Not My Plans But Yours

Not My Plans But Yours

Eduardo is a doctor who recently opened his own clinic and finished his subspecialty training. After investing half of his life in training for his profession, he had been looking forward to formally starting his practice this year—but God seemed to have other plans.

I grew up in a Christian family. I used to tell myself before that there was no need for me to be highly involved in the ministry because I already know Christ. But, God had His ways; I was eventually connected to a Victory group in 2011 and started growing more in my walk with Him.

In 2015, I heard the pastor tell the congregation to pray for a nation. When I did, God had impressed in my heart a creative access nation in Asia. I didn’t understand and tried not to think much about it, but that prayer stayed in my heart.

I am an otorhinolaryngologist or an ENT specialist by profession. During years of toil and hardship, God would always carry me through and assure me that it was Him who brought me to where I am now. Last year, I finished my subspecialty training in plastic surgery and opened my own clinic. I was ready to reap the time and money I invested in my craft, when God, unexpectedly, started calling me to do something beyond my profession.

During one of our prayer and fasting meetings in Victory Malate this year, God placed in my heart a desire to go to the nations, particularly in a country that is deemed to be dangerous by many. But like what happened in 2015, I kept brushing aside the idea of being a missionary. I kept telling myself that maybe, God was just calling me to pray for the nations. I kept ignoring the desire He had placed in my heart.

Until one day, I talked to one of the leaders in our ministry and opened up about it.  I was told that going to the mission field is a process and I should not hastily decide on it. We prayed and after that, God revealed something to me.

While I was mulling over everything, God showed me the real condition of my heart—the real reason I didn’t want to obey His call. Unknowingly, the blessings He gave me became my priority. I was looking forward to my career and how it would impact my life and identity because I knew a lot of people were expecting big things from me this year. I didn’t want to disappoint them, so I put more weight on the provision than the Provider. I placed my security on what I could achieve.

On the last day of our prayer and fasting week this year, God assured me that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion. He gave me peace as I focused on Him and waited for His plans to unfold. I realized that what I should really focus on is how I could serve God with all my heart—whether through my profession or through a “different mission” elsewhere.

And that’s what really matters.

Currently, I am helping a friend know God more through ONE 2 ONE, and doing it gives me a different kind of joy and fulfillment. Helping people through my profession gives me a similar feeling, but it’s different in many ways. It’s one thing to save someone from a physical death; it’s another thing to help someone be saved from an impending spiritual death. God truly changed my heart.

While I am waiting for God to send me to where He wants me to be, I resolve to continue honoring Him through what I do as a doctor and as a disciple willing to make more disciples. I am ready to obey and give up all that I have to follow Him; I will always choose His plans over mine.

“We may make our plans, but God has the last word.” ( Proverbs 16:1)

God’s plans for us are always bigger and better than what we have for ourselves. Allow Him to replace our plans with His. It is hard most of the time, but following His will is always worth it in the end.

Saying “Yes” to God

Saying “Yes” to God

There are moments in life when saying “yes” to God is difficult. The powerful testimony of Jansen and his wife, Khamille, proves that following God is always worth it. Read how they chose to obey God even if what He was asking them to do did not make sense at first.

I am married with two children. My wife, Khamille, just gave birth to a healthy baby girl last December 9, 2018. Though our child’s birth is a miracle and a wonderful gift from God, there was something far more special that God did in and through us before and after she was born.

On the days leading to her childbirth, my wife told me that God had impressed in her heart to give birth in a public hospital. She did not know why, but she knew in her heart that God had a plan, and she completely trusted Him.

When the time came for my wife to give birth, we rushed her to a public hospital. There were so many patients at that time, so there were no rooms available anymore. When she gave birth, a space opened up for her in a ward. There were six other patients there, so the room was a little cramped. It was a little uncomfortable for her, but my wife did not mind. While looking at the pitiful condition of all the other patients, we slowly understood why God brought us there.

One of the patients in the ward, Ate Emma, lost her baby while she was giving birth. We both felt her pain, so we took that chance to pray for her and encourage her. What she went through was not easy, but we reminded her that God is always with her, and she can seek comfort from Him anytime.

Aside from Ate Emma, we also met another patient: Louie. A blood clot formed in her brain after she fell from a motorcycle. Like what we did for Ate Emma, we prayed for Louie and preached the gospel to her.

