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August 16, 2013 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

Two Sundays ago, I was was flying alone from Manila to the US. Today, I hopped on a 7-hour train and bus ride to south of California all by myself.

It’s been rewarding, you know, getting to travel alone in a country that’s huge and foreign to you. I felt I’ve already grown so much in the past weeks and still in the many days to count before this trip comes to full circle, I am definitely expectant for more.

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Train and bus ride to Los Angeles, CA.

After spending a week in Florida to be with my spiritual family at the Every Nation World Conference, I left for another state to spend my second week in the US with my cousin who I haven’t seen in the last five years.

It was sure a sweet reunion – getting to see her again, her husband and if I’d be really honest, I was most excited about this trip to be finally meeting their one-year old daughter for the very first time!

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My family in Merced, CA.

My cousin moved to the States few years ago and built a family in a city north of California called Merced.

My heart’s been fat since I came here because this is my kind of place to live in – unhurried, quiet, laid back, away from the tall buildings and close to the vineyards. I have a big thing for anything country so this is definitely a treat!

Being with my cousin the past week has been a breath of fresh air. They’re my family away from home, a refuge, my comfort zone. In fact, too much comfort I literally just slept through my first 14 hours there. I didn’t know how really tired and used up I was coming from the conference until I arrived in their humble home and crashed in the bed.

This week – aside from the few dine outs and sight seeing – was just really basically about that: resting, recharging, finding solitude and trying to get back my rhythm.

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Where I spend most of my mornings.

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I’ll never get tired of this kind of view!

And well, I must also mention the constant attempts to win over my one-year old niece, Andrea!

That girl’s a tough one. She knows her people so well and she doesn’t just let anyone in her life too easily. And yes, that includes me! But so far, we’ve been doing good. We’re in good terms just as long as I don’t carry her. Carrying her: no-no!

But the other day, the rare happened.

For a brief moment, she finally allowed me to carry her for the first time! I was very elated and I just wanted to squish her and pinch her cheeks until they swell red! But then I had to resist because I knew in that precious minutes that she let me hold her for the first time, it’s gonna be a make or break.

So instead of losing myself to her cuteness, I rather made sure I held her well and gently. I wanted that in her first experience of me holding her I’d be able to establish this until it cuts through: that contrary to what she thinks, I’m someone she can trust.

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The day she let me carry her! What a straight face, my darling!

I should know that. We grown ups know it too well. It’s a trust issue.

Why babies cry in the arms of a stranger. Why we don’t just let anyone in our lives easily. Why we call friends our friends. Why we choose a certain product or service that we already know over something that we don’t. Why we go to the same place, seat on the same spot, order the same drink everyday.

Because we’re a people who operate on trust.

Trust brought me to this journey. ‘Cause if I’d be really honest to you, I could tell boldly and frankly that I have seriously no means to afford this trip.

But I figured I have all means to trust a living God.

And when I did, it taught me this: when you put your trust in God, it brings you to places you will never dare think you could go and it enables you to do things you will never dare think you could do.

You know why? Because when we trust God, it’s not gonna be by our own strength anymore. And what could our own strength do to us anyway.

Take Peter for an example. Trusted God. Walked on water.

Or Abraham perhaps. Trusted God. Became father of many nations.

That’s been my prayer while in this trip. I don’t want to go back home trusting God the same way I did when I left. And I know after all that He’s been doing in, for and through me the past weeks of being in this country, I will never be.

I pray this trip will teach me more and more of what it truly means to trust God – one that will give my heart an insurmountable kind of courage to go and move to wherever He leads me.

I want to trust God and trust Him enough until it brings my feet to the impossible, to the dangerous, to the to risky, to the unimaginable in my own understanding and yet are not to those who know how to trust the Lord.

I hope you will too.

Start by allowing God to carry you once and for all. When you do, while you’re in His loving arms, I pray it cuts through: “Shhh, no more struggling my child. Fear no more. I’m someone you can trust.”

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the water
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper thank my feet could ever wanter
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour”

– Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), Hillsong

08.11.13 8:56pm
Los Angeles, CA

August 8, 2013 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

I’ve been really meaning to post a blog about EN2013 sooner than this but I’ve been having a hard time to put into words how wonderful the past week has been! This blog ain’t enough to tell you that but let me give it a try!

The story of how God got me here. Attending the World Conference is one thing, the going part is another. You see, my EN2013 experience didn’t start when I came here. Pretty much, it’s a long road I’ve travelled. We’re talking about months and months of waiting, radical decision making, thousand dollars at stake, schedules to work out, faith to build. This wasn’t something I decided to do just recently. This was something I have been taking into consideration long enough because I know the possibilities. More so, the impossibilities. I knew that this would require me to take a big leap of faith – something that I was honestly more scared than willing to take. This didn’t come easy and I love that it had to be that way because all the more it became something so memorable. And basically, life changing. I love that nothing in the story of how I got here is about me. I love that it’s all about God, how good He is!

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The many firsts. It’s my first time to travel outside the country. My first to travel alone. My first in the US. My first in Disney. My first time to attend a conference held internationally. My first in a long time that I wasn’t working in a conference but actually attending it (well at least this one is half true, hehe)! The list goes on!

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Driving into Disney World for the first time is sure was fun!! 

My spiritual family. More than 2,000 attendees representing more than 50 nations, celebrating 20 years of God’s faithfulness in our church and ministry. That’s definitely a highlight! There were times in the middle of worshipping Jesus in the conference that I’d stop for a moment and look around. I’d see men and women from every nation and tribe, different and diverse in so many ways, and yet are one in the faith of lifting the name of Jesus high. That sight never fails to send me shivers down my spine. It’s always inspiring and encouraging to know that wherever you go around the globe, there are these men and women who walk alongside with you in this fight of faith. It’s beautiful. I love this spiritual family!

Company of good friends. They made EN2013 much sweeter! I loved sharing the past week with friends from Manila, being reunited with some of my friends from different nation, and getting to know new friends! Made my heart so full!

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L-R: Malou Tabelisma from Nashville. Olajide and Nyari Pariola from South Africa.
Naomi Lile from Hawaii, Carla Bonifacio from Manila, Blanca Ma from Hawaii. Jaime Jamgochian from Nashville. 

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L-R: Esther Tan, Jeng Gorre, Avon Tuazon and Len Ambata, Jenn Punzalan and Mae Perez with Minnie and Mickey, Mye Nunag and Carla Bonifacio.

The bunch of wonderful people I got to work with. I had the opportunity to work with some gems during the opening night of the World Conference. I was already good with just attending the conference but God had a much greater plan. I’m so grateful for the privilege He has given me to be part of EN2013 production team even just for a night. Wouldn’t trade that for anything!

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Team Pilipinas for EN2013 Opening Night! Too bad I wasn’t able to get a photo with Amy and Lisa and the rest of the Orlando team who did exceptionally well in running the whole conference. Thank you guys for all the hard work! :)

Among the MANY other revelations, the greater passion and vision it has given me to go be a witness of Jesus and reach the lost. In as much as we want to be together in a conference like this and continue on enjoying each other, we know that we are not meant to stay but go. That’s the exciting part – when we finally go back to our own respective fields but this time fueled with a new passion for Jesus and for reaching the lost, and start changing the world one person, one student, one family, one campus, one nation at a time!

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Powerful worship and word!

Jesus. The reason of it all. This conference is nothing apart from You! Thank you for the privilege of having a relationship with you and for the privilege of being used by You to tell the world of your unfailing love! We will forever stand in awe of You, Jesus. You’re the reason why we want to GO!

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin has left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
-Jesus Paid It All

 08.06.13 03:16pm

Merced, CA