Way back 12-16 September 2003, I went on a missions trip. This event is significant because ever since I became a born again Christian, I have firmly believed that I am not into missions. I say that missions is for others but not for me, until the Lord did a work in my heart. It changed not only my mind but also my heart and I have never looked at missions, missionaries or missions trip the same away again.
When I came back, I wrote about it and made a video of the whole trip.
I am opening the pages of that little journal. All the contents remain unedited, please ignore grammatical lapses.
MY GOD ENCOUNTER: A POINT OF NO RETURN:
A Recount of my First Missions Trip in Palawan
12-16 September 2003
“Change is uncomfortable, unfamiliar and undignified, but it often brings refreshing and renewed hope. By letting go of the familiar we will glimpse what we’ve longed for.” (Lisa Bevere)
Am I the Missions Type?
I have heard many people say that going on the missions field is a life-changing experience. I believe you go on a trip because you are already changed, but once you get there you can’t help but be changed further and forever.
Because it happened to me.
Moses and the Burning Bush
He was just going about tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, when suddenly, the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a blazing fire in a bush (Exodus 3:1-2). Soon after, Moses’ life was never the same again. From a shepherd man, he became the deliverer of the whole Jewish nation, the Israelites. It all started with the burning bush experience.
Saul in Damascus
He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them – both men and women – back to Jerusalem in chains. As he was nearing Damascus on this mission, a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down upon him (Acts 9:2-3). Later, Saul the great persecutor became Paul, the on-fire apostle. His life was never the same again. It all started with that Damascus experience.
Emmylou in the Island of Palawan
My very first missions trip was not a mission exposure but a God-encounter. Like Moses and Paul, I was just going about my daily routines, my plans for the day when suddenly God comes along and by His Spirit blow. I was brought to a point of no return.
Just when I thought I had God figured out, had everything intact, going about my usual tasks, God comes along in His unusual way and brings me to that point of no return – my God-encounter in Palawan. My life will never be the same again. It all started with that Palawan experience.
What Do You Have There in Your Hand?
Before I left for Palawan, I ministered in one of the Bible studies with Rhia, my best friend. The message I shared was on Moses and his shepherd’s staff that became the staff of God (Exodus 4:1-4, 16-17, 20). Then the Lord spoke to me. He asked me the same question He asked Moses, “What do you have there in your hand?” You see, whatever is in my hand has my control, is under my authority, is safe and is secure.
That question made me realize that although I am born again – for many years, I have not given total control of my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are still so many “big” and “small” things that I am holding on to.
God said that only when I am willing to throw down and let go of whatever is in my hand will it become the staff of God – an instrument for Him to perform His miraculous signs.
Only when I lay down my life will God be able to do miracles in and through my life for the benefit of others. Only then will it become the staff of God.
How far will I go with you, God?
As If I Didn’t Get It?
God wanted to make sure that I understood what He just told me. That same hour, in the Bible study, Rhia spoke about John 12:23-26, “…a kernel of wheat must die and its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives…”
By this time, I was already protesting against God. “What about those false accusations, those judgments and yes, those criticisms?! What about my critics and those who have brought me harm; those who can never see beyond my flaws and whose only intention is to pull me down? I forgave them! At least, I think I did. I did not retaliate. I even gave up my hope for vengeance. Isn’t it dying to self?!” I reasoned with God.
You can’t really win a protest against God. To prove His sovereignty over my life, He kept stressing the point that unless a kernel of wheat dies, it remains a single seed not producing a harvest.