A Call for Impact

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Leadership comes with the idea of legacies. Great leaders have always managed to leave great legacies behind even with them not really thinking about it. They just had a sense of the bigger picture and focused on it but leaving a legacy is a fruit of their body of work.

With that said, still, the impact we leave is still something we want to think about. This could very well have an effect to how we will act today.

One time when I was in some conversation with one of the best leaders I know, Leovic, he said “What if Victory Malate just disappeared from its current place right now, would the community feel that loss?”

That made sense; not for vainglory of the church but if we truly say that we are a body of Christ, being obedient to God’s mandate of being a salt and light of this world, then we are to make an impact to places where we go.

Yesterday, I had the privilege to serve with some of the singles group in Victory Malate to do an outreach in a nearby community, aptly called Zafra (don’t ask me why).

I was amazed with how organized it really was considering the call to organize was within a week. It was a slim timeline considering the factors of who will lead and scout the land beforehand, who to tap as volunteers to do work before and on the day, and not to mention the funds needed to be raised. Continue reading “A Call for Impact”

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The Pursuit for an Imperfect Man

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I don’t have clear memories of how me and Ronald met. He said it was in a basketball court during our high school days. I am some years senior but he’s that huge guy in our team who’s amazingly slow in offense but deceptively fast in defense. If we wanted to have someone get blocked, we ask Ronald.

Yesterday I got to witness one of the best weddings I have been to. Well, honestly I haven’t been into many, but I certainly have this one in the books. It was Ronald and Prim’s wedding and it was certainly quirky and entertaining; it surely showed the couple’s qualities–both artisan souls at that.

I was honored to be part of their entourage and was happy to have witnessed how they have organized this one, and this shed a light to a part of Ronald I didn’t really know--his leadership. Continue reading “The Pursuit for an Imperfect Man”

Monkey see, Monkey do

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One of the favorite leadership “jokes” that I have learned is “Monkey see, monkey do.” Basically, it tells that people mimic what they see from who they follow and sometimes without thinking of the consequences. This is why when a kid is being rowdy at school, or generally on how they act, the question is that they might be seeing a bigger monkey at home. ;) (I got that one from a preaching)

This morning, facebook notified me of a statement I posted last year. Continue reading “Monkey see, Monkey do”

Kian, 17

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At 17, my problems were mostly college subjects, or my tuition fee. Apart from that, I think it is mostly chill and relaxed.

At 17, Kian Delos Santos begged for mercy for his life, still thinking of his academics.

I can’t fathom how this could be sustainable. I usually am up for positivity in the leadership blog but this time, I couldn’t bear it much longer. Inasmuch as it pains me, I see this as a leadership issue and pointing at the wrong root.

In my limited perspective, I know it is not good to kill. It never will be, especially that I espouse that I am a Christian, with Jesus teaching us something about killing. I condemn all of these killings, and by the Grace of God, retain what He taught to us about it.

I cannot turn a blind eye any longer to all of these. Let us call it as it is: murder. What happened to Kian is murder. A young man with hopes and dreams yet all stopped because of some men “obeying orders” of killing suspected victims.

This really brings pain to my heart, since we all look at the next generation as our future. We aim to mentor them so that the wrong things, ranging from experience, characters that we seen now that can be corrected tomorrow. We pass on the good things of today.

I am honestly, visibly disappointed with current leadership but they are placed there for a reason. Still, it is an everyday battle to pray for our leaders. I just can see that their leaders before them failed to give them guidance thus the current style, thus all the more the need to really disciple the next.

As current leaders, us, in the now, we have the big responsibility to share the original vision God has given, through mercy and grace. I see two roles: to pray for the current leaders, supporting the right initiatives but condemning and never turning a blind eye the wrong actions; and the second is to disciple the next and instilling them the mercy and grace of God. 

This is a bit of a write-up that is not linear, I admit I am a bit clouded in my judgment here, but at the end of it, I still ask for God’s hand to move. I pray for steadfastness and boldness for of us, in this trying times, to still hold on to that hope for a better future.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay. 
(Habbakuk 2:3 ESV)

I pray for you, Philippines. 

