In The Beginning
The beginning of my Christian journey started when I was 15. I was a typical young boy who just want to have fun and attending a youth camp seems a party to me. I never went to a youth camp but because my best friends Angel and Ef registered, I joined the club. On the last day of the camp I remembered our pastor sharing the gospel and did an altar call. I went in front and bowed down and prayed that Jesus will come in to my life and that I will start obeying Him. I believe God heard my prayer and from that day on the Holy Spirit started convicting me to do God’s will. Sunday mornings became a non-negotiable commitment and those who wants to see me, they need to go to church. Change was a process. It was not always easy. But I know that God is preparing to something big. I know that there will come a time that I will serve God full time. I know I was called for His purpose. But before you go big, you need to start small and be faithful to those little things. That’s at least what happened to me.
Out of Curiosity & Insecurity
Angel and Ef were musicians. Ef was a professional drummer and Angel was a guitarist in our church. I was curious and insecure. I was curious to know the feeling of being on stage and insecure because I am the only person left in our circle who’s not a musician. Out of curiosity and insecurity I started desiring to become a musician. Our church was very conservative. It means we don’t have drums, no clashing of cymbals, no synthesizer sounding keyboard, no pentatonic scale shredding of lead guitar, and obviously no shouting, dancing and spontaneous singing worship leader. I asked our pastor if I can be a part of the team and he gave me my first instrument.. guess what? — tambourine! My first instrument in our church was a tambourine player. Praise the Lord we don’t have tambourine dancers because if we did, I may not be disqualified not because of playing tambourine but because of dancing.
I know to myself that I was just driven to join the worship team because I felt like I’m an outcast in our friendship. Though I like being in the team, I did know the very heart of why I play. One day our pastor shared about the heart of why we are in the music team — it is our service to God and serving Him is worship. So finally with the right posture of my heart I told God that I will serve Him and be the best tambourine player that I can be. I can still remember how I learned every beat and sound from playing tambourine. After maybe one year, I was promoted as the drummer when our pastor finally decided that it’s time to have drums in our church. We are becoming more contemporary so our church also bought a bass guitar, an electric guitar, and a bongo. I eventually learned how to play all those instruments. I learned different instruments but I focused on playing the bass guitar.
God’s Preparation For His Direction
Little did I know that God is giving me a sense of direction — a purpose — to be the light and salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-15). But I thought that all those things that I learned was because God wanted me to be in the music industry and become a part of a band that will eventually become famous. At the age of 24, I got a chance to play with celebrity musicians. I remember when I was in high school I used to daydream about being with the great musicians in the country. I watch their concert except that it’s only from our tv and listen to their songs except that it was on the radio. But those musicians eventually became my friends. We eat, play video games, drink coffee, and share life experiences together. It was a dream that became a reality. Since I was surrounded by professional musicians, my desire to become famous grew stronger. I formed a Christian band with a goal of using music as a tool to inspire people. We recorded a song and started performing in different places in the Metro. I thought it was the path that I’m taking.
Adventure Clothes & Backpack
It was in July 2012 when the course of my direction started to change. I was scheduled to play bass in our church worship night. I can hardly remember all my bandmates that time except for this friend of mine who was one of the backup singers. In that particular time, we’re not really close friends or should I say we’re just an acquaintance. Our pastor told us to find a prayer partner and start praying for each other. I had no choice but to become her prayer partner because we are just close on the stage. We started praying and after that she told me that she saw a vision of me wearing an adventure clothes with my backpack on. She said that I was ready to leave and go somewhere far. And then she saw a big mountain and I started climbing to the top. I believe I just received what they call a prophetic word.
It was my first time receiving a prophetic word and since my Christian foundation was rooted in a conservative teaching, I did not immediately believe it. So I asked my friends who know her and asked for her number. I just wanted to know the meaning of the vision that she saw. And yes, she explained it. She told me about going to a totally different culture and blessing the people there. Wait what?! I’m going to where? Is this what they call missions? Am I going to be a missionary?
I can’t sleep. It was 3am already. I was thinking of what I just heard. So I sat on my bed and started praying. I was talking to God and found myself sobbing. I never cried like that except when my grandma hit me with her belt when I took some of her money from her wallet when I was a kid. My prayer was more of asking God about what I received from a person that I hardly even know. So I came to a conclusion — have a deal with God. Folks, having a deal with God means you need to be ready in obeying Him.
“Lord how is it possible for me to be a missionary? My dream is to become a famous rockstar. You brought me to this level because what I believe is that you’re going to use me in this industry. I don’t even have any idea about missions. But Lord if this vision is really from You, then so be it. But I’m not gonna go after it. If it’s Yours I’ll find myself doing it.”
From July 2012 to January 2014
From that day on I became more aware about missions. I know to myself that there will come a time that I will be in the mission field but I don’t want to make any move because of how I prayed “I will not pursue it.” Invitations for 10 days mission in Indonesia, Malaysia and Israel was announced in 2013. Every announcement I remember asking God “Is this the one?”
In January 2014, a friend of mine from our province sent me a message and invited me to a missions exposure. He explained to me how I would learn from it and how it will help me be exposed to missions. Believe or not I thought it was just in the Philippines. I thought it would just be in our province. So out of having peace in my heart I said yes.
After one week, he sent me the itinerary and the budget for the whole mission trip and guess what? The trip is in Thailand! I was like ‘What in the world?!’ Since I already said yes and I felt the peace in my heart, I embraced it. It will just be a two weeks trip by the way.
When God Use A Friend
That same night, a friend of mine sent me a facebook message and asked me if we can talk. Imagine your friend asking you if he can talk to you without saying his concern immediately and left you hanging for several days. It was brutal. I thought I offended him. I thought he was going to punch me in the face. It was a Sunday evening when he sent me a message. We met Friday morning. For five days I was worried about what he’s going to tell me or do to me.
So Friday morning and we were walking at the ground floor of Robinsons Pioneer. It was beside the spaghetti house and we were just talking about a lot of things. And he started his intro about what he really wanted to tell me.
“Bro the night I messaged you God told me something. I was praying that time and He showed you to me. He told me that I need to support you because you will go to missions. Are you going to missions?”
Both of us were shouting inside the mall because what He just said was the confirmation of my season to go to missions. God validated my commitment to go to a missions exposure with my friend.
That conversation with my friend confirmed that it was time for me to obey God. I went to a three short term trips. Thailand in 2014. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand in January 2015. Thailand & Myanmar in September 2015. I know short term trips would help me learn more about missions but I am called not to be a short term missionary but to do it long term. So in December of 2015, I quit my job. I started raising funds and in February of 2016, I went back to Thailand to stay there long term.
In my three years of stay in Thailand, one of the things that I received from God is the calling to lead worshippers to make disciples. That by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, the ministry would see worshippers focused not just in music, but also focused in worship and discipleship. That’s why Just Worship International was birthed.
Obedience - the key to the promised land
All that you do is connected to the bigger picture of who you will be in the future. From being a boy who play tambourine to becoming a man leading music teams. It was clear in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good to those who love God and those who are called according to His purpose.
One thing is for sure, choosing His plan over mine was the best decision that I made. I never regret of choosing Him — His plans and purpose. Our obedience is the key to unlocking the door to the promised land.