Ang Diyos ko ang Aking Lakas! This first half of this year was all about these five words. Day in and day out, He has been reminding me personally of the promise of the power of His strength in my life.
Last Summer (May to June), God gave me the opportunity to go on mission to the different provinces of Western Visayas (Aklan, Roxas, Iloilo, Bacolod, Binalbagan) and Central Visayas (Dumaguete, Bohol, Cebu) for almost one month. We went around the provinces to hold assemblies, forums, camps, households, trainings and meetings. This was my second time to go around the provinces of Visayas being given the privilege to take care of the YFLs in the 13 Visayas provinces where we are present today.
This summer mission experience was quite different from what I had last year because for the first stretch of our itinerary, I went around the provinces of Western Visayas all by myself (as my mission partner went to the Eastern Visayan provinces). I was a bit nervous and hesistant to go for it was my first time to do mission far from home alone; but God never failed to shower me with comfort and assurance of His presence and grace.
During the whole mission, God me do a lot of new things – travelling from one province to another alone, speaking to people without being able to speak their language, giving talks to the youth almost every day, making decisions for the area myself, figuring the proper actions to take for each of the areas, changing my schedules and plans to accommodate changes in the areas, playing the guitar and teaching songs in our assemblies, dealing with all kinds of people, young and old, openly giving myself and my heart to every person God made me encounter, new places, new people, new cultures, new dialects, new and unfamiliar experiences.
I ask myself, “How am I able to do all these things? How am I able to make it through?” Thinking about it, all of what I did were beyond my human capacity, things I wouldn’t be able to do on my own. And so God kept reminding me that everything was never about me. It was all about God. It was all God. Amazing how I was put in this experience that I may witness how God will manifest His strength. If not for God, I wouldn’t be able to do any of these things. Until now, I am still amazed of how God can truly empower us to do great things for Him only if we allow ourselves to be used by Him and Him alone. I experienced this first hand during this month long mission.
For the second half of the mission, two mission volunteers from Manila came to join me; and a few days before going back to Manila, on our second to the last provincial stop, my mission partner and I were able to finally meet up. This month long Visayas mission was a success. YFL Visayas grew in number, most areas have raised empowered leaders, Live Pure is already a shared conviction for the YFLs in the area, and more and more youth from YFL Visayas has grown more in love with the Lord; and we really praise God for the privilege of witnessing all these and for the gift of being His instruments in making His work happen.
God has really designed this whole experience in such a way that I may be able to learn what He wanted me to learn and that I may be able to witness what He wanted me to see. This whole mission was really a memorable learning experience for me. It made me appreciate and love mission work all the more. It made me grow deeper in my convictions as a missionary. It also taught me skills and values such as discipline, patience and humility. It also reminded me once more that all of these are never about me and every bit of the experience I had was a reflection of His greatness in my life and in YFL Visayas.
The mission experience also affirmed me that where I am today in my life is where the Lord really wants me to be. At the end of the day, He made me realize that He purposefully gave me the grace to go out of my comfort zone so that I may be able to fully understand that I cannot do things on my own, that what I have to do is to make Him the only source of my strength. Amazing is God’s wisdom. And these realizations inspire me to serve Him more, to love Him more and to strive to become like Him more and more.
At the start of my mission, God told me,”Let’s do great things together;” and I said “Yes.” And He really did gave me the privilege to do “great things” for Him. The experience was challenging but it was all worth it, for every bit of it was a deep encounter with Him. He truly showed me that He can make something beautiful out of my nothingness and lacking; that He can use me to do great things for Him — things I never imagined I could do before; things that I know only He can make happen in my life. All I have to do is to allow Him to take control, that in my life may I live according not to what I want but to what the Lord wants, for what He wants is what’s perfectly beautiful for me.
Want to make the impossible possible? Make God the only source of your strength. Thank you Lord for the privilege of seeing this line come alive with my own eyes. I am a living witness to the truth of this promise. Walang Imposible sa Lakas ng Diyos. Thank you Lord for the gift of this mission experience, for the promise of greater things ahead, and for the promise of your Strength in my life. Now more than ever, You are my only strength.
(Joy Aguila, CFC Youth for Family and Life full time pastoral worker)