 

 

(G)race Car Driver

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I’m a fairly new driver; I took a driving class this January in faith that somehow I’ll have a car. Fast forward March and a good friend sold her car to me for a relatively fair price.

This means I am just about four months on the road and having a car has taught me a lot, and yes, even in leadership. Let me sum up some of the things I have learned:

  1. It entails a lot of planning ahead and counting the cost. Before I did get the car, I knew it will entail a lot of costs and checked, and re-checked if how much I earn would fit this lifestyle. Sure, it does make things easier in terms of going to meetings,  and of course for my family, but it made me rethink my spending. Monthly amortization (see, she’s that good to me), and not to mention additional costs added to my list of expenses like gas, parking, toll fees were things I considered when I said yes in getting this after consulting family members and friends.
  2. Maintenance and repair. These are things that are mostly and usually unexpected, hits you on your blind side. Imagine this newbie car owner having problems with shock absorbers, battery, alternator, fan belt, in consecutive months. It was the alternator problem that almost made me give up, but I saw this as opportunities to learn and read up more.
  3. Being street smart (know the laws!). This is actually the meat of why I was able to write this. In four months of driving, I have been flagged twice already and TWICE let go scot-free. No, I am not proud of it because in  both instances I was careless (one beating the red light, me being oblivious to what I did and the other one just earlier as I am writing this, going in the lane for U-turns only), and in both instances I did not ask for my punishment to go but to be ticketed. Amazingly, both instances, the officers, told me this:

“What if patawarin nalang kita?” (What if I just forgive you?)

Those words still ring to me to now. I was screaming real loud inside the car after driving off. Not because I was being conceited, but of praise.

Yes, I was just amazed of grace given to me, and it reminds me of the grace, the forgiveness that God freely gives. Do I deserve to be let off like that? I am pretty sure the answer is no, but it is by the grace of the officers that they let me. Did I do anything to be let off? What qualified me? None. That’s just pure grace.

But that doesn’t mean I should abuse it; this made me rethink how I drive and how I should act accordingly on the road. That I should be more careful in where I drive, mindful of other drivers even when most don’t mind about you (that’s another grace grower–the sudden cuts of buses or jeepneys, high beams of incoming vehicles).

Ultimately, I would like to sum up what I have learned during these four months and it wouldn’t be a surprise–grace. To the three points given, it’s all by grace. It is by His grace that allows me to produce for the expenses, patience for all the bumps along the way, and to be free from the laws I broke due to ignorance. Having this gives me more responsibilities, reveals my character flaws (how do I deal with it?), but again, we end up to relying to His grace.

May be funny for some that even this, I attribute to Him. Everything is His anyway. As a leader, I attribute everything to Him.

 

LIT UP Leaders: Micah Pascual

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If we’re to talk about “Alpha Females”, she’d be on top of my list of friends, only because Ronda Rousey isn’t in my radar (yet). No, she is not a fighter like her in the Octagon nor any martial arts field (though she does of a bit of Taekwondo), I could say she’s one tough cookie in terms of the spiritual side.

She is one of my workmates back then when I had a short stint for 7107 International Music Festival and clicked we did right away. I consider her one of my dearest sisters in the faith and surely, how God molded her into this heroine is truly just amazing. She could have done her work here in the Metro, big city but she chose to dig deep and go back to her roots, and lead where God told her.

It’s been a while since I last had a “LIT UP” Leader section and sharing this short but concise interview. Let her answers do all the talking and let’s see if you’re not going to be impressed. Continue reading “LIT UP Leaders: Micah Pascual”

A Good, Good Father

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Fathers play a big role in defining manhood for sons. Of course, where should they get their masculinity first? It is through a father’s guidance, mentoring that a boy learns how to be a man, and gets his strength.

“The ancient societies believed that a boy becomes a man only through ritual and effort–only through active intervention of the older men.” (Robert Bly as quoted in Wild at Heart by John Eldredge)

I did not grow old with a father. Well, I knew he worked in Saudi and came home every once in a while. Then before I graduated elementary, he stopped going home, and he was gone just like that.

