Raissa Laurel: Not fear, but FAITH.

* This is a re-post from an article on The Philippine Star newspaper.

Raissa Laurel is 23-year old law student who lost both her legs from a bombing during the bar examinations in the Philippines last September.

 

By all accounts she should have simply crumpled and died.

Given what she lost she had every reason to be angry at the world and at the Creator himself. But she didn’t. Like a mangled lamb spared from the slaughter, she said “I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time”. But was she?

How could she seem dismissive of the violence that victimized her and some 30 or 40 others? How could she seem fully “recovered” and chirpy given that 2 COWARDS had directly caused the amputation of her two feet?

I first heard about her, when I caught the video of her anguished father crying, begging to understand how absolute strangers can toss a bomb at her daughter’s feet and cut them off.

Like many fathers who saw “Bob” on the news, I felt the pain and the deep anguish he was going through. We need not go through the actual experience, in order to feel the actual pain. We simply need to be human and to be fathers, then, the hurt becomes familiar.

I was destined to learn this story on a personal basis because it is a story that the devil does not want told. He threw every obstacle in our path to get to the PGH: the MRT train stalled in its tracks, then we couldn’t get a cab, we climbed seven floors to get to the room, then on the way back, after hell, came the high water in the form of a thunderstorm and partial flooding in front of PGH.

But we got the story.

As it turns out “Raissa” is part of the family; my “Victory” family of Christians, where she is part of the worship volunteers for the youth church. I learned that “Raissa” being the compulsive volunteer, had yet again volunteered to be part of the welcoming committee of sorts for her schoolmates, who had just gone through the Bar Exams.

That’s how our visit at the PGH ended. Donita Rose was there, Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio was there, but they were not the celebrities. Instead they were the fans of a real celebrity, a person who celebrated God and a new life: “Raissa”, the girl who is now at the right place at the right time.

Unfortunately her goodwill was what placed her “At the wrong place at the wrong time”.

She saw the bomb land at her feet. She caught a glimpse of two guys running away and then the explosion. In seconds she knew the extent of her damage. What used to be her feet were just shattered bones on the pavement, pieces of flesh and blood. What remained was a small piece of skin and flesh stubbornly holding on to a toe and a bone. She knew with absolute clarity that she had already lost both her feet.

In an instant, “Raissa” knew she was about to lose her life.

There on the pavement she became a lawyer before the fact. As she lay mangled, bloodied and bruised, she pleaded the case of a lifetime: her life. There she offered a deal: “ Lord, please give me a second life and if you do I will accept “what I have”.

In the face of terror it was not fear but faith.

“What I have” in “Raissa’s” case would be a life without feet. But we all know so many people walking around without a life or the living dead. Given the options, she knew she got a good deal from the turn around king.

At the PGH, Fate and faith conspired. While “Raissa” and her boyfriend held tight whispering worship songs to keep her from slipping into a coma, her relative happened to be on duty and swept aside every obstacle and every challenge that would have robbed “Raissa” of her very life. A total of 15 minutes of delay was all it would have taken to kill her.

When I met “Bob” face-to-face and listened to his tale of this tragedy and I wondered who hurt more: the father or the daughter?

When “Bob” and his wife “Reggie” reached PGH, their primary concern was for the doctors to do everything to save “Raissa’s” feet. That seemed the logical and normal concern. But in hindsight it served as a life-long lesson.

While they were focusing on “Raissa’s” feet, little did they know that “Raissa” had already seen the “light”. Her pulse and her blood pressure were almost none existent and in a matter of minutes she would have been in a coma and perhaps to the other side.

The great irony was that a choice had to be made: Life or limbs?

Inside the ER they presented “Bob” the waiver and consent form to amputate “Raissa’s” feet. As “Bob” told the story I realized that no one else in the audience of three seemed to understand that being given the waiver and consent form was like asking a father to cut off his daughter’s legs.

Yes it was a medical emergency and yes her life depended on it. But that is my daughter, who someday I hope to walk down the aisles. It was not just a form and he could not sign it and I understood why.

