Tag Archives: campus crusade for christ

Evangelism is a lot of things, but it isn’t scary.

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Being enamored with a dream and convinced by a vision is not enough to fulfill it.

I am reminded by this as I read this from The Write Practice: “There must be something driving you more than the desire to be one in a million, as that appeal rarely turns into motivation. Normally, the hunger to be on New York Times Bestseller list leaves me from accomplishing everything but writing. It takes laying all that aside and saying, “Kellen, just one sentence,” to finally remind myself that writing isn’t scary. It’s challenging. It’s rewarding. It’s frustrating. It’s a long list of things, but scary it is not.”

The writer is talking about how, as a writer, looking too much on the dream (in this case, to be one of the bestsellers, to “be one in a million”) causes stalling.

As a writer, I can relate to that. Sure, I can write for myself. I can write for an individual and several people even. But as an artist I have this innate desire to be read by as much people as possible.

I find, however, that I can relate to this too as a Christian doing evangelism.

A Christian’s dream is to let Christ be known, to help fulfill the Great Commission. We remind ourselves of that. We read the Bible and other Christian literature about it. We listen to Christian leaders and people around us talk about it. We “vision-cast”.

But, like I said, being enamored by a vision is not enough to fulfill it, no matter how convinced you are of it.

Don’t even get started on how we as Christians should be convicted, blah blah. Because believe it or not, I am convicted! I am convinced! I TRULY believe in fulfilling the Great Commission! Still, again, just as Steve Smith and Ying Kai say, “Conviction does not equal obedience.”

And so my sentiments (patterned from the writer Kellen’s) go like this:

“There is something driving me more than the desire to just evangelize (or see a task done), as that appeal rarely turns into motivation. Normally, the hunger to help fulfill The Great Commission leaves me from accomplishing everything but evangelize. It takes laying all that aside and saying, “Sarah, just initiate*,” to remind myself that evangelism isn’t scary. It’s challenging. It’s rewarding. It’s frustrating. It’s a long list of things, but scary it is not.”

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*Faithful to our CCC evangelism philosphy: that success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit

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More than the Ideal

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We had just finished our Bible Study last Tuesday, and I really wanted to model sharing the gospel to Danielle. So we started walking around Palma Hall searching, searching. All the time we were looking, I was praying that God give us an “ideal” scenario. You know — like, we’d meet someone open to the gospel,then she would pray to receive Christ, and willing to be met again for follow up. 

But, it was not to be. We got more than the ideal scenario I was wishing for.

Here’s the rest of what happened, in Danielle’s words:

 

It was my first time and I was nervous. I never had the experience of sharing God’s message. I never wanted to do it. I felt unworthy because I didn’t know what to do in such situations. But, with Ate Sarah’s help, I was given a wonderful insight into evangelism.

It was truly an enlightening and inspiring experience that I now always look back to.

We encountered two very different people that day. The first one, Hannah, received us very willingly. We found out that she is a Christian as well, and actually owns a copy of the Four Spiritual Laws booklet! It was an amazing time, because she opened her ears to us, and she was friendly and welcoming.

The next student we encountered, Irene, was interesting. She had lots of questions for Ate Sarah, and through the discussion that ensued, I learned a lot of new things about the Bible. Irene asked a lot about arguments against the Bible, which Ate answered very soundly. It was a great learning experience for me. Ate Sarah did her job well, I felt that Irene might finally be able to open herself to God, and fulfill her desire of knowing Him.

I was able to learn and realize a lot of things that afternoon. 

I realized that not everybody is open to the Gospel yet, and still needs convincing. I was vaguely familiar with apologetics, but saw it in action for the first time that day.

I also realized that imparting the Gospel to others is never an easy task. I think the people who do it are blessed, because they are still on fire despite the circumstances – especially in a school such as UP.

Also, something that made a great impact on me was when Ate said that God’s word will never go in vain; it will work in the best and most wonderful of ways. Its effect on some people may not show now, but it could show later.

I was motivated to study more of the Bible, and share it to others! Through that day, I felt that God has blessed me with the importance of sharing the Gospel, and now, I am inspired to share it to others as well, in whatever way possible.

