DREAMS DO COME TRUE!
Sister Monaliza "Liz" Marquez is one of the IT missionaries on the British Virgin Island. Before her faith in Christ started, she admitted that she was materialistic and ambitious in the past. She didn’t grow up in a well-off family, so she wanted to have all the comforts in life. Little did she know that God has a better plan in her life.
When she was in Manila, her residence was just near the IT office in Makati City, but she didn’t take any interest or whatsoever in what was happening in the fellowship every Thursday in ITeams Philippines. She was only focused on one thing, and that is to change her fate by going abroad and earning lots of money. She had the dream that if she were rich, she would travel around the world, so she did everything of her might to pursue that dream. Because she wanted to work abroad, she applied but failed to get a passport. She did all her best in finding a way to go to other countries, but she couldn’t get a break. All her efforts were wasted until her focus was shifted.
She started going to a Christian church and found her faith in God. She also became active in the children’s ministry as one of the Sunday school teachers. As her focus was on the children’s ministry, she has forgotten her dream of going to other countries. Pastor Edgar, a pastor she knows, kept inviting her to attend the Thursday fellowship of ITeams Philippines; but she was not interested at all for she was okay doing the children’s ministry. One day she received a phone call from Pastor Edgar who was at IT’s Thursday mission fellowship. He handed the phone to Pastor Gani Sison, the Executive Director of IT, to speak with Sis Liz. Pastor Gani Sison invited her to the mission fellowship and out of politeness she said she will. But she didn’t show up for the fellowship event.
It has been a year since that invitation when she got lost around the place where she lived. It was quite mysterious that she got lost because she has lived in that vicinity for years. She surprisingly found herself standing in front of the gate of the ITP office. They were at that time holding their fellowship. She went in, sat behind, and listened. Something was stirring up her heart as she listened to the message and observed what was going on.
After that, she started attending the fellowship regularly and she got reminded of her dream to travel to other countries. She got so excited as she listened to Pastor Gani’s preaching on global missions. She realizes that when she got lost and found herself in International Teams, it did not happen by accident. She knew in her heart that it was orchestrated by heaven and that she is now being led to her dream.
Sis Liz signed up for the Access Mission Training and everything went great. Next is a short-term mission trip to qualify her for full membership in ITP. She wanted to go badly to the closest scheduled exposure trip to Cambodia, but she didn’t have a passport. She hurriedly went to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Lucena City and to her delight, she was the only person applying for a passport there. She didn’t have any problems and got her passport right away with no hassle at all. It was a very different experience she had from the first time she applied for one, for at that point God’s favor was upon her.
A few weeks later, she flew to Cambodia and served there with the other IT missionaries. However, she cried her heart out to God, “This is not the place I wanted but if it’s your will for me to stay here for a long-term mission, let me come home and settle some personal matters in the Philippines.” Soon after that, she was able to come home and stayed for a few months in the Philippines as she settled personal matters before leaving the country again. While she was still in the Philippines, she got interested in South Korea and Japan, but for some reason, she couldn’t go to any of those countries. “I was still prideful and not a hundred percent on board going on missions” stated Sis Liz as she looked back at why her plans were not happening. For the entire year of 2016, she just stayed in the Philippines, and she was not able to go to any country. She planned to go to Japan at the end of the year 2016 but she injured her foot, so she stayed behind. It seems like all doors are closing on her. It was a time of dependency on God. Only God can open the door of opportunities for her, so she needs to learn to completely trust in God and not in her own understanding.
In the early year of 2017, International Teams presented a mission program for missionaries interested in serving in the United Kingdom. Sis Liz signed up to go to the UK as one of the missionaries. She was so excited that she wanted to go right away but God was also teaching her patience. God was developing her character, so she won’t be easily swayed once she returns to the mission field. She applied to get a visa, but her payment won’t go through. It had been two months and she couldn’t book an appointment at the British Embassy because her payment wouldn’t go through. She started feeling frustrated and embarrassed because she had told people already that she was going, and she even bought winter clothes. One day at around three in the morning, she woke up and fervently prayed to God. She felt that she was hanging on a very slim strand of hope, and she was about to lose it. She started worshipping and groaning in prayer. Soon after that, she decided to try her card again for one last time if the payment would go through, and amazingly it did! Sis Liz was so happy that she was able to make that progress after two months. Now it is up to the Lord to secure for her that very elusive and very difficult to acquire -- a British visa.
While waiting for the result of her visa she would always see the flag of the United Kingdom. It felt like it was following her everywhere she goes. Then the day she had been waiting for came. Before she went inside the British Embassy she prayed and hoped that her visa would be approved. She saw some papers placed in her passport and thought it was a letter of rejection. She felt dejected but to her surprise when she opened her passport, it was just some unnecessary documents that were returned to her.
She was granted a UK visa!!!! She could finally breathe, felt so relieved, and overflowed with joy and excitement.
Her foot injury was not fully healed but she pushed through with her travel plans and eventually made it to the United Kingdom. It was a dream that became a reality! She joined the other IT missionaries in Wales, all of them overflowing with joy and gratitude to the Lord for such an amazing blessing and favor! There she met a pastor who noticed that she was limping. By the power of the Holy Spirit through the pastor’s prayer, Sis Liz was healed. She no longer felt any pain in her feet. She received complete healing from God, and it made her more determined to do God’s work. A few months later, she moved to the British Virgin Islands, and she met her boyfriend there and they got married later on.
Sis Liz’s dreams came true indeed. She was able to travel to places in the world. She wanted to get married in a foreign land and she always wanted to visit where the “Pirates of the Caribbean” was filmed, her favorite movie. All of these dreams were fulfilled, all because she completely trusted God’s ways and timing. Up to the present moment, Sister Liz is staying on the British Virgin Island with her husband and continues to obey God’s will in her life. She has learned that God won’t waste any of her talents and time. Therefore, whatever it is that you desire in faith, you must speak it, declare it and it will happen in His own time.
Praise goes to God who has the responsibility for our salvation and our perfection and who, having started the good work will go on with it to completion and perfection. He so loves us that He chastises us to bring us into conformity with the image of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, so we may be unified with our heavenly Father, and our Savior, in the peaceable Family of God.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(Written by: Venus Jablo)