25 JOYs and counting…

ALL is set for my “detachment” day. I slowly pulled myself out of any interaction with my housemates. I intentionally left my mobile phone un-loaded. I already planned my day; and how it would look like the moment I open my eyes on the morning of July 29th. A lot of things were running on my head. I was facing my notebook (seriously) when a loud knock broke the silence.

It was 12:00 midnight and both me and my roommate were still up. I stood up, being nearest to the door, unlocked the knob and found my two other housemates with a chocolate mousse cake and an over-sized card on their hands, singing Happy Birthday. “Much for my ‘detachment’ plan, eh?” I said to myself. I blew the three candles, which were nicely placed on top of the cake. Invited them inside the room and the entire two hours were full of chats, photo shoots, and eating!

“So what’s your plan now that you’re 25?” My housemates asked. Plan? My plan? Now that I am 25? For crying out loud, does it have to be different because I am undeniably 25?

They started saying that with my skills I am eligible for marriage; perhaps finally have a boyfriend; get engaged; do other “adult” stuff; and try not to be “boring.” Okay! I get the point. I would try to lighten up and joke real ones. Note taken.

Some young people at my age do get engaged or even married. Because of social constructs many people are bound to conform to several “standards.” Our society, with the presence and influences of media, will tell us so many things that we can do and achieve at the age of 25. But I love how this number, 25, means very interestingly in the Bible.

Second Kings is the only book in the Bible that has 25 chapters. And in the whole book, there are four (4) men who were appointed kings when they were 25 years old, and three (3) of them (Amaziah, Jotham, and Hezekiah) “did what was right in the sight of God.” Jehoiakim, on the other hand, continued the sins of his fathers and did evil things in God’s sight. Among the rulers in 2 Kings, only Hezekiah’s prayer was recorded. Another interesting fact is that in all 2 Kings, only one prophetess was mentioned and named–Huldah!

The book of 2 Kings is not normally suggested being read during birthdays. Common themes would be from the Psalms or Proverbs. Surprisingly, God led me to 2 Kings. After being an officer for several years, including national president of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines, the theme of leadership is way out of my present position or job. Well, I still work in the church but all those legacy-making and leadership styles are “beyond” me now. Although it was quite hopeless (at first) to know God’s message to me, I still continued reading. Then it hit me…

Mentorship. Elijah and Elisha. The first kings and those that followed them. Bad and good ruling happened because of the sin passed on from one leader to the next, until one cuts it off and starts anew. God is pleased by those who faithfully follow His commandments but punishes those who do otherwise. Amaziah, Jotham, Hezekiah pleased God by cutting off the curse from their bloodline. Jehoiakim, instead of turning to the true and living God, turned away and committed worst than his forefathers. “Whatever are pure and pleasing to God from my administration, I should also pass it to the next leaders (NUMYFP). And whatever are wrong and evil must be put to an end.”

I received almost a hundred of text messages that day. Greetings most of them. Since I am “detaching” from the rest of the world, I keep myself away from my mobile phone. But while I was reading my devotion that afternoon, reflexes pushed me to pick up my phone. I got a message from one of my mentees, asking what I am doing and looking for someone to “hang around” with. I could just ignore this person and like the rest of my messages, leave it there. In the end, I texted back and we went to church together then had a small chitchat before parting. God wanted me to apply His message of mentorship not just for myself but for others (or in that case, to another person). If I ignored that small request, could I have responded in discipleship to Christ? The answer is no. Like Jesus during His ministries, He took prayer times off the crowd and be with the Father, but afterwards when He saw an immediate need, He never said “excuse me, I am having a break for the whole day, I will come back to you later.” Instead, He accommodates them in His perfect timing. His personal prayer time is not a “special day” but one of the normal days of His ministry life.

I, too am not different. Special times with God happen on regular days. I start with a prayer of silence between me and God, then a series of “sacred moments” or opportunities that I experience as I interact with people. My 25th birthday is, in fact, just the same as my previous birthdays; the same “unending surprises” from God year after year. With this note, it is rightful for me to name at least 25 events and discoveries of my life that molded JOY EVA BOHOL:

1. The mere fact that God thought of creating me

2. Naming me as Joy Eva, which I just discovered means JOYful EVAngelist or JOYful Life (Eva=life)

3. Amazing God-fearing parents, and the coolest and craziest siblings ever!

4. Loved, redeemed, sanctified

5. Service to the UMYFP, including the NUMYFP as national president (who would have thought that?–never in my wildest dreams)

6. I survived Metro Manila for almost 3 years now (wohoo!)

7. Traveled the Philippines (at least the major islands)

8. New knowledge and skills on Bookkeeping, sales, and book publishing through Discipleship Resources-Philippines (if not for the coolest bosses–ate Jay and ate Earlie)

9. Traveled to 8 countries (pa…more to come…and celebrated my birthday in different cities for three consecutive years!)

10. Went to mission trips local and international

11. OM Philippines family and friends (Cebu and Manila)- who opened my eyes and heart to missions

12. Philippines Emmaus Walk family and Singapore Emmaus Walk Community (broke me to pieces but made me stronger in my leadership)

13. The United Methodist Church-who nurtured me spiritually

14. University of the Philippines Cebu- BAMKWAN, WINX (another best batch ever!) and great intellectual professors (mentors and friends at the same time)

15. Sun.Star Publishing and Sun.Star Online (fan my passion in journalism)

16. Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Abellana National School Batch 2004 (best batch ever! with the Harry Potter club!)

17. Central Visayas Karatedo Association (received my black belt in 2005)

18. General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) for entrusting the Young People’s Address

19. Covered Baguio Episcopal Area, Manila Episcopal Area, and Davao Episcopal Area in one Christmas Institute visitation in 2011 (one per area, though)

20. Got interviewed in I Juander, GMA News TV evening show ( I was interviewed to comment on a Filipino Christmas favorite at a restaurant where we had our reunion group)

21. Knee-deep experience with Manila floods

22. Thrown with water during San Juan festival (all wet from head to foot, except my bag)

23. Houseless (but not homeless) for 10 days in August 2011 (as national president of the UMYFP)

24. Represented the Philippines in various events (Office of the President NYC Youth Ambassador to South Korea; OMP Cebu-Teenstreet Malaysia; UMYFP Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly in Berlin, Germany; etc.)

25. 25 AND ALIVE! Stronger and more JOYful!

It would take a lifetime if I write down all the blessings and struggles I had gone through my 25 years of existence. Nonetheless, I bring back all the glory and honor to my everlasting Father in Heaven who never gave up on me. At 25, I could have chosen a different path. Or I could have died earlier. But here I am writing this to you, as a living testimony to God’s amazing gifts to those who seek Him.

I am Joy Eva Bohol, proudly 25 and counting…


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