What a year 2021 has been! Lockdowns, sickness, grief, stress… a challenging list that still expands, but I must say: We’ve also seen the emergence of many beautiful things such as generosity, empathy made real with online huddles and meet-ups, innovation in organizations, the decrease of COVID-19 cases, and the ease of travel restrictions.
No matter what pain we’ve been through this year, God remains steadfast. In fact, He encourages us to dream again; to see tomorrow as possibilities for our good. Even if these thoughts—these dreams— may flit like butterflies through our minds (some landing shyly on our hearts; others bulldozing us with their wings), we can believe that God still has an ace up His sleeve. He has the greatest track record of knowing how to turn our ashes into beauty; our pain into promise. He hasn’t lessened in His power or love for us.
As we choose to hope and dream again, we can hear God whisper though the tumult, “Arise, child. Take what’s in your hands and walk.”
We can STILL rely on God and His faithfulness. We can still trust Him and embrace Him as our true HOME and refuge!
Confidence in Approaching 2022
Knowing this, One Voice Magazine ends 2021 with much expectation. We march toward 2022, continuing our mission to create and publish stories of hope, unity, and transformation. It is our goal that people who read or listen to our words will be stirred by our stories so that they become passionate to love God and others.
In One Voice Magazine, we purposely want our words to be dynamic—to light up our website and social media pages; to stab at the darkness with our broadcasts; to saturate the pages of our print issues with hope. Furthermore, One Voice Magazine has mission trips that enrich our stories, electrifying the atmosphere with the belief that God is alive, and that He sees. He cares. He is still good.
Missions in Mindanao
In our recent mission trip to North Cotabato last November, we spent time with the tribes, particularly the Manobo, Matigsalog, Kulamanon, and Tinananon. Four of us from One Voice Magazine locked arms with the local youth group, Revival Generation, and used our cameras and pens to record testimonies and cultural practices. We interviewed datus, pastors, and other key people to find out what was in their hearts. We asked, “How is God moving in Mindanao?”
Caption: The mission team was composed of One Voice Magazine, Revival Generation, and Pastor Richard of Mindanao Forerunners.
We also did a life march at a place called Little Baguio, located in the municipality of Arakan. Present with us was the Vice Mayor of Arakan, Hon. Jeneifer Anarna Pangilinan; Pastor Rolando Mañigos and Pastor Richard Lanzanas, pastors to the tribes; a Philippine Army representative; and some municipal councilors from Arakan. We declared life on the land and worshipped the Lord our God with His people in the mountains.
Another thing we did was to visit the church that One Voice Magazine funded in its construction, way back in 2013. It was a wonderful time reconnecting to the past and visiting the church, which I’m happy to say is still standing in Kulaman Valley, at the heart of the Kulamanon tribe.
This is the church that One Voice funded in construction, way back in 2013.
Reflecting on the Trip
Indeed, there is an unmistakable flame of passion rising in Mindanao—a brave sound of worship coming from the mouths of God’s people. As the sun rises, the firebrand youth of Cotabato rouse from their sleep and worship the Creator of Heaven and earth. Their voices light up the tired and the sick and the hopeless. To add to this, there are fathers and mothers—an older generation–who passionately know how to worship God. They lift their hands and dance gracefully, remembering their culture; their specific identity. They realize that the rocks and streams are not God as their forefathers once thought. However, they know—they feel it in their bones—that God is still all around them. He roars in the majesty of the waterfall; He speaks in the solid grandeur of the rock; He sings amidst the chirping of the birds.
Who else hears this? Who else catches the dawn? The sound of awakening bounces along the slopes of Mt. Apo with joy.
A view of Mt. Apo
It is my hope that the video and articles made from this mission trip (to be released first quarter of next year) will light the same fire of passion in your own hearts. Together, with our brethren in the mountains, we can dream for the sound of HOPE to to rise in the Church and our nation once more.
Preparing for 2022
Needless to say, this trip is opening the door for more projects in Mindanao next year. Because of these prospective projects, and also because we want to craft our stories well, One Voice Magazine will use the month of December to fix our business strategies and content. We want you, our dear readers, to grasp the immensity of HOME in relation to our homeland. This kind of work for the month of December is our reason to pause broadcasts temporarily. We plan to resume One Voice Radio in January 2022.
Do pray for us as One Voice Magazine moves forward. Our next year is filled with amazing surprises! You are, of course, wholeheartedly invited to journey along with us.
That being said, I greet everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HOLIDAY! Remember Jesus; He is the reason for this season!
One with you in unwrapping this precious gift called life,
Janina Marie Rivera
Janina Marie Rivera is the author of the book, A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear and has co-authored the devotional, Dawns, published by OMF Literature. She is a contributing poet in the books Joyful Light and Whitmanthology: on Loss and Grief by Various Authors. She is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine.