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EL Hannora Thrift Shop: The Joy of Giving 2014 Part 2

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good spirit lead me on level ground.

    Psalms 143:10 NIV

Christmas! Is always the time of the year when gift giving is abundant and people tend to forget the mundane of life. All of us are busy thinking the presents that we wanted to give to our family, friends, and loved ones. Christmas is about rejoice and joy, it’s about renewal and gratitude.

Most often, when you are hit with emotional downturn especially when its financial struggle, you always feel that you are the minutest creature of God. You often accuse God of forgetting your existence. When it’s emotional struggle, let’s accept it, its the time that we are very selfish. It’s all about ‘me’ and ‘me’ and ‘me’.

You must not forget, that no matter how low you feel, there’s always a community of people lower than you. If you are sleeping in your home, there are people sleeping in the street. If you’re meal only consist of rice and vegetables, there are people who needs to beg so that they can eat. If you cannot afford to buy shoes, there are people who doesn’t even wear slippers because they can’t afford to. If you can eat 3 meals a days and still complain, remember there are families and people who only eat 1 meal and the rest are nothing but water.

While you are being selfish and look inwardly on yourself, while you blind yourself on egocentric behavior yet you are blessed by God in so many ways… There exist families and people needing your blessings and help.

Last December 2014, me and my husband finally had the privileged to contribute to Philippine One Step Organization. Portion of EL Hannora Thrift Shop’s earnings were distributed to couple of outreach programs in The Philippines. We’ve supported the RVM outreach program by my good friend Bonna. The other outreach program is conducted by Philippine One Step Organization through the cousin of my college best friend and a very good friend, Ms. Charlyn Chua.

Philippine One Step is a non-profit organization with the aim of helping people and families in various ways they can. They consist of volunteers with the main goal of reaching out and blessed the less fortunates to share the blessings given by God. Each year, this organization reaches out to different locales and neighborhood in the city of Manila.

Last December 2014, One Step had couple of outreach programs. One of which is the giving of care packages to families and another outreach is to give aid to St. John Dialysis Center.

We give gratitude to One Step for allowing us to contribute in our small ways. Through this organization we were able to reach out to the less fortunates brothers and sisters in Philippines.

Preparing their care packages

Care packages are ready for giving

The outreach program begins

Gift giving

Gift giving

Recipients were waiting in line

Gift giving

Gift giving

Grateful for the blessings

Grateful for the blessings

Happy smiles!

Philippine One Step outreach at St. John Dialysis Center

 All photos in this article were granted permission to use by Philippine One Step Organization. You can reach their Facebook page here.

Thanking God for the strength He gave me and my husband to persevere with our EL Hannora Thrift Shop. Thanking our resellers and buyers as it’s their contribution that we managed to fund and reach out to God’s children.

In Christ.

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The Indifferences In The Brotherhood of Christ

It all started even during the dawn of Christianity.

The various religious leaders of Orthodox, Catholics, Coptics, Arians, Syriacs, among others who led the early Christianity years have already differences in their teachings.

Emperor Constantine created the Council of Nicea with the goal of settling disputes in terms of claims and create uniform teachings and doctrines among all Christian bishops; the east and west Christians. The very first issue of which, is the settlement of the question pertaining on the relationship between God The Father and The Son (Jesus Christ). After many years of arguments, the one-ness of God The Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost being one has been accepted by the members of the council. We now called it the Trinity and it is recited in the Nicean Creed.

Emperor Constantine wants unity among Christian brethren.

And he did. Or at least he succeeded in creating the Nicean Creed and Christianity has the Trinity.

Hundred years later, another dispute broke in Christian churches. This time around, the conflict wasn’t resolved leading to the separation between the Eastern and the Western Christian. The Eastern Christianity (Mediterranean ) retain their traditional and conservative prayers, worships, and teachings while the Western Christian evolved. Without the backup of the Roman Emperor, the Eastern Christians have to live on their own along with other non-Christian religions.