After praying, my wife told me to give a portion of the money we prepared for her childbirth to the two women we met. I was hesitant at first since we also had bills to pay and medicines to buy for our baby, but God was very clear about what He wanted us to do.

After we agreed on helping the two women financially, I checked our bill and was so surprised to know that it was way lower than what we were expecting. Even though we already gave a big chunk of what we had to Ate Emma and Louie, we were still left with more! Knowing that it was God who made it all possible, we deemed it fitting to give them all the money that was left to us. It was a bold act of faith and gratitude.

Now, my wife and I are handling a couples’ Victory group at Victory Malate, and we know that God will continue to use us in every situation; we just have to make ourselves available and always say “yes” to Him.

“And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” (2 John 1:6)

Sometimes, God asks us to do something we do not understand. It may not make sense to us right away, but we should bear in mind that He always has a plan. There is a bigger purpose for every little thing that He wants us to do. And as we obey, let us allow Him to be our Lord in every situation and in every area of our lives.

Victory Malate Celebrates 20 Years

Victory Malate Celebrates 20 Years

With the theme, “ALL OUT,” Victory Malate celebrated their 20th anniversary last November 15 at the Every Nation15129022_10157928246790393_7294017126950631_o building. The event gathered their Victory group leaders and volunteers, with the objective of inspiring them to look forward to the next five years as we enlarge our sphere of influence as a movement. The theme is derived from Isaiah 54:2: “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.”

Their program highlighted God’s goodness and faithfulness to Victory Malate through the years.

From a small prayer meeting in U.P. Manila, the church has grown to 4,000 people in the weekly worship services, 453 Victory group leaders, and 800 volunteers today. Addressing all the leaders and interns present, Pastor Jun Escosar also talked about the importance and crucial role of the church today in the world. Expounding the theme, he said that Christians cannot live an all-out life for God and be distracted. He drove the point home with this memorable line: “The key to a miserable Christian life is to give only 97 percent.”

After spoken word performances from guest performers, the music team led the singing of “Pour Us Out.” The night ended with a prayer from Pastor Nixon Ng, a video presentation, and more celebration songs sung heartily by everyone. It was indeed a wonderful time of connecting with one another, and a reigniting of passion for preaching God’s word and making disciples.

Faith for my Family

Faith for my Family

anthonybeltranThe Bible encourages each of us not to let anyone look down on us because we are young, but to set an example “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” University student Anthony Beltran believed God for the salvation of his family. Read more to discover how God answered his prayer.

 

Before I had a relationship with Jesus, I had many different kinds of relationships with different groups of people. I desperately wanted to belong. That’s because I wanted to look for a group of people I could call a family.

I wasn’t close to my family at all. My siblings and I were insecure, and so, because we envied each other, we often fought and competed against one another. My dad and I hardly talked. Sure, my mom took care of us, but there was still something lacking. I guess you could say there was an uncomfortable tension in our family.

One day, a cousin invited my siblings and me to youth service in Victory Malate. It was at a series called “Weird Love,” and I instantly liked it there because I didn’t think such a place existed. Being a musician, I really enjoyed the music they played, plus I learned something new about God. That’s where everything started, basically.

I got invited to a Victory group. I got discipled. I volunteered in the Music ministry. I met new friends who were a good influence to me. God put me in a really good place, and my life began to change. It was not my doing at all, but His.

All this time, I was praying for my family members. I held on to God’s promise in Hebrews 11:1 that says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I knew God would save my entire family. I trusted He would fulfill this promise, and did not give up in praying for them.

After much prayer and persistent invitations, my parents joined my siblings and me at church. They were eventually plugged into a Victory group, and were both water baptized last May.

We’re not just active churchgoers now. From being insecure and competitive against each other, my siblings and I are now more open with each other. My dad and I talk now, and we talk about God’s Word. There’s so much more joy in my mom, too. Because of Jesus, the tensions in our home have dissolved. And we know that He is at the center of our family.

It is by faith that Jesus saved me, transformed me, gave me a spiritual family, and now saved my family. It’s not the things I did or even how faithful I was. It’s all Him. And truly, there is nothing impossible with God.

beltranfamily_parentsVW

Equipping and Empowering the Nations

A Ten Days mission team from Victory Malate was sent to Bangkok, Thailand in May 2012. For them, it was “a journey of knowing God deeper.” Know why by checking out our article here!

