“Vacation to Mission: How God took my plans, and gave me His” by Alvin Ong

My story’s lesson could be summarized to this: God’s plan is always higher than ours. Sometimes we make our own plans thinking that things could not be better, then God turns the tide on us and things don’t go our way. But little do we know that God is just setting us up for His plans, which are always far better than ours.

Two months ago, My friends and I planned a trip to Carles, Iloilo to visit Isla Gigantes. The excitement I felt back then was no equal however to the dismay that replaced it when I found out that the beautiful island had been destroyed by Supertyphoon Yolanda. But the disappointment i felt wasn’t becaus my vacation plans wouldn’t push through. It was a dismay driven by a God-impressed compassion for the people who had been affected by the storm surge.

When God cancelled our vacation plans, He gave us a mission- to help people affected by Yolanda.

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So with that new revelation, we started pooling together our resources, and also asked others to give to efforts to provide relief goods for people. This was our first time to facilitate a relief operation, and we were often faced with fear that our plans would fail due to lack of experience. But we found assurance in believeing that this plan was God’s and not ours. True enough, He set everything in place.

We were amazed by the generosity of so many people. In one weeks time we had received so much from so many donors, even people outside of the country. God opened so many hearts. Even my clients decided to use us as a channel of God’s blessing, and gave to our efforts.

Our small group efforts was strengthened in becoming the channel of funds from Right Start Foundation and ONEbeat and a partnership with Alphacrest Foundation. Through friends from Victory Iloilo, who I met through our movement, I also gained many networks in Iloilo, that made operating our efforts much easier. Up until this moment, I cannot begin to express my astonishment at how God was in control the whole time.

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The first moment, I stepped on the shores of Barangay Pantalan in Carles, the looks on the faces of the typhoon survivors caught my attention. What was so special about them was, where people saw pain and loss, I saw hope and resiliency.. I saw faith and confidence that God would provide for their needs.

I also felt overwhelmed to see such a great multitude of homeless, jobless, hungry and exhausted Ilonggos. But through God’s grace, we had more than enough to provide for those people and those in the other three islands as well.

After the whole operation, we still have excess resources to give to the victims of yolanda that’s confined in phil orthopedic. It reminded me of the time when Jesus fed the 5,000 with just five loaves of bread and two fish, and yet there was an overflow!

What I had meant to be a vacation, God turned into a mission to help others, that turned out to be more fulfilling than just relaxing on a beach. God placed in my heart to share what little I had to be used for His glory.

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In the Bible, God instructs us all to LOVE and be GENEROUS, the way He demonstrated by giving Jesus Christ to die for our sins. This demostration of God’s love and generosity frees us from hindrances and excuses to helping the needy.

Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.”

God sees your heart in giving and helping. It’s not about the money or time, but God looks at the heart. It’s not even about what we can do with our resources or ability, but by what God can do through us, so in that way we may be a salt and light to others and, moreover, glorify Him through our giving.

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Alvin Ong is a leader from Victory Greenhills.