Hi, my name is Candice Taguibao, I’m in grade 12 and this is my 13th year at PCA. I’ve participated in missions at PCA for 3 years now. In grade 10, I went to Chang Mai, Thailand; last year, I had the privilege of serving in Kolkata; and this year I’m going to Boston with my team. I can honestly say that I’ve grown so much spiritually on these mission’s trips and have learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned how to humble myself before the Lord and have realized the urgency of sharing the gospel to a broken world.

But I’d like to share a bit of why I first applied for these missions’ trips, and why I continue to apply. As I finish my grade 12 year, I’ve discovered that life is busy, it’s not easy; in fact, it’s challenging.

I’ve been writing a lot of Personal Statement Essays and scholarships for universities recently, and this is my biggest pitch, how I sell myself- that I strive to challenge myself to become the best I can be. That’s why I’m the best candidate: because I push myself to be the best I can be when it comes to academics, athletics, and service in my community. But after a while, this put me in a very selfish position. I was so headstrong in my ambitions that I allowed myself to be tossed around by the chaos of being pulled in so many different directions, instead of looking up in the one direction that actually mattered, and desiring my relationship with my God to strengthen.

Now, I’m a very visual person and this is how I picture the Grace of God in my life. So bring your mind close to mine, and imagine with me. It’s dark. And in my ignorance, I’m running down a path, somewhere, anywhere; I don’t really know my destination but I keep going anyways. Full force; full speed. I don’t admit it often, but I’m exhausted, tired. I’m panting, I feel dizzy, and the road is closing in on me. But suddenly, when I get crazy (as I often do) and run down this crowded, but lonely road, something really extraordinary happens. I see a new path and it’s like the Lord diverges my road and carves a trail for me. At the end of the trail, I see around me an oasis, a garden! I lift my hands up and God is calling me in. I feel like I’ve discovered something. Here there is rest, peace, joy, and love. To me it’s a secret garden; it’s a secret in that it was so foreign to path that led me here. I’m not panting anymore- with every deep breath, I actually feel alive. There I find green pastures to lie in. There I see how the lilies grow and feel how much I’m loved. There, I find my God, though He was always with me, now I’m with Him. And it’s because He’s there with me that I can feel secure, and liberated at the same time. Being with Him gives me so much unexplainable joy, and its mine. It’s my garden. It’s precious to me. There, in my garden, I’m finally resting.

You know, there’s this preconception about missionaries: that they’re like a holy equivalent to a super sayan. But that’s not true. The feet that bring the message aren’t the steps of self-reclaimed righteous man; they are feet that are flawed. Yet it is the heart of the message they bring that make their journey worth it- beautiful. In the Bible it says that “Blessed are the feet that bring good news”. But the thing is, those feet would not be blessed if it wasn’t for the good news they bring. I’m not going on this mission’s trip because I’m perfect; I’m going on this missions trip because I fail. Because even though I have experienced walking with the Lord in my garden, at times I shamefully prefer the dark road I came from. And yet the Lord is so kind to me. After all I’ve done, he loves me so much; and if I was the reason that kept another person from experiencing that love, then I don’t know how to love at all.

That’s why I do missions. I go on these missions trips so that maybe I can get people who are so desperately mulling down the roads of their life to stop, and come into the secret garden that they may find rest as well, through Jesus Christ. And after a while, when my Gardener sees fit, the secret garden won’t be such a secret anymore.

So now I’m going to show one of the methods we’ll be using to share this message of love to the people in Boston. So here I have a sketch board which I will tell you a story from the Bible. This tool originates from Open Air Campaigners, the organization we will be working with in Boston. So, pretend with me that you are a group of young children who have come to listen to a story.

– Candice Taguibao (Gr 12 student, Athletic Council)