It’s Time (Divine Appointment with Ate Lorna at Starbucks Podium)


Alarm Clock Ringing Royalty Free Stock PhotoI was trying to piece things together – the burden, the information overload, the reeling questions, the lack of experience, the sense of urgency, the helplessness, and just weeks ago – the growing discouragement caused by not having anyone to talk to about this, and the cluelessness what to do next. What to do with myself?

Well, ask God, of course.

God, what to do? Talk to my pastor? Talk to a friend? Talk to a stranger? Talk to my neighbor? Talk to my mom? Talk to a churchmate? [Talk to my apple mac? Talk to my tweetmates? Joke!?] Oh God, I’m listening. I had a roll call of names but unexpectedly, it’s none of my usual confidants that God impressed to me. Why not Ate Lorna?<Shing>

*Light Bulb Moment*

Why not? Indeed why not?!

Ate Lorna is a missionary to China and she’s here in Manila for a short vacation. Together with her husband, she’s planting house churches among tribes there in a certain province. They also have training centers there for missions. And the thought of starting a training center here in the Philippines has been crossing their minds lately.

I have just finished reading The Blueprint and I am overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge on how to plant simple churches. I should learn this soon right? I can’t plunge into something I do not understand or have no background or experience in. Praise God Ate Lorna agreed to meet with me. The rest, I believe, is (literally) history.

Minutes before I left the house, a soft drizzle had started. I prayed it will not turn into a heavy pour. But even if it had, I was simply decided that nothing can stop me from going on a two-hour ride to our meeting place — Starbucks Podium. (Starbucks Podium reminds me of some seeds Meech and I have planted years ago for campus ministry. God marks places and speaks in the same place to create touchstones for our lives.)

I shared to her the vision I swallowed whole from the book The Blueprint. She looks at the book and a big smile appears on her face. The title reads, The Blueprint: A Revolutionary Plan to Plant Missional Communities on Campus. “This is good! You know, my original ministry is in the campus!” I could sense that her heart for the campuses and students is still very much alive. She goes on to tell me how she started small groups in campuses out of literally new converts harvested from right-on-three minute-Gospel-preaching to a roomful of students. Alone. Her heart burned with so much love that she just had to do it. Wow.

She shared how the ministry grew into a number of cell groups in four or more (sorry I forgot how many) campuses along the University Belt in Manila. She became her church’s first campus ministry director because of her pioneering venture (like OMG, I didn’t know that until that moment when she told me!) and later on, God brought her to China to become a missionary there, taking with her what she has learned planting communities in Manila campuses.

She confirmed some of the stories in the book, of how quickly churches grow in China, and how the church there in the provinces are not prone to denominational barriers. There is just one kind of Christianity, in its simplest and most powerful form, pervading, prevailing amidst persecution.

We talked about so many more stuff. Reaching the marketplace and the unreached peoples through mission-oriental college graduates, 24-7 houses of prayer, 1040 Movie screenings, Jesus Revolution, and of course Ako ay Pilipino movement.

I’m glad I had asked God for instruction, and listened. I am so awed by God’s exceptional timing. Ate Lorna and her husband are only here for about three weeks and those three weeks had been plotted exactly on the time when I would be needing to talk to her the most. God is just awesome. I am still overwhelmed by the vision God is planting deeper into my spirit. There are days when all I could do is cry. But help is always on its way. I am learning to ask God difficult moment by difficult moment, and then hear, obey, and be grateful for His provision.

Go do it Riz. Do it now. Don’t delay or else you will miss God’s timing.” These were Ate Lorna’s words. Exactly what a YWAM lecturer told me years ago, “Just Do It.” Although the first time I heard those words I did not understand what they meant. But remembering them now on God’s appointed time. I know it’s simply time.

Ate Lorna and Kuya David’s ministry is called Within Reach Global (WRC) and they are passionate in reaching unreached people groups in Southeast Asia. Do visit their website: www.withinreachglobal.org and follow them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/within_reach

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