It was standing room only at the opening night of this year’s Living Waters’ 25 Weeks Discipleship Program. There were 78 participants & 43 Team Volunteers. Thank you so much Team for your sacrifice and love for this ministry and for saying yes in partnering with what God is doing here. Welcome to new team members, and thank you old timers 🙂. Let the journey begin! God bless the work of our hands!
There was an overflow of God’s healing grace and boundless mercy among His wanting children at the Living Waters Leadership Training in CCT Tagaytay last June 4-10, 2017. There were 68 participants attended from four (4) Asian countries and 35 LW volunteers some flew all the way from USA and two Asian countries. The participants were so open and eager to receive from Jesus. Small groups were filled with personal encounters with Jesus as confessions were deep and some were shared for the very first time. Many were delivered from generational sins and witchcraft. Much healing was accomplished. At the end of our training 31 new coordinators were released. This has been the BEST Leadership Training so far!
I recently read that gratitude is the beginning of humility. May we all finish 2016 and continue into 2017 with gratitude on our lips!
So….onward to 2017!!!!
2016 Leadership Training
Journey to Healing
The 2016 week long Provincial Leadership Training is over but the effects of personal encounters with Jesus will continue to live on. Participants from La Union, Benguet, Rizal, Agusan del Sur, Batangas, Albay, Palawan, Leyte, Laguna, Bulacan, and Metro Manila came together for further healing and training in leadership. Eighteen different churches from those areas were represented.
The conference began for the team long before the participants arrived. Applications were received and reviewed, interviews held, administrative duties successfully carried out and prayers expressed “continually.” As the team prepared, Jesus was already imparting peace, comfort, and reassurance. The opposition began early; however, the peace Jesus gives far outweighs and overrides the opposition.
The conference began with the first day of Becoming Responsive to the Father’s Love, Integrity and Boundaries, and the Fighting Father. The participants were open and eager to receive from Jesus. With the eagerness and openness also came more opposition. There is no need to go into details about that, however, because as always, Jesus again showed Himself to be more BEAUTIFUL than any opposition or distraction! HE was the main attraction. And the ease with which to minister continued! “…as I started confessing my whole stories before God at the feet of the Cross and before my small group, I started experiencing calmness, peace, and confidence and it makes me to release forgiveness and I also earned and discovered that I have a lot of wounds that causes pains, guilt and shame that I am trying to hide for so long. I began to have that courage and boldness in my heart that makes me feel unafraid to face myself and tomorrow without shame and guilt. As if I am like a prisoner being in captive for so long, coming out from my prison cell.”
The second day continued with the Cross and Confession, Overcoming Addiction Through the Real Meal, and Renouncing Idols. The team continued to share with transparency and vulnerability. The teachings continued to be clear, concise, and full of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The participants continued in receiving from Jesus. Small groups were filled with personal encounters with Jesus. He continued to catch and number each tear that was shared. His kindness and tenderness held each person who shared their lives and the pain, which was lodged deep within. “…yes, it is painful…yes, it is difficult..yes it is not instant but healing and wholeness is sure in Jesus’ name. Through the cross and confession…forgiveness and restoration are available.”
As midweek approached, the tiredness began to set in but Jesus never gets tired. We looked at “How Wounds Can Make Us More Whole”, how Identifying “Brokenness and Resuming the Journey”, “Restoring Broken Boundaries”, and how “The True Self Forgives.” The process of healing continued. The remarkable thing was the ease with which the team continued to minister even in the midst of opposition. This is no surprise though. As we are able to rest in Jesus and HIS abilities, He has promised that His yolk is easy and His burden is light.
While all of this was going on, onsite and offsite intercessors committed to pray for the team and participants also spent effortless time in the presence of God praying as lead by the Holy Spirit. Our prayers took on many shapes…walking, drawing, talking, silence, laughing, crying, etc. Our hearts were connected horizontally as well as vertically. In those moments of connectivity, we were heard, we heard, and God was present.
The week began to wind down on Thursday. Breakthroughs continued to happen daily, hourly, and in the moment. Pain continued to be released and the reality of healing was shared through the seasoned teaching of “Offering the Gift” of our true selves. We heard the reality of honoring each other as the opposite gender in truth and love. “Restoring Woman’s Honor” and “Restoring Man’s Honor” were taught while reconciliation was expressed with integrity and grace. Coming to the end of the day, rest was needed so we spent time in quiet learning about “Listening Prayer” and practicing the art of true listening. We did what was needed. Some needed simply to rest while others actively heard. Is there only one way to hear or can we hear many ways. I would like to suggest, there are MANY ways to hear. So, however you hear, may your heart remain open to what the Lord has to say to you. “…through Living Waters, God has began healing my heart and woul and restoring my true identity…the true masculinity in me. I now understand that my true self is the one who bears the image of God that was once distorted, perverted, and twited because of sin but is now being restored through my union in Christ.”
