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God's transformational gardening

by Laurie Lind, Entrust staff writer

Some seeds take time to germinate. That was true in Teresa’s life. She grew up in a small barrio in the Philippines, in a fractured and hurting family. She frequently heard the gospel as a child in Sunday school. She didn’t respond to the gospel then. But the seed was planted.

As a young adult, she visited several churches, and various people shared the gospel with her. The seed was watered.

When Teresa began attending Greenhills Christian Fellowship in the city of Legazpi, all those seeds burst into fruition. The senior pastor, Rico Gelit, “became an instrument of the Lord for my real conversion,” Teresa says, adding that shortly after that, she enrolled in a bachelor of theology course because “I wanted to learn more about Christ Jesus my Savior and Lord.”

Teresa now serves as head of Greenhills’ edifying ministry, “taking care of discipleship groups, women’s and couples’ ministry, pastoral care, health care.”

But God had some further seed-producing work for Teresa. When Entrust’s Emily Garcia visited Legazpi to introduce our Equipping Women training, Pastor Rico recommended Teresa as one of the first participants. Teresa jumped in, along with several others.

To date, she has completed modules one and two, Facilitating Relational Learning and Developing a Discerning Heart.

Not without difficulty, but all worthwhile, she says. The plant that started growing in her schooling is continuing to grow, but not without challenges.

The biggest difficulty she’s had to overcome has been time. Teresa’s church work takes a lot of her time as does being a solo parent of three, two of whom live with her full-time. Another older child stays with her part-time. “I have no other person to take care of my children,” she says. “My 14-year-old can take care of himself, but my 10-year-old is always with me.”

Teresa traveled to her church for the Entrust training sessions which are conducted online during COVID. The church’s internet connection is the only such connection available for most of the participants. When sessions lasted past curfew, several women, including Teresa and her daughter, occasionally spent the night in the church.

She has no complaints—only gratitude.

“From FRL, I have learned to do open questions that lead to more answers or rich discussion,” she says, calling it “skill enhancement.” The plant bloomed.

DDH hit home on an interior level. “I really loved DDH. It was very personal to me. I have learned to enhance my listening skills. And be more intimate with other ladies. It’s very useful for counseling development.”

Teresa sees God doing “transformational business” in people’s lives through Entrust. “I personally have experienced it, most specially during DDH.”

As part of their four-module equipping process, the women are asked to invite new women to participate in the training and to mentor their invitees throughout their time of study in each module.

Teresa’s first invitee/mentee was Mary, a woman she had discipled. Since then, Teresa has invited and mentored at least seven more women, who have, in turn, invited and mentored their own friends and relatives. Now seeds are being cast into other gardens.

Teresa is doing all this work—homework, traveling, sleeping in the church, mentoring women—because, she says, she wants to take God’s calling seriously. She wants to live out what she learns. “I believe the training’s success is hidden in whether I apply it on a daily basis.”

Teresa’s ultimate dream is “to be deeply rooted in God’s word, to multiply the fruits by God’s grace.”

The deeper those roots in God’s word, the more Christlike will be the fruit.

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