Tragedy often raises the ghost between what is and what might be. In “Raissa’s” case I am reminded of the warning: Those who love their lives, will lose it, and those who lose their lives for my name’s sake will gain eternal life.

In becoming a Born-Again Christian, “Raissa” gave up control of her life, in the bomb blast she lost a certain life she expected to live, In the face of terror she chose faith over fear and got another lease on life. You can’t kill what has been reborn. You celebrate it.

DISCIPLES (band) – Indonesia

First established on 17 February 2006, DISCIPLES pioneered Indonesian Hip Hop for Christian Music. They are the first and ONLY Christian Indonesian hip hop, rap, and R&B band.

Members:

1. Saykoji Igor (Ignatius Penyami, twitter: @saykoji): a very talented rapper, his songs, such as “Online” and “Narsis,” reflect everyday life.

2. JFlowrighthere (Joshua Matulessy, twitter: @jflowrighthere website: www.jflowrighthere.com) : a rapper and pop singer. His 1st album, “Facing Your Giants,”  contains music with Biblical lyrics and reflect his strong faith in the Lord.  His second album, “DREAMBRAVE,” including the single, “WOW,” will be released soon.

3. Guntur (Guntur Simbolon, twitter: @guntursimbolon): a pop singer. His single, “Sedikit Romantis,” is available now in the Indonesian market.

4. Rendy (Rendy Supit, twitter: @rendyboorcat)

The DISCIPLES released an album titled, “Switch,” with 15 tracks.

Unlike other bands, they are not affiliated with any recording label. They released their album through digital copies FOR FREE. Check http://www.myspace.com/disciplesindonesia for details. When asked why their whole album is free, they answered, “Since salvation is free, so is our album.”

Quoting from the “About Us” section on their MySpace page:

“Let’s make it simple. We don’t want to write a long story about us, because our music is not about us. We are only the disciples. This myspace page, its music and content, are all dedicated to the GREAT TEACHER, FRIEND, FATHER, SAVIOUR, GOD, JESUS. So here we are, some little kids from Indonesia who love rhymes, music, and above all.. GOD. Our vision is to see lots and lots of young people know more about JESUS. If you like our music, praise JESUS, because what we have (talents/skills) came from HIM. God bless you all.”

FRONTLINE (band) – Philippines

It is difficult to put into words how Frontline was formed. But more than that, it would be harder to identify their genre. Before Frontline, each member came from different musical environments, musical experiences, and some even played different instruments before joining the band. While still getting acquainted with their individuality, the guys are simply playing along the lines of rock music and some unusual twists.

Since 2007, the band has sped up in creating songs which includes the band’s anthem, “Emergency.” They slowly marched into the local music scene and drew attention from small events with the support from friends and family who believed in them as a band that has the right to be heard and has something to sing about.
If you ask them what they want to sound like? I’m sure they can’t give you one specific answer – which clearly explains their eccentricity and the uniqueness of the band. The common thread that weaves them together is their positive-clean-fun outlook and appreciation of life amidst all chaos and uncertainties. Frontline is moving on, not only as a band, but as a stand – making a standard of music and life, rocking out their best for the glory of the living God.
Members:

Vocals – Praise Crisostomo

Bass – Emmanuel Malabo

Guitars/Vocals – Joshua Muñoz

Guitars – Nathan Gajudo

Drums – Jeriel Laraño

They are currently recording their first album. Check out their music on http://www.purevolume.com/frontlinephilippines

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=33750&id=1643905215#!/pages/FRONTLINE/97487496020?v=info&ref=ts

ARMY OF GOD – INDONESIA

Army Of God (AOG) started as a crusade by ASIA FOR JESUS INDONESIA at Mawar Sharon Church, Indonesia last year (May 14-16, 2009) with speakers from all around the world, including Rev. Jaeson Ma, Rev. Nathanael Chow, Rev. Ewen Chow, Dr. Allen, Rev. Jonathan Chow, Rev. Ian Liao, Rev. Jim Fu and many more.

This movement was founded by Pastor Philip Mantofa with over 20, 000 people in attendance. The movement was for all ages, not just the youth.

