“What’s the difference then?” Jenny asked.
“Jesus.” I answered straight.
She nodded her head and says, “I see, that’s why.”
Jenny, a 21 year old woman lived next town, has been close friends with the girls living with us, Arlene and Analyn and sometimes she would drop in at the house and since then she’s been lovin’ what she’s seein’. The way we live forces her to ask some reality questions.
First time she came we had meals together, then second time she stays longer, this time she stayed for a night. We share our hospitality with her as we normally do to anyone who needed it. The next day before she left she already expresses some appreciations like:
“I love it here.”
“I wanna learn some things…” [She saw the people around this Apostolic Hub how we got some work to do and share.]
“Can you adopt me as one of your kids Uncle Molong?” [She sees how we behave together as one family, though around 15 of us living life-together.]
She began to see things differently and others began to recognize her “wanting to be a part of” us. Around this time she already expresses that she’s getting tired of her work, and not wanting to just stayed at home and waited for the next work day. So, I throw a question at her while helping one of the girls cook our breakfast one morning, “What’s your purpose in life Jenny?”
“None,” was her quick reply, “I do not know, I am confused.”
I let her own words sunk deeply inside her boggling thoughts. It is good to be curious about things especially about on what to do with your life.
She’s looking for something “different.” I was pretty sure at that.
We let that day passes by. Then a second time she visited us, about a week later, still stayed with us but this time a bit longer, 3 days. The day is Sunday. As normally I have my coffee, it’s time to call her up and sat under the tree with some chairs around the table sipping my coffee.
“Hi Jenny, good morning.” I started to initiate some discussions. “Have you done your coffee time yet? Can you come over and sit with me for I have something to tell you.”
“Alright Uncle,let me finished cleaning the hut and then I’ll join with you.” She answered back. When she’s finished she sat down on a chair right opposite to me, there’s another vacant sit on my left side. [See how this chair was being prepared by, later.]
The two of us started a conversation:
“So, you like it here Jenny?” I started, “Why?
“Something just different Uncle, I wanna learn what they learned.” Looking at the people around working something.
I look her in the eye and said plainly, “If you want to become a part of my family, then I have to make you a disciple. You like that?”
“Sege bah.” She said it in cebuano word means “Yes, for sure.”
“Unsaon mana?” [How was that?] She inquired.
“You’re 21 and says you have no purpose. That’s pretty normal life like anybody around but until you start something new in your life then you be like everybody else. Imagine what you’re doing today is the same yesterday, what do you think would happen to you tomorrow?”
“Hmnn….of course nothing. Yah.” She keeps hearing me.
“No purpose right? How do you think you would find your purpose? Where do you think you could find it? If I will buy a TV set and I do not know how to use it then where should I go? Where should I look to find how my TV would function?”
“To the manual!” she answered quick.
“Who made the manual Jenny?”
“The one who made the TV.” she said.
“Like us then, God created us and after that He made a manual on how we should function as humans, as who we are created to be.
Jenny, your longings for family and purpose is wonderful for that’s how we are created. It’s good, but until you understand the story behind all of this then we cannot go on making you a disciple and be a part of my family.”
“My family here, all of us living here is called Jesus Family. We are followers of Jesus, He is our King and as much as we can we will obey Him. To make you a disciple is one of our job. You want to become a art of us, of course, as we know you little by little we also want ourselves to become a part of you.”
“Sege na Uncle, unsa man.” [Tell me now, come on!] she blurt out.
“There’s something that you want to know.” She eagerly listens. “You’re dead.”
She look at me in the eye, and said calmly, “What do you mean?”
“When Jesus died for you, that means there is something wrong in us. Sin does not only make you hide from your purpose in life but also hide yourself from God. That means, because of sin, you’re dead. And you know that dead person could could not communicate. You’re dead. And you needed to be raised back to life.”
“Should I do ‘good’ works?” She offered
“Good works? How can can a dead person work Jenny?”
“Oh, so you mean, what will happen to those people who does good works?” She reason.
“What’s the difference, everybody does it right?
At this very moment, remember that empty chair on my left side? It was now occupied with my mother holding her cup of coffee and just speak out, “Relationship my dear, they have no relationship.”
I stare at my mom with amazement, “Whew, what a good timing!” I said in my mind. I think I could not answer the way she answered! It’s just perfect time. Much more she continued…
“God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.” Well, there you go. And honestly, to our whole conversation with Jenny to the end, at this point, mom just left without notice! It’s just like the Holy Spirit, the wind blows wherever it wishes. You don’t know where it’s coming and where it’s going but surely you can feel it!
She’s gone, and I think she goes somewhere in my Filipino hut watching TV?
“Exactly,” I pointed out. “You may know our president and may want to do something good to offer him. But the question is, does he knows you?”
“Probably not.” She answered in dismay.
“God loves you Jenny, and there is no ‘good work’ that you can do to make Him love you more. He should have not gone to that cross if only good works could save us. He already did so much good works like healing the sick people, raised up dead people and feed the poor. But why He needed to die for you? Because you cannot do it, I cannot do it. Only He can do it.”
Right from the beginning when we sin we’re already dead in our trespasses. Nothing we could do with that except we be buried to the ground.”
She’s an intelligent woman, she certainly understand these things.
“Jenny, you’re dead,” I said bluntly, “until I bury you you cannot be a follower of Jesus. See, if anyone follows Christ, He will kill him or her….” She stares with astonishment as I speak these strange words to her. “Until you denied yourself,” this time I am more clearer, “until you realize that the life that you know has now come to an end, you cannot follow Him with your old life because He cannot give you His new life.”
“So, what should I do?” she was so curios at this time.
“Well, what should we do with dead people?” I ask her
“Aw, Elubong! Elubong ko nimo Uncle?” [Well, bury them. Are you going to bury me?]
“Yes. Because Jesus will kill you, that is why I shall bury you.”
This time, she laugh in astonishment. “Did you get my point Jenny?” I ask.
“Yes,” she said.
“I will baptize you in water.” And I said to her plainly, “Just as Jesus died and was buried then you also must die with Him in baptism. And just as He raised Himself from the dead you also will be raised in new life.”
“Mao diay na?” [I see, that’s it?]
“But I was already baptize when I was young.” She inquire.
“Well, burial is 6 feet under the ground. Are you sprinkled or ‘buried’ under the water? Have you seen anybody was buried by sprinkling some soil?”
“When a person ‘realizes’ that he is dead then he would realize that he needed to be buried right away or else he be stinky soon enough!” She laugh hard at this time. “A child doesn’t even know what’s going on when he was poured out with water.”
Death to self is very important in making you a new person. It’s how the Kingdom of God works!”
I must baptize you right away.”
“Now uncle?” she ask.
“Yes, or you start smelly.”
“Yes,” she said with a smile, “OK. but I got no dress to wear?”
“Don’t worry. the way you look just fine.”
As normally do, the way we make disciples is as quick as 6 to 15 minutes. With Jenny is about 15. I took my daughter Shirley Faith with me and her cousin Kimberly. Rode on my bike for 7 minutes and dump her in. I prayed a short prayer of thanking Father,immerses her and gave a hug and said, “Welcome to my family, the family of God. You are now a part of us, we are now a part of you. We’re family.”
When we get home, our eating together is as normal as the Lord’s Supper, ‘accepting one another’ in the Lord. I handed her a book, “Back To The Basics” a good introduction as a babe in Christ.
Our last partings statement just before we went to the sea for baptism:
“Jenny, the difference of what you see in us here?….is Jesus.”
“Ah, mao diay.” [Ah, I get it]