"I took a great risk and it paid off with great blessings!"
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
LEAVE THE COMFORT ZONE AND ENTER THE CROSS-ZONE
Everybody has a comfort zone. There is a certain temperature at which we feel the most comfortable. There is a way of life in which we feel at ease. There is a crowd of people with whom we feel most comfortable. When we are around the wrong crowd; in the wrong situation; in the wrong place; and doing the wrong things, we can feel very uncomfortable and out of place. When we find ourselves outside of our “comfort zone”, we can become a little nervous. There is nothing wrong with this; it just proves that we are interested in being comfortable. However, there is a sense when comfort can become a thing of concern. When we step out of our comfort zones, we can truly experience that we have someone to trust who is bigger than the world, our Mighty Father in Heaven. In 1991, Sister Agnes Borja Salonga went to Hong Kong to work. During her first few months there, she became a part of the church’s outreach program and met individuals from different parts of the world. As a tentmaker and a part of the prison ministry, she could say that she was doing well in Hong Kong. However, it was the year 1992 when God told her something that she struggled with. God told her to go out of her comfort zone through a missionary from Mongolia who preached in the church she was attending. “The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few,” said the missionary. Therefore, he was challenging the Christians to be a part of the Great Commission. Sis Agnes refused to go in front of the altar call for missions even when God whispered in her heart to step forward. The Lord continued speaking to Sis Agnes until she finally accepted God’s calling. “Stand firm and move forward,” God commanded. She continuously seeks the Lord on what to do next. The Lord placed a burden on her heart to minister to the Muslim people. She thought she would minister to the Muslims in the Philippines, so she went back home in 1996. She was in Tarlac and had no idea what she would do next. Full of fear and the uncertainty of the future, she uttered, “Lord, I am scared, and I can’t do it”. Her pastor in Hong Kong advised her to look for a church that can cover her in prayers and when she goes on a mission. Then one morning, she was at the town plaza when she saw the banner of a church “Jesus is Our Righteousness Fellowship – a mission-minded church”. She went into the church, and no one was there except for the pastor because it was too early. Sis Agnes met the very welcoming pastor and spoke with her. She told the pastor about her burden and her calling to go on missions. The pastor told Sis Agnes that she is going to introduce her to a mission organization. Sis Agnes was so thankful that she came across the Jesus is our Righteousness Fellowship church. Even until this day, she is a part of that church. It was also that year when it was prophesied that the Philippines would be a missionary-sending nation. The Lord was also training Sis Agnes to learn more about missions. From Tarlac, the pastor of the church she met accompanied her to go to Angeles City and introduced her to a mission organization called Asian Center for Missions. Sis Agnes took the test and passed and had to undergo training for six months. She had to travel back and forth from Tarlac to Angeles with very little money. After her training, Sis Agnes couldn’t go to Indonesia. The Christian churches were burned down, so it was risky to go. Therefore, she went for an exposure trip to Thailand first. When she got there, she felt that it wasn’t the country God has called her to. She was weeping for Indonesia, however, because of the great risk, she couldn’t go. Sis Agnes decided to go back to Hong Kong. As she stayed in Hong Kong, she received news that she could go to Indonesia as a nanny. However, she was reluctant to go as a nanny and remained in Hong Kong. For a year, she has been focusing on the Indonesian congregation when she received news that the church in Hong Kong will support her to go on missions. It was the "go signal" she was waiting for. It was time for her to go on missions. She had a two-year contract with her work and didn’t know how to break the news to her employer that she will pursue going on missions. Sis Agnes prayed to God, and there was an immediate response from Him. Her employer found her replacement. Therefore, she went back to the Philippines. That’s when God led her to International Teams Philippines, a mission-sending organization. Sis Agnes was preparing for her mission trip to Indonesia for months when the three IT missionaries who are in Indonesia returned to the Philippines. She got the chance to meet them and became a part of the team. She also received a phone call from a church in Hong Kong saying that they will support her, so she was able to buy her plane ticket. Everything went smoothly, and Sis Agnes flew to Indonesia. When she was in Indonesia, she saw how God provided for her needs and tuition fee as she studied at a language center. Sis Agnes and her team became a part of an NGO in Indonesia and her major, which is Accounting, was put to good use by the Lord. She realized that even in the past, God had already planned that she would be able to use her major to serve the Lord in the mission field. She stayed in Indonesia for 11 years, and it was the year 2011 when she returned to the Philippines. She continues serving the Lord faithfully in any tasks which could give glory to the Lord. Let’s not get comfortable, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong crowd. Leave the comfort zone and enter the cross-zone. Don’t be afraid to take up your cross. It won’t be comfortable, but the blessing is there. The Lord Jesus, Himself, stepped out of His comfort zone. He left the dazzling wonders of heaven. He laid down His rich, royal robe on His glorious throne on high. God works in different ways, and you would be surprised what He could do in your life when you step out of your comfort zone and trust Him wholeheartedly. Praise God, whose might is like no other, and whose faithfulness surrounds Him. Praise Him that righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne, and that steadfast love and faithfulness go before Him. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Written by: Venus Jablo)