Broken Barriers

Greetings from Mindanao, Philippines. I praise the Lord and I hope you know is incredible faithfulness. God has been so good and we must rejoice in Him. It has been a wonderful time with a lot of rains since I returned to my placement site where I work with Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute from the Global Young People’s Convocation and the training of the new young adult missionaries in Manila. I met many wonderful people, passed amazing times and I returned refreshed, encouraged and eager to get back to my ministry. I am grateful for those of you who remember me in your prayers.

For he him himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one, and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, Ephesians 2:14

After the end of the holy month of Ramadan for our brothers and sisters, Muslims, a month which the Muslims worldwide they fast. Only one day they do not fast when they are allowed to eat, the day that marks the end of the holy month and that is Eid al Fitr. This is is the day all Muslims of the world show a common goal of unity. To this wonderful time even we Christians to think how this time can be significant too.

Many of the Arabs countries are into wars and many lives are lost; many Muslims in these countries were not able to celebrate “Eid el Fitr” to end the holy month of Ramadan because peace isn’t there. People in world have prayed and continue praying for the situations to change then everything goes back to normal. Mindanao where I am doing my ministry with the indigenous people who live in communities mixed with people of different backgrounds, cultures and religion. However the Muslims are feared because of their culture and laws.

On the day of “Eid al Fitr” when our brothers and sisters are celebrating, I had a chance to join the community of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), one of the rebel groups in Mindanao, to celebrate with them on this day. This day was nice that started with the feeding program on at Pagayawan Elementary school, a school of 350 kids. This event organized by Pagigdait, an interfaith organization where people of all religions and denominations can meet and talk peace and community development.

At Pagayawa Elementary School getting the food ready for 350 kids with the help of the Philippines' Army on July 30 for Eid Al Fitr celebration in Bacolod.

At Pagayawa Elementary School getting the food ready for 350 kids with the help of the Philippines’ Army on July 30 for Eid Al Fitr celebration in Bacolod.

At Pagayawan Elementary school, giving food to 350 school children with the aid of the Philippines army on July 30. This day is meaningful and important not only to our brothers and sisters, Muslims, but to everybody around the world. On this day I met the commander of the MNLF Abidin Sanguila and other member of the group; the nice people who are open to new oportunities and development in their area and they have a nice garden of squash that they grow. By joining them on this day to celebrate, it is then the barriers are now broken and new relationships are formed. This day is important because it shows the unity between us and not the differences that divide us. To me this day was a day when relationships were formed and the new beginnings. Barriers of communication and culture are being broken that would lead to a permanent peace, development and security in the community. No peace or development will prevail if we are divided in our communities.

To attain peace and development is not just an easy thing that can be attained just yet, patience, courage and passion for that to happen. Without your support of prayers and gifts so we can continue making a difference around the world. With simple actions can lead to a great impact in communities around the world. Let’s break the barriers together that block us to move toward a permanent peace and development.

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Taking the truth

They say “the truth hurts” because some truth can be a trigger to many but it depends on how we accept that fact.

I have been moving visiting many places since I am here and met many people. I remember a time when I assisted on an event organized by one organization, when sitting in a group, a kid came and saw me and shouted “Negro”. Everyone was touched and looked at me, a big smile was on me, his mother was sorry. At the end of that day the boy became a friend and kept on shaking my hand after every 10min. It was hard to understand each other but we talked. Sometimes on the streets people keep on looking at you and stare at me you might think there is something wrong. But I always say I am a star on the red carpet so I just have this big smile for the fans.  Everything move smooth that way. By the way it is the truth and I cannot change it. Galatians 3: 28 say “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus”. So anytime I see the greatness of God and I just bless Him for creating me how I am because I am a star now. This can happen to anyone of us but we can turn it to our own advantage, not only in the same context like mine but to any situation there is a way we can stand our ground. It could be praying, sharing with a friend, or relaxing, taking a walk…

But I always remember that Jesus is with me so I don’t have to worry for He is in control of all the situation.

 

Introduction into the New Community

The beginning has always been difficult because the first step is hard to take. The more the days came close  for me to finally come to Davao, Philippines, I was very scared to go far from home for so long. When I got into the country itself things where different not as I thought it would be. I was very well welcome and I had no choice to feel at home already. I met a lot of people in so little time that forced me to take 2 to 3  times for me to get to remember some one’s  name.  I never remember having that time to sit by myself and start remembering of home and miss the family and all that because I had found another family here of good people and well caring. All I knew was that God put all the people for me to meet them, and He was with me when I was alone in my room too. People in general are nice and that makes it more beautiful because I can see the blessings of God in them, cheerful and happy. However, getting to a new area as some things  can happen. To me that was part of the introduction too the community when I bought bananas twice the normal price. But I have had good people around me every time that I had helped me to get used quickly.

I got help whenever I needed even when I got lost in town trying to go to church so it is more fun because God is always with me wherever and whenever I needed Him. From the time I got here I have been  moving to the partners of Mindanao PeaceBuilding Institute, inc. and these partners do mostly same activities and some are related activities. This time of short orientations has been a great experience as I learned the20131025_151519 story of Philippines and understanding the culture in this beautiful country. I have visited organizations like and prepared me to enter my mission.