Western Christianity became dominated with Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholics flourished and expanded to other continents across the globe. Roman Catholicism introduced many doctrines (the original sin, St. Francis’ humility, etc) and one of the most controversial is the doctrine of purgatory. When a Roman Catholic passed on, and if he or she is destined to go heaven, the soul will first enter the purgatory so to be “purified” before going to heaven. It became very controversial and debatable as Catholicism has been viewed as the means for salvation and that reliance to the Roman Catholics clergy are of great value for after-life.

 

1/500 sec. F4.5 ISO 640 @ 17mm. Cathedral of Cologne Germany. 209

Until the reformist came in the 16th century when a German monk Martin Luther disagree with the Catholicism way and differentiate his view on after life that an individual him/herself is accountable to God. And the Protestantism movement begun.

Lutheran Church, Gutersloh Germany. 2009. 

Protestantism was followed by other reformist such as John Calvin, the global Pentecostalism (Pentecostal), charismatic movements, and the worldwide independent churches.

The indifferences among Christian churches today are still at large. The sad part of about it is, we Christians are very good in pointing out the “heretic” teachings of another church without even understanding how it came about. We have this mentality that our church is the true church and the rest of the Christian churches are nothing but heretics. We oftentimes forget to look into history. Christianity has thrived over the centuries and overcome empires. Mistakes are made along the way.

Always remember, there is no perfect church.

While writing this article, I’ve asked my husband;

“So when do you think all these indifferences started?”

“It started when Jesus Christ ascended into heaven leaving the 11 apostles to continue His teachings”, he replied.

At least both of us agreed.

Jesus Christ knows that conflict among His followers will arise. In Luke 9:49-50 NIV,

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Me and my husband, like many Christians, wants to see that one day these indifferences in Christian churches will eventually be gone.

That instead of fighting for what is the truth, that we Christians instead focused on the two commandments left by Jesus Christ:

  1. Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
  2. Love your neighbor like yourself.

Christianity’s teaching is focused on love. The New Testament reminds us that we have to love our brothers and sisters including the unlovable.

Where is love when you allow your prejudice mind to over rule your heart and think that your church is the true Christian church?

Our Eastern Christian brothers and sisters are now undergoing the persecution in the name of Jesus Christ. No one knows how long this persecution will continue. This is the time when we, Christians need each other.

Why not remove the wall in your heart, offer prayers, lend a hand and love your Christian brethren regardless of his/her church?

After all, being a Christian, is becoming Christ-like which is all about love and compassion.

The change has to come from individual Christians; being the church of Christ.

Christian unity is what we need right now. 

This is a call from God.

This is a call from Christ.

This is a call from the Holy Spirit.

The Trinity.

 

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EL Hannora Thrift Shop: The Joy of Giving 2014 Part 1

 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 NIV

In my previous article, Prelude to EL Hannora Thrift Shop, I’ve shared how finding our common ground in marriage can become a tool for God’s vessel to be a blessing to others.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, we managed to have a positive profit for EL Hannora Thrift Shop. It was the Christmas season and we’ve fully decided to blessed the charities and outreach programs regardless of location. However, we do not have any initiatives in particular.

Until I received a Facebook message from my good friend Bonna Reyes. She and her high school batch planned an outreach program at the infirmary of the Religious of Virgin Mary (RVM) congregation.

The Religious of Virgin Mary (RVM) started as a contemplative congregation. Like many contemplatives, the nuns devote their lives inside the convent focused on prayers and worship. Unlike the active congregation, where the nuns are focused on outreached activities, the contemplatives live in cloistered monasteries.

As time grows by, the RVM congregation embraced active duties and ministered schools. One of their alumnae is my good friend Bonna.

After few discussions with my hubby Gnex, we decided to support Bonna’s outreach program in our small way. It was our pleasure that Bonna chosen us to be one of their sponsors for their outreach initiative. Also grateful that Bonna allowed me to use her pictures to cherish the memories.

 

Bonna and her high school batch (Photo credits: Bonna Reyes)

Greetings from RVM infirmary (Photo credits: Bonna Reyes)

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

In their prayers (Photo credits: Bonna Reyes)

 In the midst of outreach program (Photo credits: Bonna Reyes)

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

Simple recognition from the hearts (Photo credits: Bonna Reyes)

RVM nuns showing their appreciation (Photo credits: Bonna Reyes)

Who says nuns aren’t cool? (Photo credits: Bonna Reyes)

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

Photo credits: Bonna Reyes

A big thank you to our resellers and buyers. It is you who made a big part in giving smile to people.

