Associate Pastor Update on Missions Trip

by Rev. Angela R. Johnson

Ye of little faith!

What does it mean to have faith in God?  Recently, I have been asking myself the question from Micah 6:8.  It states, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humblywith your God.” So what does the Lord require of Angela Renee? What does it mean to have faith in God?

During my trip to the Philippines, I thought about God, family, and faith, especially in the midst of a category 3 typhoon.  I left Atlanta, GA on Monday, July 14th, and arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday, July 15th around 11p.m. I was extremely excited to see and experience the Philippino culture.  From the airport, we (delegates from the Global Young People’s Legislation Convocation and Assembly) got on a bus and were taken to Tagaytay, Philippines.

As our bus ride continued and the rain poured, I began to get nervous and worried about our safety.  Was it safe to be driving or riding the bus?  I quietly prayed, “God be with us as we travel.”  Once we arrived at the Tagaytay Retreat Center, the rain and the storm picked up. Around 1:45am, the rain burst through the window of my room and began to flood the room.  Not only was I nervous, I was scared.  The rain and storm got violent and raging at times.

After feeling nervous and terrified, I went downstairs in a meeting room.  At first, the population of people was small; however, as the storm picked up, more females came down to the meeting space. Fear and lack of trust were thoughts that crossed my mind. Who could I trust? I knew I had traveled with a few people from Atlanta, but where were they? Where was God and why was God allowing something like this to happen to us?  These were questions and thoughts that transpired in my mind.

I picked up the phone and called my dad and said, “Daddy, we’re experiencing a typhoon and I hope we make it home. I just want you to know that I love you.” Seconds later the phone call ended and all I heard was raging wind and rain.   Glass from windows was being knocked out and rooms were flooding. Women of all ages slowly filled the meeting space.

As the wind and rain picked up, God was telling me to sing. God told me to use my voice to calm the ladies. I began to sing and praise God through song.  As I sang, I noticed that others joined in with me.   It was amazing to hear… and it seemed like the typhoon calmed down.

After being fearful and wondering who I trusted, I was reminded that my hope and trust is in the Lord. I was also reminded that the Lord requires me to walk humbly.

I am thankful that we survived a typhoon. I will have stories to tell my grandchildren.  Following the typhoon, the trip was different for me.  We discussed legislation for General Conference in the United Methodist Church, we worked on missions for disaster relief, and discovered what it means to be “global”.  Overall, the conference was okay.  Over seventy-seven people lost their lives due to being outdoors, getting hit by trees, collapsing buildings, and flying debris.

I know I went for a reason and a conference; however, I learned so much more than what it means to be apart of a conference.  I learned that faith without works is truly dead. I learned and truly believe that God is so good and we must remain faithful to God.

On our last day in the Philippines, I got really sick and contracted a parasite from the water.  Needless to say, I arrived in the United States with a parasite and was extremely dehydrated and weak.

All I can truly say is “I praise God for allowing me to be here.”  Recently, I have fallen in love with a song entitled, “Oceans,” by Hillsong United. The chorus says:

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.”

Sometimes we are placed in situations so that we may slow down and truly focus on God.  I am blessed beyond measure. I thank you all for your prayers, love, and support during my time in the Philippines and as I recovered.

Blessings for the journey,

Rev. Angela R. Johnson