My 2015 in Review

Every December since 2013, I have resolved to look back at my year, look at my victories and successes as well as my mistakes and failures. The goal is to celebrate the former, and learn from the latter.

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions–I’ve tried them in the past and it didn’t work for me. I usually forget and neglect those resolutions by the end of February after the initial excitement of the New Year. That’s why, instead of Resolutions, I am focusing on goals broken down into manageable tasks for every quarter and every month. The year-end evaluation is part of this planning and goal-setting process.

On the whole, 2015 had been a year of transition for me and my family. I’ve had some big wins. A couple of cracks that I would have wanted to do differently. But since this is a year of transitions, I don’t feel too bad about those cracks. Here, then, is my 2015 in review.

1st Quarter 2015

By mid-January, I learned that I was the top candidate for a US-based position in our organization, Young People’s Ministries. Cha, Coco, and I started the process of applying for our US R1 Visa. We were in equal parts nervous and excited. Cha and I never really planned to move out of the Philippines to work elsewhere, but we felt that this is where God was calling us, so with much prayers, we proceeded. Continue reading “My 2015 in Review”

How to Do a Personal Evaluation at the End of the Year

A lot of people get excited towards the end of the year. Christmas is coming. And for lots of kids, that means presents from family and friends. Families get together for reunion. Of course, students get a break from school. Even workers get to take some vacation for the holidays.

image credit: Dan Foy via Flickr
image credit: Dan Foy via Flickr

At the same time, the end of the year is a great time to look back at the year that was. It’s the perfect time to ask:

  • How did I live my life this year?
  • What are the high points and low points of my life this year?

These questions may remind you of your strict High School English teacher who gave you writing assignments related to your New Year’s Resolutions.

You probably used up all sorts of adjectives and traits that would make you appear like an angel from heaven. Continue reading “How to Do a Personal Evaluation at the End of the Year”

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index and Ministry with Young People around the World

One of the difficulties of working with different young people around the world is that, well… they are different! Of course there are similarities in their stories of growing up, forming identities, struggling with poverty, and other issues. But there are complex political, economic, social, and cultural forces at work that make it impossible to implement a one-size-fits-all approach to ministry with young people.

Data can help formulate a more informed strategy in dealing with young people. They can provide guidance in addressing the pressing challenges among young people, confirm what youth workers on the ground already know, or help challenge a previously held view that may not be congruent with reality. Continue reading “The Global Youth Wellbeing Index and Ministry with Young People around the World”

Thinking about HIV & AIDS

At work today, we had our Advent Retreat in the morning. In the afternoon, we went to different non-profit organizations to take part, albeit for only a day, in the services that they offer to the community. I’m part of the group that went to the Center for Refugees+Immigrants of Tennessee. But that’s another story for another post.

But today is also the World AIDS day and I couldn’t help but think about the HIV & AIDS situation in the Philippines, even though, I am thousands of kilometers away. The Philippines now has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world. In July 2015, there were 22 cases being discovered daily! And that number represents only those that are reported!

Here’s the rub. A big percentage of these new incidents of HIV infection are among young people.

Based on a news report from Rappler: “Those in the 15-24 years age group in the population also showed an 800% increase in HIV prevalence.” Think about that for a minute and let it sink.

During our Asian Young Leaders Summit on Nov 11-15, 2015, we listened to a member of Babae Plus talk about HIV/AIDS prevention. After her session, we sat down and talked about how HIV is affecting young people. And here are some of the salient points of our conversation:

HIV-Positive Young People: Matitigas ang Ulo!

Continue reading “Thinking about HIV & AIDS”

First Thanksgiving, Family Movie (The Good Dinosaur) & Black Friday in Nashville

We’re learning a lot in this new place that we now call home. Nashville.

Although we didn’t cook Turkey at home, we had our first thanksgiving meal, thanks to Sophia, who invited us for a meal over at their new home, which was 30 minutes away from ours. And when I say 30 minutes, that is by Nashville, not Manila, standards. If this were Manila, 30 minutes would just be enough time for me to travel about 3 kilometers. But here, a 30-minute drive is about 20 miles (roughly 48 km).

We had Turkey, as expected. And in case you’re wondering, it tastes like chicken! But we also had grilled pork ribs, which were awesome! Plus some greens, and other goodies that are typical American fare. Sola (another friend of ours) cooked Biko, which reminded me of home, especially at this time of year, when those puto-bumbong sellers start to show up near the churches in the Philippines.

thanksgiving

Continue reading “First Thanksgiving, Family Movie (The Good Dinosaur) & Black Friday in Nashville”

Reflections from the YPM Asian Young Leaders Summit 2015

Discipleship is really about following Jesus. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of books about leadership. As Christians, however, leadership is not just being in front of people, it is about being a servant, and most of all, being a follower.