 

Our trip to Bangkok couldn’t have come at a more crucial time. By the time we arrived, Every Nation Church Bangkok was going through a leadership transition. The church was first started by a team of Filipino missionaries, trained at the Every Nation Building in Bonifacio Global City. Now, this thriving church was going to be handed over to local leaders who we believe would be instrumental in making disciples among the Thai people.

When we arrived, our Every Nation church in Thailand was having a two-day camp. This event helped strengthen them, as our church members and leaders were reminded of the importance of spiritual family. Our team facilitated some of the activities, and we were able to build relationships with the local leaders. The camp culminated with the water baptism of five new disciples in the church. One of them was a young student who almost became a Buddhist monk.

Campers from our Every Nation Church Bangkok are excited for what's next.
Campers from our Every Nation Church Bangkok are excited for what’s next.

The camp helped leverage our relationships with the church members. We spent time soon after equipping and encouraging our Every Nation Church Bangkok leaders. We also held a youth event, where we talked about love and relationships to the students.

Of course, our time in Bangkok would not be complete without going to the campuses. We got to spend time and talk to some students from Ramkamhaeng University, the largest open university in Thailand. Ken, a communications student, was one of the students we interacted with. She received the gospel well and is now connected with our church members in Every Nation Church Bangkok.

We’ve seen how God has been sovereign in our short time as a missions team to Bangkok—and this is a privilege for all of us. Thank you for your support and prayers!

 

The Ten Days program gives Victory group leaders the opportunity to experience cross-cultural missions first-hand by engaging local contacts, encouraging the local team, and equipping the local leaders of Every Nation Asia churches. If you are a Victory group leader and would like to be part of a Ten Days mission trip, please contact your local church missions coordinator.

Ten Days leaders are trained for the Ten Days experience using materials developed at our leadership development facility at the Every Nation Building. We are currently building a second facility, the Every Nation Building Phase 2, which will serve as our leadership development facility upon completion. For more information on the Every Nation Building Phase 2, please visit everynationbuilding.ph.

Beyond Limits

Beyond Limits

“I was called to something that I felt I wasn’t fully qualified to do, but somehow I was compelled that this was something I had to fulfill.”  In spite of setbacks, Tina Cabrera of Victory Malate was aware of how important it was to reach the nations for Jesus. Check out her account of her Ten Days experience here!

I took a Ten Days missions trip in November in a restricted nation.  One of our tasks was to do a prayer-walk in one of the major universities there. We spent time interceding for its students to come to know Jesus.

After spending time in the campus, I visited one of the local restaurants with a Ten Days teammate. We asked for the menu and the waitress gave us a full list of the food servings—with no pictures and no English translations at all! We didn’t want to risk pointing to a dish at random. Because of the language barrier, we spent a few minutes trying to explain what we wanted to eat, to no avail. Finally, our server asked the female customers from a nearby table to help us out.

It turns out that these women were students of the university we just came from earlier. One of them shocked me with the level of English she had. She sat beside me and introduced herself as Miriam.*

After finally getting to order, small talk ensued. I didn’t expect that I could actually meet locals, aside from our hosts! We exchanged mobile phone numbers and email addresses with the female students, and said our goodbyes shortly after. I knew this would not be the last time we would meet.

Through that encounter, God made me understand that language can never be a barrier to pour out His unfailing and unconditional love. Indeed, He breaks any barriers or hindrances to proclaim and shed His light to others. With God, there are no restraints when it comes to advancing His kingdom!

Miriam and I met again on our very last day in that nation. In the middle of our conversation, she suddenly asked me about what I believed in. It’s amazing how God opened the door for me to share my faith with her! As we continued to talk, she revealed that she learned English by reading a dual language Bible. “If I were to choose a religion and believe in faith, I will choose Christianity and I believe that there is one God,” Miriam shared.

Out of the fourteen days I spent there, God gave me one opportunity to trust Him in a deeper way. He orchestrates events in the lives of His children. I am amazed at His faithfulness and truly, I am grateful for this opportunity to be part of what He is doing in the nations!

Let’s not waste any time to be His salt and light to the world!

 

To know how you can take part in a short-term mission trip, please visit our Ten Days Philippines website or contact your local church coordinator.

 

*Name changed to protect privacy