Posted in Jesus, Uncategorized

My Open Heart Surgery in Hong Kong.



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My heart was cut open. Examined. The blocks were taken out. It was given a renewed flow of blood, and it was healed anew. This pretty much summarizes what I underwent during a heart operation in Hong Kong last August 24-26, 2013.

August 24 (Saturday)

The most ideal day to fly to Hong Kong was Friday. Unfortunately, I had work, and I even had to do overtime. Hence, I flew Saturday. With one hour worth of sleep, I was in the airport at 3 AM. My flight was at 5. Eagerly waiting for my first trip alone and my second trip to Hong Kong, I felt God’s presence stamped all over my pre-departure. 🙂

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During the ride on the plane which was about  2 hours, I had the opportunity to talk with the woman beside me.. and also her husband.They were a nice couple, and our chit chats were very interesting. Besides that, i was also able to commune with my Creator as I was high above the sky. Now, that’s one devotion I will never forget! God told me about Esther, and how she was called to be in her place of position to be able to make a difference in that appointed time. 🙂 I believe God also calls me to be where I am right now because He wants me to do something significant like Queen Esther to her people at that time of oppression of the Jews.

Talking with God high above the clouds gave me assurance that He was with me. So, despite the turbulence on our descent, I felt peace and joy in my heart.

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I arrived at HK International Airport at about 8 AM. I waited for other churchmates to arrive so I can have companions going to the JIL International Center. I got my Octopus Card and had breakfast at Mcdo. This place was special for me, for it is the same place where I had my first breakfast in Hong Kong together with my whole family last March. I waited a bit for my co-YAMs.

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When they arrived, we rode a bus going to Prince Edward and eventually through many untoward circumstances, we arrived at the JIL International Center in Shek Kip Mei.

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My heart surgery started at about 11:30 AM in that place. Pastor Jerome Ocampo was speaking. I missed Pastor Bobot’s first talk. But it was okay. That day, God always reminded me of Romans 8:28, and I know He is in control. Here are a few things that struck me during Pastor Jerome’s message:

  • Do not be scared of testing. JOB had 2 years of testing. From super blessed, he became super mega over blessed after his trials.
  • We want to go through our issues, God wants us to grow through our issues!
  • Hold on to your fork! (The best is yet to come!)
  • If you trust God, you will have a gracious spirit like Daniel.
  • Complaining gets you stuck in the wilderness
  • Don’t belittle your job, if you are excellent, you will shine.
  • Joy is not a mood, it is a muscle. We must exercise it so the joy of the Lord will be our strength.
  • The best is not behind you, it’s right in front of you. The best is yet to come. The best for JIL is yet to come.
  • All you have to do is release the excellent spirit.
  • Even in prison, Joseph became the best. He shifted the destinies of nations.
  • Though you feel like you are in your Babylon, God has a promise for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

Sometimes, I really feel that what I am doing in life and in the ministry is insignificant. At that point, I was thinking too low about myself because of how people treat me. I felt that I was in my Babylon. But God promised me that Babylon is just a phase in life. He has great things in store for me, and He shall give this for His glory.

Other lessons or take aways from the Conference include:

  • “We talk about the second coming, half of the world has never heard of the first.” Oswald Smith
  • Your job is your ministry, your mission.
  • You are the temple of the Holy Spirit and nothing about you is “secular”
  • Missions is no longer about crossing the oceans, jungles or deserts, but about crossing the streets of the city.
  • Our life should shine so that they can see the Lord in us.
  • “My job is a holy, God-given expression of God’s call on my life to advance His Kingdom.”
  • Fulfill your mission, Fulfill your calling.

Pastora Cora shares:

  • “Pag ang Diyos ang nagbigay ng pangarap, nagkakatotoo..” (i feel like cryin again while typing this..)
  • “Wala tayoong binigay sa Panginoon na hindi niya pagyayamanin.
  • When much is given, much is required.
  • Vision Killers: Pride, Lust, Fears.
  • YAM is not personality-centered. This is the Lord’s idea. This is the Lord’s Ministry.
  • YAM – You are Master! 🙂

As God opens my heart to see what is inside it, I believe He was able to see my brokenness, my frailty, my disappointment on myself. I know He saw all my fears, frustrations, sorrow and dreams. I believe that God, during that time, assessed the current state of my heart, and He told me/revealed to me these things.

