Last time I mentioned about my mission going to Japan and below how this trip went on.
Truly this trip last May 15-27 was all God’s since day one. From the denial of my scholarship to International AIDS Conference in Australia, to receiving this email invitation from a friend who extended his work at the ship, to the processing of VISA and getting it surprisingly in three days, to the smooth and safe travel, the whole workshop, the nerve-wracking devotion, down to the feedback and heart-warming responses of the people up to the last minute were simply awesome that I have felt God’s hands in each and every step of the way in accomplishing this project.
When I arrived at the ship and met the whole team, they have told me that they were all praying for the VISA and for my safe travel. Obviously it worked! As for the project, which is called S-Project where S stands for Sex or Sexuality, it was a combination of morning devotions and workshop on issues around S such as gender, marriage, purity, lust and other stuff with more focus on homosexuality. We did an approximately twelve one-hour workshop on SSA or same-sex attraction where I have to share my journey and personal struggles with the goal of helping them to understand how a person with SSA struggles from the beginning up to the present. Also we have discussed the practical ways of dealing with people who has SSA as Christians or God’s people. I did the biblical perspectives on homosexuality in my morning devotion where, again, I got wonderful positive responses. Literally, I felt like speaking before nations for my audience were missionaries from different parts of the world. Although, there was a point towards the last few days where I felt the stress of giving out myself through being honest and open with my life journey for more than 200 people that I want to cry. Yes I was getting great feedback and encouraging responses but I realized the this form of “self-emptying”, if done several times in a day or two, can be really stressful! But then again, I felt the Lord was just there to help me go through with all these by sending people just to talk with and pray for me and most of them were couples or families! There was a certain group of participants, the engine men of the ship whom I see as the tough strong men as a man with SSA get usually intimated with, where I got more like of an affirmation from the Lord. One tough guy said, “you are the real man of God” for my openness, honesty and courage to be real to them. I heard exactly the same feedback from another engine guy later on. What an affirmation from God! Young and old, single and married, struggling with SSA or not, came to me just to say how blessed they were, ask questions, seek little counseling, or even just having a mere conversation. There were people who wish to see all, including leaders, to walk without our masks on and it was a blessing for them to see someone as truthful and vulnerable as I am. I have visited and stayed in the ship a couple of times already but it was the longest time I have stayed in the ship and this one has given me a bit heavy heart when I left. God has greatly done an amazing job through us.
According to some of the leaders and few people, my visit was very timely that it was about time to talk about these issues that still apparently affect our life as God’s servants. Understanding the struggle of each persons, creating a safe environment for people to be honest and open, and bearing or struggling with one another were the key messages left in the hearts of people, which will all help to have a victorious walk with Jesus as we serve His kingdom. Truly, God uses our weaknesses and struggles for His glory that is why He is not taking some of them away.
On a lighter side of this trip, one Filipina missionary brought us to this world cultural heritage called Hida Shirakawago, a very nice and peaceful village where a 400-year-old Kanda House can be found. Unexpectedly, she also took us to Mt. Tateyama through Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route where I got to see snow-ice formation up to the top of this mountain very close. Although I was not able to touch it for it was raining when we went there but at least I got to see for the first time snow ice! This was a beautiful surprise indeed so thank you Lord!
Before I left, they told me that they want me back next year to do it again. I guess we all have to wait for God’s signal on that. I surmise, like my friend said few days before I depart for Japan, with this unique calling God will surely carry me through. And like him, they have seen God in my eyes. Thank you to all who prayed for this trip and Lord this was all for your honor and glory. Praise God! Shalom!
This coming Saturday, I will be doing the same workshop to this church in Manila for a group of young people. Please kindly pray for me. Thanks.