Updated: Aug 29, 2022
TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME (Part 1)
People are always worried about their future. They struggle so much with putting up their fortunes, holding on to their careers, and striving so hard to be secure in their future. But what if God asks you to leave what’s comfortable and venture to the unknown? Would you be willing to follow Him and leave everything? What about if He asks you to take up your cross and follow Him? Would you be willing to take the extra mile to follow Him? Sister Gigie Osorio Caraan, one of the IT missionaries, had to make a big decision in her life as she was asked by God to follow His will in her life. But as the Lord revealed His plans, she could see that the Lord was with her every step of the way, so it gave her the courage, despite the difficulty, to take up her cross and follow Him. Sis Gigie was a public school teacher, and her job allows her to minister to her students. However, she felt like she was missing out on something. As she witnessed the life of her sister, who is one of the IT missionaries, Sis Gigie hoped she could go to other countries as well, even if it was just once. She signed up for the Access 1 Training of International Teams Philippines, a mission-sending organization. During the training, she heard God’s still voice, “I want you to be a missionary”. She was hesitant at first because if she becomes a missionary, it means that she has to leave what was comfortable and go to different places and meet all sorts of people. After the Access 1 Training, there's an exposure trip to other countries. Sis Gigie kept an open mind about what God said and tried to go on a short mission trip. However, she got denied twice by immigration when she tried to go abroad. It was a year later when she was finally able to join the ITP Conference in Macau and Hong Kong. When she was there, she saw that there was a great need for God’s people to share the gospel. She returned to the Philippines after the conference and went back to work. But something was stirring in her heart and she was deeply troubled. It felt like she was not living the life God has called her. A few months later, she hurt her arm, so she took a break from teaching. She went to Cambodia to rest but she started helping with the ministry and taught some kids. She also got the chance to share the gospel with some of the children there. Some of them accepted Jesus but others didn’t. That’s when Sis Gigie cried, and her burden to share God’s word became greater. Then later that night, she had a dream. In her dream, she saw that she is stepping into different countries and the last country she stepped into has winter. She woke up from her dream and felt excited for God showed her something beyond her expectation. As she returned to the Philippines, she continued teaching but from time to time would take a break and join in short-term missions. She went to Japan and liked it very much. It has winter so she thought maybe it is the place God showed in her dream. But it wasn’t because she would also travel to different countries before she went to her last destination. After the short-term mission trip to Japan, Sis Gigie returned to the Philippines. When she attended the IT fellowship, an announcement was made that the Bless Europe Program is open. Pastor Gani Sison, IT’s Executive Director, asked her whether she would like to sign up for a Europe mission trip. Sis Gigie answered that she only has 2,000 pesos so it’s unlikely that she could join. Pastor Gani encouraged her “we want people to like you to go”. In International Teams Philippines, missionaries are taught to walk by faith so the less you have the more you will rely on God’s miracle and provision. Going to Europe is very expensive and Sis Gigie is not well-off, but God has provided for her needs and she was ready to go to Europe. It was beyond her expectation and everything went smoothly. She arrived in Europe and traveled to different countries. She went to Albania, Italy, Rome, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Spain. During her stay in Europe the Lord spoke to her, “My child, would you like to go on a long-term mission?” to which Sis Gigie replied, “Yes, but I would like to go with my family”. After her most unforgettable trip to Europe, she returned to the Philippines. She went back to work and the Lord told her to get out of her comfort zone, which is her work. After all, she experienced and the words God spoke to her, Sis Gigie decided to quit her job. Her boss dissuaded her to quit but Sis Gigie’s burden to go on missions was too heavy for her to ignore. The Lord was about to reveal the country in which Sis Gigie’s faith would be tested and strengthened. The story doesn’t end here. As Sis Gigie continues to follow God’s instruction, she would see how God prepares her path, but she also had to face some challenges. We may not know everyone around us, but we know who goes before us – God. It gives us peace because God gives us the right perspective that no matter what our situation is, we can fully rely on Him. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who kept every promise He made with them – the God who is worthy of all praise!
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.
(Written by: Venus Jablo)