Overcomers Overcoming

THE week before the most recent JCF retreat in Kobe, three separate people emailed me reminding me to be aware of spiritual resistance in Japan. At the same time, Ive been reading a book that a friend randomly gave me: Warfare Prayer by C. Peter Wagner. Not surprisingly, the theme of the JCF retreat this past weekend just so happened to be “Overcomers Overcoming”. In my small group we discussed a feeling of spiritual “disconnectedness” from the reality of God, which all three of us have encountered over the past year. Not only was it encouraging simply to hear that others are encountering similar challenges, but I felt convinced that God […]

Being a Messenger of Jesus

THERE is no doubt about it, Christmas is a season of wonder. Even people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus easily get into the Christmas spirit. People are more generous during this time, more joyful and even sing Christmas carols and songs of worship about a Savior! There is just something special about Christmas that people who aren’t even saved and don’t even understand, know there is something about it that is special. As Christians, we know that it is because of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of love ever given. This is a beautiful season for Christians although we don’t really believe it is on December 25th,  it is a great opportunity to […]

Adventures and Wonderlands

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your task. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle. ~ Phillips Brooks THERE was one chance I didn’t take. But I’m not going to talk about it now because I don’t believe that God has called us to live a boring, “cotton-candy” Christian life. I believe God wants us to experience life for ourselves and live it to the full (John 10:10). At the beginning of this year, I have already “made up my mind” to […]

Blessings and Guardrails

In November 2013 I attended my third JCF Retreat. When I first came to Japan in August 2012, I was really excited about practicing my Christian faith in Japan. My relationship with God was the most important thing in my life and I intended to take every opportunity to share His love with others. Over time, my zeal cooled a bit, especially as the novelty and challenge of living in Japan wore off. More and more, I became busily occupied with an exhausting social schedule. I found that my interest in prayer waned as I became increasingly tired and distracted by “fun”. A few times throughout the year, I vaguely […]

Lost in Transition

SUDDENLY, the rain washed away the humid days in Osaka during this last week of August. Although it is still hot, the nights have started to become cooler and for the first time this summer I got by without an electric fan assisting the air-conditioner in my apartment. It seems like the impetuous summer just stepped out, pulling in the unwilling autumn. I sometimes wonder whether abrupt changes are good or bad. When I first came to Japan at the beginning of April a few years back, I was wearing only a cotton t-shirt under an athletic track suit, naive of the northern Japan spring. As soon as I landed in Narita International Airport, I knew I was in for lots […]

The BAHAmas

If the Japanese people impressed the world with their class, endurance amid devastation, cold and hunger with grace and resiliency, I can say that I am proud to be a Filipino because we can always laugh amid disasters and even make fun of calamities (in a good way). With an average of 20 typhoons visiting the Philippines per year and due to underdeveloped drainage system and many other problems with waterways and garbage disposal, the locals have seemingly gotten used to floods and would simply  joke about it. I still remember my dear son, only six years old then, a couple of years ago when one of the most mortifying typhoons came […]

Shaken But Not Stirred

A year ago today, I had an experience that brought these scriptures to life in a way that goes beyond that of just a nice thought on a greeting card that some people might think they come across like if not being specifically applied in a context. However, for me, they are permanently associated with March 11, 2011 and the weeks and months that followed from there… Thus resulting in my frequent comments that I’m “shaken, but not stirred“.   Colossians 3:14-16, New King James Version (NKJV)   14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule […]

Earthshaking Opportunities

In the summer of 2009, God called me to be a missionary in Japan. Personally, I thought He was nuts, to which he simply replied, “I made you. If I’m nuts, what are you?” Realizing I couldn’t argue with God, I shut my mouth, packed my bags, and with nothing to go on but a few contacts and a job teaching English, hopped on a plane and went. God’s hand seemed to be guiding me from the very beginning. Within the first month, a small church near my apartment contacted me. I visited them the next Sunday, nervous that with only two semesters of Japanese, I wouldn’t understand a word. […]

Happy New Year, Happy Island!

  While almost everybody was taking the chance to get away from Japan’s ‘hot zone,’ I had decided to spend the first three days of the 2012 in Fukushima. I had many reasons why I wanted to go back. But what was supposed to be only a selfish motive of visiting my friends became a big, unexpected blessing for me. 2011 was promising. After more than four years of living in Fukushima City, I had finally managed to move to a big, new apartment just a couple of days before the onset of 2011. I remember how I spent almost all the days of my winter break setting up my […]

’Twas the Year of the Census

by John Popp   ’Twas the year of the census and all through the region the people were scared of the great Roman legion. The emperor was bored; he breathed with a sigh. Then he had a great thought, a thought that was sly. “Have the people all counted, close, far, and wide, to increase their taxes, my fortune, my pride.” “This is bad news,” said the advisor to the king. “There are too many. How could we do such a thing? We can’t count them now!  We don’t know who they are. People have moved, some close, but some far.” “To keep the count true, the people must travel […]