Updated: Sep 13, 2022
“OH, HOW GOOD IT IS TO FOLLOW THE LORD!”
There are times in our lives when we feel that we are not living up to the purpose God has for us, that no matter what we do as we make ourselves busy with everything, we still find ourselves longing for something. We thought that by being busy we are more purposeful. Busyness doesn’t equal effectiveness. We are only effective when we know the purpose of our lives. It is when we are fully surrendered to Him. Perhaps God is telling you to step out of your comfort zone and go on missions. Many have heard God’s calling but only a few responded to His call. Seek the Lord’s will in your life and He can direct you to the right path. Because you would never be lost in Christ. Pastor Helen Cruz, an IT missionary, has been in the ministry for 25 years and the desire to go on missions was placed by God in her heart. However, she initially thought that going on missions is expensive therefore, she didn’t dare to go. She was serving in the church, but she felt like she was missing out on something. She continuously prayed for God’s leading in her life. Then in 2011, her friend, Pastor Marissa told her the stories of IT missionaries and the miracles God did in their lives. By then, Pastor Helen came to know about the mission-sending organization, International Teams Philippines, and she accepted the invitation of Pastor Marissa to attend ITeams' mission fellowship. As she sat and listened to Pastor Gani’s preaching, the IT Executive Director, Pastor Helen’s heart felt the excitement, and her desire to go on missions was ignited once more. She also heard the testimonies of the IT missionaries, and she was so encouraged that she wanted to be the next one to experience God’s miracles in the mission field. She signed up and applied to be a part of the IT family and her first mission trip was to Timor-Leste, a Southeast Asian nation occupying half the island of Timor, where she stayed for two years. The first few months were difficult for her because she misses her family and was longing to be with them. However, the experiences she had, made her faith stronger. She saw the goodness of God while she was on the mission field. God sustained her and His grace is sufficient for her. Pastor Helen saw the need of the people especially their spiritual hunger for truth which can only be found in Christ Jesus. As a result, it encouraged her to do more in the mission field for God’s glory. Then in 2017, she sought the Lord’s will on whether she should go to Japan. Going to Japan was challenging for her because she must prepare herself, and her finances. She also needed to get a visa. She didn’t have enough money at that time and applying for a visa was not easy for her. But she put her faith in the Lord and continues to seek His will every step of the way. As she applied for her visa, God’s favor was with her. Her visa was approved! Indeed, nothing is too hard with God! She was exceedingly glad and gave thanks to the Lord! Hallelujah! On top of that, someone paid for Pastor Helen’s round-trip ticket to Japan! She was truly grateful that at the beginning of her journey to Japan, the Lord had shown His favor upon her. Never did she imagine that the Lord would prepare a place for her during her stay in Japan. She met a man of peace who let her live in one of his residences. She stayed in a beautiful house and didn’t have to worry about her accommodation. Pastor Helen continued to lift her voice in praise and gratitude! She was so grateful for God's provision! While she was in Japan, Pastor Helen received a job offer. However, she chose to focus on the ministry, and she was blessed by the Lord by seeking Him first. She became a part of the ‘Jesus Shine’ ministry and was able to minister to the Japanese people through an interpreter. By the grace of God, she was able to communicate with them and shared the Gospel. Pastor Helen would never forget God’s provision for her while she was in Japan. She never had to worry about food because she had friends who would send her lots of food. Even in simple things she needed, the Lord had provided for her. She was also blessed by the warm acceptance of the Japanese people to her. They were fond of her as she tried her best to communicate with them despite not being able to speak Japanese. Her heart was filled with praises for the Lord. “Oh, how good it is to follow the Lord!” she exclaimed. Not only in Japan but Pastor Helen was also able to go to other countries like Thailand, Cambodia, South Korea, and Malaysia and she’s always looking for opportunities to serve others and share God’s love and His Word. It was all made possible because she stepped out of her comfort zone and chose to follow God. And God’s goodness is overflowing in her life as she seeks His Kingdom first. Father, we thank You for revealing Yourself to us through Your Word, by Your Spirit, and in Your creation, that we might stand in awe of You. You alone are worthy of praise and glory and honor, for You have created all things! Psalm 118:28 You are my God, and I will praise you: you are my God, I will exalt you.
(Written by: Venus Jablo)