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Monday, April 28, 2008

Doing Hard Things Needs Faith

Once there was a girl of seventeen who ventured upon joining a mission trip in a remote island north of her country. The missionary pastor who works in that island whom her church supports, often speaks of how beautiful the island is. The island has white beaches, breathtaking cliffs, pristine waters and an undisturbed community of people living peacefully unbothered by a cluttered and fast-paced city life she has. She was drawn into going there even for once in her life and see a real community living without electricity, air-polluting vehicles, and fast-paced technology—a complete contrast to her city life. She has always wanted to see what she has been hearing about the island in the past years. But there is one drawback.

The journey to the island requires strength and courage to press on. The city where she lives going to the island requires a travel of twenty hours or more. The travel is not by plane or any kind of comfortable travel the traveling agencies may offer. The travel is encompassed of 12-14 grueling hours of sitting in a bus with only 3-5 stops in key cities. Upon reaching a very small fish port up north; she will have to cross the sea to the island for six hours in a small fishing boat. No other means of transportation going there unless you own a helicopter.

The journey appeared more perilous because of the sea to be crossed. It is one of the many boundaries in her country where the waters from the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. The meeting of waves between these two great bodies of water poses an unpredictable foreboding weather. The sky may be blue in a minute and in another minute it could be covered with stormy and thundering clouds that could toss the boat into the giant waves.


Life is always at risk when people cross that sea.

She was tearful a few nights before she left. She wanted to back out from the commitment she made for the trip and just stay home rather than risk her life in a journey that does not assure her return. She told a friend that she was scared to go but her friend just grinned said, “Ano ka ba! Do hard things!”

Her mind whirled with thoughts she never thought she would think of—that the boat would be tossed into gigantic waves and she would drown and her body never seen again. Death to such a young life. Shaking off all her distrustful thoughts, she once again entrusted her life to the Creator as she did when she received Him as her Savior. This was her prayer when she made that one hardest of all decisions in her life:

Lord, I am still young. When I cross that sea, I don’t know if I am going to return or not. I will surely miss everybody who’s been part of my life but nothing would compare to the joy that I will receive when I am back in Your arms. Let Your will be done. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

After two years, the girl still lives and is
enjoying
her remaining teen years in service to the ministries where the Lord has put her. If she had not ventured on crossing that sea, she would not have enjoyed what the Lord has prepared for her—a two-hour sail with white-beached islands in sight and another four-hour sail with nothing in sight but the vast blue sky and the tranquil blue carpet of water; the island abundant of untouched beauty where cows, carabaos, pigs, goats and horses graze freely on
rolling hills; where water comes from fresh springs; where there are no roads but cow paths to follow; where coconut trees flourish and a plentiful of harvest for the Lord—waiting to be harvested by His willing servants.

********

You may have already guessed by how the story ran that I was the girl who was so afraid that her life will not be spared in the trip.

It is good to offer our life to serve the Lord in the church choir, teaching Sunday school, leading the youth group, playing instruments on worship services and other ministries. I have loved that. But how much of ourselves are we really willing to give up to the Lord?

It has already been a cliché when we say, “Lord, I am willing to offer my life.” “All that I am, I will offer you.” This may sound extreme but, literally, are you willing to die for Him?

If you ask me, I am willing to die for Him but not yet. Life is good with so many things to enjoy. Let’s face it. Not all of us are willing to die very early in life. We avoid every kind of possible danger we encounter. We take the safest route in our road trips. We take every precaution there are. We avoid doing things the hard way. We avoid doing things that would endanger us. If God will send you at this very moment to North Korea to win souls, will you say yes without hesitation? I doubt half of us would do.

In Matthew chapter 8, the Lord rebuked His disciples of their little faith in Him. Jesus, the Son of God Almighty, Savior and Redeemer, was with them physically yet they had little faith in His power and might. They thought that a sleeping Jesus could not do anything against a furious storm.

We too, many times in our life, fall short in our faith in Him. When we are entrusted to do things out of our comfort zone—hard things—we tend to stop and bargain with the Lord first instead of immediately obeying. To share the Gospel, I must admit is one of the hardest things He commanded us to do. At times we are all braced to share the Gospel yet when the minute comes for us to do it we step back pulled by what ifs and buts.

Doing hard things has never been easy—like sharing the Gospel and literally dying for Him. It wasn’t easy when I decided to continue with the mission trip. I was scared. But when I put my faith ahead of my fears, He made me able.

Doing hard things requires a massive faith in Him who makes us able. Doing hard things does not mean enslaving ourselves with grueling tasks but fashioning ourselves into a beautiful character God wants us to be.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Footprints in My Heart

So it's my nineteenth birthday. I thought of making a list of people, or persons, who have made a big impression as I grew over the years, the people who have impacted my life. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for doing what they did. They are the people who have left footprints in my heart.