Free-thinkers, Relativism and Troubled Youth

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Thus went my first month missionary-ing in the University of the Philippines Diliman.

And?

Well, I still love UP!

I still love the free-thinking, rebellious, non-conformist, ambitious, activist and intellectual culture espoused and encouraged on campus.

Oblation

Of course, being here means I get to talk to free-thinking, rebellious, non-conformist, ambitious, activist and intellectual students. EXCITING… one of the perks of my job.

So far, in my short stay here I have been able to speak with students with intellectual and emotional barriers as thick and high as the walls of Jericho.

Students who say thinks like:

“I believe in a God. I’m a free-thinker.”

“I believe in God, but not the kind of God the church teaches. I don’t believe all that Jesus-turning-water-into-wine stuff.”

“I’m a writer, so I appreciate meta-narrative. The Bible is a great example of that… but I think it’s nothing more than a great piece of literature.”

“I think truth is relative… but murder is wrong.”

“I love pain. I’m a masochist.”

“I don’t want Jesus to pay the penalty for my sin. want to pay it.”

 

And my personal favorite (after introducing myself as a missionary):

“Cool! It’s my first time meeting a missionary. You better keep doing what you’re doing. Go find some troubled youth who might benefit from you.”

 

When I remember these encounters, my emotions range from amusement, to worry, to pain for these kids. Oh, have I mentioned? Most of these students I’ve talked to are freshmen. FRESHMEN! At fifteen/sixteen/seventeen they have been exposed to enough pain and suffering and ideologies and whatever for them to arrive at such conclusions of confusion.

That last statement up there is my favorite because it does have some truth in it — the students I meet who are most receptive of the Gospel are the “troubled” ones. More specifically, the ones who know they are troubled, or know they’re in trouble… in more ways than one.

 

I think of student R*, who in our first meeting cried as she shared of the pain caused by her dad’s refusal (or inability) to reciprocate love to her mom.

I think of student JN*, so starved of affection from her dad, who left her early as a child.

I think of student JG*, who knew there had to be more to God than what the “clergy” in front kept spouting every Sunday morning.

Obviously, so far I’ve been having fun at best, and encountered interesting experiences at worst. I have to admit though, I have a tendency to teeter towards being too overwhelmed by all these… barriers.

See, these barriers, they are so real. SO REAL. And sometimes, it could be a challenge to not be too engrossed with this girl’s pain and wallow with her in her ocean of darkness. Sometimes it is difficult to keep her from drowning and pull her to the shore.

What else can I say?

A month here in UP has affirmed my heart, has shown me – in no uncertain terms – how terrible the world we live in is, and also how seriously I must take my job if I am to make any lasting impact. If I am to save drowning people, I gotta keep training and preparing with all I’ve got.

I’m gonna have to be rested and nourished in the presence of The One who is not only the Life Guard, but is also the Life-Giver.

 

 

 

*names hidden because I obviously didn’t get their permission to publicize their stories. So there.

The Story of How I Completed my Support for this Year

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The most amazing, incredible thing happened to me yesterday: a stranger gave me money.

Not just money. BIG bucks. Well, big enough so I can be CLEARED.

YAY! *happy dance*

CLEARED.

CLEARED!

(I never thought such a small word could make me so happy.)

To fully appreciate what being cleared means, allow me to explain:

All Campus Crusade for Christ missionaries, such as me, must raise a certain amount which will cover all their expenses for the entire year. When a missionary raises this amount, he or she will then be “cleared” and only then will be allowed to be “deployed” to the “mission field”.

It’s a policy that I think makes a lot of sense. It’s just… sometimes it can be really really inconvenient and yes, uncomfortable.

So last night I was with two other fellow missionaries. We were in Jollibee, in an appointment, when suddenly kuya Ace, my Team Leader calls (resulting to a rather embarrassing interruption from my obnoxiously loud ring tone) and delivers the news: someone, or a couple rather, is giving me a check.

Best part? The check is big enough to cover my support goals… and more.

I was jumping up and down in Jollibee — that’s how happy I was. I kept asking kuya Ace, who from hereon out I regard as a Messenger of Tidings of Great Joy, “Why me? Why me?”

His no nonsense reply? “Why not?”

So what do I take from all this?