The last day at All Christian Pavilion and Retreat Center, the followup opportunities of the support groups, FIST (Fighting for Intimacy, Sexual Purity and Truth) and WAW (Women At the Well) were presented. There were helpful instructions on how to run the various Living Waters programs and to develop effective teachings. The small groups continued while ultimately ending with a beautiful time of blessing each other. The conference officially came to conclusion with communion and a teaching on how the church can become a safe place for those who are wounded and how we can be a part of that safety, through the teaching of “For the Bride.” There was a beautiful picture of this safety as one of the team members, spontaneously offered, on behalf of one denomination; heartfelt forgiveness for pain caused through division while the offering of reconciliation was extended. Much healing was accomplished even through that expression of the heart.
Life is a journey. As lives intersected during this time and as Jesus was invited and present, journeys were altered, and hearts continued in their healing. Individuals were empowered and released into leadership of varying levels while they, with others, were blessed with the continued grace to invite Jesus into the pain, joy, tears, laughter, anger, hope, anticipation, etc of their journeys. “…my small group and even the testimonies of the participants made me realize that I am not alone in this battle…I know, I am just starting. At least now I know how to start to pick up the broken pieces of my life. I don’t even have to paste and put them together, because I believe, the Lord has even prepared a better portrait of my life…a clear, high definition picture with a strong frame to hold and protect it. A picture of my life…His masterpiece.”
Did the opposition continue through the week; absolutely. Did healing continue through the week; without a doubt! Did ease remain in ministry; more so than ever! The time was remarkable and our hearts remain full of gratitude.
Thank you Ptr Gary Ariz and Ptra Rich Ariz , and Ptra Rose Alonzo for all of your service and hospitality in coordinating this training. Thank you also to the whole team for their tireless serving of the participants and Jesus during this time of healing and training!!!!
Until next time…remain focused on Jesus and all of His beauty! Healing is available every day!
With every beginning comes an end. This past Tuesday Flagship 2016 ended well. Many emotions were seen on the faces of the participants but oh, how their countenances brightened significantly since the first week. God truly began a good work yet with this beginning, the ultimate end only comes when seeing Jesus face to face. Pau and Given, along with their group began the evening with a wonderful worship time.
What comes after such a powerful 25 weeks? This can’t be all there is…it feels as if the process is just beginning. This is very true. This is clearly just the beginning yet how do we hold on to hope as we continue with all of the “ups and downs” of our journeys? Raymond Arce and Jaime Gabrera eloquently expressed how we can hold on to this hope while moving on from this phase of our healing.
There are so many different emotions held as a program of this nature comes to a conclusion but there is one feeling that is shared by many, and that is “there is more.”
We can all rest in the fact that we are stronger and more equipped for tomorrow. But practically how do we live out the current places of our healing?
1. We embrace the tensions in our lives. We hold the “now” and the “not yet” together. Instead of trying to relieve the “tensions”, we live life holding them graciously alongside each other.
2. We accept that our healing is a process. This process will include failures, uncertainty, feelings of helplessness along with the feelings of joy, peace, happiness, etc. All are a part of this process and all are to be embraced.
3. We learn to aspire for great things. We learn we can hope for more.
Raymond and Jaime also shared an acronym for the word HOPE…
It is important to not “hide”, to share honestly about our struggles, and to not remain “silent”. “Silence” keeps us stuck in our struggles.
True confession is followed by the change in behavior of repentance
Patience is the heart of God’s Character. God takes the time needed to do a work that is lasting. We are an impatient people but waiting and trusting builds character, which brings hope. The hard reality is that becoming whole takes time. We can be kind to ourselves and take ourselves much less seriously.
“God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 We have permission to look forward to the future while holding closely the present.
After each group beautifully shared through song, poem, or skit, how the 25 weeks impacted them, Ptr Rod Santos and Kuya Joe Albaniel reminded us of the importance of getting plugged in to an accountability group, whether one already existing or creating ones in which we feel safe. Fighting for Intimacy, Sexual purity, and Trust is a men’s accountability group, which has meetings all over the city. Women are naturally more relational and find it easier to seek out a group in which they can share their challenges yet men, especially church leaders, have the tendency to try to deal with their issues alone and not in community with other men.
So, as we remember the place of beauty and safety of the Flagship, you can rest in the realization that Christ, your ultimate place of safety and beauty, goes with you daily and will accompany you to places of accountability, employment, relationships, and places of solitude.
Job well done, participants and team of Flagship 2016.
