MEANS Christmas Letter.


“Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men” is a familiar line from one Christmas Carol. We always pray for peace especially at Christmas because we celebrate and remember the birth of God’s Son on earth who is the source of peace. We have hope rekindled because of Jesus’ promise in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”

We hope God’s Greatest Gift keeps you hopeful not only at Christmas but throughout the New Year and throughout your lives.

This Christmas, we are featuring the testimony of one our MEANS volunteers who was in despair and almost lost hope but kept on trusting in the Lord’s goodness to grant the desire of her heart – to pass the NCLEX board exam. May you be blessed with Jerelyn Del Carmen’s testimony…

Icing on a cake with cherry on top or frosting on the banana bread! That’s how I compare this examination in my life… I consider myself a banana bread, ok to eat! Already filling and satisfying, but even better if with frosting.

I graduated from nursing school in the Philippines in 2007. I took NCLEX multiple times and failed. Every failure was emotionally and spiritually draining for me. I lost self-confidence, to be honest. I almost doubted God’s goodness and promises in my life. I wanted to be alone but asked myself where would I go apart from Him? There is no place that He is not there. So, I kept believing and trusting that He will give me this favor in His own perfect time, or if not, I know that I will still be okay because I know in my heart that not for a moment has He left me nor forsaken me. In other words, isinang-tabi ko muna (I set aside this desire for a while).

Along the way, life happened. Ed and I are reminded of our growing family and I thought I needed to do something and contribute financially. We moved to a new house which we consider a huge blessing and milestone for our family. God is good. All is well. But one part of my heart is still hurting. I thought I had to have a closure with this unresolved issue of mine. I prayed about it and I asked God how many times should I take this exam and fail to know that this is not for me? Clearly, God impressed in me to surrender every area of my life to Him and He will take care of everything. I cried and I just agreed. It’s hard to give up something that you really, really want to happen. I consoled myself by thinking that if God will not give it to me, for sure He will give me something better. So, I decided that I will take it again and prepare for it.

After the past failed exams, I realized that I had to do something totally different this time: I took three-day live review classes which really helped me. I organized my schedule and disciplined myself to really study and prepare for this important test. Lastly, I did not keep it a secret. Before my exam, I asked people to pray for me and you know what I mean. I asked my church family in the Philippines, my Facebook friends and my MEANS Family. I don’t understand and I don’t know how to explain it but
I experienced what the peace that passes all understanding meant (Philippians 4:6-7). I placed my full confidence in our loving God that whatever the result will be, I will be thankful and accept it whole-heartedly. For sure, I will cry. But God is always good, and His character is not affected by any unpleasant circumstances that happen to us.

I took the exam 11/13/2017 with 75 questions (that’s the minimum number of items one could answer and the maximum is 265). It was as if I was just guessing most of the questions, but there were questions also that I am confident I was correct. I felt God’s presence and that’s a powerful point for me to go on and give it all. After that, I felt unsure but peace prevailed. It’s not me who will decide about the result, my part was done.

After two days of walking in faith, we checked out the quick results, and I cried. Here I am now, standing victorious. God is the lifter of head from the lies of doubt and shame of my previous failures. I give back all the glory, thanksgiving, praise and honor that belong to God alone. Thank you also for helping me bring this request to God. There is power in united prayer! — Jerelyn Del Carmen

Contributor: Grace Rocha, MEANS Volunteer


Blessed Thanksgiving

A blessed Thanksgiving Day to one and all.

This Thanksgiving, may our thoughts be focused on the Lord’s goodness and favor which He has bestowed to us through the years.  Let us give THANKS and remember the precious encouragement in the Bible which says: “In everything give THANKS for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18. 

 We hope this Thanksgiving Prayer can bring JOY and GLADNESS to you and your family. Please use this prayer all year round to continue to renew your mind and focus on God’s mercy, grace, and goodness.


Thanksgiving Prayer

Thank you, God, for this food we are about to eat.  And thank you for Your many blessings on us this past year…the ones we’ve seen, as well as the ones we haven’t seen. Thank you, Lord, for the times You came through for us when we didn’t even know we needed a rescue.


Thank you Lord, for the losses we have experienced.  They have been a reminder that You are our greatest gain.

 Thank you, God, for the tears we have shed.  They have kept our hearts soft and moldable.

 Thank you, God, for the times we haven’t been able to control our circumstances.  They have reminded us that You are sovereign and on the throne. Thank you, God, for Your ability to take what we consider a tragedy and turn it into a treasure.

 Thank you, God, for those You have called home to be with You.  Their absence from this earth reminds us to keep our eyes fixed on heaven. Thank you, God, we have an inheritance in the heavenly places…something that this world can never selfishly squander.

 Thank you, God, for the greatest gift You could ever give us: forgiveness through Your perfect Son’s death on the cross on our behalf. Thank you, God, for the righteousness You credited toward us, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s a righteousness we could never attain to on our own. And thank you not only for eternal salvation, but for the salvation you afford us every day of our lives as You save us from ourselves, our foolishness, our own limited insights, and our frailties in light of Your power and strength.

 Thank you, God, for all that You have allowed and not allowed in our lives this past year. For we commit our lives anew to You this day and ask that You would continue to remind us, throughout this year, that You are God.   You are on the throne, and You are eternally good.

 Thank you, finally, that we can pray in the name of Jesus, who made our access to You – and a personal relationship with you – possible.  Amen! – Author Unknown

A Life Style of Gratitude and Worship

Gratitude Journal – Our hearts were stirred that first weekend of September at the MEANS retreat.  Prompted to pray and ask God to open our eyes and hearts to His gifts, we began our journey of counting the ways God loves us.  This journey involves developing the daily practice of giving thanks for His graces, His love gifts.  We started writing down these gifts in our Gratitude Journal. We were inspired by these words from Ann Voskamp in her devotional, One Thousand Gifts Devotional, Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces – “Whatever you do, the practice is intended to be a way of cultivating a habit, of learning to live praise, to make gratitude and joy your default, to move thanksgiving away from a holiday to a lifestyle – that all the days be holy and set apart for real joy.”

The key word here is intentional.  There should be a conscious effort to make gratitude as natural as our breathing.  The end of this gratitude habit is to discover more about God, to center our thoughts and hearts towards Christ and transform us to become more like Him. “We who contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

From Gratitude to Worship – This daily habit of thanking God for His gifts, should also progress to worship.  The beauty of the things God created quickly fade and doesn’t satisfy.  God meant it that way so that it will lead us to seek satisfaction in Him and to declare His glory.  “We live each day surrounded by a symphony of beauty.  The few who live attentively find wonder in nature, art, music, story, food and relationships.  Some of these beauty lovers recognize that all beauty is ultimately derived from our Creator.” – The Beautiful One sermon series, The Compass Church.

So, as you take notice of God’s gifts, receive these with thanksgiving.  Acknowledge Him as the Creator of all the beauty all around you.  Make your joy and delight in His gifts a holy experience of worship.  “Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” – Timothy 4:4-5

Contributor: Grace Rocha, MEANS Volunteer