[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]
It’s now been nearly a week since returning home from the Philippines. Life has begun to settle but many things have stuck and challenged me in my day-to-day life.
So here are some of the things that I learned, and have changed the way in which I do life.
Every person that attended the conference owned it. By that I mean that the women took hold of the word ‘adore’ and the slogan ‘Together we adore’. Leading up to, during and after the conference, you would constantly hear those words. Even now on Facebook in photo comments girls are saying ‘adorable’, ‘together we adore’ and more.
But it wasn’t just the girls doing this; the guys did it as well. They even took it a step further and decided that if there were ever a men’s conference, they’d call it ‘Oder’ (note: you need to say it in a Filo accent). If you don’t get it, think some more and it’ll eventually make sense 😉
I think that that is one of the reasons that the conference was so amazing – saying ‘Adore Together’ really united everyone under the one vision. It wasn’t just a catch phrase but a statement. It wasn’t just about the individual but about everyone.
Serving isn’t just something they do in Church; it’s something they do in their daily lives. It doesn’t matter how big or small something is, they’ll do it if it helps the Church, their pastors and leaders, and those around them. They serve their pastors not just on the weekend but through the week. Doing this isn’t an obligation or out of a need to do it, but rather a wanting and love for it. They weren’t serving to get a promotion or boost their status or ego either, it was out of a genuine sincere heart of simply wanting to serve.
Not once did I hear anyone say that they’re tired. Many of the people involved in the conference only had a couple of hours sleep on some of the nights leading into the conference. Take Ning for example. She had two hours sleep for two nights in a row because she was printing T-Shirts for the conference. During the day, she would continue to serve.
But no one yawned, complained or said that they’re tired…not once. If you said to them, “You must be getting tired”, or “Aren’t you tired?” Their response would always be “No.” They really don’t grow weary in doing good or serving. Why? Because serving God, His House and people is an absolute joy for them!
In praise and worship, they praise and worship. And seeing how much they love to praise and worship really stood out to me. When speaking to Zyra, one of the worship leaders at NLCC, she said this simple yet profound statement: “God created us to worship Him, so why not give Him the pleasure in watching us worship Him.” Selah.
When it comes to their worship, they are wholeheartedly devoted to it. It doesn’t matter what the setup is or where they are. On the Sunday night service at NLCC the power went out. The guys worked outside trying to get the generator to work. Twenty or so minutes into the beginning of when the service was supposed to begin the generator finally began working and the service began. They only played one song, but everyone was ‘on’. The atmosphere in that place was phenomenal.
Why? Because they’re all worshippers.
No one stands alone:
No one excludes anyone. Everyone is kind and welcoming and if they are getting annoyed with someone, you wouldn’t know about it. Everyone smiles at everyone, and no one stands alone.
If you tell someone you’re name, they’ll remember it (on most occasions!).
When we went to Center for Change, each kid that you encountered would call you by name, ie Ate Michele, Ate Angie, Ate Louise (note: ate means older sister). Later in the week when we were at Robinsons Mall, I was wondering “Why are those boys looking at me!?” It was only until I saw a lady with them, a houseparent, and a boy said “Center for change”, that I realized where they were from. When walking through the mall, you’d see more kids and they’d wave at you, but when they’d see someone from the team that they’d personally met, they beamed and called them by name.
Even at ADORE the women remembered your name. I know that it would have been easy for them to remember our name because we kind of stood out, but different girls that I’d talk to and introduce to each other would remember each other’s name the following day and previous conversations.
The women’s prison was the same. The second time we went to the prison, the girls you prayed and connected with would yell out your name and give you a big hug.
No matter the age or gender, they remember your name.
Oh and also, instead of asking, “how old are you?” they ask, “how young are you?”
During the week I absolutely loved observing the guys – in fact, a lot of the Enjoy team was doing this (to the guys from the Philippines who are reading this… bet you didn’t know that, ha!).
But seriously, these guys are the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my life.
During the conference they treated all the women like princesses and valued every single one of them. When it came to the food, they ate at the end when every girl had their meal. They didn’t run out to get the food straight after the session, or complain about being hungry, or keep asking when they’re going to get fed. Why? Because they were there to serve and knew that they were going to get fed at some point anyway.
They are also incredibly encouraging. Sometimes back home in Australia when guys try to encourage, they do it in a way that isn’t genuine or it’s on the edge of flirting. But not with these guys. They encourage out of a sincere heart, full of respect and integrity toward you.
When we were at the airport ready to go home, there was a guy lurking around us, and it was clear that he ‘wasn’t all there’ (if you catch my drift!). When he’d get closer to the group, you could see all the NLCC guys stand upright and watch him. It wasn’t obvious that this is what they were doing, but because we had already been watching them, it kind of was. When he would get closer, the guys would usher us back a bit, stand around us and in front of the luggage. They didn’t do it in a dramatic way where everyone would notice; it was subtle and non-demeaning to the guy. And the guy was moved away by airport security.
Also, while waiting at the airport I put my bag down. It hadn’t been down for a minute before Jun Jun had picked it up. I was like, “No, you don’t have to do that. It’s really heavy!” He was like, “No, it’s okay, the ground is wet.” He then carried it in his pink ‘Together We Adore’ T-Shirt until it was time to leave.
So, a massive thank you to all the guys. I would name you, but I don’t want to miss out of anyone! You all know who you are, so thank you, thank you, thank you for being an excellent role model and example! You guys left a big impact on myself and the other girls on the trip.
There are many more things that I observed and learned from these beautiful people, but I think this is enough for now.
Hopefully you enjoyed it!!