(This list has no order of importance. All these people have all played a significant part in my life - they are all special to me.)
  • First, I'd like to thank the Readers of this blog, Godly Ladies in Training. Thanks for sticking by in spite of the times when Christin and I fell behind in our posting. Thanks for your comments, your encouragement, and your thoughts. There's nothing as exciting as going to your blog and finding that someone has left a little piece of wisdom to share. Thanks for that.

  • I'd also like to thank the Guitar Class. Thanks, guys, for sticking with me since January. We're not always a big bunch, we're not always a roaring band, but it's not the numbers that count - it's your faithfulness and commitment. Thanks also to Sir MR, our guitar teacher. Now that I can play a classical guitar, I can express myself through music.

  • Timothy's Gimpers - the youth of GFBC. Thanks, folks, for all the laughter, the fun, and the games. I pray that you will all continue to pursue excellence for God. Remember the meaning of a true Gimper! Excel! Aim high! and in everything give glory to our Heavenly Father.

  • The Shepherd's Ensemble, choir of Grace. Thanks for everything. Although singing is not my calling, it's one of my passions. Thanks for making - yes, making, forcing - me to sing solos. Tito Pyo, our "Kapellmeister," you helped me realize that God gave me a voice to be used for His glory.

  • N.I.C.E. Club - introduced to me by Mara and May. You guys have touched my life. I admire your passion to serve God in the campus, particularly, of PUP. I was serious when I said that I'm considering it as my "Adopt-a-Campus." Thanks for all the encouraging text messages you send. Shelah, KM, Cheney, thanks for bringing me all the laughter.

  • Ahsie - even if I just met you two or three weeks ago, I feel like I've known you for quite some time. Well, we do belong in the same family! - the Family of God. Thanks for allowing me to assist you as you do your professional internship at IGSL. I'm having a great time. Thanks for giving me the training and experience. One day, Lord willing, I'll go to your country.

  • I'd like to thank the floating bookstore, MV Doulos, for including the Philippines in their rounds. I've always dreamt of working on that ship. Sadly, last year, I found that they will be docking in 2010. Farewell, hopes and dreams. And then last December, God had a special Christmas gift: I got to work on Doulos for two fantastic days! To say that I merely "enjoyed" is an understatement. It was a dream come true. Esther, Lissi, Federika, Danyela, Heather, "Mr. Tumnus," Caleb - to all those who taught us, trained us, helped us, or just said "hello" to us, a big, big THANKS! You are always in my prayers.

  • To those inspiring authors - like Shannon Kubiak, author of God Called a Girl, who helped me realize that even though Iam an ordinary girl with big dreams, I have an extraordinary God. Elisabeth Elliot (for her books on purity), Joshua Harris, John Maxwell, Henry and Richard Blackaby. And to all those other authors that I have forgotten. Thanks for the inspiration and advice.

  • To the Sonlighters. Would it surprise you if I told you I didn't want to go on Sonlight at first? I was scared to death at the prospect of meeting new people (yes, even online). Thanks for your warm greetings when I finally signed on. I enjoyed (and now miss) all our interesting discussions on the Teens Forum. Hope to see you some day.

  • My GReG (Gold Refining Group) - my heart overflows with gratitude. I thank God for allowing our paths to cross. GG - you're the best. Jojo, Stance, Nicole, Deedee, Nice, Ava - you all have a special place in my heart. I love the girl-bonding time with you (half-gallon ice cream and French fries).

  • To my fellow Scholars, keep it up. It isn't always easy to pursue excellence, and do hard things, but it's worth it. I miss our Monday Morning Sessions. Hopefully, we can create a new schedule for the upcoming semester. Still, I pray that you will all keep on for the Lord. Never give up! Mamu Kix - our leader and criminal mastermind, thanks for mentoring me. I pray that our journey will be a memorable one. Ate Mitch, Bernice - I miss you, girls! But once you're a Messiah student, you'll always be one. Jojo - you brought out the best in me during the first semester. You helped me grow, you helped me have fun during the first semester and well into the second. Hope you'll never change. Stance, Nice, Ate Dawn - you girls are the best! You never fail to make me smile. Onah - thanks for teaching me the dance steps when I forget them (and still do). Keep on, girls!!!

