight many times.  I have been given the privilege of training staff volunteers and organizing youth camps all over the country.  For the past 21 years this has been my passion and God knows He can use me this way until this physical body gives way.  21 years and 46 SEP camps (Philippines and Orr, MN USA)

I am grateful for how the Lord has revealed His God-given passion. I am really grateful for the training I have received from the denomination and most particularly this elderly man who took me under his wings and for 2.5 summers, allowed to observe and learn from him as he directed summer camps in the United States.  Dr. Kermit Nelson is an awesome man that brought to my life back when i was a freshman in Ambassador College.  I had no idea that he would later make me his Admin Aide and from him I would learn the reasons, the philosophies, the ropes…. and later on to discover that this is one of my life callings.

Thank you Dr. Nelson. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you.  Every time I organize, visit, speak at a youth camp, I carry with me your legacy.  I carry a portion of your life that you and your wife Leila invested in me.  People who knew you would recognize you in how I do some of the things here at camp and in a way, I am also passing it on to the counselors and the staff who are serving in these camps.

Thank you Lord for sending me “fathers” in the ministry and Dr.Nelson was one of those men who laid the ministry foundation in my formative years.  (others would be honored in forthcoming blogs…)

Thank you Lord for the lives of these “fathers” who enriched my life. May I also leave an imprint in the lives of these younger people and may these imprints enrich their lives as well.

I was sitting in a meeting when the inspiration for this struck me… I blogged this while in a meeting today.

Merriam – Webster online dictionary gives this definition:

scaffolds

One entry found.

Main Entry:

scaf·fold Listen to the pronunciation of scaffold
Pronunciation:
\ˈska-fəld alsoˌfōld\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Middle English, from Anglo-French scaffald, alteration of Old French eschaafauz, escafaut, alteration of chaafaut, from Vulgar Latin *catafalicum — more at catafalque
Date:
14th century
1 a: a temporary or movable platform for workers (as bricklayers, painters, or miners) to stand or sit on when working at a height above the floor or ground b: a platform on which a criminal is executed (as by hanging or beheading) c: a platform at a height above ground or floor level2: a supporting framework
The above definition highlighted to me the similarities we share with the scaffolds. For one, the scaffolds are constructed with an end-view in mind. No builder would just build scaffoldings and say “it is done!” When you see a scaffold, you know that something is going to be built and you can see if it is really happening or not.
Similary, our lives are meant to be scaffolds as well. We have been born and placed here with an end-view in mind. Discovering the purpose of our lives and what we can significantly contribute is of utmost importance. This is a fitting response to the many cries for significance in their lives.
There is that nature of “temporariness” as well. Once the building is finished, the scaffolds are taken down. Can you imagine a scaffold demanding to remain even if the building is already finished. Scaffolds are meant to be taken down. In the same way, our lives are meant to be”taken down” to give way to others. Our lives are meant to be building blocks so that the lives of others are built – up. There is also a great sense of temporariness in life as we enter different seasons of our lives.
And as scaffolds, we do not stand alone… we need other scaffolds to become effective and to be able to reach more people.
Would you be willing to be a scaffold for others?
Would you be willing to be set-up temporarily so that people may use you to stand on? Or would you choose to be a scaffold where the lives of other people are torn down or like criminals of old, beheaded? I pray not.
This week, someone asked me if I could be his mentor. I was humbled by such request. I pray that I would be one of the effective scaffolds God would use in order for him to realize and achieve the apex of his potential. I know that there is a sense of temporariness in this mentoring relationship, but I pray that the significance of this relationship would extend beyond the borders of this lifetime.

On Spiritual Direction

March 31, 2008

red-boulders.jpg

Photograph by Norman Aquino

“Spiritual direction… spares us the hassle of quick-fix, over-programmed, simplistic solutions. It meets the genuine felt need among Christians who earnestly desire to be guided by the Word of God from immaturity to maturity, from confusion to understanding, from complexity to simplicity. True spiritual direction does not complicate life, it clarifies it.”  – Douglas Webter

Thank you Lord for the mentors you have sent to help me find my way. Thank you for the simple ways by which they made clear things that were very obscure for me then. Thank you for their guidance. I do not see many of them anymore but I celebrate in my heart the imprints of their lives in mine….