I am sitting here with about three topics circling in my head... I guess that's what happens when it has been months since you last wrote. Anong petsa na :D Lol! So many ideas and thoughts running in my head and my brain could hardly keep up...

But for today, I'd like to share what happened in Asahan, the outreach program we did for our Aeta brothers and sisters in Pampanga two weeks ago. I think that was really one of the biggest outreaches I have attended in my life! And I was amazed on what happens when people come together for a cause.

It reminded me of the church in Acts:

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:43-47
Image may contain: 11 people, including Julie Anne Villostas and Joy Buena, people smiling, crowd, tree and outdoor

This is what church community is all about, eh? More than the numbers though, it is the stories that really made that day special and this was one of them:

While we were singing "Awit ng Bayan" and "Magandang Pag-ibig" with the kids, a woman's voice came from behind me: "Alam mo, maganda yung ginagawa niyong ganito." I turned around and saw a middle-aged woman carrying her child looking at the lyrics written on the Manila Paper.

I then said that we were so happy to be there and we are amazed on how cooperative and receptive the kids are. She said that the kids are somehow used to outreaches like this because there are Korean missionaries who teach the kids about Jesus in their community. I was relieved to know that so many people already went before us, planting seeds, and we were there to water it just like Apollos.

We talked for a few more minutes and then she mentioned that her child is sick and has fever -- so I asked if I can pray for them. While the kids are singing with their ates and kuyas, I laid my hands on them and prayed for her and her daughter.

I was getting teary-eyed as this was happening. Sometimes we feel like we are the ones blessing others with our presence but we end up feeling so blessed instead. 

Confession: When you do something for a living, even the things that you love doing starts to feel like that -- work. But during the outreach , I just really let go. "Joy, this is not an event, this is people helping out people. Be here in the moment and just enjoy." So I embraced that thought and just really enjoyed the time there.

Being with people is more important than doing tasks. This is really more for myself than anyone else in this digital space. Pero kung tinamaan ka, alam mo na :P haha! Sometimes we mask ourselves behind our work stations and with a myriad of paperwork because it really is easier, right? But I remember what Maya Angelou said:

Image result for maya angelou quotes

People are more important than getting things done. Things and tasks can always wait, but time spent with people are priceless and time is something you can never turn back.

And it's amazing when you just open up and let things happen to you. I had a flashback on what I wrote on my manual when I attended this training before wherein we had to write our personal mission statement wherein I wanted to help build and uplift a community and provide them sustainable livelihood.

That was years ago but that has been my heart since I was in college. I joined a lot of outreaches back in college and whenever I see a community being built up, gusto ko lang talaga sumali! I really want to help! And what Asahan did was to open up that part of me that I seemed to have relegated on the wayside for awhile now but it's a whisper that has been tugging in my heart.

Don't forget the dreams that God placed in your life since you were a child. Sometimes life gets to you and you forget because of the practicalities of life, but those tiny tugs that you have been feeling -- you also need to pay attention to that because God may already be saying something to you about it.

These days I am relearning and learning new things and I am just grateful for having opportunities like these open up... 

So I pray that you wherever you are, you will always and intentionally be fully present in the moment and be reminded of those God-given dreams when you were a child and ask God, "is this still something you want me to do?"