Last night was the Sharing day for BSF’s Study of Isaiah. It was special to me, because in my 2 1/2 years of teaching in BSF, this was my first time to represent the Children’s leaders during Sharing time with all the women. Also, this was our Teaching Leader Tita Erlyn Campos’ last time as she is retiring after the book of Isaiah. It was such a privilege to have served with her and with the rest of the women who were mentors to me one way or another. BSF holds a special place in my heart. It was a direct answer from God about two years ago when I prayed for “more” of Him. I had only been attending BSF for a month when I was called to leadership, nominated by my DL Ada. From there, things took on a wild, fun ride of learning and relearning, of submitting and being disciplined by the Lord. This year’s study of Isaiah was also very personal to me. The Israelites were no longer in the wilderness. They were entering into exile, and the promises and punishments of God will be very, very real to them.
Same with me. The ending of Isaiah couldn’t have come at such a timely period in my life. I’m holding on to promises, and expecting to be disciplined at the same time. My heart is torn. But I am certain that God had used the study of Isaiah to reveal to me His greater plans for the world, and for my little heart.
There are three things I learned from studying Isaiah for 30 weeks.
1. The first is that the Lord quiets our fears. Isaiah is a book I haven’t studied yet. So when I heard that we were studying it for the first time, I admit I was a little fearful and excited. Isaiah isn’t like other books that have narrative stories to them. It’s a prophetic, historical book. What intimidated me about it was the fact that I wasn’t only going to learn about Isaiah; I was also going to teach it to the kids under me in level 3-4. And if I’m having a hard time understanding Isaiah, how much more these kids who are as young as 6 years old! We were like Tita Erlyn who would prepare the Bible lesson for a week, in a context that is appropriate to the kids, with examples and illustrations that are age appropriate. My co-leaders probably don’t know this and might even think otherwise, but I wasn’t always very confident. I had fears of whether they would understand, whether I was using the right words, teaching in the right manner. But God was just very patient in teaching me. He overrides our preparations, speaks to us through the weekly lessons and quiets our hearts so that we would only be mouthpieces, while He is the message. And I love the joy and smiles I see in the faces of children because it is a validation that they understand, they are enjoying and learning. I’m sure there is also fear in the part of our children, whether they think their answers are correct or not. I’m just glad that the Lord knows our fears and how to respond to our questions.
2. Second, I appreciated the training that BSF gives because it equips us for personal bible study and for ministry. We are trained to impart the word of God in a practical, relatable way, while at the same time still presenting the basic truths. I really believe that this is a good training ground for all of us, whether young or old. The kids were doing Homiletics on a regular basis, and before BSF, I didn’t even know what Homiletics was. I remember, during our break, when I opened my Bible and decided to use Homiletics to study a passage. It was something that all of us can learn to do, something that takes us one step further in studying God’s words. We won’t just be content reading the Bible, leafing through the pages, and praying. We would really get into every word, and every passage and every chapter, and find God speaking to us in a way that we have not experienced before. The Book of Isaiah really got me studying.
3. Last, BSF is the place to be mentored and to find a group of women who not only fulfils that role, but goes beyond that. It’s a life-to-life discipleship. What I mean is, I’m young. I started in the leadership when I was 23. I was a year fresh off college. People my age are in that stage of ‘experiencing’, ‘seeking’, trying to find their niche, trying to find role models. And I would just like to say that the women in BSF, particularly the leaders I serve with, are all mentors to my faith one way or another. Each time I hear them share their answers during Leaders’ Meeting, when I hear their wise counsels and their experiences, a voice in my head, the Holy Spirit and God, would always tell me, “listen carefully. You want to learn from that.” I see faith being lived out, I hear wonderful testimonies, and I’m inspired. I was joking with Tita Erlyn that when I get married in the not-so-distant future, she’ll be my ninang. Well I guess I now have a lot of prospect ninangs to choose from. And this is just a shout out to everyone I have had the chance to serve with: When we were young, we’re always asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I’m all grown up, well, I’m still growing up, and you all inspire me, so I want to say, “I wanna to be like you.”
Ending Isaiah has been bittersweet. From here on, I just wait for God’s plans for my life. Will I leave the Philippines? Does he want me to pursue my Masters? Does he want me to go to another country? Should I go back to teaching BSF? Where is He leading me? I have all these questions and I’m going to make the most of the Holy week to hear directly from the Lord. My heart is just anxious and expectant.