It’s time to write it all down

I really started writing during 2012. A lot of my thoughts and devotions were written here in my blog and I want to look back and create a series of entries. I want to entitle this series “Retrospect of a Grace Showered Individual.”

What is retrospect? It is contemplation of the past; a survey of past time, events, etc. You can further definitions about it here.

Its just going to be a series of 4 entries looking back at the things God has blessed me with and how he has worked in my life. This is my personal testimony examples for 2012. Here is the line-up of my series:

  1. Retrospect of a Grace Showered Individual – My Dgroup
  2. Retrospect of a Grace Showered Individual – The B1G South Ministry
  3. Retrospect of a Grace Showered Individual – The B1G South Worship Ministry
  4. Retrospect of a Grace Showered Individual – The change in me

I hope and pray that this will be able to spread the goodness and greatness of our God. Try reading all of my entries and let me know your thoughts about this by leaving me a comment below.

God bless!

My B1G8 Single’s Retreat Experience

B1G8 is definitely another retreat that I’ll include in my book of retreat memories. We have been praying for this singles retreat for months and I know there is no simple prayer for Him. It was truly a different experience. I was thinking about my first B1G retreat last year (B1G7) and was comparing it to B1G8. There were some things I missed from last year’s retreat, but there were also a lot of things I gained this year’s. For the first time, after all the retreats I have attended, I was not a facilitator but a retreat worker. I had a different role and responsibility – which was quite a challenge for me. But all the challenges I faced was nothing compared to how great our God is and how he can orchestrate everything.

We arrived at Hotel Stotsenberg Thursday (November 22, 2012) afternoon since we were part of the advance part for the south group. When I arrived at the main hall, I couldn’t believe how many seats there were and the number of singles we would be expecting.  Picture of Hotel Stotenberg's main hallI was so excited. I began imagining more than 900+ singles worshiping and getting to know God is love therefore He loves them.

On that day, we finalized the registration for Alabang and helped around fixing the materials that needed to be prepared before the retreat started. We know we can rest in Him but we also know that we needed our physical rest. We slept at around 1am since the next day was going to be a big day! It was the official start of the B1G8 retreat.

Day one: November 23, 2012. We woke up at 7am, had our breakfast and started fixing our booth for Alabang. Actually, it was already fixed by the St. Francis registration team (Thank you guys!) and we just posted our tarpaulin to promote our B1G Connect Service every Saturdays, 6pm at the 3rd Floor Multipurpose Hall CCF Alabang. We also did a couple of verifications plus changes in the facilitators kits. The Alabang buses arrived at around 10:30am and I started handing the kits to the facilitators. We had lunch and right after lunch, the first joint session started. But there was a problem, all the rooms assigned to the Alabang team cannot be used until 2pm. Everyone was requested to put their bags in Tipanan hall for the meantime and proceed with joint session. Along with this, the registration of the rooms had to be fixed. I was going back and forth the main hall and the lobby to talk to people and get the keys for all the rooms assigned to us. It was pretty tiring – I think I lost a couple of pounds from walking back and forth. But despite that minor setback, I was actually smiling deep inside. I loved what I was doing. There was such a love deep within my heart, which God has put, to serve the ministry no matter what.  It was really confirmed within my heart that this is where God has placed me, this is where He wants me to serve. I was so thankful to Him for giving me this opportunity to serve. This was one of my realizations for that day: I am privileged to take part in this ministry and serve Him because in reality I am not worthy of such responsibility. After the breakouts, we had dinner and then it was time to rest for me. Picture of friends in B1G8The team (Worship Ministry) God has entrusted me to lead, invited me to bond with them. I’m blessed to have this group of talented individuals. They are truly God’s gift to me. Day one was over in a flash. Whew! That was fast. I knew that the next day was to be another busy and yet fun day.

Day two: November 24, 2012. I couldn’t believe it. I slept at around 1am but I was able to wake up at 5:30am to prepare for the dawn watch. I’m not a morning person by the way and I usually wake up 9am during weekdays. But since I knew this only happens rarely, I relished the opportunity to wake up early and have devotion with God’s people.

B1G South Men during Dawn Watch

I just want to highlight three things from that eventful day:

  1. Pastor Nate’s message. Although, this was the second time I heard his message, it still penetrated my spirit that I felt compelled to write down the things that I needed to improve on. His message confirmed what God has been teaching me even before the retreat begun – It’s not about me but about him. There was still a lot of areas in my life that needed pruning. There was still a lot to change.
  2. Worship Night.I love worshiping God. Through all the songs that we sang, I just broke in tears seeing how good He has been in my life. In the middle of the worship night, we were asked to group ourselves together and pray for each other. I felt God asking me to gather my Dgroup and pray with them. I shared to them how thankful we must be for the 4 years God has been gracious to us and has allowed us to maintain our fellowship all through those years.Marc Sorongon's Dgroup
    Our prayers just focused on thanking him and worshiping him. Our Dgroup has grown so close over the years and I just want to give praise to God for allowing me to lead a group of such fine individuals. I have grown because of them and I am just in awe, as well, at how much they have grown in their relationship with God. To God really be the glory!
  3. Fellowship Night. I didn’t expect it. I already prepared myself not to expect seeing her. But was she really there? My eyesight isn’t that good plus it was dark but when I saw her –I started wondering if I might be looking at right person. I asked one of my Dgroup members to confirm if it was really her since he knew her – CONFIRMED! I wanted to catch a glimpse of her since I haven’t really been able to see her face, but we were all asked to be in the lobby for Tommy’s surprise since it was going to be his birthday in couple of minutes. We surprised Tommy in the lobby and it was such a sight to see B1G South together and united. After the surprise, I took the time to pray. I prayed a small prayer to God asking Him to grant me favour tonight. I was determined to approach her and talk to her. But when I came back she was no longer in the fellowship area. I actually went around the hotel a lot of times to look for her. It’s funny, because I was even looking for excuses to go around the hotel hoping that I might bump into her. I can’t count the many times I went around the hotel and the center garden, hoping to find her. What a great ending to a hopeful love story! I couldn’t understand it, I was merely hoping to see her again (after a year and in a B1G retreat again). But I was also asking was it really her? She wasn’t supposed to attend this retreat, right? Anyway, I leave it all in God’s hands. Again, I can’t understand it but He is in control of everything and has a great plan for me and her. I just pray for the best of what God has in store for her.

