It’s the time of the year again to sit down and think about how God has been faithful to me throughout the year. As you may recall, I was a little bit apprehensive to face the new year last January. I was afraid of the things that will unfold in 2017 because the previous year was generally difficult for me and my family. But then God assured me that I need not to be afraid because He is always in control. The word He gave to me as my guide for the whole year was Jeremiah 33. It was a promise of restoration. I particularly claimed His promise in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Indeed, 2017 was a year when I get to know God at a different level. It’s a year of restoration, abundant peace and security. The year has been great for me not only in my personal ministry but also in my family and even in my work. Let me now share to you some the things that God has done for me in 2017:
- Birthday Celebration with my family. This year’s celebration of my birthday was a little extra special because I celebrated it with my parents. I can’t even remember when was the last time I celebrated my birthday with my family. If I recall it right, I think I was still in high school or even in elementary when we celebrated my birthday as a complete family. But I don’t resent it because I understand that birthday celebrations have to be that way because of our circumstances. I got so used to celebrating my birthday either alone or with my friends that I’ve learned how to make my birthday celebrations more meaningful every year, with or without my family. So this year, God has given me the grace to celebrate it with them. 🙂 Plus, He answered my three specific birthday requests which I will share later.
- Free local and international travels. Two of the things I asked from God for my birthday were free local and international travels. I wasn’t able to travel much in 2016 because I realized that travel isn’t everything. I came to a point where I thought the places I’ve been to looked all the same to me so it’s no longer exciting. Plus, our situation in 2016 would not allow me to stay out of town for a long time. But then I thought maybe I should try traveling again and see if I can look at it in a different perspective. So I ask God to allow me to go to different places in the country and allow me to travel abroad again this year, and God was gracious to answer my prayer. I’ve been to at least four new provinces (Dipolog, Antique, Baler and Dinapigue, Isabela) and I was able to go back to two of my favorite places in the country (Palawan and Iloilo). God has also allowed me to travel to Thailand for the first time. All of these travels are for free so I was spared from spending too much on experience. The places I’ve been to this year still all looked the same to me but what makes each place special are the people I get to spend time with during these travels. The journey going to these places are also notable so I praise God for these experiences.
- National Cell Leaders’ Summit (NCLS) 2017. The NCLS was one of the things I’ve been looking forward to in 2017. Although I’m not sure at first if I will be able to meet the requirement for attending the summit, by faith, I claimed that I will be able to go and see my friends from other ministry areas. True enough God has arranged the circumstances so I would be able to meet the requirements and attend the summit. It was indeed a refreshing and encouraging time with my brethren from all over the country. During the summit, God has reminded me to take my commitment to Him seriously and realize the urgency of the Gospel.
- New ministry areas and clearer ministry direction. One of the things I prayed to God at the start of the year was to grant me a clearer ministry direction. I was also challenged to ask God where He would want to use me in the advancement of His kingdom. So right after the NCLS, I was instructed to stay at my place in Quezon City because He is about to start a ministry in the area. Before the summit, I’ve already decided to move out and transfer to a place nearer to my work place. But few days before we transfer, God challenged me to abandon my plan and told me to stay. It was not an easy decision to stay, but for every argument I present to God, He always have an answer. So even if it’s hard, I have to obey God and chose to stay. Later, I realized it was not a bad decision after all. God has indeed made my personal ministry a little easier for me this year by opening up new ministry opportunities near my workplace. I also now have an idea where God wants to use. As bonus, He also answered my prayer to open up ministry opportunity in one of the places I’m praying for after my LDI in 2013.
- New and Rekindled Friendships. If there’s one thing that made my 2017 a colorful year, it’s the time I spent with my friends not only from the ministry but also from other circles. I used to complain a few years ago about how having so many circle of friends can also be disadvantageous. So I intentionally distanced myself from old friends and decided to focus in the ministry. I don’t know what happened but I got more social this year. Not the drink and be merry type of social, but more on hanging out with friends to catch up. I’m glad that after four years, I was able to go and hang out with my LDI batchmates from Metro Manila. I also enjoyed every conversation I had with my friends from work every lunch. The new prayer meeting group I joined this year also gave me new opportunities to meet new friends and know more people from church. Lastly, God has also provided me opportunities to spend more time with my old high school and college friends.
These are just some of the things that I want to praise God for. I still don’t know what to look forward to in 2018 but I trust God that it will be another great year.