She was the answer to their prayers. She thought she would implement all their plans. But then the pandemic happened.
Six months into Hannah’s call to staff work, she saw all her best-laid plans disappear. Plans for expansion in Zambales (Northern Philippines) got confined to the four corners of a screen. And when students gradually left because of inability to connect online, Hannah thought her role as a staff was useless. “Since I am a person who works properly with plans laid out ahead,” Hannah recalled, “I became lost and started to question my calling.” She added, “I really did not have any idea how to start over again.”
But it was on this sense of lostness that Hannah found some help. The first was by journeying with friends. Two of her small groupmates in college agreed to be her support system. “They prayed for me and even helped me reorganize and plan again,” Hannah said. God used these two kuyas, who happened to be her closest friends, to “remind [her] of the things that [she] can and can’t control.” The second was journaling through art. With the use of a brush, Hannah created letterings of verses and hymn lyrics from her quiet times. They were her responses to her encounters with God and reminders when she felt “sad or stressed.”
These plus Hannah’s conscious refocusing on Christ, looking at His Word and works, and remembering that He is in control are helping Hannah move forward. “As I continue to serve Him in this ministry,” Hannah said, “I believe that this experience will help me rely more on God’s grace and mercy. Since He is in control, I have the confidence that whatever experience, it may be joys or sufferings, I have Him by my side.”
In this classic example of Expectation vs. Reality, Hannah learned that reality rarely matches with expectations, and can sometimes be cruel and harsh. But it is also in this reality that the Real Jesus, upon whom she turns her eyes, shows His sovereignty beyond the botched plans.
[Hannah Alvez is a Civil Engineer by profession. She is now on her third year as a staff worker. She is ministering to students in Zambales, and by September, will start in Baguio-Benguet.]
- Pray for Hannah and the whole staff team to continue to “turn [our] eyes upon Jesus,” in our daily walk and collective life. Pray that we will always fix our eyes on Him who called us to this ministry.
- Pray for the staff and IVCF ministry as we transition to in-person interactions. Pray that we will be able to adapt to the resumption of face-to-face classes soon.
- Pray for the continued support for staff salary and operational expenses. Pray for more generous partners in the ministry.