We slept at around 3am since my Dgroup and I spent hours bonding in our room. They were playing our favorite game called “Mafia” and they even  ordered food to eat. But I decided to rest after a long day of serving and after my tiring endeavor of going around the hotel just to see someone.

Day three: November 24, 2012. I woke up late but was still able to catch the team leaders’ breakfast together. I listened to Pastor Ricky’s message and it was so rich and full of life lessons. And then Francis shared to me one of his biggest take away from it:

Do you know why the net didn’t broke (John 21:11) when the disciples where hauling in their large catch?  It was because it was the Lord’s catch and not the disciples.

It was pretty timely as I prepared for the baptism session. It reminded me –It’s not about me but about him. The person that we will be baptizing is His catch and He alone is to be gloried! It was truly a great privilege to take part in the baptism. B1G8 Baptism PictureI saw individuals declaring their commitment and faith to Jesus Christ. I saw others crying way before it was their time to be baptized.  It was really an honor to be a part of it. I pray that those who have committed their lives will grow in their relationship with God and be used mightily by Him. After the baptism, I packed my things and went directly to the main hall to return all the keys for Alabang and join the closing ceremonies.

This is my longest entry so far and I think I need to cut it short. After the closing ceremonies, we had the traditional B1G picture, got on the buses and headed home. We arrived in Alabang at around 9pm.

B1G8 Picture of everyone

I can’t believe it’s over. After months of pushing for prayer and tireless preparations, the retreat has just ended. But I know what we have experienced shouldn’t end here.  God is always ready to bless us with his presence and love. This is why I continue to encourage everyone who attended the retreat to commit to attending Dgroups and joining big and small groups because it is through these that we continue to spur one another and continue to experience our own small B1G event. Our fire and zeal for God should not die down or stop. We should continue to grow and mature in our relationship with God and we need to do that together. We need one another. I do hope to see everyone in the B1G South’s reunion.

B1G South Reunion Cover Photo

To God be the glory always and forever!

When God Answered My Simple Prayer

I uttered a simple prayer and He answered it. I was scheduled for a business trip to New Jersey before and while I was waiting to board the plane I said a simple prayer. I asked God if He can allow me to experience being in the first class section. I really don’t know what came in my mind but I just wanted to ask it. If He answers, then that would be exciting but if he doesn’t what would I lose anyway?

My trip to New Jersey had 2 connecting flights. From Manila we need to take a plane to Nagoya and from Nagoya we would take a connecting flight going to Detroit and then from Detroit another connecting flight to Newark, New Jersey. I wasn’t really expecting anything but my flight from Detroit to Newark was upgraded to a preferred seat. It was not first class but for me it already seemed like an answered prayer.

Three weeks went by and we were on our way back to Manila. Again, we needed to take the same route – from Newark we need to take a plane to Detroit, from Detroit a connecting flight to Nagoya and then from Nagoya another flight to Manila. It was pretty tiring. I remember I was seated beside someone who brought along her dog. The dog was barking most of the time and I had a hard time sleeping during the 14-hour flight from Detroit to Nagoya. When we arrived at Nagoya, my name was called. Being upgraded to first class was the last thing in my mind since I thought it was already answered before. I was handed my connecting ticket and there it was in front of me – my first ever first class ticket.

I was stunned! Then, I remember the simple prayer I uttered. He answered it! He heard my prayer and He answered it to how I wanted it to be! The whole trip from Nagoya to Manila – I was smiling. Despite being tired, I had a big smile in my heart. I was so amazed at how God took notice of my simple prayer. I still wasn’t able to sleep during that flight because I wanted to savor every moment of it but during that time it was such a precious moment for me also since I was just praising and adoring God.

At times, we forget that every prayer that we uttered is being heard from above. Maybe we might think that God is so busy to listen to our simple prayers. He is not. He is always listening and wants to hear what we have to say. My simple prayer is evidence that He hears all prayers and he doesn’t filter out what is only of dire importance. My prayer was not that important. It was not a prayer regarding a life or death situation or even a prayer involving a major decision in my life. It was just a simple prayer that for me can even be ignored – I can live without it being answered. But I still took the step of asking it.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7, NASB)

The reason that you do not have is because you don’t ask. Ask God. Pray for it. He hears it. You will be blown away when God answers prayers. He will answer you according to his love for you. You just need to take that step of faith – understand He hears all our prayers and will answer according to what is best for us.

Pray Continually.

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