I thought I was contented; I could even say I was indifferent, without a father but as a confession, I tried getting masculinity/strength from places that I shouldn’t get. Not that I went out and tried to pick fights, bully others, or extreme sports, or what not. One way I did it: taking my strength to Eve.
Continue reading “A Good, Good Father”

From Pain to Praises

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Let me start this one with a reference to one blog I did before, about my heroes.

My heroes aren’t in pedestals,
nor those etched in myths and legends.

Earlier I was able to have a chance to join a local prison ministry led by a friend and a fellow Kairos classmate, Krizzia Yuzon. The reason behind it is because I became curious with all of her posts about her being in this ministry. Just imagine being a woman in a crowd of almost all men, inmates with cases tied with their name. I wanted to first hand see how it is and break some mindsets I personally have.

Last time I was near a prison was in college when I had an assignment to cover a police station. I wasn’t even inside the cell but I could smell the stench, and feel the heat of a place packed with people. I could not imagine nor would I wish to go inside but that’s why I wanted to go with a ministry to at least have a glimpse, and also a bit inspired by this:

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ … (Matthew 25:35-46)

So if Jesus himself, our Lord, had this to say, I took it literally and went on. In reality, Sunday night I was planning to flake because I wasn’t in the mood or getting any details if it will push through but Krizzia did send me a message so I could not just say no to that.

Much like in every story I think that God wants me to see and experience, I tried to be “empty”, not expecting anything. I know God is a God of surprises and I really wanted to observe and learn what is God doing in these places? It’s just within the city I live in yet I feel I haven’t really had the chance nor time or even interest to check it out.

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This is Kuya Richard and he’s the speaker for this session. He looked pretty normal; very jovial and playful when he arrived at our meeting point and he still was when he spoke. But it was the meat of what he said that really was striking.

He was an ex-convict. He had his first case at the age of 15, theft. Each year he gets worse, robbery with extortion, dealing with drugs, and even was able to kill three people. Murder, if we use a ‘better’ term. He was imprisoned for it in Manila City Jail, with four cases, and with that bringing his mean demeanor inside the prison. He continued with his wicked ways until he was met by God inside the prison.

He started out with “fooling” the service providers or the prison ministries by memorizing verses as sharing them in the sessions can merit him money or food, which both will enable him to buy drugs inside prison.

See, knowing verses do not really speak much; it can just show you can memorize things but having a real relationship with God is far more different. Remember that even the Enemy, Satan, was able to quote the Scriptures when he was tempting Jesus. We all know what happened there.

Going back, Kuya Richard eventually came to know who Jesus was through a very personal encounter (I can’t disclose), and after that event, it really propelled him to really read his Bible and developed a close relationship with the Lord. It wasn’t all peachy as he did suffer a lot of persecution inside the jail but with this turnaround, miracles came into his life like him being acquitted with all of his cases (yes, all four including him even admitting murder), and even was given the grace of God to have a lovely wife, a teacher, and true God’s grace, this woman had him as her first relationship.

Now he’s actively serving the Lord through prison ministries, visiting them and showing the way that God has fashioned for him. He’s now being sent to places to tend to people hungry for God’s Word. He gave us his three C’s.

  • Choice – The life that you have currently is brought upon by choice. It is by free will which God have too. So no matter what situation you are in, it is something allowed by God because it was a choice. I am pretty sure it was a hard message for everyone who was able to hear it.
  • Chance – There is the Good News! Chance, that God gives so freely. If there’s someone you can look upon for chances, there he was, present in the inmate’s midst. With the lineup of heinous crimes he did, how could he be given another chance? Doesn’t it remind you of someone who was also an enemy of the early days of the church yet given another chance, and was cited to be the greatest missionary of all time? (Hint: his name is Paul)
  • Changes – With the chance given, the proper response is change. We’ve seen what the ugly side of sin and the hope is that we do change. Reminds me of the story of a writer named Dostoevsky, who was sentenced to die yet the execution did not happen. This led him to live a better life; change was evident with all the books he has written after that.

But with the three C’s Kuya Richard gave, I am going to add a fourth one:

  • Christ – True change can only be found in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” and it was the change that Kuya Richard got. It was the chance he needed from Christ that led him to a true change.

