A Call for Impact

IMG_5762.HEIC.jpg

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”

Advertisements

The Pursuit for an Imperfect Man

RonaldxPrim.jpg

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”

Kian, 17

DHkjjJVVwAARR1h

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. 

 

 

LIT UP Leaders: Micah Pascual

LITUP_018A_Gilbert-RectoB Micah Pascual.jpg

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”

From Pain to Praises

18763191_10155372706367628_1306997562_n.jpg

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.

18763199_10155372706662628_826703806_n

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.

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.

To Ate Janet

17919048_10155225553682628_1693942769_n.jpg

“Pain teaches, pain reminds.” (Micah Pascual)

My sister, Janet Gonda, passed away last Sunday, ending a long and hard fought battle with Lam Lung Disease.

She was just 50.

About 11 years ago, she was diagnosed of this sickness and though the doctor gave her 10 years max, by the Grace of God she survived one more year. That was enough for her to leave us a valuable lesson.

My sister is a leader. She led a life of generosity. When she was still well, she was a giver. She gave when we asked, and sometimes even when we didn’t. She’s the reason why some of my college tuition fees were paid. So it was really a pain knowing she’s a really good person for me yet she had to go through this ordeal.

I was pondering the whole time, what is God teaching us in this situation and through her death, I learned generosity.

Honestly, I am a stingy person. I feel like I need to save up always; that’s self-preservation. I think I made some developments, all thanks to what the Scriptures teach, but it’s really different when there’s real life application and personal economics is affected.

What usually happens is she asks for food every Sunday for her family, or some sweet stuff like cake or junk food (I don’t condone that junk food), I guess her way of providing for her family. This led to some times having some thoughts of being selfish because at first it was just one time deal that became weekly. It did hit my current budget as I provide too for the house and being someone who just jumped from corporate to business, sometimes when there’s no collections, I tend to be rattled.

I was reminded though of what real giving is all about–that even when you don’t have much, give. Real sacrifice DEMANDS to be felt, and that’s the time you’d know it’s real giving, and that’s what she left for me to really understand. As I write this, I could remember me sitting down and thinking, knowing that she wouldn’t last that long now, and the only thing I could really do is… give.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Sure, there was still moments when I had to back out, which is a painful regret now, but because of what she taught me, hopefully I do retain it. It’s different when you read about giving, but it’s different when you see someone actually live it out, and she did until her last breath. That’s her lasting legacy. Makes me think about mine.

We love you, Ate Janet. We’ll surely miss you. 

If you could read Tagalog, sharing some thoughts from her kids who wrote tearjerkers.

From her eldest son, Tyrell: To my mom.

From her second child, Kiara: Sweetest Mom

 

 

From where I stand (Pt.3): Integrity and Commitments

DC_057_Lent_Easter-Sunday-01.jpg

We build relationships and trust through a person’s consistency and keeping his word, right?

I have had so much experience about delivering on promises and work, with me missing a lot of them in the past. Though that has lessened today (I hope!), I still miss some of them. This I try to keep to a minimum because even in this field of design, what I truly try and take care of is my name and reputation. It’s like if someone is asked on your name, what would their first response be? Jolly? Witty? Creative? Committed? As for me, I’d like to be known as someone who delivers and solves problems.

If there’s someone I personally know who really I can trust in terms of work, it’s my good friend Santa Bondesto. I have known her from 2011 and I know her work ethic. I always say to people, “If you want something done (events), ask Santa.” She goes above and beyond and ensures that things do get done, sometimes to a fault because she would sacrifice health and family time just to ensure items are in place.

But of course, she does have her share of shortcomings and broken promises but because of her reputation, I give her some leeway.

For our leaders, and for ourselves too as we lead, we want to have consistency in what we say and do. If we want to lead effectively, we’d want to have integrity as our solid foundation. That starts with being able to do what we say, and be consistent about it.

If there’s one man who said something so ridiculous but actually went over it, it was Jesus. Continue reading “From where I stand (Pt.3): Integrity and Commitments”

From where I stand (Pt.2): Cost of Leadership

DC_057_Lent_Good-Friday-01-TEXT.jpg

As we grow on our leadership, everything goes up, except for one: rights.

You read that correctly, rights. Sadly, when we see our leaders, especially what seems to be prevalent today, leaders get all the rights and privileges. Not saying all, but some. It’s visible not only in the positions in the government but also in our offices, families, and yes, even in the church.

Reading John Maxwell’s book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, one chapter there is dedicated on the Law of Sacrifice. In that chapter, one line struck me:

“As you rise in leadership, responsibilities increase and rights decrease.” (John Maxwell)

Continue reading “From where I stand (Pt.2): Cost of Leadership”

From where I stand (Pt.1): Care for some feet?

DC_057_Lent_Maundy-Thursday-01-TEXT.jpg

Have you ever had that time wherein you had to wash someone’s feet? Or say, accidentally, you had to face someone else’s feet?

I know. Our feet, being a part of the body in close contact to the ground, tend to be really gross and stinky. Good thing we have shoes compared to people before, but still with it enclosed and after a long day, I doubt you’d like to hold and smell them, right?

This week, we commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. It’s a story that unfolds dramatically,
Roads in Israel is filthy, and imagine yourself walking at those roads. With or without sandals, it will surely make your feet nasty too. And for ancient Israel, it is very important for people to be clean, especially before meals. As additional detail, people ate in low tables, thus feet can be seen at that point, which makes it important to wash the feet thoroughly.

We all know the Last Supper and what happened there, and Jesus has shown us leadership by washing His disciple’s feet. This was a work so filthy Jews do not allow other Jews, even as a servant, to do this that’s why they ask Gentile slaves to do it. Yet Jesus, who the disciples see as their Lord and Savior, did this stunning act. It was a work for the lowliest, and also timely because recently the disciples were arguing who’s the greatest among them all (Luke 22:24). Jesus was showing His disciples on how to lead—by serving in humility.

not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

Oh how wonderful if only we’d have this kind of attitude of leadership, right? Just imagine our leaders today acting upon Jesus’ example of service and humility? Just imagine us acting upon this kind of leadership, acting to build one another in the light of humility and love? How would the world look like?

I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15)

Would you have the same posture like how Jesus did it? Can you wash your neighbor’s feet? Would you have the heart to serve as leader like Jesus did?