Congratulations to Victory the Fort for running and completing their first 25 week Living Waters Program, “Walking In Victory.” Under the leadership of Ptr. Miko Tangco and Ptr. Junjin Gepillano, the group found a place of safety: a place to, grow, be vulnerable, to share and to receive healing. Thirty-Five participants participated in and completed this first round of Living Waters in Victory the Fort.
As this healing journey continues, may we have the courage to continue in our weakness and vulnerability to walk in humility along side each other. When our weakness, vulnerability, and humility meet Jesus at the cross, lives can be changed.
So never give up. The timing for this 25 Week program took many years of persistent praying. We hold on to hope, not only for our personal lives, but also for the dreams God puts in our hearts.
Well done “Walking in Victory” team and participants for your perseverance and completion of this 25 week program! See you the upcoming LWLT!
Silence is often seen as our enemy or at the very least, something to be avoided. This past week, 14 members of Living Waters came together to experience just that, two days of guided silence at the retreat, “Falling into Mercy.”
Pastor Jonathan Nambu led us through 2 days of “Falling Into Mercy” at the Blessed Sacrament convent last July 29-31. His teachings on receiving mercy from Jesus, then becoming mercy to ourselves, our neighbors, and the community, as we embrace the reality of Jesus in us and forgiveness even when it “feels” unattainable, challenged and inspired those in attendance. We were graciously encouraged to find and trust the silence. To find and trust the silence not only outside of ourselves but the silence within.
It was admittedly a challenge for many of us yet we held graciously our individual experiences and processed them, as we were able, in Spiritual Direction with Kuya Jonathan. Our hope is to be able to not only embrace the rest and stillness while away on a retreat but also as we encounter the noise of our daily world.
May we continue to grow in that place of rest, stillness, and silence in order to not only enhance our relationship with God but also our journeying through life with others.
On day two (2) of HOPE 2016 in the Chicago area, Benjamin and Hazel (Philippines) shared what God is doing in their lives and in the Philippines Living Waters. How thankful we are for their transparency and vulnerability in sharing how the Lord is continuing to craft them into the man and woman that He intends through their marriage. RHN Team
June 2016, 252 individuals from various parts of the US as well as the Philippines and New Zealand gathered in Chicago to share hope in a world of confusion and brokenness at the 2 day conference: HOPE 2016 – Restoring Hope-Proclaiming Truth-Equipping Churches. Large group as well as small group workshops were offered. Janet Parshall, an advocate of the principles and policies that strengthen the family, was the keynote speaker. Workshops which were offered included, Making Your church A Welcoming Place for God to Transform Lives, Whey Gender Matters, At the Well: Being Jesus in Our Culture, Breaking Free from the Spirit of Death and Despair, Developing Friendships, Support, & Accountability Relationships, God Made Me Do It, Homosexuality: A Case of Mistaken REsponse, How to Reach LGBT Friend in a Post-Christian Culture, How Transformation Happens, Key to Ministering to the Hispanic Community. Founder and Executive Director of Desert Stream Ministries, Andrew Comiskey, Rev. Karen Booth, Pastor Ron Citiau, Pastor Phil Courson, and Pastor Linda Seller were also presenters.
Stories of healing and transformation in the areas of life such as same-sex attraction and gender identity struggles were shared. Those who personally face these struggles as well as family members looking in from the outside were encouraged and supported.
Personal testimonies were shared to help put faces to healing journeys. Our very own, Benji and Hazel Cruz shared their individual healings from God, which lead to the place where they could receive themselves and each other in marriage. Their stories were shared as an offering to those in attendance. Hearts were encouraged during this 2-day conference.
It is May 2016 and our annual Flagship is off to a strong start. There were 40+ in attendance, during our first meeting on Tuesday. The participants include those coming from as far as Batangas each week while others have actually relocated to Manila for these upcoming 25 weeks. They range in age from 17 to 62 years old. Even with the large number in attendance this past Tuesday, there are six who we are still expecting to join us next week.
We began with a beautiful time of worship lead by Janel Bauza, after which Jayvee Dychioco followed with a teaching on how we are a good gift to each other in life. A well rounded overview was also given by Jayvee to help each participant know, as much as possible at this point, what to expect in this upcoming time together. Each team member, coming from varying experiences of struggles and healing, also gave short testimonies with the hope the Holy Spirit would begin establishing a sense of safety for sharing from the very beginning.
The night was then concluded with a large ministry time where participants, committed to this process of healing, approached the cross for prayer ministry from the team. We are grateful for God’s presence throughout the whole evening. We ask for your prayer covering during this time, especially for the protection of the commitments made by the participants over this 25 week period and that each person would have personal encounters with Jesus as they risk in transparency. We also pray that we, as a team, would be trustworthy of the sacred stories and lives entrusted to us during this time.
More to come…