As he carefully saw the brokenness of my spirit, pastor Bobot’s message came like a breath of fresh air. His teaching was deep but simple. Huge but understandable. It was about the Holy Spirit. I have known the Holy Spirit. I must admit though that I had some notions about Him that was not right. I always thought of Him as a teacher  – He teaches you the right things to do. Yet, another side of teachers also include a disciplinarian – and I deemed Him as such. Having the fear of being a disappointment all my life, I also thought He was someone who would dislike me if I err. Pastor Bobot’s message was simple, but it struck me to the core. He introduced to me the Holy Spirit as a persona so close, so real, so in love with me. He is a teacher indeed, but He is also full of compassion and love just like Jesus and the Father.

As I anointed myself with oil in the head, hands and feet, I just felt really humbled that the God of the Universe would choose to live in me. Someone who could never be proud of anything, I just felt God so close by that I couldn’t stop from crying. God is here. I feel His presence. God redeems. God loves sinners. God wants us to be Holy, and He is there to help us to be holy. He wants to be Holy so we can be one with him. 🙂

The day ended with much joy. Though I didn’t have enough sleep, I felt my spirit energized. God has removed the clot in my blood vessels, and a new energized blood flows in my spiritual veins. 🙂

More than that, I was also able to eat at an all-you-can resto with fellow YAMs in Mong Kok! Along the road, we were able to see a group of young people having a concert in the street near the Ladies Market. They were singing Christian songs in Mandarin! What a way to end the day!

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August 26 (Sunday)

I slept earlier than most of my hotel-mates during the first day because I was tired and sleep-deprived. Since my body clock has adjusted to my early work schedule, I was able to wake up at 5 or 6 am. I took a bath early and went out ahead of others. I went to Tsim Sha Tsui, the place my family and I stayed last March. I ate at Tsui Wah restaurant, our favorite Breakfast place in HK (only to found out later on there was a Tsui Wah resto at the 2nd floor of our hotel). Yet, I had fun traveling alone. :p I had breakfast with God and he told me about Isaiah 40..

15 No, for all the nations of the world

    are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more
    than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
    as though it were a grain of sand.
16 All the wood in Lebanon’s forests
    and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough
    to make a burnt offering worthy of our God.
17 The nations of the world are worth nothing to him.
    In his eyes they count for less than nothing—
    mere emptiness and froth.

27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
    O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

There in a foreign land, I was amazed at God’s ownership of the whole world. Surely, He is God not only in the Philippines, but in every nation that ever existed, exists and will exist! My God is strong, and he can provide me strength to overcome the trials that will come my way. God is prompting me that I should trust Him and He will do the rest. 🙂

After such a filling of the body and Spirit, I tried to go to places alone. I still had time before the Sunday Service started. So, I headed to Prince Edward to see the goldfish market and the flower market.

 

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I got lost a bit. But, i eventually found my way. haha! I saw baby turtles for sale! I got caught in the rain, bought an umbrella at 7-11 and spent about 200 pesos for it! Whew. Sa Pinas, 50 pesos lang yun! hehe.

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Then, I went to the JIL Church at  Shek Kip Mei to enjoy God’s presence with my brothers and sisters in Christ. 🙂 During the praise and worship.. I will not forget ever what God told me. Thinking about it makes me cry more and more with gratitude even until this day. Well, God told me in His still small voice.. “Anak. I’m proud of you. You are not a failure. I am proud of what you have done. Though you feel that you have failed me, I am proud of you. Don’t believe the evil one. You were able to fulfill my desires for you in College and until now. Yes, you are not perfect, but you are not a loser. Great things await you.”