The First AOG Youth Movement was held at JATIM EXPO (Jawa Timur Expo), Surabaya last March 14, 2010 with an average of 5, 000 Youth in attendance on the First AOG Service. Since then, we have been called Army Of God (AOG) – Mawar Sharon Youth. HIGHLY SPIRITUAL, HIGHLY INTELLECTUAL, HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL – that is our motto.

This movement has been ongoing for 1 YEAR at SURABAYA. A special event will be held at MEDAN this August 12-13. Our speaker will be Pastor Jaeson Ma. Vanness Wu will also be a guest. There will be a conference as well. They will also be at Grand City Of Surabaya Convention Hall on August 15 to attend the AOG Service.

The number of AOG-erz has been increasing, and we have around 5, 000 people in our every service. We need your prayer and support for this movement. We hope this lasts for many years to come!

Join our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Army-of-God-Mawar-Sharon-Youth/309533999805?ref=mf

The OFFICIAL Army Of GOD website is: www.aog.or.id

There is a live streaming feature in this site. You can check the Service Schedule (in GMT +7).

The OFFICIAL Mawar Sharon Church website is: www.gms.or.id

WE ARE READY TO FIGHT! FOR HOLINESS! AND RIGHTEOUSNESS!

The writer of this article, Ryan Adiputra (twitter: @reoan), is a member of Mawar Sharon Church, Central Satellite and Army Of God.

1040 Asia Tour this August!

1040 Asia Tour this August!

1040 is coming to Asia! The historic 1040 tour with Jaeson Ma continues this August with public screenings and performance in key 10/40 Window spots like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea. We are bringing 1040 back to where the movement started! Be there, be inspired, and be prepared to join the incredible movement of God in Asia.

for the persecuted

I have been sleep deprived lately. I find myself in deep thought until the weee hours of the night. What exactly have I been pondering on?

ASIA.

As I write this four-letter word, I feel so many emotions all at the same time! I am excited, yet burdened by the vastness of our beloved continent. I am convinced that God has great plans for us, but I am worried at the extravagance of the sacrifices that have to be made.

All throughout the book of Acts, we read about the extensive exploits and the bewildering miracles of the disciples. We read about the great number of believers that were added daily through them. We read about the spread of the Kingdom of God, like wild forest fire, through the Roman empire. Yes, the mighty move of the Holy Ghost during the early believers’ time astonishes me, but what amazes me more is the amount of sacrifices that had to be made.

Persecution. Scorn. Living like nomads, moving from one place to another because of threats. Ambush. Shipwreck. Imprisonment. Torture. And eventually, death by martyrdom.

These were the sacrifices of the early believer. They faced these things daily, but what did they do? They fled for safety, BUT CONTINUED TO PREACH THE GOSPEL WHEREVER THEY WENT.

I believe this is a word for the believers in Asia, where many face the same things everyday for being a Christian. This is a word for the Indian Christians, who have suffered fire, flogging, and loss at the hands of Hindu extremists. This is a word for the young men and women and children of Indonesia who have suffered beating, rejection, and scorn for loving Jesus. This is a word for the Chinese and North Korean disciples of Christ who have suffered pain, wounds, and imprisonment from communist governments. To all in Asia who are suffering for the cause of Christ, thus saith the Lord,

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.” – Matthew 5:10

Yours is the Kingdom of heaven! All authority has been given to you! The keys to the Kingdom of God are yours!

I charge thee, continue to preach the Gospel. Know that all of you are in our prayers daily, and we weep and wail to the Lord for your protection! We are experiencing revival because of your willingness to follow Christ no matter what the cost, and I believe an even greater revival is coming to the whole continent of Asia!

As I write this, I am in tears. Tears of sorrow for your circumstances, but also tears of joy for the reward that awaits you! Thank you to all of you and we love you with all honesty, sincerity, and genuineness.

“Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when You walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.” – Psalm 23:4 [The MSG]

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Christianity in the new Asia

Visit http://www.1040movie.com for information on screenings in your area!

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