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My Adulting Lesson of 2018: Grow, be Grounded, and Go on an Adventure


The first book I read this 2019 is an adventure story, of Tristan Thorn, a boy “too ignorant to be scared, too young to be awed.”

I think that phrase, in many ways, describes who I was and how I’ve ended in many situations in the past — especially in my much younger years. I launched headlong into things, sometimes recklessly, sometimes only thinking of the adventures I could have.

I was too ignorant to be scared, and too young to be awed.

I always had stories in the end, tales that ensured I would never be a bore to anyone who made small talk with me, or who generally just wanted to be entertained. Still, there were also always consequences, of course, some of them good, some of them bad. In the last couple of years however, following some not very pleasant consequences of previous “adventures,” I became the opposite of my adventure-loving self.

I simply grew up. There were good things about this. I learned important lessons on planning, and waiting, and counting the costs before committing to something (or someone). And I’ve gained a little more appreciation for people who were maddeningly careful about details (the fact that I am engaged to one such person might be a factor for this).

And yet… I couldn’t help but feel that an important part of me was lost.

“Maybe you’ve just matured,” some friends told me. To which I thought, what a sad day it is then when a person matures, if it means losing your sense of wonder and adventure.

Of course, as I thought about it, not everyone is predisposed as I am. My idea of wonder and adventure would be different from others’.

And then the realization dawned on me: I have lost my courage.

Courage was replaced with fear. My sense of wonder was replaced with cyncism. Dreams were replaced with drudgery, even sloth.

Thankfully, a person’s journey isn’t a vacuum. Things that were allowed to happen in the past, despite seemingly unsensical, bitter, or horrifying at the time, could turn out to be blessings in disguise.

This is one of my top adulting lessons of 2018: to be grounded in truth and reality, and to pursue growth and maturity.

And also, to be courageous, to nurture my dreams, and to live life with a sense of wonder. Always with wonder.

This too, is what happens to Tristan Thorn, the hero in my adventure story. He recklessly goes on an adventure, thinking that he knows who he is and what his “Heart’s Desire” truly was. He then returns, having learned many things about himself, having become grounded in reality, and discovering what his real “Heart’s Desire” was.

That’s what the great stories are about, aren’t they? They are of people who are changed, and find out what they were meant for.

The story of my life isn’t over, and it gives me hope to think that whatever happens, my story is written by the Author of everything.


The Last Day of my 25th



Five more hours. Five more hours and I turn 26.

Twenty six.

Despite all my disappointments and heartaches, my 25th year was still an amazing year, a year filled with changes, so many changes. It is, therefore a year filled with so many adventures. And as all adventures are, there is excitement, and there is fear, and just a lot of discomfort.

On my 25th year, I chose not to graduate.

It was a big decision, but one that I really decided was worth the sacrifice for a dream I wanted and had been praying for a long time. The decision came with some consequences, like not having a place to stay in Manila anymore, having to endure the discomfort of having to move my stuff a lot. And when my batchmates marched on the day of their graduation, I wondered if I made the right decision.

On my 25th year, I gained a new family.

Living outside IGSL, I lost something valuable — a community I had almost taken for granted. But I became part of a new church family, a new dgroup with wonderful people in it. The role these people played in my life in those uncomfortable transitions is very important, and I hold them dear to my heart.

On my 25th year, I traveled to South Asia.

It was the cross-cultural trip and exposure I had prayed for since 2014, since I determined to be a cross-cultural missionary. Those four months were the craziest, most difficult, most fun, faith-stretching and challenging months I have ever experienced.

Meeting different people, immersing myself in a different culture, seeing God’s power at work in the lives of the brothers and sisters in this part of the world was awe-inspiring. Being the recipient of such kindness and hospitality from these people was extremely humbling.

Knowing that ministry partners and friends contributed to send me there, and kept praying for me throughout the entire trip, was even more humbling.

But was also challenging, because of the very different and unfamiliar culture, for sure. The homesickness, the unfamiliarity, and many other unexpected changes stretched me to the point of breaking and revealed many things about my character.

On my 25th year, I fell in love.

I fell in love with a wonderful man who was everything I prayed for, and more. It was an unexpected gift I received, one that I am still somehow getting used to (hashtag ldr struggles), but at the same time, something I know is so right for me. I love you, Henrik. You inspire me in so many ways, and I pray that I can be a strong help for you, just as you have been to me so many times already.