EL Hannora Thrift Shop. 

Shopping with a heart.

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Prelude to EL Hannora Thrift Shop

Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.  Proverbs 16:3 NIV

The first 2-years of marriage, me and my husband Gnex like many married couples have undergone transformations and adjustments. Meaning, we realized our differences in attitudes, way of doing things, careers, outlooks, and a long list… leading to lots of fights.

We’re grateful for our friends, family, and our brothers and sisters from Moriah AG who constantly include us in their daily prayers, being there when we needed a breather.

In the end we realized that… putting God in the center of our marriage is the only way to make things work.

One time, while I was in Kuala Lumpur for business, I’ve asked my mentor and also my business partner how he and his wife made their marriage work? They’re married for 20+ years; there are still fights yet they’re still together.

I wondered and asked myself

“Don’t they get tired?”

And so I got curious how did my mentor made things work.

And he told me this:

“In marriage, you have to accept that both of you are different. You cannot drag your husband to all the things that you want and he cannot drag you to all his ways. It’s a matter of keeping both of your identities. In time, the crazy love that both of you feel while dating leading to marriage will wear off. Both of you will need space to keep identities. You will soon realized that being married – the love and excitement will soon wear off; the gap between the two of you will grow bigger. You have to find that common ground that both of you enjoy. Nurture that common ground and it will hold your marriage. Always give respect with each other and both of you must always remember the boundaries. I believe that’s the essence of keeping the love alive in marriage. Always remember, when the boundaries are forgotten, the sense of respect will die; love will die; marriage will break, like a glass that’s very hard, close to impossible to repair.”

I was stunned.

My mentor is non-believer but at that time I felt that God himself was talking to me.

God will always be there when you need Him the most.

I reflected on what my mentor told me. I combined it with prayers until I received the message of opening a thrift shop dedicated to God. I told my husband about it. We discussed couple of times until I gained his support.

I asked my husband: “So, what would be the name of the thrift shop?”

My husband Gnex: “Since it will be dedicated to God, why not choose from this list.”

He iMessaged me the list of names God is being called. I looked at the long list of names and thought “Wow, God has tons of names – from Jewish, Greek, you name it. My eyes were growing tired.”

Until I saw the name “EL Hannora – it means awesome God.”

I told my husband, “the thrift shop will be called – EL Hannora Thrift Shop.”

Usually, in the business world, you have to first study the market and identify if there are demands. If there are no existing demand, you have to create the demand so you can create the market where you will get the competitive advantage.

In our case, we placed faith above all things. It’s when I understood what really faith is.

After we registered the business, it’s then I realized that God has guided me to use the tools and everything I learned in my study of MBA. My husband’s passion is motivations and preaching Christianity while my passion is business and arts.

EL Hannora thrift shop has become our common ground. When God provided us with our needs, we committed the thrift shop revenues to support charities across the globe.

Business startups has always been challenging. Even our faith based thrift shop were hit with challenges too. We received disheartening and unsupportive comments from fellow Christians. We came to a point that we wanted to give up.  But…

God will always be there when you need Him the most.

While we see our Christian brothers and sisters lack of belief and faith in us, we always remind ourselves that God has given His faith in us. Persevere no matter how tough it is.

We changed our business model. And business started to flow in. We bowed our heads and followed what we believe God is leading us to.

Right now, EL Hannora thrift shop is still thriving. We will continue to persevere. Last 2014, EL Hannora Thrift Shop revenues helped couple of outreach programs in Philippines.

My husband is always supportive of me. And I’m always grateful to God for him. While I searched for that common ground for me and my husband, God made it as a tool for us to discover ourselves, taught us patience, perseverance, hope, faith, and love – the tool for us to reach out to our brothers and sisters regardless of whether they’re Christian or not.

In my next articles, I will be writing The Joy of Giving which will be written in few parts. It will describe how EL Hannora Thrift Shop see the joys and smiles of different people in the times of giving.

Thank you to our resellers and buyers, who supported us all through out the journey. We will always be grateful for your support and hard work.

Til next time. Au revoir.