  • To the rest of the Messiah Family, especially the faculty and staff, thank you. Ma'am Aj - I've always loved writing, but she showed me what else I could do. I'd like to thank her for telling me that "When it comes to education, curiosity keeps the cat alive." Kuya Orly - I always say that if Messiah were a mansion, Kuya Orly would be the butler - you know, the family-kind of butler who is almost like a second father. Thanks for the servant's heart you always demonstrate. P. Mans - you taught me to journey with my heart. You pushed and prodded me in my spiritual walk with God. For that, I thank you. Sir J - I never danced before I got into your class, but now I do (just a teeny weeny bit). Thanks for teaching me to dance with my heart. Messiah Students - thanks for your love and for accepting me into this big family.

  • FotF. I haven't forgotten you, just in case you're wondering. Ian and Danie, you are the "oldest" friends I can remember. How old were we when we first met? Thanks for walking with us all the way! Christin - my co-writer, I miss your posts here, but I know that you're busy. Keep on doing hard things! Mara - BF, thanks for everything!

  • To the Homeschoolers - I'm still being homeschooled. From the day I was born, up to my dying day, I will always be. Thanks for being there for me. It's not always easy, since many people don't readily accept homeschooling (especially among the regular schools here), but still, it will be worth it.

  • To the Other Friends that perhaps I have forgotten to mention, thanks. =)

  • To the Rebelutionaries from all over the world. I just want to say that I am grateful to God for letting me "meet" you in cyberspace. We may not be in the same country, town, or city, but we are the same in our movement for the Lord. Always Do Hard Things for Him! Alex and Brett, thanks is not enough. May God bless you as you set an example and continue to bless the lives of the other youth around the world, just as you have blessed and touched mine.

  • Siblings. Hannah, Damaris, Jemimah, Abiel, and Jotham. Anthony Brandt said "Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family." That is so true. I thank God for making you my siblings. Thanks for the fun, the laughter, the jokes, the tears, and all the wonderful moments. You're a naughty bunch, but I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world.

  • Dad and Mom. My parents. My mentors. Thanks for leading me to Christ and for helping me grow more in Him. I love you.

  • God, my Abba Father, You created me. I was woven into existence by Your mighty but loving hands. And I know that You created me fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139: 13, 14). Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your faithfulness.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Summer Volunteer Job

It's in my "Small Hard Things" list for the summer. I started it this week. I'm working in IGSL (International Graduate School of Leadership) which is not quite far from where I live. My job is to help one of the students who is doing her professional internship - Inductive Bible Study on the Book of Jonah.

Originally, the plan was that I work to credit some hours for NSTP (National Service Training Program - every college student in the Philippines has to go through that). As it turned out, that was no longer needed. Still, I thought that this would be a good opportunity for experience and training. It is indeed. I've learned so much in the past two days. I'm doing things I've never done before, like commuting to a place I've been to only once (I prefer familiar places, thank you), leading in praise and worship (I've never done that before!), and a bunch of other things. And in the process, I discovered that places are not so difficult to remember if you just think about them. I also learned that I enjoy leading the singing.

I thank God for using one of the homeschooling fathers to open this door of opportunity. And I thank God for protecting me every step of the way.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Summer Workshops @ Messiah College


A letter from the President and Academic Dean of Messiah College...


Hi! We are Bob & Marlyn Del Rosario, homeschooling parents of one high
schooler and three who have graduated from high school. We'd like to
invite you to consider joining the summer workshops of Messiah College*.
Summer 2008 just got better at MESSIAH COLLEGE in vocal performance and streetdance!

Master Trainers JUNGEE MARCELO and JEROME DIMALANTA team up to give 2 exciting workshops from April 29-May 30 at MESSIAH COLLEGE!

I. VOCAL PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP 2008 WITH JUNGEE MARCELO
OPEN ONLY TO TEENS (at least 13 years old) AND ADULTS
No formal music training required as long as basic musical talent is inherent.
Develop your skills for effective live performance:
Pop vocal styles
Stagemanship
Microphone technique
Spiel execution
Stage plotting
WORKSHOP DATES: April 29-May 27 (10 hours)
DAYS & TIME: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:00pm
VENUE: Messiah College, 2nd & 10th floors State Centre Bldg. Ortigas Ave.
RECITAL: Saturday, May 31.
COST: PhP 3,500. 50% discount for students of Vocal Performance Class 2007.
Recital Fee: PhP 900 (est.)
Discount of PhP 1000 for every group of 5 enrollees.