My 25th year was filled with adventure — fear, excitement, and discomfort.

My 25th year was filled with proof of God’s kindness and love, a reminder that He truly loves me. So in these last 5 hours of my 25th year, I celebrate the Father, who showered me with protection and provision, I celebrate the Son, the sacrifice of whom I will not be able to enjoy these things, and I celebrate the Holy Spirit, who guides me and reminds me of these things.

On the 26th of February, I shall turn twenty six. But for now, I relish these last several hours of my 25th.


Baba’s Death



At the India-Bhutan border.

In the last several weeks, I have attended a funeral, preached in a local church, and done several interviews for my research. 

As I write this, I am in Dalsingpara, a rural part of India near the India-Bhutan border, and I am… idle. I am, to be very honest, a bit bored. I know, I know. Just a month ago I was gushing over how everything here was multi-sensory stimulation.

Due to our new circumstances, however, our plans have changed, and I have no choice but to stay put here, and generally reflect on how God allows things to happen for a purpose.

My host family and I had only stayed several days in Butwal, Nepal, on our way to Pokhara and Kathmandu, where I was scheduled to meet and interview several pastors and evangelists, when the news about kuya John’s father’s death reached us. That same afternoon, we packed, rented a vehicle, and set out for India.

It took us 12 hours to reach Dalsingpara, India, and preparations for the burial quickly occupied my host family. The custom here is to have the burial within a day or two of the person’s death, and have a 7-day wake.

I have heard so many things about kuya John’s Baba (father) – orphaned at an early age, getting into the military, being shunned and prevented from being promoted because of his struggles, leaving the military, and finally becoming a Christian and prolific evangelist and church planter (and being persecuted for it).

I even heard bits of his love story, and how he ended up with Ama (mother).

Now, more than a week after we buried him, the house is filled with Baba’s photos, blown up and framed for the funeral earlier. From what I was told, he was a strong, boisterous, effusive character who loved talking and telling stories.

Now, I see his photos everyday, and I wonder: Baba, sayang! Why didn’t I get to meet you?

And my deep consciousness, there is the quesiton: God, why did you take him now? Even selfishly: God, why couldn’t I have met him?

But such is life – the unexpected happens, and we do not really know, or have control over, the future.

This, I believe, is one of the important things God is teaching me at this period. Nothing is ultimately within my control, and the sooner I accept that, the sooner I calm down and lose my anxiety.

Sarah in South Asia: The Beginning of my Saga


I am living my dream.

To be specific, I am living my cross-cultural dream.

It was around mid-2015 when I started thinking of my future after IGSL, my seminary. I was slated to graduate next year, and I needed a plan. I’ve always known that I wanted to minister cross-culturally. But where? And how? I’d expected that two years in seminary would’ve helped me come to a decision, but obviously, I hadn’t had any clear leading.


Then the idea of having a cross-cultural exposure trip dropped in my head. If I really wanted to minister in a different culture long term, shouldn’t I at least try it out short term?

And by short term I meant slightly longer than the usual two to three week mission trips I’ve been a part of in the past. I was thinking around 6 months. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense! The idea kept growing.

Incidentally, I was enrolled in the classes of two wonderful professors, Dr. Ron Barber and Dr. Paul Lee, both of whom are missionaries and missiologists. Kuya Ron and Kuya Paul, as we fondly call them, have been missionaries for 20+ years, in Africa and Japan, respectively.

Inspired by kuya Ron and kuya Paul, my idea grew into a small dream. As I interacted with them, I knew I found heroes I could look up to – people who have devoted their lives to missions, and to influencing the larger Christian community through their teaching and research / publications.

My dream was growing. I too, wanted to influence the larger Christian community in a similar way. But, I knew I needed experience and mentoring.


And so I started praying for an opportunity to do research, and be exposed to cross-cultural ministry, and be mentored by missionaries as well.

The answer to the first part of my prayer came in the form of being allowed to write a thesis, and going to South Asia for research. (IGSL students are not required to write a thesis; I will be the first student to be allowed to do so… hopefully, they don’t take back the decision.)

Around January 2016, I contacted a couple with a ministry in South Asia, who are both IGSL alumni. I met them a few months earlier, when I had to write a story about them for a book IGSL was producing. It was a crazy idea, but I just suddenly asked if there was a possibility of joining them in India or Nepal or wherever they were, just for a few months, and let them “adopt” me, so to speak. And so the second and third part of my prayer was answered.