Indeed, that event I witnessed helped me to, at least at a certain degree, understand this ministry. Here are some points about leadership that I got too:

  • When you have a vision, execute it and people will eventually follow. That was pretty evident with how the newly-minted from Theology school Krizzia was able to do. Mobilizing people knowing that this ministry to all about going to the lost, unreached people too.
  • A small talk with Kuya Rodolfo (part of the prison ministry group) had me thinking about my own ministry, about the group of people who I am supposed to bring the Gospel. A declaration — to artists and designers.
  • Also, he helped me be enlightened with a current burden of how to have people help me with this. Reminded to continue in service and God will send people. To remain in the vine.
  • In line with point two, Kuya Richard was able to deliver the message well, and effectively because he too had his share of jail time. His life was the connection thus giving him credibility to speak because he can relate.

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

It was a message of hope for the inmates. Jesus knows how it is because he too came here, and was broken, and imprisoned, the difference is that we humans have something to be imprisoned of, spiritually or physically. To think, you who’s reading right now may be free, but not from spiritual imprisonment, bondage to sin. 

Jesus was and is innocent, yet He was crucified. That’s a leader you can count on. True freedom comes with Christ.

Also, Krizzia too was imprisoned way back. You see, the biggest pain points in our lives becomes our biggest praise in the long run. As my leader said to me “Your mess becomes the message.” It becomes our biggest why. Like Kuya Richard who was restored from his dark past. Truly, the old is gone and the new has come.

They are leaders who I look up to. They are my heroes.

My heroes may never be counted,
not in dailies, or history books.
But lo and behold, they fight gallantly,
not for their glory, but for the Lamb to see.

Bakit ako nagsusulat?

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Ngayon pa lamang, magpapaalam na ako. Ginoong Villanueva, pahiram po.

Ayoko talagang maging manunulat.

Ayon sa malinaw at matalas kong isipan, madami akong gustong maging noong ako’y musmos pa lamang. Mayroong panahong gusto kong maging piloto. Sa makalawa gusto kong maging doktor. May panahon na gusto kong maging pari. At sa susunod pang mga araw, magpapalit pa iyon, marahil ay depende sa mapapanood ko sa telebisyon. Alam ninyo, malaki ang impluwensiya ng mga palabas sa isipan ng isang bata. At dahil doon, nahubog ang aking desisyon na sa aking paglaki, hinding hindi ako magiging isang manunulat.

Sa naaapuhap ng aking gunita, ano nga ba ang hitsura ng isang manunulat noong ako’y bata pa lamang?

Tikatik. Tikatik. Tikatik. Ting!!!

Ang tunog ng makinilya na pinarurusahan ang papel ang madalas na pumapasok sa aking isipan. Isang lalaking nagpuumilit na makagawa ng ideya, at ‘pag hindi siya napasaya ng kanyang akda, magagalit at pupunitin ang kalunos-lunos na papel na walang kasalanan sa umpisa pa lamang.

Iyon ang laging ipinapakita ng mga palabas noon – ang imahe ng isang manunulat na naghihikahos sa buhay. Siya ay tila nagpapatiwakal nang marahan. Pinipigang maigi ang utak upang makagawa ng isang bagay mula sa kawalan. At matapos makagawa ng isang akda at ipapakita sa iba, hindi ito tatangkilikin. Sa huli, abunado pa siya. Mananatili siyang gutom sa pisikal, mental, at emosyonal na aspeto.

Ngunit, saan ako dinala ng kapalaran? Heto ako ngayon, ako naman ang nagpapakahirap na may maisulat. Buti na lamang at naimbento ang computer dahil kung makinilya pa rin ang gamit ko ngayon, malamang ay parurusahan ako ni Inang Kalikasan sa dami siguro ng mga papel na naaksaya ko sa paggawa pa lamang ng isang artikulong ito.

Ngunit, bakit nga ba ako nagpupursigi ngayon na maging isang manunulat – bagay na kinaayawang ko noon? At kung hindi talaga ako pinaglalaruan, ang kinuha ko pang kurso ay Broadcast Journalism, isang kurso na ang pangunahing katangian na dapat na mayroon ka ay hindi naman sa magaling ka sa pag-aanunsyo ng balita, kundi dapat ikaw ay magaling sa aspeto ng pagsusulat. Na dapat ay marunong kang magtagpi-tagpi ng mga salita, siguraduhing tama ang mga salitang ginamit sa paraang maiksi ngunit sakto.