JUNGEE MARCELO
· Composer/Arranger/ Producer with over 100 published songs,
· Grand Prize Winner – MetroPop Song Festival
· Winner of many Awit Awards, Katha Awards & Papuri Song Festivals.
· Dance Director/Choreograp her.
· Head Coach, Philippine National Hiphop Team
· President, Hiphop Federation of the Philippines

II. STREET DANCE WORKSHOP WITH JEROME DIMALANTA
(Children's Class: ages 6-12) (Teens & Adults Class: ages 13 and up)
· Refresher course, crash course, or beginner's course
· Back to technique and style immersion
· Overall performance improvement. Get ready to go through a whole range of movement possibilities each session.
WORKSHOP DATES: April 29-May 30 (15 hours)
DAYS & TIME: Tuesdays and Fridays, 2:00-3:30pm
VENUE: Messiah College, 2nd & 10th floors State Centre Bldg. Ortigas Ave.
RECITAL: Saturday, May 31.
COST: PhP 3,500. 50% discount for students of Vocal Performance Class 2007.
Recital Fee: PhP 900 (est.)
Discount of PhP 1000 for every group of 5 enrollees.

JEROME DIMALANTA
· UP StreetDance Artistic Director
· Three - time champion coach of the UP competition team in Skechers
· Philippine National HipHop Team Coach for the CREW 2005-06
· Gawad Chanselor Awardee in Dance…
Why not join us this summer – parents and kids – and experience the Messiah difference in learning as taught by the best Christian trainers around! Pass the word around.
Messiah College Summer Workshop is just around the corner. Classes begin April 29. For inquiries or to reserve your place, call Tess at 727-1506, and 727-4186.

Won't you please forward this email to a friend? Thank you.

From,
Bob & Marlyn Del Rosario

* Do you have friends looking for a college that is intentionally Christian? Please tell them about Messiah College, the liberal arts & business college for Christians. We're not a Bible school. We have 5 CHED-approved programs: B.S. Accountancy, AB Psychology, AB Intercultural Studies, AB Organizational Leadership, & AB Integrated Communications & Public Relations. Messiah College is intentionally Christian; all the faculty, staff & students are Christians; and all subjects are taught with a biblical perspective. We have seasoned faculty who have taught in schools such as UP Diliman, Ateneo, De La Salle University, San Beda College, Miriam College, Assumption College, St. Scholastica' s College, and the Univ. of Asia & the Pacific. We're only at Ortigas Avenue (near La Salle Greenhills, right beside POEA.) Visit our campus or visit our website: http://www.messiahcollege/. ph. Enrollment is going on! Transfer students are welcome!

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Bunch of Small Hard Things

I find it helpful to list down the current "Hard Things" that I am going through. That way, I get to see the broader picture of it. I can process (school chaplain's favorite word) - find out why is it hard for me and easy for other people - and strategize (computer teacher's favorite word) - find out how I am going to meet the challenge. Not all of these are "big" Hard Things. Some (in fact, most) are "small" Hard Things that need 100% faithfulness - faithfulness and diligence that I don't always give (but what I'd like to give).

1. Guitar - Perhaps the one thing I fight here often is discouragement And doubt. Leading a team of guitarists is no easy task. There are times when I wonder why in the world I allowed myself to take the challenge to lead. I realize, though, that it is a God-given task, and one that I must carry out faithfully.
2. Summer Volunteer Job - It hasn't started yet...but I do wonder if I am really up to such a task. I'm not even sure what I will be doing precisely. Will I be able to accomplish all the responsibilites given to me?
3. The Art of Orderliness - I'm a person who can find what she is looking for in the heart of all her junk. For once, I'd like to be a person who can find what she is looking for in the heart of a neat and organized drawer or closet.
4. Getting Things Done - "We are known by what we finish, not by what we start." I have several things that I've begun, but never yet finished. I wish to take upon myself the attitude of perseverance and diligence and finish a good many of those things this summer.
5. Singing in choir - it's never easy! Especially if you want to sing in the "proper" way.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sowing in Tears


Psalm 126:5
"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."


We're approaching the end of our Freshman year in college. There have been many months of struggles, many months of piles and piles of paperwork. Many months of quizzes and exam. We even had to put together a class play. For our class, that was perhaps the hardest of all. But "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy." That was the message of our president during our last chapel hour.

We may not see the rewards or the results of our hard works now. In fact, some of us may think that everything we are doing is for nothing at all. We go through classes (totally new and different from homeschool!) and wonder why teachers have to give us homework at the end of the day (none of that in homeschool either!).

So where are the rewards? Where are the fruits of our hard labot?

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
We saw the fruit when we performed our school play. It wasn't perfect, but it was worth all the hardships we went to.
We saw the fruit of writing journals for our LEAD 1 class - we learned to journey with out hearts.

Someone once said that "All the miles of a hard road are worth a moment of true happiness."
True happiness was what we experienced after the hours of practice for our play. True happiness was what we experienced after the months of looking within ourselves and resolving our heart issues.

We're not yet done with our first year (just a few more exams!), and we're certainly not yet done with college (three more years of staying in the "last-training-ground"), but we have begun to see the simple joys of each seed that we sow in tears. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it, and if we work really hard, we know that our harvest will truly be bountiful.