With that, I broke down. God telling you how proud He is! I am humbled. He reminded me of things I aspired and worked for to do for Him. Though people may not notice nor remember, He does. My God does. 🙂 This was the healing after the surgery. God moves! God heals! God is good!

The day ended with bonding time with new YAM friends – Ate Hanna, Ate Rhea Salazar and Ate Aimee who works for Compassion International (small world!). 🙂

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We had ice cream at a mobile ice cream store! It was my first time!

We also had to catch the train going back to Yau Ma Tei. We ran all the way to the platform! 🙂 I remember Ate Rhea’s word during our running moment in the walk-alator, citing that the equipment helped us to run faster. 🙂 Kailangan talaga dalawa, mas effective. Hehe. (How I wished Dek was there as well.. Yihee).

August 26 (Monday)

Before flying back to Manila, i spent one more day in HK. I fulfilled some dreams this day! I saw a Panda and a Penguin! YEY!

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I enjoyed Ocean Park alone.994267_10201685259954677_858371035_n

I was also able to conquer a roller coaster! 🙂 I was alone physically, but I really felt God with me.

 

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I went home in Manila with renewed faith, renewed hope.. and a renewed HEART.

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Posted in beginnings, Body, Cebu, Journeys

CEBU for first time travelers (Part 2 DAY)

It has been a long time since I’ve posted my Cebu Adventures. You might have been left hanging.. but here goes PART 2 after months of busyness, I finally found time to write.

If you missed part 1, here’s a link:

https://leviloveslife.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/touring-cebu-day-1/. 🙂

 

 

So begins DAY 2!

November 16, 2012

We barely had time to sleep since we arrived almost midnight the night before. Thanks to our delayed flight. Hehe. Sleeping in Cebu for the first time was refreshing. We woke up about 6 AM the following day, watched a little TV from the cable-ready television in our room and took turns taking a bath. The amenities for the hotel was quite good. They even had a sort of laundry/kitchen area.

After preparing for our transfer to our event venue, we decided to eat at the restaurant located at the lobby of the hotel. The restaurant’s name is ZUBUCHON which offers the nation-wide famous Cebu Lechon.

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The hotel is near a busy street, and unlike the night before, the street was filled with the colorful multi-cabs of the island. Zubuchon offers a variety of dishes which is a bit pricy for a frugal traveler. Their food ranges from 90-120 pesos per serving. This is a snap shot of their menu.

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Dek and I ordered Zubuchon, while Rex ordered slow-cooked Adobo. All in all the food was yummy. 🙂 The staff of this branch was also very accommodating, warm and responded quickly to our request.

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However, one thing to note is you have to wait for your food a bit. So, if you are in a hurry, this might not be the best option to have your meal. see the picture below? Yes, I was so hungry waiting for my food! haha.

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The food was worth the wait though… 🙂
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YUM! YUM! YUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UH-OH.. Besides the length of time, we also noticed an insect in one of the condiments in our table.


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See that guy swimming in a sea of salt at the right side of the bottle?

But we didn’t mind. 😀

 

 

 

After these adventures as a group, we headed to our event – the 6th anniversary of the Jesus is Lord Church – Young Adult Ministry. I think I will be posting in another section activities pertaining to the event. 😀

 

 

 

 

TIP# 1: Try something new.

TIP #2: When we traveled from the hotel to our event destination… we realized that we should not act as if  we are new in the place (though we are), the taxi driver was not very helpful and friendly. 😦 If we acted as if we were naive, he would have taken an additional 100 bucks from us.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

When Fame flies, and reality Barks.

He was one of the most popular guys in school. He was not handsome (in my set of standards.. maybe), but he never ran out of girlfriends. He was not in the intelligent group. He was member of a high school frat. He was famous. 

 

This evening, I was on my way home from work. I was very happy and excited to buy Christmas presents for family and friends. The jeepney ride home has been brief. The only few stop overs were near my school in elementary. In the usual stop overs of the jeepneys, most barkers stay in the place to earn an income from calling passengers. I was startled to see that  famous guy from high school. 7 years had passed by. I didn’t know if he finished high school. He was definitely in the same area near his home before. 