Encountering young leaders who want to make a difference in the world is probably one of the greatest joys of my work. I’ve seen this in Ndola, Zambia last April, and this November, I saw it again in the Philippines.

While on the bus to the venue, we already experienced the warmth of Christian fellowship. Such fun!

bus

About 28 young leaders from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia came together for five days of learning, fellowship, and dreaming.

Yes, dreaming!

Bishop Rudy Juan opened with his keynote about the connection of discipleship and leadership. Particularly, he said that as Christian young leaders, we needed to be mindful of three things:

  1. The VISION of the United Methodist Church: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  2. Giving VOICE to young people in the church: Speak up in a loving manner.
  3. Listen & Learn from the experiences of elders in the church, then add our own experiences to that.

Speaking of giving voice to young people, we also had a session on Young People’s Voices in the United Methodist Church, led by my good friend, Earlie Pasion-Bautista. It wasn’t a simple session by any means. It was done remotely via Skype! This is really my first time in a church event with a remote presenter. It worked out well, too!

earlie

Continue reading “Reflections from the YPM Asian Young Leaders Summit 2015”

Free Download: May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic [WORKBOOK]

Here’s the Workbook companion para sa librong “May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic”

Hindi mo kailangang lunukin ang Magic Bato ni Darna, o kaya ay buhatin ang Magic Barbell ni Teng para lang magkaroon ka ng chance to make a difference.

Kung isa kang kabataan na gustong magkaroon ng #SuperEpic impact sa iyong mundo, then this workbook can help you discover your passions, identify your vision, at tulungan ka na makahanap ng mga like-minded individuals para maisakatuparan ang iyong mabuting hangarin.

Wala kang kailangang bayaran para sa Workbook na ito. Just LIKE and SHARE our page at magpapakita ang download link below.

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SuperEpic WB Cover

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Support Young People’s Ministries Century Ride for Global Scholarship

A few years back, my boss Mike Ratliff started going on bike rides on his birthday to raise funds for different purposes. Instead of giving him gifts, he asked his friends to help him raise money for several projects. The other year, it was to help raise funds for international participants who will attend the Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly, a once-in-every-4-years event for United Methodist young people all over the world.

This year, Mike’s “Century Ride” will help raise funds for the global scholarship fund of our office. Young People’s Ministries, in case you’re not aware, is the global youth and young adult ministries agency of the United Methodist Church. We have a grants program and a scholarship program that benefits young people who are living and studying in their own countries. Anybody from outside the United States could apply to receive the scholarship.

It’s a fairly recent Scholarship Program. Prior to this, most of the United Methodist Church’s scholarship programs were for students in the United States. Young People’s Ministries’ Global Scholarship program has helped young people from the Philippines and Africa among other places go through College.

Mike has committed to riding a bike for 100 miles on November 6, 2015. He has also pledged $100 so he My colleague Kelsey will ride for 100 minutes.

I am committing to ride my bike for 100 minutes.

You, too, can help support this effort. You can donate $100 or more. But if that amount is a little too high for you, can gather 10 of your friends to give $10 each and support this fundraising effort. If $10 still sounds too much, how about gathering 20 friends who will give $5 each? Or even 100 friends giving $1 each. We can be creative in helping support students around the world!

Continue reading “Support Young People’s Ministries Century Ride for Global Scholarship”

Strangers, Foreigners, Offering Bread and Fish

Last August, my wife, son, and I moved to Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. We came from the Philippines, halfway around the world–from the land of delicious and sweet dried mangoes, of beautiful beaches, and hospitable people.

movingboxesIt’s hot, and the traffic is really bad, and although more than 20 typhoons pass by every year, it is still home. It is where I grew up and learn how to interact with my world.

Both of my parents are pastors in the United Methodist Church. That probably explains why they gave me the name Mighty. Since they are both pastors, I have lots and lots of memories of moving from one place to another: from the seminary in Cavite, which is about 40 kilometers away from Manila, we traveled for 9-10 hours at night to move to the Northern part of the Luzon island; packing boxes, helping my parents put books, clothes, and other things into containers. After several moves, I have several boxes that I just did not open: we just moved them from one place to another.

In all of those moving, church members helped us pack our things, they even went with us to the new church and parsonage. Some members gave us parting gifts and foods. And when we arrived at the new church and parsonage, the members were eager to welcome us, helping us unload and arrange our new home, and they all made us feel part of their community.

We probably moved to around 15-20 houses in the past 4 decades. So I know what it is like to not have our own house. I was 29 when my father brought and built our own family house. I no longer lived with them, but at least, I have place to store all those unopened boxes. I suppose that in the Philippines and in a lot of places around the world, having your own house is a big sign of stability.

Continue reading “Strangers, Foreigners, Offering Bread and Fish”