Last Monday, I flew to Jakarta with Dan Monterde, our LifeBox Regional Director over Central Luzon, to train and plan with a few churches here in campus ministry. This is my fourth visit to Indonesia and every time it feels like visiting a relative from whom I was separated at birth. We have so many similarities in culture, geography, language, and even demographics. We joked with a singer at a restaurant, asking for a Filipino song, and they promptly responded with Freddie Aguilar’s Anak. (video at the bottom)
Our church there, Morning Star International, is really doing an amazing job reaching out to their community
Here are some highlights from our trip:
Meeting with Students
For a campus missionary, there’s nothing more energizing than meeting with students face to face. And meeting these young people in Jakarta was no different. There were many similarities between Filipinos and Indonesian students – in fact, with students we’ve met around the world. Primary concerns are with school, parents, and friends, are excited and curious about love life, and they respond well to encouragement.
When we weren’t meeting students at universities, we were staff and volunteers who work in campuses in six cities around Indonesia. Dan and I took this time to share principles we’ve learned and developed in campus ministry and the Philippines. This is one of the most exciting parts because each leader represents more than just themselves – leader can disciple students, leaders can pioneer new work or deepen existing work, and leaders raise other leaders. If you want to reach the campus effectively, train leaders.
Pastors and Leaders of Jakarta
We were also privileged to meet some really great pastors and volunteer leaders of our church in Jakarta. It was great seeing them minister on stage and in person. But more than their stage persona, it was nice to get to know them better and spend time. You know that someone really lives what they proclaim when you see the truth translated to their families and everyday lives.
This was a nice treat. It's like a crepe stuffed with this delicious fresh avocado cream thing. They also had it in durian flavor but we passed.
There is so much to enjoy from the diverse culinary heritage of Indonesia – similarities to Malay cuisine, Chinese influence, Dutch influence and the rich flavors from Asia. Tahu telur (tofu omelette with bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts, and a light sauce), matarbak (think a pancake sandwich – pancakes loaded with butter, stuffed with chocolate and cheese), soto ayam (Soto means soup, from what I gather. This kind uses tamarind so it’s sour like our sinigang.), satay, rawon (a black beef soup), bakmi (which is noodles like the way Filipinos enjoy mami) and my favorite – nasi uduk! It’s rice cooked with coconut milk/oil (gata) then seasoned with fried shallots. Yum! I really enjoy the variety of spices of Indonesian cuisine. My perfect house in an ideal world would have access to the best Korean, Thai, Japanese, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and of course, Filipino delicacies.
Check out Dan's seat assignment label.
Working with a great friend
This is the third time I went on an international campus ministry trip with my friend, Dan. It seems like it just gets better and better. This time, I was so thankful to have him because his practical campus ministry experience and insight surpass mine on many levels. He facilitated many of the group discussions we had and he handled it excellently. We’re both very excited for the promise that the campus ministry in Indonesia has.
We got in this morning and the trip just made me more eager and excited to work toward Ignite because we will see not just 8000+ students from the Philippines, but delegates from 17 other nations! What a privilege to be able to serve other nations this way.
But before the work stuff, I’m just glad to be back with my wife. So I’m ending this blog now because we have to go to the grocery together.
Thank you, Lord, for a great trip. we ask you to continue the work that you started in that nation. Amen.
Posted by Joseph on Mar 25, 2013 in Campus Ministry | 1 comment
Last week, LifeBox held its first ever Campus Directors’ Training. A campus director is a staff member who oversees our staff and work in a particular area. These men and women have taken on the weight of leading our campus ministry. Everything we do is possible because of their service.
It was a confluence of both the past and future.
We could've used the word "merging" but just think, we learned a new word today!
Of the past because it felt like the culmination of years of trial and error, initial successes, and plenty of skinned knees. But it was also a picture of the future because it made me excited to think about what the future would look like as we trained this men and women in their leadership skills – how many more would they raise up and how much more effective would they be?