 

I remembered how he walked through school like he was a king, and now I look at his fate. Was it worth it? Was the fame and popularity in high school the basis of a fulfilled life? I was a nobody then.. maybe more inclined on being part of the nerdy brood. But I didn’t regret every single time I invested on my studies.

 

So here’s an unsolicited advice for elem and high school students. High school lasts for 4 years. Your life is more than that. Don’t waste it on a relationship when you are not yet ready. Don’t give up your studies for fame, friends or popularity. Invest. Reap afterwards. 

 

Here’s a song by Jon McLaughlin that reminds me so much about it.

 

 

Posted in Cebu, Journeys

CEBU for first time travelers!

I don’t need to go to London to visit a Queen because I visited the Queen City of the South Last Nov. 15-20! Here’s my adventures in the beautiful province of CEBU!

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So here goes an account on how to go about CEBU for us – first time travelers. This blog aims to give you tips on how to tour CEBU, how to commute in Cebu (hopefully), where to stay in Cebu, what to see in Cebu, where to eat in Cebu, etc.. Let’s take it day by day… 🙂 Here goes!

NOVEMBER 15

Our flight was scheduled at 9 PM. Originally, we had a flight with AIRPHIL. But eventually, because of a new policy, we moved to Philippine Airlines.. which was great because they had SNACKS! 🙂 We arrived 2 hours before our scheduled flight. Better late than sorry! But the policy is I guess 45 minutes before the flight. Anyway, just make sure you’re earlier than the 45 minute mark.

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That’s Derek and Chi, checking-in our baggage at NAIA Terminal 2.

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We arrived at the Mactan Airport on Nov. 15 about 11 pm. We had prepared for the trip in advance so we had reservations in a HOTEL. So that’s TIP #1.

TIP #1: Research in Advance. Book hotels in advance. Have a mental picture of the place. Research how to go from point A to point B. 

We checked in at Islands Stay Hotels in Mactan.

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We hailed a metered taxi in the Airport. But he was charging us 150 ahead of time. I said that we stick to the meter’s readings, but he still insisted.. Since I was very tired, I said 120. Derek said 100. But I gave him 120 na rin… It’s a pity I didn’t get his plate number… I was extremely tired and was not feeling well.

HOTEL — The people in the hotel were nice. I didn’t feel a 5-star-treatment of course.. pero it was nice and warm naman… Here are some snapshots of Islands Stay hotels – MACTAN.

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There were 2 beds. 2 people can fit in each.

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They had a sink and a sort of kitchen but with no cooking tools.

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They had a TV with Cable.

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They had warm and cold water in the CR! 🙂 It was clean.

The design of the room was also chic!

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Islands Stay hotel charged 1650 for this LARGE room, but we had to add another 300 for an extra person.. so that’s 1950 for the three of us or 650 for each person.

Check out their website for rooms and rates. Visit http://www.islandsstay.com/.

The hotel is very near the airport and the bridge connecting Mactan to Cebu City, so its definitely a good place to stay.

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TIP #2: Research for a place to eat at night or eat at the airport.

We were hungry when we arrived, but it was already about 12 am when we went out to eat. I felt a bit scary, good thing 2 guys were with me. We ended up eating at a carinderia near the hotel.. but to get there we had to climb a foot bridge (which was scary at night). We ordered Barbecue at the eatery. I didn’t like the taste that much, but Dek and Chi liked it… It took away our hunger and was reasonably priced.. 12 pesos per stick. there were many people drinking so I felt uncomfortable. But the staff were nice even if I couldn’t speak Cebuano so I felt safe naman.

If we had researched a place where we can eat.. maybe we wouldn’t end up in that eatery. It was okay for us, but if you are not up to it, better eat at the airport though it’s a bit pricey.

So that’s DAY 1 for you. I’ll post DAY 2 when I have time again! Ciao!! 🙂