Sharing my faith and my life one day at a time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Every Nation World Conference 2010 (EN2010)

I did not have any Internet connection over the weekend (except for the occasional free Wi-Fi access in malls and restaurants) and I am so happy it turned out that way. I was immersed (without the distraction of technology) in a glorious weekend with 18,000 people who love Jesus Christ.

Every Nation, the Christian organization that planted my home church, Victory Christian Fellowship (among many other churches in over 50 nations) gathers its church members, planters, missionaries, pastors and campus ministers every three years to worship God as one spiritual family.

Today, my soul feels revived and renewed. I got reminded, once again, what I can look forward when I go to heaven.

I have moments that really captured my heart and I know I will take with me as I go back to the daily demands of life.

Here are my personal highlights for EN2010.

Ron and Lynette Lewis speaking about Stop Child Trafficking Now at pre-conference.

Being part of the Parade of Nations. I wish more Filipinos were in it though!

Worship. Worship. Worship. We were blessed with a hardworking and talented worship team!

"You cannot be offended and anointed at the same time, so MOVE ON!" -- Grace Aiyedogbon

"Everything about you says something about you." -- Mark Zschech on the Branding and Marketing Seminar.

"The hero inside you is waiting to be unleashed." -- Efren Penaflorida

Fellowship with North American missionaries over lunch. Thank you Bill Lloyd and John Saison.

Enjoyed watching the 'Haka' by our brothers and sisters from New Zealand.

"You were not designed to RECEIVE glory; you were designed to GIVE glory." -- Darlene Zschech 

Singing 'Amazing Grace' collectively as a spiritual family in 50 different languages. Bonus and cool part: it made the Guinness Book of World Records!

“If the presence of God is in the church, the poor must be administered to.  We must help the poor and the needy.” - Dr. Jun Vencer

My favorite message of the entire conference was about 'HONOR' from Pastor Steve Murrell. I needed to be reminded and humbled on where my place is in a massive, glorious universe that my Father created.

And of course, seeing old friends from all over the world!

I am excited at the thought of Every Nation World Conference in 2013. I wonder where will it be?

If you were at the conference, what was your favorite moment?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Damaged Luggage and Contents

We are now back in Manila safely. Thank you to everyone who prayed for our long travel from Omaha.

Although we were flying on standby, the flights were couldn't go more smoothly. Transition between flights were seamless and our boarding passes were ready as we checked in.

As we happily landed into the city I call home, I anticipated the release of our luggage by the carousel. We had 4 pieces of total luggage.

As we got grabbed the first 3 pieces and placed them all firmly into the cart, we were a little puzzled to see that the 4th piece was wrapped in clear plastic. Robert and I gave each other a confused look.

My husband took out the plastic wrap and this was how my blue Delsey luggage looked like.

Having really low expectations on how airlines take care of their consumers, I was prepared to just go home and take the losses. My heart was so heavy and felt that this incident was terribly unfair that I was not going to be compensated for the loss.

A gentleman standing beside us recommended that we go to the Delta counter to file a claim for the damage done to my luggage under their care. The man behind the counter was warm and patiently guided me through the process of filing a claim.

He asked me to fill out this form.

Here are some of the damaged contents.

Honestly, I think something exploded and unfortunately, it hit my luggage. At this point, I am not angry or upset. No one did this on purpose and I choose to have faith in Delta Airlines to process my claim and compensate with this liability fairly.

I filed the claim Monday morning with all supporting documents and photos. Delta Airlines called back yesterday evening to let us know that the request has been received and will be processed ASAP.

There was a voice of shock from the Delta employee who called. He asked if we were "sure" that the claim is only worth $420.

It made me realize that over-estimation of the cost of damaged property is common during these incidents. I still prefer to declare the correct amount of the cost of each item.

Right now, I am waiting to hear from the Delta headquarters in Atlanta. They say it may take 4-6 weeks to process the claim.

I will give an update on the progress of their response.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

SAVE THE DATE: Every Nation Ministries 4-Man Golf Scramble

Are you living in Omaha or nearby cities and love to play golf? I would like you to invite you to mark your calendars and save September 26th!

Robert and I are spending the next 4-5 months raising funds for our 2-year missions work in the Philippines. We hope to raise enough money to cover expenses of the entire 2011 and 2012.

One of our bigger efforts for fundraising is a golf tournament on September 26, 2010. We hope that you come and support this event by possibly doing any of the following:

  • Pray for a great weather and a good turnout of supporters.
  • Volunteer to help us prepare and run the event.
  • Be part of the tournament! Net proceeds will go directly to the missions partnership fund.
  • Connect us to possible sponsors.
  • Donate gifts or services that will used as prizes.

If you would like to confirm your attendance, you can RSVP at our Facebook Event Page. If you have any questions, feel send us an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thank you so much for your love and support! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

For The Love of Leggings!

I love anything that brings comfort. If we are friends on Facebook or have been following my Picasa online photo albums, you will see that I am a lover of "comfort food."

I am also a a big, big fan of "comfort clothing." While most of us will probably think of old pajamas or a big, soft sleep shirt when we hear that phrase, I am talking about that one piece of item that I always go to when I need to pull together an outfit that looks fantastic without having to try too hard.

In my case, it's the classic black leggings. And everyone say "Hooray!"

Here are reasons why I have about 20 pairs of them in my closet.

  • It slims my heavier bottom frame.
  • It provides balance (I have a fairly small facial structure and neck) to my overall frame.
  • It matches pretty much any top out there!
  • It goes well with a wide range of styles. From athletic to dressy.
  • Way more elegant than everyone's favorite bottom: jeans. I like a great pair of jeans but not all the time.
  • Perfect for the hot weather (and from where I'm from, it's all-year-around!)
  • No muffin top! Black leggings does a great job of controlling it.
  • The illusion of longer legs!
  • With a loose top, it withstands buffet dinners.
  • Great to wear when running errands or shopping for clothes.