Well, that God provides in surprising, surprising ways.  It’s support serendipity all over again.

And I am privileged to have such amazing experiences. Because despite support raising being a kind of peeve of mine, really, I would not have such experiences of God’s power in providing apart from this.

It’s one thing to say I trust God to provide and still have the means to provide for myself; it’s an entirely different thing to say I trust God to provide and have NO IDEA how it’ll happen.

Also, the realization that there are generous people in the world who are amazingly desperate in seeing lives changed and Jesus lifted up slammed me again in the face and punched riiiight in the gut.

Amazing, amazing.

Dear Fresh Grad, Be a Goer

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I think congratulations are in order before anything else.

You made it! I know the feeling. You feel excited, nervous, probably a little apprehensive and fearful too. Still, you can’t deny the fact that you’re finished! After All. Those. YEARS! I’m sure more than one of you are thinking along the lines of “…parang kailan lang…”. Oh, and doesn’t that sablay, or that toga, suddenly look so majestic and… meaningful?

Again, congratulations. I sincerely, truly, with a joyful heart rejoice with you.

I think you know, however, that this blog post is more than a celebratory post. 🙂 I’m here to give you a proposal, dear fresh grad: Volunteer with us!

And since you know I work with CCC, and since you probably know where this is going anyway, let me qualify that a little more: Join us in CCC!

WHY?

Campus Ministry

Volunteering with us is one of the best avenues to be obedient to the Great Commission. It couldn’t get better than that, could it? As students involved with CCC, we’ve seen how our “ates” and “kuyas” have helped fulfill The GC, and been part of helping students come to know and love God. Most of us have probably even been on the receiving end of this!

You’d have the opportunity to be used by God in seeing spiritual movements, changed lives and helping fulfill the Great Commission.

 

Going is probably the best thing you can offer NOW. Oh, it’s so tempting to hide behind the “I wanna be a Giver” kind of reason. Of course we want and need Givers – desperately, I assure you – but reality check, kid: you’re a fresh grad. You’re most likely poor. 😀 heh. At least, now.

And there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be a Giver later, but right now, the best thing you can offer is your youth and your time.

 

Being a Goer now will make you a better Giver later. Being in the actual field, experiencing the nitty gritties and challenges of ministry, will give you much, much more understanding and empathy towards missionaries and workers.

Believe me, this will matter IMMENSELY a few or many years down the road when you’re finally in the marketplace and you get (as you will be prone to be) swamped by your many responsibilities.

 

My own application form back in 2011.

My own application form back in 2011.

The experiences and trainings you get with CCC will make you invaluable wherever you end up in the future. You know it too, right? We have the best trainings. 🙂 More than that, our emphasis on God’s sovereignty, the Lordship of Christ and emphasis on the Holy Spirit, as well as our cutting edge strategies will help you whether you decide to go to full time or work in the marketplace.

 

The Community. You will also have tons and TONS of opportunities to be exposed to Spirit-filled Christians who love the Lord and are dedicated not only to seeing spiritual movements happen everywhere, but to helping their co-laborers grow in the Lord.

As a volunteer / intern, you will have a natural kinship and affinity with such people. I say this out of personal experience — there is nothing sweeter and more growth-inducing than having fellowship and real accountability with godly, devoted people. Steel sharpens steel.

 

So, what do you think, dear fresh grad? What’s stopping you?

Or if you’re a missionary yourself, do you agree with me? What did I miss?

For more info on the awesome things we do, visit our website: movementlife.org.

Bicol, here I come!

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To be honest, I was not excited about joining this year’s Operation Jabez (a PCCC local mission trip).

Not sure why, but I guess the prospect of traveling to an unfamiliar area at this time of my life did not appeal to me. I know, I know, where is my sense of adventure, right? I promise I’m more adventurous than this (really!) but the mere idea just suddenly… tired me out. Maybe because I’ve been sick the past several weeks.

Lame reason, I know.

Besides, what do I know about Bicol? Virtually and practically NOTHING, except that people from there are called Bicolanos, and that they are hot and spicy. Er, I mean they like hot and spicy food (Wait, I’m not even sure about that). Oh, and I know that Bicol is where the infamous Bicol Express comes from.

