Whew… I don’t know where to start. Once again, I find words so empty when trying to describe this joy I have inside. God has been so faithful, so good, and it always takes my breath away when I think of all He has done for me this summer. He never fails to amaze, and as usual, all that I expected fell short of what He had in store for me. I do not deserve to be loved this way, but His grace makes it possible.
First of all, the NLTI. It was wonderful! How can I describe the joy of worshipping God with His people? How can I put into words the thrill of learning things that will be vital in my ministry, or the sweetness of finding encouragement in the lives of His children? I had no idea just how much I needed those experiences until God gave them to me. The new things I tried, the friends I met, the inspiration I found in the lives of His servants – all these refueled the fire in me and refreshed my desire to serve Him better, love Him deeper and enjoy Him more. It was over too quickly. I will always treasure every memory, I will hide in my heart everything that I have learned. Next year, God willing, I will again be in Cebu. I need more training, I want to be better equipped, and I want to once again enjoy the company of those who share the same passion and serve the same God. Ten more months to go. I can hardly wait. (“,)
And then the church anniversary. God has been so faithful in providing the strength, creativity and talent we needed to help make the program a joyful celebration of His seventh year of faithfulness to the Christian Community Fellowship. But more than the success of the presentations, what I really treasure are the closer friendships that formed within the young people. We have a new youth pastor, Pastor Marvin Lachica, and it was his first time to lead the youth in any activity. Praise God for the smooth transition, I especially enjoy seeing the boys treat him as a friend. My prayer is that God will use him as the mentor they need and bless him as he continues to adjust to his new environment.
And then more recently, the CCF summer youth camp, dubbed Rescue 113 (from Colossians 1:13). It was designed for evangelism, and it was also the first major activity of the new core group. The youth leaders were hesitant at first, doubting their ability to lead small groups and facilitate programs. But God is so faithful, and my heart just overflows with joy when I think of how He has worked not only for the salvation of the non-Christian campers but also for the growth of our core leaders and the revival of other church youth. He truly makes everything beautiful in His time. I can’t stop praising God when I recall how responsible, confident and mature our core group turned out to be, thanks to His grace. I feel so fulfilled, so blessed and so thankful that all the tears, prayers and effort spent in caring for them were not in vain. (Leah, Jocelyn, Vanessa, Inggo, Lisa and Rhyme, I am so very proud of you. You just don’t know how happy I am that you trusted God despite your fears. I feel so honored and humbled at the same time to be your ate, and I will always, always be praying for you. I love you so much.) The Sunday after the camp was a wonderful, happy experience. The new believers came to church and kept asking about when the next camp would take place. They have already spread the word in their community about what God has done in their lives, and are excited about bringing their friends. God willing, we will be ready to facilitate an Encounter God Retreat in October. Again, I can hardly wait.
The summer is not yet over. There are still two True Love Waits lectures and one wedding on the schedule before the sem begins. And when it does, the campus ministry will once again be in full swing. Oh, I am so excited. I know God will be faithful, and I know He will always take my breath away with His grace. It is such a joy to serve Him, I wouldn’t trade this priviledge for anything else. I could sing of His love forever!!!