by Gissele Palero
The Philippine government recently implemented the TRAIN Law regarding the taxation system. Phase 1 of it aims to increase an employee’s take home pay by decreasing or even exempting him from the withholding tax depending on his salary grade. In my case however, my tax deductions in January 2018 increased by an additional 2% Professional tax aside from the usual 3% withholding tax. This really bothered me for a couple of weeks since I have already plotted where my monthly income should go for the next 12 months.
In addition to my tax concerns are the average 4 hours daily commute, pollution and traffic jam in the metro, and pressures at the workplace. The anxieties of this world are beginning to consume me – job promotion, personal investments, and family responsibilities—as though I have not personally known the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In our midst, God’s wisdom prevails. He is indeed a jealous God. Whenever His child starts to drift away from His loving arms, he will be given another chance to be restored in His fellowship. God made me realize that I was worshiping my career – the job I prayed for to be used only as a vehicle for ministry opportunities. I was already focusing on the tool instead of the Master.
So I was indifferent when the news broke about the continuous eruption of Mayon Volcano in the Bicol Region. I was so consumed with my personal concerns it never bothered me that some of my Filipino brethren were inhaling ash falls, evacuees jam-packed in shelters, the increase of pneumonia and other lung-related diseases, and destabilized livelihood. My heart was selfish, my mind shallow of the realities around me.
One of our GD team members shared that, “God is not only the God of second chances, but the God new beginnings.” This is what transpired during our recent HeCares 360 ministry: Mission Mayon to the evacuees at Daraga & Camalig, Albay, Bicol on February 13-17, 2018. God gave me another chance to be used to express His love to our brethren in Albay; another chance to work hand-in-hand with new partners in the ministry; and another chance to know and experience His mercy, grace and faithfulness.
Another chance to be used to express His love to our brethren in Albay. 1 John 4:12 says, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” This calamity may have caused diseases, destabilized livelihood, decreased hope for the future yet this is a wonderful opportunity to express God’s love in action! Our brethren in Albay truly needs comfort and assurance of not only prayers for protection, but as well as manifestation that our living God truly loves and cares for them. Our small act of genuine kindness by distributing face masks and feeding program for the evacuees may only be temporary, but it was expressed with sincerity out of pure love for Jesus and for His people.
Another chance to work hand-in-hand with new partners in the ministry. The GraceDrive family has reached not only the Philippines but also our Christian partners abroad who committed their time in prayers, monetary donations, and other significant efforts in order to accomplish the Mission Mayon. The GD team also had a privilege to minister together with our local partner, New Life Baptist Church, Daraga. It was truly encouraging to witness God’s children walking in His commandments, manifesting His truth, embodying the Gospel of Jesus Christ – a love expressed “not in word or speech, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).
A chance to know and experience His mercy, grace, and faithfulness. Mission Mayon was not only outbound but also inbound. While traveling to Albay on my own, God’s calming presence assured me that it will be a “joy ride”, a chance to enjoy a renewed fellowship with Jesus once I let Him lead my directions and surrender to Him all my apprehensions. Believe me, I truly desire to share with you how God orchestrated the circumstances, the people whom He used to accomplish His purpose, and how he provided more than what we desired for this mission, yet I know that what I have written here is incomparable to how God can astonish you personally with His promises. When I came back to Manila, I received my pay slip for February. Indicated was a refund of my tax deduction from the previous month as well as confirmation that I am indeed a recipient of tax exemption for the next 12 months. I was not looking after the reward, but God once again allowed me to taste His loving mercy, heavenly peace, and grace. As a song says, “He will give you rest as He quiets you with His love.”