“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way…” Samantha happily sang the Christmas carol while her friend Apple bashfully stepped aside. The lady in blue was happy to hear that one of the kids was able to share her talent. As a gift, Samantha got 2 donuts, while Apple only got 1 piece. Both kids ran towards the end of the bus terminal when they got their treat. The lady in red said, “Wow! You are really being welcomed by children for this mission.” The lady in blue nodded in awe, “I hope we don’t run out of donuts before we even meet Tracy and her life group.”

Jeremy saw his friends huddled in the corner, counting donuts. “Can I have some?” One of the kids replied, “I’m afraid we don’t have enough to share. We only have 7.” Samantha had a genius idea. “Why don’t you approach the ladies sitting on the bench and maybe they’d give you a donut too.” Jeremy shrugged, but he slowly started walking towards them.

The lady in red asked his name and urged him to share any talent, but Jeremy lost his nerve. “Can I just have a piece of doughnut?” She smiled, “Well, that’s our only rule. Sing a song, dance or do any trick and then you’ll get a reward.” He remained silent for a while and as he held on to a heap of coins on his right hand, he claimed “I’m already hungry”. The ladies encouraged him to do any presentation, but their efforts were in vain. Jeremy ran to the back alley as he saw the other kids approaching him. “Don’t mind him, he is really shy.” Samantha said. “Too bad he wasn’t able to enjoy the tasty doughnut. By the way, do you even know why we give gifts and celebrate Christmas?” The lady in blue asked. They cheerfully replied, “Yes we do! It’s the birthday of the son of God.” To satisfy her joy, she asked the name of the son of God. “His name is Jesus!” It was indeed a blessed beginning, because after a few more inquiries, the ladies found out that Samantha’s mother used to be a missionary. A simple moment of waiting, turned out to be a graceful time of giving.

***

Mori made an unexpected mission before Christmas and together with Cait, an unexpected companion as well, they found themselves in the heart of Pampanga. “I hope some of them are wearing yellow and white. Since I’m already in blue and you are in red, we’d already complete the colors of our national flag!” Mori made a hopeful declaration to Cait with those colors. Lo and behold, Tracy walked in the restaurant wearing an attractive yellow-mustard dress and 3 young girls with her, were wearing white. They started their evening with a delightful story, filled with good food for the body and for the soul.

Now here’s a glimpse of the three ladies, young at heart. Tracy’s ministry for the youth is quite challenging but her bubbly and vibrant energy is a beautiful example of leadership. Mori’s love for children and her gift of music is a remarkable model of dedication. Cait just started her journey of faith, and her curiosity is leading her to spiritual healing. Meanwhile, the young warriors of faith each has an inspiring story to tell. Mark claims to be a mysterious young fellow but his peers already prophesied his destiny as a future pastor. Angelic Angel and Dorky Donna are sisters and their light is beginning to shine among their family and friends. Aside from them, there’s the avid basketball player Brian, Jayson the joker and the jamming Jofer. Nadine’s nice smile and Ailene’s adorable laugh is a must for their life group, while Jelly’s walk with God should not be missed, because it is a joyful reflection of her character. Tomorrow is her third and final attempt for water baptism. After all the hindrances, she’d finally end her longing and begin a new chapter of her renewed life.

***

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…” It is only fitting to start a day of baptism with the first words of blessing in the book of Psalms. Armed with her guitar, Mori lead the group in a wonderful hymn of praise. Indeed there is no perfect time to share talents and wisdom, because we are always given a chance to reach out to others and make every moment perfect through the example of Jesus’ mission. Being a witness to the transformation of young lives was also heartwarming for Cait. Her joy from her own baptism only a few weeks ago, was magnified by this fruitful day.

Tracy expected that only three of her wards would be baptized that Wednesday afternoon, but Jayson willingly joined Jelly, Jofer and Donna in their unforgettable day. Prayers were offered and loving testimonies of faith were shared before the four of them were baptized. There is no dove with a shining light and no dramatic sound coming from the clouds, but there were definite voices singing “…I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about you Jesus”

***

The beauty of baptism is written and told by so many people, but the experience is for you to feel and cherish. How can this mere ritual bring astounding change? Water is a normal part of our daily lives. To be immersed in a body of water is definitely not an extraordinary event. But if we examine our hearts and once we truly hear His message for our lives, we allow the symbol of water to soak us with His amazing grace. We begin to take part in the fulfillment of His promises of forgiveness and salvation. To those who are lost, who are waiting for the answers… it may surprise you that He is also waiting for your hearts to be found. He will restore everything that you lack, not only with enough, but with more than you could ever ask for.

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