Even as the event was going on, three powerful lessons were underscored to me. These lessons are obvious, but I believe they are great reminders for anyone in leadership or anyone who intends to accomplish something significant.
1. The Power of Team
As we assembled everyone in the room, we couldn’t help but think about how far we all had come because we work together. Whether it’s the few campus groups that number in the thousands or hundreds or dozens, we are glad to be walking together. I’m so thankful for the people who have modeled this for us even as we now model it to others – we can accomplish so much more if we stay together. Or as this picture says,
Sometimes these internet humor sites contain wisdom. SOMETIMES
2. Invest In New Leaders
To be honest, we almost cancelled this training late last year. With so much going on at work and everyone’s schedules getting full, it seemed better to just focus on the immediate, urgent needs. But now that we’re done, this is easily one of the most significant things we will accomplish this year. It said a lot that Pastors Gilbert and Paolo, both busy men with huge responsibilities over a lot of people, made the time to invest in the future by sharing of their wisdom and spending time with the attendees.
Leadership development isn’t easy and is usually pretty inconvenient. It’s easy to let the immediate demands push leadership development aside. But taking the time to Identify, Instruct, and Impart to young leaders will pay off dividends for years to come. As I listened to these men and women process cases and tackle problems, they constantly quoted and referred to instances in the past when someone took the time to train them. One of them even cited a conversation we had together, which I cannot recall today. But it has become a guiding principle for him. Always be investing in new leaders.
3. Listen to the Holy Spirit
We came into the three day training with notes, case studies, giveaways – everything we’d need. I really appreciate the work that our office did in putting everything together. It was like watching a well-run basketball play, everyone knew their parts and executed to perfection.
But there was also enough room to adjust a the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We made two huge changes to the last day of the program that we only came up with the day before. But those changes were some of the more significant things we did. Even as people thanked us for it, CJ, Dan, Ryan, Patrick, and I just knew we didn’t come up with this on our own. It was a great reminder that for all of our planning we don’t know everything. And we were grateful for the Holy Spirit in all of us, speaking and guiding us into the right direction.
It’s good to plan and prepare as much as we can. But we must also always remember that all leaders are still under an authority – God Himself. What is His agenda for our organization, team, workforce, family, personal lives? When we plan and act, it would be wise to leave room for the more effective work of the Holy Spirit to manifest.
We go farther together.
Recently, there was another chapter in that on-going debate about the greatest NBA player. Michael Jordan, when asked who he would pick, Kobe or Lebron, said, “Five (titles) beats one every time I look at it. And not that (James) won’t get five. He may get more than that, but five is bigger than one.”
Of course, what Jordan didn’t say, but we all heard loud and clear was that he remains at the top of that list with his own 6 championship rings.
Lebron, the King (of Being Defensive), replied, “(Jordan) said he would take Kobe over me because … five rings are better than one, and the last time he checked, five is better than one. At the end of the day, rings don’t always define someone’s career. If that’s the case, then I’d sit up here and say I would take (Bill) Russell over Jordan. But I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t take Russell over Jordan. Russell has 11 rings, Jordan has six. I wouldn’t do that.” (But you just did, Lebron.)
I’m not trying to weigh in on who is truly Jordan’s replacement. It is an interesting dynamic that this debate doesn’t go away. It’s clear that for everyone involved the concern is for themselves and their own legacy.
The truth is a labratory-like comparison between the players is impossible. Each has their own season and brings their own unique contribution.
The truth is Kobe and Lebron are building on a foundation that Jordan and many others have built. They wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are today if it wasn’t for the generation that went before.
The truth is Kobe and Lebron are also dealing with massive amounts of competition that the new league has produced. Lebron is able to do things that previous generations only dreamed of, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s great for basketball.
I'm afraid some people are gonna ignore the rest of the blog and debate about this this topic in the comments section
We can have our own version of this debate too when we compare unfairly across generations – whether that’s colleagues or family members who have gone ahead of us or those who follow after.