Thus, my South Asian adventures have begun.


The Chundrima Bridge in Dhaka, Bangladesh




I can’t write.


I’m in a slump.

I’m in a writing slump.

I’m in a creative writing slump.

I’m not particularly sure why, although I have my suspicions.

See, even writing that last sentence was difficult.

I used to write like crazy. I have always loved words, and they naturally flowed from my lips, my pen, or my fingers. When something momentous happened, my go-to would be my journal. Or my blog site.

What happened to me?

Like I said, I have my suspicions.

There are things going through my head right now. So many things to be done, and so many distractions. Often, these things weigh so heavily on my mind and heart, and the temptation to just ignore them and turn away and do something mindless is great. Often, I have succumbed to that temptation.

Or is it the fact that two years in seminary, writing all those gazillion papers, tired me out?

Possible. But I do have a bigger suspicion.

Two years ago, I met with a professional counselor. I’d been going through some really heavy stuff, I was one messed up girl, and I knew I needed help.

My sessions ran through half the year of 2015, and ended around the first quarter of 2016. The sessions helped immensely, and really allowed me to take a deeper, honest look at myself, and have a deeper appreciation of how God created me.

One thing my counselor and I worked on was acknowledging, and expressing, my emotions. She taught me some exercises and practices that allowed me to do so. I quickly realized that while these exercises and practices were very helpful, they were also very exhausting. Thinking, and processing my emotions, exhausted me, and sapped me of the energy to write.

But I finally realized recently that not writing was wounding my heart more. I was going against something I was meant to be doing.

I want out of this slump.

This blog post is one of my efforts in trying. Sigh.

cannot write

Dear Future Warrior


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To My Future Warrior,

I am waiting for you.

I know you’ve already been through countless battles, that you’ve braved countless storms, and journeyed through what may have seemed as endless days of scorching heat and wintry nights.

I weep for your wounds, and grieve for what you’ve lost. If I could heal them all, I would!

Still, I believe that journey was necessary. Your wounds and the things you’ve lost — they were necessary to build you, mold you, and help you empathize… with me.

Because, my dear Warrior, when you find me, I will not be the hapless, helpless Princess of old. When you find me, I would have come from my own battles…

I too, have braved storms, and have journeyed to the depths, through dark tunnels, and through barren heights when the sun was high and unforgiving. I too, have looked at the stars and wondered: Is this all there is?

I too, have been wounded, and have lost.

I, too, am a Warrior.

So fight valiantly, my dear Warrior. Be strong, and do not lose courage, as I do the same.

When we find each other, I promise, with all the strength and courage and hope I could muster, that I will take your hand and make a home with you wherever we journey, to the ends of the earth.

I promise to fight for you, and with you.

Fighting and Waiting,

Your Future Warrior Princess

The God who identified with me.


“At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him.” -Heb. 2:8

When I think of all the problems, wars and troubles happening in the world and in the country today, I tend to lose hope. To be more specific, when I think of the… things happening in our government and country today, I am so tempted to face palm myself to kingdom come, or host my own pity party, or scream at the top of my lungs.


I think of all the injustices of the world, and at times I am just rendered speechless. Systemic evil is so real, so overwhelming. (Then I look at my own heart, and I know that my tendency to do evil is so real, and many times this evil is so overwhelming.)

The reality of everything “not yet” in subjection to Christ is so true, so stark. The coming of Christ, and of everything being put to right, seems like a far-fetched dream.

The believers to whom the author of Hebrews was writing to probably felt this way. They probably felt worse, what with the actual threat of losing their lives. The world being put to right seemed like a fantasy.

But the author of Hebrews talks of, and focuses on, Jesus who identified and represented us, who became our Champion.[1] He, too, faced many troubles. He experienced, first hand, how evil the world could be.

He became like me, to save me.

It is a most fascinating, most wondrous thought — Jesus became like me! He became like me who had to sleep and eat, who got hungry, who got exhausted, and became prone to the elements, and potentially got sick. At some point, he probably lost his voice from speaking too long to the crowds.

He felt emotions, and wasn’t ashamed to express them! He felt love, joy, and anger, and grief. He was tempted.

He identified with me. The world is going crazy — he understands. The world seems to be falling apart — he knows. The world has so many injustices — he grieves.

[Reflections on Hebrews 2:5-18]


[1] William L. Lane, Hebrews: A Call to Commitment (Vancouver, British Columbia: Regent College).