Kailan nga ba ako nahilig sa pagsusulat?

Noong ako’y nasa huling taon ko sa hayskul, kinailangan kong magdesisyon na kung kung ano ang landas na tatahakin ko. Tinignan ko ang aking sarili. Saan nga ba ako magaling?

“To be an engineer.”

‘Yan ang nakalagay sa aking yearbook noong elementarya. Ngunit sa marka na nakuha ko sa mga subject ko na may kinalaman sa numero, hindi lamang ito nagpapahiwatig na huwag akong kumuha ng kahit na anong inhinyerong kurso, naghuhumiyaw pa na iwasan ko ang kurso na ganoon.

Hindi naman sa sobrang pulpol ko sa matematika; pumapasa naman ako sa subject na patungkol sa numero. Ngunit alam kong hindi ako magtatagumpay sa doon dahil aminado akong hindi ako magaling sa larangang iyon. Kaya ko naman naisulat noon ang “ambisyon” kong maging inhinyero ay dahil sa wala akong maisulat noong kailangan nang magpasa. Bilang bunso sa limang magkakapatid na may tatlong inhinyero, naisip ko na tumulad na lamang sa kanila. Ngunit sa totoo lamang, hindi ko pa talaga alam kung ano ang gusto kong maging.

Mapabalik sa aking ikaapat na taon sa hayskul, kailangan ko nang magkaroon ng pipiliing kurso na kukunin sa kolehiyo.  Nag-isip ako nang maigi kung ano nga ba ang aking kukunin.

Usong-uso ang Nursing. Madami sa mga kaklase at kakilala ko ang nagtangkang maging nars baling araw. In demand daw kasi ito at malaki ang kita kapag ikaw ay nagibang bansa. Oo, praktikal sa panahong ito; ‘di na mabilang ang kaso ng mga estudyanteng kumuha ng Nursing sa kadahilanang maghahanap sila ng ginhawa ng buhay sa ibang bansa. Hindi mo naman sila masisisi, maski ako marahil ay nag-nars kung napayagan ng aking ina. Ngunit alam ko din na hindi ako magiging masaya doon.

Ang gulo ko.

Hindi ako makapag-isip nang maigi. Ilan sa mga kaklase ko ay may mga kolehiyo nang papasukan samantalag ako, nangangapa pa.

Ang gulo-gulo talaga ng isip ko.

Kaya pinag-isipan kong maigi ito. Sabi ko, hindi maaaring mapunta ako sa isang bagay na hindi ko talaga gusto. Kailangan dun sa matutuwa ako at kahit na gaano kahirap ito ay ‘yung matutugunan ang hilig.

At sa huli, ano nga ba ang nakapagbibigay sa akin ng linaw sa landas na aking tatahakin? Nakakatawa at maaaring mababaw para sa ilan, ngunit isang maikling sanaysay lamang pala ang bibihag sa aking atensyon.

Isang gawaing-bahay na sanaysay iyon noong ako’y nasa ikatlong taon sa hayskul pa lamang. Ang pamagat ng katha na iyon ay “Resiliency,” na hinango ko ang ideya sa dating talumpati ni Pangulong Manuel Quezon na “Resilient like the Molave Tree.” Nagulat ako noon na 99% ang nakuha ko sa sanaysay na iyon. Hindi ko alam na “marunong” pala akong magsulat. Madami na kasi akong nagagawang sanaysay dati. Ilan na nga ba ang naisulat ko mula pa noon, ngunit hindi naman ako nabibigyan ng magandang komendasyon dito. Hindi ako inilalahok upang makipagtagisan ng galing sa panulat dati. Sabi ko, kapag maganda pa ang marka na makukuha ko sa susunod na sulatin, siguro ito ang kukunin kong daan pagtungtong ko sa kolehiyo.