Still, like the proper missionary that I am, I decided it wasn’t right to pass up this opportunity to minister to our kababayan in Bicol.

And now the time has come! Strangely (or not), I feel excited! There really is something about traveling to an unfamiliar place that gets to me. Then when God began providing, with the money practically raising itself (in a week!) and people so willingly helped me raise the amount I needed, I just knew this was meant to be. Yes, it was destiny!

So today I begin the grueling trip to the land of Bicol. And friends, I need you to back me up with your prayers!

Pray for the TRAVEL:

Six hours of travel from Baguio to Manila, then twelve hours from Manila to Legaspi. From Legaspi we travel to the small locality of Manito, Albay. That’s like, more than twenty hours of travel by bus. TWENTY! I have never, ever done this before. Pray for safety. Pray for my back and my butt.

Pray for the OUR AREA:

Our team is adopting a local church in Manito, Albay. Our team coordinator (a leader I highly esteem) says that two major church needs are two Ls: Leadership and Livelihood.

manito2

The church building with thatched roof and a nipa hut in front for children’s Sunday School. On the left is the (3rd) community college building shown under construction in preceding photo. Taken Dec. 2012.

manito1

I grabbed both photos from our Team Coordinator’s blog. There he shares the needs of this place:

Just like the bamboo bridge in the second photo above, the church I write about in this blog has had cycles of building and rebuilding.  It has had its ups and downs.

I think among the top reasons for this cycle are the very low income that the members earn as farmers, vendors and fisher folk despite the natural wealth surrounding them.  Another reason is the lack of leadership training and mentoring among the  leaders and members that can support a sustainable ministry.  This is one need that the leaders of the church are recognizing and we are praying for God to bring people who can help them in this area of church life.  I am still praying and hoping to help answer both these “Ls”.  By God’s grace these will also soon be addressed.

So. Now I am excited about this OJ, and am very expectant to see how God will work in and through us. I’m excited to meet the people. I’m excited about the place (the oceans!).

our call bicol

Another MPD story

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Summer is here! And for me, it means several things: beach, fun, V to the A to the C-A-T-I-O-N!

Ha, I wish.

Well, not that I won’t get to do that, but yunno, in light of the other priorities in my kind of work, it’s gotta take a backseat. Bummer.

Anyway, it means doing MPD. (In our organization “MPD” is the fancy term for “support raising”.) And truth be told, I am NOT prepared… mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I just couldn’t imagine that I could rally enough brain power and emotional strength for it. Oh, the stress! It didn’t help that I had a lot on my mind. A LOT.

So there I was the entire week, worry my head out to intolerable migraines, blowing the candles of my own pity party cake, and thinking. Just contemplating… contemplating the sadness that was my life and how unfortunate I was not have resources, and again worrying about the MPD battle I had to wage yet again — all the while thinking about the uncertainty of my reassignment request.

True, I’ve had lots of blessings in the past, especially in MPD, but well, the heart really is deceitful and most forgetful above all things.

I was at this messy emotional state last Sunday when suddenly this lovely woman I came to know last year comes up to me and all but practically ASKS FOR AN MPD PRESENTATION!

It all happened so quickly. My pity-drenched thoughts refused to process this information that I barely managed to stutter out a polite reply. Thankfully I had mastered the MPD process / manuel enough to remember to set an appointment.

Much, much later the full reality of this previous encounter finally sunk and I exulted because I have an MPD appointment!  At McDo Bonfacio! At 10 am on Tuesday! Then… my paraphernalia! Cue BIG GASP. *scrambles to get materials ready and speed reviews the blurbs*

I’m happy to report that the appointment was a blast. This lady was SUCH FUN to talk to it almost was a pity we had to end it. Probably for the first time I completely, fully understood the MPD Principle of “emphasis on relationships” (really, our organization’s support philosophy rocks).

She eventually texted later in the week to confirm that she and her husband will be my Ministry Partner. I was giddy waiting for her decision the entire week, but I realized that my heart had actually come to the place where I didn’t care whether she’d commit financially or not. Yay for heart learnings even for stubborn, pathetic hearts like mine.

And what an affirmation and encouragement from a big God who truly cares. How can I not be grateful?