 

EVERY PIECE IS WORTH IT

The Gospel of Jesus is a puzzle, and for it to be complete picture every piece is worth it. A missing piece is a lost sheep. Jesus came on earth to die for our sins so that all the missing pieces or lost sheep to be found and brought back to the Kingdom of God. When Jesus ascended to heaven He left us with the Holy Spirit who guides us. And the Holy Spirit came with gifts, different gifts for each one of us, 1Corinthians 12:4-11 says There are different kinds of Gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophesy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds tongues, and to still to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” With all our different gifts even not listed in the verses, we have those gifts from the Holy Spirit and he works in us all; now you can stand and say I am gifted and proud. Since we have different gifts it becomes easy to say we have different ways of seeing things, solving differences and how to go about them; therefore, we are all special and important and have things to contribute to the body of Christ. I want to take my example, by the time I joined the youth group, after some month in the group there was the anniversary for the youth group since the creation. The youth we were in charge of the Sunday services, from the preacher and the choir. Since I like to sing I joined the choir. The Sunday came and I was there in front with the choir singing. I was very shy by the time and I was hiding in the middle of people singing and dancing. At the end of the service a guy came to me and said to me “You sing and dance very well”; I just said thank you. The next week during the youth gathering the person just came in and joined the group. See that’s now a gifts, to me I was not dancing or singing to show people how I can dance or sing and be proud of it, but someone was touched and joined us. Every one of us has a gift of his own that can bring back the lost souls to Jesus, so let us use the gifts from the Spirit bring more people to Him. We can welcome the Holy Spirit to reveal to you your gifts. Imagine getting the lost sheep from singings, dancing, preaching, wisdom, love, care, giving hope to the hopeless, offering the listening hear, sharing testimonies, and more we will be very strong as we take part of the body of Christ. And Jesus wants all of us to be part of his body, because we are all important 1Corinthians12: 15-30. You might be the missing part of the body or the missing piece of the puzzle.

From a listener to a speaker

The youth seminar that started the Friday 6th September and ended on Sunday was powerful with a great number of youth came up and participated. And talking to this group was powerful, talking about the fashion and technology in the Christian life

The youth seminar that started the Friday 6th September and ended on Sunday was powerful with a great number of youth came up and participated. And talking to this group was powerful, talking about the fashion and technology in the Christian life

Teaching English to pastors who are in training from different places of Tanzania, like Kibondo(Kigoma); Dodoma, and Morogoro. This is transferring what we have acquired.

In the building of the new UMC church in Morogoro Teaching English to pastors who are in training from different places of Tanzania, like Kibondo(Kigoma); Dodoma, and Morogoro. This is transferring what we have acquired from Africa University.

Unexpected short visit in Rome

That was a day I was getting ready to take my flight to New York for YAMS 2013 training, no pressure as usual I finished to take my pill for malaria. I went to the airport to meet my other friends Victor and Fidele. It was nice to meet them and travel together, now my head was now aching but i believed I was dehydrated and I took some water. But my head kept on paining in the plane so I decided to sleep. When I woke up weak and i was failing to breath I needed oxygen. Thanks God there was a doctor in the plane she checked me but she did not know what was wrong so I had to stay by the door for some air. But is was cold I decided to go back to my seat then after some hours I was failing to breath again I tried to go seek for help there I found myself down very weak and i could just do some signs with my hands. For the second time? Now they had to know what is really wrong the plane attendants were worried so the wise decision was for me to go see a doctor at an hospital because the journey was still long, ant there I am heading to Rome.

I found myself in Rome in a different world where no one understands what I say and they did not understand me either. I spent two nights at 2 different hospitals. I tried to find a way of being in contact with someone out there to tell them not to worry because I felt strong and I just wanted to leave. However, God was always with me, in all the two hospitals I found at least one person who could try to speak either English or French. However, I had to conversate with a nurse to use her phone to communicate, she spoke Italian and I spoke English with some French. Sometimes I think she was an angel because I was released when I got my message answered. I did not want anyone to worry much. The thoughts of people praying for me feel strong and I was not lonely at all. I knew God was there with me always. The good thing at least I got to learn some words on my own as a guess; “Respecta” as wait, “Doctori” that’s obvious a doctor.

I wrote and read books to pass the time, although the visit was tiresome I enjoyed the time there.

How Long We Will Serve

After Church yesterday we gathered outside tall the youth and a young girl came closer and she drew all our attention and she said “My grandma is sick at home. we don’t have any FOOD to EAT today”. When we wanted to know about the parents she replied “My mother has died, I don’t know my dad”. John 6:10-12 Jesus fed 5000 people and all were full. I asked myself ‘When will everyone have enough food?1167322_705675899449541_2058942648_o

There are many kids in the streets of Tanzania and many countries in Africa who walk bagging to find what they can eat and survive. This young girl came to church because she knew she will get helped. People contributed with some money and she got helped. That is showing love to everyone and it is the mission of the church. What people had the shared with the one who did not have.

Like Jesus, as long as people are lacking food, care, love, support, we should never stop thinking of the needy. Because Jesus never stops praying for us for our forgiveness till he accepted to die for us. He never stops loving us, he never stops caring for us. Like Jesus and the disciples they served until all were full, it’s our turn, let’s serve till everyone is served.