Last week I went to CCT Tagaytay Retreat Center to assist in an event made for pastors and that’s the second time I went there. The feelings were mixed of excitement and happiness but the atmosphere was somewhat eerie because what happened here more than a year ago, was still fresh and vivid in my mind! Yes, at some point this place became a historical site to me knowing that this place is where I lost myself.
March 30, 2015. This is the exact day when I lost myself. During that time, I’m on my seventh month of going to church… but as an attendee. To elaborate, an attendee is someone who sits back at church, worship Him, hear the preaching, and either put it or not into practice. Yeah, take note of that ‘either’ because I really felt that I will just follow Him if it is convenient for me. I’ve already shared the back story of this through my testimony which I already posted in one of my previous blogs. But as a summary, that’s the day when I told God, “Lord, today I surrender my life to You. I want to serve You just like how others serve You wholeheartedly. I want a brand-new relationship with You.” And after uttering such words, that day became the most priceless moment of my life!
October 12, 2016. This is the day I went to the same place and felt a lot more. What would be that “a lot more” means? What I want to share is, after almost eighteen months, I’ve experienced “a lot more”. I became better, yeah, maybe not as advanced as others may seem in their faith but I surrendered my life to Him since the former date. I served Him since then and it’s an awesome feeling to go to this place to serve! (I really had goose-bumps thinking about this.) I could definitely say that I had the relationship with Him. The best relationship I ever had and the relationship I’ve been aching to have years ago. I already found my purpose of loving Him and loving people for just a short period of time, and now I know my love for the Lord is really growing. One manifestation of this is serving people.
The event at Tagaytay was a leadership training for pastors and church leaders and we volunteered at the church’s bookshop. In this way, pastors from different parts of the country may avail training materials, leadership books, and many more. The work enable us to experience a lot of things. Talking to new pastors and sharing personal experiences about leadership isn’t a thing I imagined before. Giving them advice and teaching them how to really connect to people was amazing! (Truly, you can share to people not based on position but based on their need.) Aside from being at a mentoring made exclusively for pastors, it’s an honor to be part of the church’s staff that our senior pastor, Bishop Oriel, was very proud of. He even boasted regarding our dedication despite the fact that we volunteered at our own expense! He told these things in front of other pastors and that reminded me that what we’re doing isn’t something we should regret, but the other way around. Honestly, I went there having money enough for a one-way ride. I may say that I am unable to volunteer because I don’t have money but it’s not in me to decline any opportunity to serve. We also don’t have lodging there, for the rooms are exclusively for the delegates, but we managed to sleep at a storage room inside the conference hall! (It wasn’t bad in there because it’s actually warmer than any place there.) We don’t have our own food, but by grace, we even ate snacks other than meals given by our church leaders. Ha ha! We can say that the physical aspects weren’t perfect but a whole lot of fun. But nothing beats the spiritual side of this experience: being filled with joy in serving despite the tiring computations and inventories; being filled with His Words and the Holy Spirit; and being in the atmosphere of genuine worship. Inconvenience shouldn’t stop a servant from serving. The heart of a servant delights in serving his King. The eyes of a servant are focused in building his King’s Kingdom.
After all, I’m really privileged to do something for Him. Not everyone volunteers and gives time to serve, and with this I’m really grateful because the Lord placed that fire in my heart, that eagerness to serve, that willingness to share to people. Whenever I do something, I know He’s glorified. But it don’t stop at that because, at the end of the day, I know that I am fulfilled. Truly, I know that my joy is in Him. Nothing in this world could ever replace that feeling in my heart. My heart knows his very love and it delights in helping others because being an avenue of expressing His love to others is an honor. I know that feeling these inexplicable thing is something I take pride of and is forever in my heart. I love serving because I love Him. I serve not to lift up my own name but because He served when He’s here on Earth and I love to continue that compassion. I want to extend His hand to others. I want other people to see Christ in me —that’s the real joy of serving.
Indeed, that 2 days at CCT were memorable, just like how memorable that 2 days back in 2015, when I decided to surrender my life to Him. My maturity in doing the great commission increased! Taking part of the church’s cause was a great experience and now I’m going to the next level of serving! I also learned that every little thing we do creates a large impact in every individual. A simple answer to question, sincere smile, and “God bless you!” can really make a difference. What more if we continue to serve in His church? I’m also stirred by the fact that He really changed me. Not so long ago, I was there at CCT, surrendering my life to Him and now I’m one of the people who helps people to surrender their lives, as well. I am really transformed from a purposeless person to a woman who serves God. He even activated that “servant heart” in me. What else can I do but to serve Him!