I’m thankful for the men and women who don’t think this way, and instead honor those who have gone before and build up those who follow.
People often introduce me as being a better preacher than my dad. But I wouldn’t even be a preacher if it wasn’t for my dad and mom’s influence, coaching, mentoring, and nonstop encouragement in that area. For him, being the best preacher isn’t the goal. He’s just happy to see the next generation excel. Thanks Pop and Mom.
We look at our campus ministry now, LifeBox, and are thankful for how far it’s come in the past five years. CJ Nunag and I have had the joy of leading it, but we also know we are only building on what greater men have lain for us. God used men like Ferdie Cabiling, Rico Ricafort, LA Mumar, Gilbert Foliente, Marc Constantino, Dennis Sy and Christian Flores who have their own sets of skills and gifts that have been turned into priceless contributions today. When their turn came to pass it on, they did so graciously without needing to position themselves on the top. They’ve transitioned into other areas where they can continue to break ground and pioneer.
We look at the people who are coming after – students and staff who are so capable and committed. Like Lebron, they’re accomplishing great things at such a young age that we didn’t accomplish till much later. I preached my first sermon to 80 people at 15 years old. I was so nervous that I finished in eight minutes. But everyone stayed supportive. Mark Muleta, at the same age, preached to over four thousand people and hit a homerun. And we’ve got another one lined up for this year’s Ignite.
Just one of many young men and women who provide a glimpse of an awesome future ahead.
I’m excited for what these people represent because it makes me hopeful and really excited for the future.
At the end of the day, it’s a question of what we’re really after. If we’re after personal glory, then we will do everything possible to lift ourselves up and tear others down. If we’re after something bigger, something more meaningful, then we will honor those who have gone before and empower those who are coming after. All this leaves for us is to do our best in the season and time we are in right now.
As Gandalf the Grey said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Are you honoring those who have gone before you? Are you empowering those who are coming up?
Posted by Joseph on Feb 20, 2013 in Thoughts | 0 comments
How funny that I would get to apply the blog even as I was writing it. I just came back from a great trip to Palawan with three of our campus directors. We had a great time meeting with youth pastors from a number of other churches. It’s inspiring to see other groups who also value and prioritize students.
But this is about something else. As I was on the plane, writing the last blog, I noticed a young woman, with major high heels and a shorts that weren’t much longer than her shoes. She took her seat on the far end of our row, with an empty seat between us.
I thanked God for the principles in the blog I was writing and for the men of conviction who I travelled with. And I had to chuckle at the chance to apply the blog so quickly, particularly the point of traveling with other people.
- This isn’t a statement about her character or personality. For all we know she’s a well-intentioned, sensible person.
- This isn’t a presumption that anything would have happened. It would most definitely be nothing. But that’s not the point.
- This is an honest acknowledgement of the reality of sin. The battle would be in my own mind and heart first. The Bible says to look lustfully at a woman is already sin.
So I guess the short point in this blog I’m making, almost an appendix to the previous one, is I’m so thankful for friends and family who have high standards and boundaries for me to observe and emulate. I felt so secure around them knowing they walked by the same principles as well and that they’d remind me to walk in mine as well.
In the previous blog, someone left a comment saying there was a problem with the boundaries I mentioned, that they were too high. And for much of my life, I’d feel embarrassed for professing what I believed. But that’s not necessary.
Obviously, we shouldn’t take pride in them or consider ourselves superior to others because of them. (I’ve made that mistake too.) But neither should we be ashamed of them.
There was a 19 year old girl who attended a talk that Carla and I did who described being pressured by people around her to lower her high standards which she believed were from God. But she did well by sticking to her convictions. She did not need to be ashamed. Neither do we.
Instead, find people who are walking the same way because God told it to them too. And enjoy the benefits of that disciplined life.
So do you have people you can trust to help you maintain those boundaries?