Her quest as a writer started in high school. It was beyond her expectation to be chosen as the Associate Editor of The Trumpet (Pubication of Nabuslot National High School) on 1998, juggling the responsibility with the feature editorship of its Filipino counterpart, Ang Trumpeta. It was during freshman when great pivotal moments changed the brooding teen-age gal’s life forever.
There were many triumphs she achieved through God’s grace. She bagged the 1st place for the Feature Writing Competition- English Category at the Regional Press Conference, and the publications The Trumpet and Ang Trumpeta, both 2nd place in the Best School’s Publications, English and Filipino categories, respectively. There had been failures, later realized as great blessings. She only stayed in high school for two years due to some unexpected circumstances. (Keep posted for her full high school memoir…soon)
For almost four years, she was out of school and served as a full-time missionary/volunteer after high school graduation. She’d been a contributor for the international quarterly magazine, Mission Projects International. It was never her plan to go back to college after quitting Philippine Women’s University on 2002. But God made it possible for her to finish her bachelor’s degree at AUP (Adventist University of the Philippines), where she served as a youth leader and a writer. It had been a big surprise, a leap of faith, and a great privilege to hone her talents and skills… to be trained for service.
In 2006, Lai joined the University Voice for a sole purpose — to serve as the Life’s Author’s apprentice. It was her longing to touch lives and to direct them to the Life Giver. It was not all fun, yet the four-year service was rewarding! By His grace, she can express much gaiety for the fruitful publication ministry He endowed. Once, she declined accepting the call to be one of the board members; she preferred to be a staff writer for three years. Twice, she declined to take the grave responsibility of the Editor-in-Chief. She felt unworthy…unqualified. But she etched in her heart the truth that “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” After two years, she accepted the call to be the managing editor of MUTAWI, the UV Journal. It wasn’t a bed of roses, but God’s grace made the thorns’ impact minimal.
For Lai, writing isn’t as easy as reading. Reading can be entertaining and at the same time, consuming the mind’s energy to decipher the books and other reading materials without much effort. Writing on the other hand is twice the effort. It is like cutting yourself and spilling some blood to give life to your imaginations and ideals. It is also opening your heart to greater vulnerability, being criticized and being rejected. However, setting aside the risks, there’s glory in writing. There’s actually greater glory when you take greater risks. But to compromise is never an option!
“Write to EXPRESS, not to IMPRESS!” That’s her motto, knowing that “a drop of ink will make millions think”. She longs to rise above the mediocrity of a writer that is easily swayed by the impending threats, manipulated by the media and bribed by politics in all aspects. The half-truths and blatant lies that the majority of people believe and embrace are subjects of her work. To uphold Biblical truths without compromising is her creed, embodied in Philippians 4:8, NIV: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
On December 7-14 2007, Lai was given a break to join the 8th SAUM (Southern Asia Union Mission) Pathfinder Camporee in Saraburi Thailand. It was rewarding to be one of the counselors for the AUP Academy Drill Team, and correspondent for the said event. The SEA GAMES was simultaneously happening during the camporee, and the kingdom of Thailand just celebrated King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 80th birthday on Dec. 5, 2007, it was a package of surprises and adventures! (keep posted for the up-coming article about it)
Her journey as a writer is not yet half-way through. She knows that there are many things to discover yet. She believes, there are many traits she needs to unlearn and to learn, character that would help her grow as an apprentice of Life’s Author. She simply give God the pen, knowing He’ll continue to scribble the best life story the world could ever read.