Stories to be Told: Highlights on God’s Work in 2018
So many stories have been woven in 2018 by God’s powerful and merciful hands. They are so many to be counted. We have been surprised many times as to how these stories unfolded. To us they are like tapestries. When you look at the back of a tapestry that is being woven, it looks like a mess. You would see knotted threads with different colors. It is difficult to figure out the shape of what is being woven. It is opaque, vague and undefined. But we do not look at the back of the tapestry with its many knotted details and colors. We look at the front part and admire how beautiful is the finished work of art of the weaver. God is our Master Weaver. He is the Master Designer, the One who keeps on weaving to make beautiful tapestries of stories for His children. The stories we share with you here come from our ministry partners. These are stories that came out of what God wanted us to do – to build the Kingdom of God in places where He should be known as the Lord of all. Behind each story is the hand of God at work in unique and different ways in each person’s life. We ask that you open your eyes so you can see the work of God and give praises to Him Who deserves it all.
Flip Flop Project
In our partnership with IVCF Tacloban (Eastern Visayas), we aim to help them apply what they are learning from their Bible studies by reaching out to their own community. Since December is the season of gift giving, the timing was perfect! With the support of MEANS, a plan was conceived to distribute flip flops to children at a Haiyan survivors’ relocation community – Barangay Guadalupe in Tacloban City. When a group of graduates, IVCF students and staff went there, the children and parents welcomed them with joy. They taught songs, dances and games. There was food and distribution of flip flops afterwards.
A volunteer shares: “The impact of our community outreach in my personal life is that it has inspired me in my role as a leader and a social worker assistant. I was challenged to be more faithful and to have a kind heart. I want to be a good person by doing good things and to share good deeds. The experience has helped me to become a better follower of Christ. I learned that it is indeed better to give than to receive. “ – Alfred John Perez de la Cruz, 1st year civil engineering student.
Sama Badjao Ministry
“It was really my first time to be involved in this kind of activity (Gift-giving to the Badjao Community). Whenever I would hear the word Badjao, what comes to my mind is their different culture, belief, traditions and faith. But when I volunteered to the gift-giving activity, I was surprised and was very blessed especially when I joined their worship service. Though I didn’t understand their language, I felt how sincere and dedicated they were in worshiping God. I really felt their submission to God. I thanked God for their conversion to Christ, that they came to know the truth and are now worshiping God in Spirit and in truth. Despite their way of life, I felt their joy. Even in their simple way of giving, I saw the happiness on their faces. It was an overwhelming experience. I really thank God for giving me the opportunity to be part of this activity.” – Mari Joy Maranga, BS Math 1, Cebu Technological University
This is the first time that our ministry partners together with student volunteers and graduates under the leadership of Belinda Basas, a university instructor in Tanauan, visited a jail in Burauen, Leyte. There was joy, singing of Christmas carols, both by the visitors and inmates, food and gift distribution. It was a joyful experience.
Erika Basas Encina, a teacher at Tanauan School of Craftsmanship and Home Industries in Leyte wrote: “The inmates are very welcoming, I really felt so blessed by their eagerness to listen to God’s Word. But before sharing the Word, we sang a Christmas song to them and they sang with us. I really felt God’s presence, and we were enjoying the Spirit of Christmas. But the moment we started the praise and worship songs, everything changed in a snap. They were so touched by how God loves each of them through the songs. They were touched by the Holy Spirit and I saw them humbled with tears falling from their eyes. They may look strong and violent as evidenced by their well-built physical features with tattoos all over their bodies yet they cried out to God loudly because of God’s love. I witnessed God’s work in their lives. Indeed, only God can change the hearts of people. I also felt blessed to see them moved when the inmates started to sing another song entitled “Kay Buti-buti Mo Panginoon.” (Lord, You are so good).” The way the sang this song really manifested their surrender to God and acknowledging God’s goodness in their lives. This is one of the activities where I really was moved and overwhelmed by God’s doing.
Frederick Buechner, a famous pastor, theologian and author wrote: “Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories that God makes himself known to us.”
Contributor: Lina Padilla
Editors: Carmena Cruz and Grace Rocha (February 2019