5 August 2013 by Donna Uning CM –
“God is always there, even though you go through hardships,” said Phil Thomas from Australia to the youth groups at the Barbara Mendu Bay Auditorium during the Diocesan Youth Sunday here. He was one of the four young men and women who came to Kuching for a visit to talk with the youth ministry about their lives as missionaries with Logos Hope. The group consists of members from Paraguay, Philippines, Australia and Zambia.
Showing their national flags to the young people, the four also shared their testimonies. “Missionary starts in your life, it’s how you live. That’s missionary,” said Juan Marco from Paraguay. “You show that you are different and people see that you are different,” he continued, having parents who are also missionaries.
The youngest of the four, Flora Alcazar, from the Philippines told how she was involved in many ministries before joining the missionary. Rachel, from Nigeria said she started a youth group at grade 7, and was called by God at 15 to be a missionary. “God is calling everybody to join,” she said having been in many mission trips.
“You can evangelize and be working or going to school at the same time,” said Marco. “He wants us to go to the people and proclaim His name.”
The group then showed a video of their mission trips. “As far as the gospel in concerned, we need to go,” said Rachel. She reminded how Simon Peter was annoyed when Jesus asked for the third time, ‘do you love me?’
John 21:17, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
“Come out of your comfort zone to a place where you don’t feel you belong,” she explained. We need to persevere; we don’t have time and it’s not too late, she said.
In his testimony, Phil told how he was inspired by his granddad who was also a missionary. He had been on three short term missions before joining Logos Hope. “Mission is a lifestyle for me now,” said Phil. “God wants to redeem the world through us.”
“You can’t find satisfaction if you don’t have God,” he said, telling how he started in carpentry, earning a lot of money and spending them earlier in his life. “It was all about me rather than what You want me to do with my life,” he said. “We are called to be a son of God.”
When he finally decided to join Logos Hope, Phil was not sure people would support him financially because they knew he had money. “If you step in faith, He’ll meet you halfway,” he said after raising the finances within a month. “He’s waiting for us to ask, ‘what do you want me to do with my life, Lord?’”
“God is calling us to join His story. He wants us to be a part of that story, in missionaries. In the end He will be glorified,” he said. “He’s not going to hand you instructions, but He’s going to be with you all the way.”
Phil had gone through many struggles and hardship during the mission; and had many times asked God, ‘Why am I not doing what I came here to do?’ As a carpenter, he was working on machinery from 7am to 6pm while the others get to go out on missions; this continued for nine months.
“I praise God even when I’m struggling,” he said recalling the many times he broke down and how God was the only reason he got up. “God can do anything. He carried me through working 11 hours a day in the engine room.”
“He wants to work on you. What is your focus in life? Are you living for a greater purpose?” he challenged. “God is working with me and He’s with you. God wants to have a relationship with you. As Christians, we should be looking at what Christ wants. God wants us to trust Him. When you do, it gets bigger and bigger, more than you can imagine.”
Apart from talking about their missionary lives, the group also performed a dance and a drama. The youths also got together for some games and fellowship with the team. St. Faith’s Church youth coordinator Rev Kelvin Jawa supervised the event.