February 24, 2016

2015 Travels: 13 Destinations, 1 Mission

2015 was a meaning(full) and wonder(full) year for me. It was full of ups and downs, sadness and happiness, failures and victories. But all through the year, I could see the guiding hand of God leading my every way—His protection especially when I am traveling, His care when I am sick, His presence when I am alone, His love when I feel rejected.

Since 2013, I have been a part of One Year in Mission (OYiM), a young adult ministry of the Youth Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist church, which focuses on empowering the youth for evangelism, leadership, and community services. And up to this time, I am still doing God’s mission—sharing Jesus’ love and inspiring my fellow youth to do the same.

This Bible promise motivates me as I work with God day by day, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV.

It’s nice to look back and see where God had led me in my travels:

1. Surigao City, Philippines (January 2015)
My parents and I visited the family of my brother’s wife in this quaint city at the northeastern tip of Mindanao.

2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (February 2015)
God’s providence brought me to Malaysia where I attended the Adventist Mission Database and Media training as a youth delegate and resource speaker.

3. Singapore (February 2015)
After the training in Malaysia, we went to this highly urbanized city-state as we exposed ourselves to the urban ministry projects of the Adventist church in Singapore.

4. Dumaguete City, Philippines (March 2015)
My first time in Negros Oriental where we joined in the Global Youth Day celebration of the Adventist youth and brethren doing acts of Compassion at the heart of the city.

5. Bacolod City, Philippines (April/September/November 2015)
I was here three times last year and each visit was a new experience. I had the privilege of meeting and mentoring our OYiM youth volunteers as they share their passion for mission in their territories in Negros Occidental.

6. Limasawa Island, Southern Leyte, Philippines (May 2015)
Through the efforts of BookSail, a group of young professionals who are advocates of education and literacy to the far-flung islands in the Philippines, two elementary schools were blessed to have books for their libraries and school supplies for all their pupils. Compassion in Central Philippines and the Adventist church in the island coordinated this mission trip, which was featured at GMA News TV’s State of the Nation with Jessica Soho.

7. Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines (May 2015)
The wedding of the sister of my brother’s wife brought us to this city where we met our college friends who are residing in Mindanao.

8. Manila, Philippines (June 2015)
Though my main purpose of going there was a failure, yet I still thank God for the opportunity of meeting my friends there.

9. Cavite, Philippines (June 2015)
We made a courtesy visit at the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, the regional headquarters of the Adventist church in Silang.

10. Tagaytay, Philippines (June 2015)
It was nice to be back at this scenic city where we get to enjoy the company of friends!

11. Iloilo City, Philippines (September 2015)
My role as the OYiM Coordinator for Central Philippines brought me to this city where I met and challenged our youth volunteers to pass on the passion for mission to our fellow youth in the whole Panay island.

12. Romblon, Philippines (September 2015)
After Iloilo, I went on to visit our youth volunteers in Odiongan, Romblon. It was a long and tedious trip but it was really fulfilling. (I think, this is the farthest territory of Central Philippine Union Conference.)

13. Mapanas, Northern Samar, Philippines (October 2015)
My last destination of the year brought me to this humble town at the northeastern part of Samar. It was an 8-hour ride from our home in Ormoc, Leyte but my time there was very rewarding! As I gave presentations and games to the youth there, I can see their longing for more. I am hoping that soon I can go there once again and spend more time with the youth.

As I remember these trips with its distinct experiences, I realized that what matters most is not the number of my destinations but the time I spent interacting, helping, and challenging the youth and people I meet to stay humble, be strong and faithful 'til Jesus comes again!