At ang sumunod ngang grado na nakuha ko ay 95%. Bumaba ngunit hindi naman ganoon kalaki ang ibinaba. Ibig sabihin, marunong nga ako. Maaaring nagkakamali lamang ang aking guro sa pagbibigay ng mataas na grado noon, ngunit pinanghawakan koi to at ginawa kong inspirasyon. Sayang nga lamang at nawawala na ang mga kopya ng sanaysay na iyon. Akalain ninyo iyon, isang gawaing-bahay na nakapagtakda ng buhay ko ngayon!

Nabalikan ko na kung kalian ko naisipang magsulat, ngunit bakit nga ba ako nagsusulat?

Hanggang ngayon kasi, hindi ko alam kung saan ko nahuhugot ang kahiligang ito. Kung tutuusin, mahirap talagang magsulat, kaya bakit ko pinipilit ngayon na makisama pa sa mga sandamakmak na iba pang mga mahuhusay na manunulat? Iilan lamang ba ang mga sumisikat at talagang kumikita sa pagsusulat?  Madaming magagaling ngunit hindi naman tinatangkilik ng mga tao, kaya hindi talaga ganoong masustentuhan ng pagsusulat ang kabuhayan ng isang tao sa ngayon. Madami din ang hindi mahilig magbasa, kaya bakit ko pipilitin na magpursigi sa isang bagay na maliit ang tsansa na makarating sa  kanila ang aking mensahe?

Dito papasok ang nabasa kong libro, ang (Im)Personal ni Rene Villanueva. Siya ay ang dating punong scriptwriter ng Batibot. Marami akong nakuha sa kanya na kaisipan na sadyang tugma din sa akin. Ang sadyang kapangyarihan na ibinibigay sa’yo ng pagsusulat. Sa madaming nakakakilala sa akin, pabubulaanan pa nila ‘pag sinabi ko ngayon na mahiyain ako. Oo, sa mababaw na antas na pagkakakilala sa akin, makapal ang mukha ko, ngunit may katauhan din akong mahiyain at ayaw lumabas. Isang parte sa akin ang takot na magpakita. At lumalabas lamang siya, nagkakaroon alamang siya ng lakas ng loob sa pamamagitan ng aking pagsusulat.

Sa pagsusulat, nakalilikha ako ng mundo kung saan ako ang magtatadhanan sa kanilang mga buhay. Kung saan, ako ang bida. Isa din marahil ditto ang pamamahal sa salita. Ang kapangyarihan nito na makapagpabago ng pananaw ng tao, tulad na lamang ng nagawa sa akin ng panulat ni Ginoong Villanueva.

Sabi nga niya, malas dahil ang napili niyang dalawang propesyon, ang pagsusulat at pagiging guro, ay kapwa maliit ang kita. At bago ko pinasok ang daan na ito, oo, alam kong maliit nga ang kita ngunit hindi ko ininda ‘yun. Basta aang alam ko, gusto kong magsulat. At tama muli si “Rene,” maski ako ay “mahilab-hilab lamang ng kaunti sa pagiging pulubi.

This article was originally printed in Heraldo Filipino Volume 21/Issue 5 (March-April 2007), Staffer’s Corner section. This is why I still write aside being a full-time graphic designer. Reminds me of my inspiration too as a designer too.

Heroes.

My heroes aren’t in pedestals,
nor those etched in myths and legends.
Fighting skills they do not possess,
nor weaponry, artillery that strikes terror to the enemy.

For the great, worldly comforts already at hand,
or bright promises that await.
All abandoned, shunned, and tossed to the air.

But yes, my heroes are fighters.
They are engaged in battles, all bloodied and bruised.
Fighting an ancient war, one seemingly absurd and mundane.

Assess and possess.
The Nations as the mission, the goal.
Not for conquest or domination, no, not even close.
To bring the heavens, different set of operations,
not for an earthly master, but for the divine.

My heroes may never be counted,
not in dailies, or history books.
But lo and behold, they fight gallantly,
not for their glory, but for the Lamb to see.

This one is dedicated to all who’s doing missions now. Technically, every Christian is a missionary to each field we are called. But this one is specifically for the friends I have who are dying in and everyday to self, giving life to what Jesus said before He went back to heaven. People who are doing the role even when it entails not doing their ‘dreams’, but dreams of having heaven come down.

As for us, may we have our hearts beat for each field we are in. As the song “The Beat” says, may we have our hearts beat for the lost.