“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” ~ 1 John 3:17 ESV
Carminia had a personal agenda, but the Lord had other plans.
Carminia Arnaldo’s initial purpose in joining mission work in 2006 was for personal gain. Her original intent was to go there for rest and relaxation since the mission was in a beach in Batangas. She was invited by a friend to help take her mind off of her failure to pass the medical board exams. Carminia did not realize that it was JIL (Jesus is Lord) Church who organized this mission. And since it was a weekend, JIL also held a Sunday service at the beach.
Now, Carminia was raised as a Roman Catholic so what was happening before her was quite new, and she just looked on and observed. Coming from a family with generations of nuns and priests, Carminia was quite sure she was going to heaven. So when the pastor prayed for the medical volunteers that their souls be saved, she was offended.
Yet, Carminia kept joining medical missions organized by different churches and by Operation Blessing. She felt good as she served people who had no capacity to pay for medical assistance. This is what made her continually involve herself in medical missions. However, she became “Pastor-phobic” because she felt they were only going to convert her to becoming “born-again.”
But she cannot escape God’s love.
It was in May 2007 that she fully surrendered her life to God during a mission trip to Iloilo. This new-found relationship with God is all new to her. She did not know how to read the Bible, what “quiet time” was or what all the other spiritual disciplines were about. She would even use the free sign language classes at a Christian church, as her excuse to her mom to allow her to attend the church every Sunday. Though she attended the Bible study classes offered and finished all the courses, she felt something missing. She was looking for someone to walk her through in her faith—she was longing to be discipled.
Carminia later on joined CCF (Christ’s Commission Fellowship) that helped her grow in her faith through discipleship, and equipped her as a new believer. She also started to work as a part-time staff in Operation Blessing and turned her back from the opportunity of working abroad. Because of her hectic schedule in Operation Blessing, she always missed the chance to get water baptized in CCF. So, during a medical mission in Catanduanes in 2012, she grabbed the opportunity to be baptized there. And after publicly declaring her relationship with Jesus, Carminia’s faith just continued to blossom. Not only did Carminia grow spiritually, but her family—who opposed her new faith—also became more open to coming with her to church.
Carminia’s devotion to Jesus continues to be tested.
When she was offered by Operation Blessing to work fulltime as a Medical Field Officer, she had doubts; yet God would answer her with His promises. Until one unfortunate accident in Palawan happened, where she survived drowning, she knew she had to surrender her life to His service.
In 2014, when Carminia joined the Glorious Hope program (a recovery program of CCF to help individuals understand and deal with their personal issues that may have been rooted from their past), she has learned to forgive people who have hurt her in the past and it has been a year of healing for her. She was also able to enroll for Masters in Social Work to better equip herself in dealing with different individuals during their mission trips.
However, any believer will still face troubles in the course of their faith journey. And this trouble would appear during a 5-day mission trip in Iloilo, where Carminia and her team had face-to-face encounter with the NPAs as they were going back to their homebase. Gratefully, the army personnel assigned to them were alert and protected them from this ambush. Carminia was obviously traumatized but she did not realize it. Her trauma manifested in anger and it reflected on how she responded to her work. It was during their corporate fast that God revealed to her where this anger is coming from—the Lord showed her a vision of men with hazy faces in fatigues. Carminia had to leave work for a week and sought guidance with her discipleship mentors and her social work professor to help her process through the trauma.
And she persevered in doing mission work.
Carminia continued to serve in the mission field, and even had the opportunity to go to Nepal this April 2017. God expanded her territory regardless of her limitations as a medical practitioner. But as she continually follows Jesus, she feels His presence through the wisdom, comfort and strength in every decision she makes. Carminia will continuously commit to the service of the Lord, wherever He needs her to be, and surrender her desires to Him because she fully trusts that God is in control of everything.
Ms. TM says:
I knew Carminia through a college classmate and contacted her via Facebook because I wanted to donate to Operation Blessing. Her posts about how Operation Blessing—a humanitarian arm of CBN Asia—operates to help the most neglected and disadvantaged people in the Philippines through missions and programs that address community needs such as medical and disaster responses, livelihood and skills training, and water and sanitation. It feels rewarding to help the needy through the ministry of Operation Blessing.
What is truly inspiring is how Carminia willingly let go of the good fortune of becoming a doctor to being a volunteer. She reminds me that our main motivation in working must be to uplift others and not merely to earn an income. Jesus taught us that we must always be ready to help the needy, so let us use our talents and share our blessings to fulfill His mission and purpose.
Dear God, teach me selfless love through service and to always have the desire to help others. Enable me to use my talents and blessings to uplift the lives of those around me, especially those who are in need. Remind me that my calling, be it in the ministry, career or business, will always be for the purpose of your mission and not my recognition. Let my life’s work be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.