I really, really hope that leggings stick around for a while. It's been back longer than I expected it would be and I am thrilled.

I want to hear from you. What is your absolute favorite piece of clothing item?

Monday, July 12, 2010

You Are In Our Thoughts and Prayers

Our thoughts and prayers are with Robert Hern, Jr. and his two daughters Betthia and Shaunese. His wife Maileen just passed away.

It is a sad day for us and our spiritual family in the Philippines. I don't know what it's like to lose a spouse considering that you want to grow old with that person and see your children grow up. But just thinking about it just hurts too much.

We share comfort in knowing the lovely Ms. Maileen is no longer suffering and is finally in the arms of our loving Father. We send thoughts of sympathy and support to the Hern family as they begin this difficult journey.

Her last Facebook status message was:

There r things I don't understand, questions I want to raise.But I should know my place and praise u instead. (June 28, 11:10am)

Seeing her choose to glorify our God in a time of pain and hurt has taught me so much today. Suddenly all my current concerns seem so petty. Thank you for the lesson Ms. Mai.

Peace, Prayers, and Blessings,
Robert and Samantha Johnson

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Review: You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be

This book review is a little late considering that this book is a very easy read. The title "You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be" says a whole lot on what this publication is all about.

While it is easy for me to dismiss this as another Christian-based motivational book, this time I paused and thought that it might be a good idea to look into it and see what Max Lucado has to say. After all, his books "He Chose The Nails" and "Cure For The Common Life" will always be my favorites.

I am living a really interesting life right now. My husband and I are currently very far from our home city (Manila) and in between houses. We are in Omaha, NE now raising support for our missions work in the Philippines for the years 2011 to 2012. At this time, we are staying with my husband's parents

A life in transition poses a really risky challenge. Not being in control of my own home, our finances and not being able to fill the role as a wife 100% (as there is a mother who wants his affection too). In a situation like this, it can be dangerous to lose myself and stay off-track on the things God has designed me to do. I have a tendency to retreat and steer clear of my priorities when I am in less than ideal situation.

Reading this book (and thank goodness it is only 127 pages!) was enough to remind me of my purpose and start being intentional again on doing things that ultimately contribute to this goal. The way to be on top of my priorities might be a little rough but I do need to remind myself that God is freely giving me the double portion of grace I need at this time.

My favorite verse during my time with this book?

"God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him."
Philippians 2:13 NCV

Monday, July 5, 2010

Friendship Over!

My very good friend Irma, shared a link a several weeks ago that made me laugh out loud. It's an article from CNN entitled "12 signs it's time to dump a friend" by Wendy Atterberry. You can read the article here.

Photo Credit:

The article led me to remember a silly phrase we used when we were kids when we do uncool things to our friends. We say in our immature, sing-song voice: "Friendship over!"

A recent turn of events made me pause my sense of humor about the matter and realized that when I am the one being cut off -- it's not that funny after all.

About a couple of weeks ago, I accidentally discovered that a friend (who I consider as part of the family) "un-friended" me (and my husband) on Facebook. I wanted to send a "how are you doing?" message to this person only to realize that our online relationship has been deliberately cut off.

While I don't care so much about losing a friend on a social network, it did sting when I started thinking about  how that specific action was a true reflection of that person's heart towards me as a person.

These were my initial (and very human) reactions:

  • Why?? My last in-person interaction with this individual did not give me any clue that he had any deep personal anger against me.
  • This person probably didn't have really anything against me. But probably against my husband. And since I am connected with him, I am part of the "letting go" package.
  • If I did anything so wrong, it would have been nice if it was addressed directly to me since we are all mature adults. I can't speak for my husband but I am making a good guess that he feels the same way.
  • This person has exhibited behavior a lot of times in the past that have been less than pleasant (and at times hurtful) and I can wholeheartedly attest that I went out of my way to understand and forgive. I am not remotely proud of even thinking of this (because it's just not right and very self-righteous) but I want to be completely honest on how flawed I am. I am driving to a good point so please read on.

After these initial reactions, I knew that enabling this kind of feelings does not do anything to glorify God and does nothing to the building of my character. I had to make a decision to do the following:

  • Asked God for forgiveness. I needed to repent on my initial reactions. These were not pleasing to Him and I don't ever want to cause my Father any kind of displeasure. 
  • I also asked for forgiveness for any hurt that I may have caused. I am not aware of what I did but it felt good to trust God that He will reveal it to me in time.
  • I should never assume the worst about the online disconnection. I manage social media sites for a living and although I am 100% sure that it is was deliberate, I had to humble myself and surrender these thoughts to God and still give that person the benefit of the doubt. 
  • I felt led to pray for the person. And not the kind of prayer that says "Please enlighten him" or "Please make this person realize what he did" but I said prayers that had NOTHING to do with that whole Facebook thing. I prayed that God will bless him more and that He will continue to protect him and take him to wonderful places that he has never experienced before.
  • I asked God's help to continue on praying for this person from a pure heart that is not tainted by hatred.

The most sobering realization out of this experience was when God used my husband to remind me how Jesus Christ reacted to friends who betrayed him, doubted him and turned their backs him -- He loved all of them until the end. I have always known this but this reminder completely blew me away now that it speaks so significantly to my present situation.

I am so grateful that this experience has taught me to have a new standard of friendship -- the way Jesus does it! The wonderful thing about this is that I do not need to rely on my own strength to reach this standard. If I am to gladly allow Him to take the lead in my relationships, it will completely change how I live and how I affect others' lives.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15: 13).
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