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“It wasn’t about how long you have prayed for something, it’s about God’s will in your life”

Updated: Aug 20, 2022


Sister Marifi “Maffe” Lagan Bilugan and Sister Mariss Lacson crossed paths in the earlier days of their lives for the Lord had greater plans for both of them. They are currently doing God’s work in Macau and the experiences they have with the Lord made them very passionate about pursuing Christ in their lives and making sure that others would have come to know Him, for they believe in their hearts that the power of God and the salvation of humanity would only come from Jesus. Sis Maffe and Sis Mariss were both students from the Philippine Missionary Institute. Sis Maffe knew Brother Larry Helera, an IT missionary who invited them to join the International Teams Philippines, a mission-sending organization. They joined the mission exposure trip to China along with the other student missionaries and Brother Larry for the very first time. They were able to go to different parts of China through God’s help and they experienced miracles. However, since Sis Maffe and Sis Mariss were still studying in the Bible School, they had to go back to the Philippines to finish their studies. During this time, Raquel, the Portuguese - Chinese interpreter they have met during their first trip to Macau, invites them to go back to Macau as she is praying for missionaries to come to Macau. After they graduated, they received the calling from God that they have to go to Macau. Though, they desired to go to Japan where they used to work before they entered the Bible School. Someone also offered to pay for their plane tickets and received a part-time job offer in Japan. However, “Is it really God’s will for us?” they asked themselves. Whereas in Macau, they had no money to buy their plane tickets, no job offers, and no security about what would happen. Then they were reminded to expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God. They kept on praying, contemplating, and weighing their options. They have prayed for years for Japan whereas Macau was only placed in their hearts for a few months by the Lord. They have been praying for Japan for 13 years and it has finally opened an opportunity for them, in contrast, they have only been praying for a few months for Macau. But they were willing to attempt great things for God if they went to Macau. They also got a confirmation from God which is found in Acts 16:9-10. “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” And it dawned on Sis Maffe, that they had prayed for a long time to go to Japan, but it’s not the place God wanted them to go. But the Lord directed them to the right path, which is to go to Macau. Just like Paul, when he had the vision to go to Macedonia. “It wasn’t about how long you have prayed for something, it’s about God’s will in your life” Sis Maffe commented. They made up their minds and surrendered to God’s will and gave up the idea of going to Japan and pursued going to Macau. But it wasn’t easy. They have encountered challenges as they prepare to go to Macau. First, people doubted their decision because it didn’t make sense. Going to Japan would make much more sense in the eyes of people. Second, they didn’t have the finances. There was no security about what was going to happen to them. On top of that, some people around them were discouraging them to go. It was a great struggle for them but by the grace of God, He enabled them to go to Macau. Even if they had to sell some of their stuff, Sis Maffe and Sis Mariss were willing to do it just to follow God’s will in their lives. Because of their obedience, God provided for their needs in so many ways. Back when they first went to Macau, they met a Portuguese - Chinese woman named Raquel who was their interpreter. She became their friend and partner in the ministry. She helped them a lot with the many things they needed. With her help, they were granted missionary visas in 2005. They were amazed at how God provided for all their needs. One time while they were contemplating, they found out that Raquel’s full name is Lydia Raquel. Looking back, they have realized the same incident found in the book of Acts 16:14-15. It was the continuation of the verse God gave to Sis Maffe when she was seeking God’s confirmation on whether they were called to go to Macau. “One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.” Just like in the story, God used Raquel to help them out with the things they needed, and thank God, He answered their prayers, and Raquel’s family got saved! “Thanks be to God for all the people who are praying, encouraging, and supporting us!” Sis Mariss and Sis Maffe remarked. It’s amazing how God orchestrated those details. We may not see it right away, but it is indeed God who planned everything, from the tiniest details to the major ones. We serve a God who cares about even the slightest concerns we have and He’s the only one who can write a beautiful story of our lives! Praises to the One who saves us through His blood! Worthy is His name, and all creation rises to declare His wonders! To be continued… 2 Corinthians 2:14 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place."

(Written by: Venus Jablo)

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