Author Archives: Shamira Japitana

My Youth@111 Story

‘Hihintayin kita sa youth, ha?’ (I will wait for you at the youth group, okay?’)

I was still in elementary (junior school) when CCBC’s youth pastor at the time, Randolph Velasquez, said that to me. At that stage in my life, going to BYF (Beacon’s Youth Fellowship, the name of our youth group then) seemed like a distant thing and it had not really crossed my mind that much. But there we were and I was confronted by the idea of becoming a youngster someday. I was not particularly excited by the thought;  intimidated was more like it.

My family was not well off. We spoke Tagalog at home. I did not even have Brick Game or any sort of gadget. In short, I did not feel like I would really fit in. All I had was my Christian upbringing, encouragement from my parents to be involved in ministry, and determination to give my best and enjoy the ride. So if someone said they would be happy to take me in, I would not hesitate.

That was 1995. Scene changed to 1998 and I attended my first-ever youth fellowship. It was held at the upper rooms where about thirty of us came. I cannot remember most of what happened then. All I can recall now is that it was not easy trying to make myself comfortable in a new environment and form new friendships. My story did not stop there though and thankfully so.

Years later, in 1999, Ptr Randolph invited me, together with a few others, to sit down for a talk at Blue Mountain Cafe, a hangout place opposite our church, at the ground floor of West Trade Center. There he challenged me to be part of the youth ministry team.

I did not think twice about joining. I was already enjoying serving in church. Taking on that role was just moving it a step further.

It has been eighteen years since that point in my life. BYF changed to Youth@111. From a ministry team member, I am now a volunteer youth worker. Those of us from the leadership of that era who carried on in fulltime ministry are now helping other ministry groups outside our denomination.

It was through my involvement in Youth@111 that I began to have a grasp of what it means to follow Jesus. It was there that I learnt how to look to Him as the ultimate model for life and ministry. It was there that I found a new set of brothers and sisters who would walk the same path of making disciples who love God and others and make other disciples. It was there that God deemed I would be trained to be of some use for His Kingdom. And I would not trade that experience for anything else. #

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Youngsters, former members and fulltime workers gather for Rise: Youth@111‘s 17th Anniversary on Sunday, 26th of November 2017, at Capitol City Baptist Church.

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Hiling

Isang araw tayo ay nagkakuwentuhan
Tungkol sa ilang mga kabanata
Ng ating makulay na nakaraan
Ako ay panandaliang natuwa
Nang alalahanin ang biruan
Na nauwi sa tuluyang pagkasira
Ng aking pinakapaboritong laruan

Ngunit di rin nagtagal at nag-usap
Noon din ay tunay na nagkapatawaran

Dati sa pag-aaral ako ay nawili
Di halos makatulog sa mga pagsusulit
Pagdalaw sa panaginip ay walang pinipili
Nangambang mga tandai’y magkapalit-palit
Sa mga tanong ako’y magkamali-mali
At pagbaling sa ‘yo tuwa’y napalitan ng galit
Nang ito’y tapusin mong walang pag-aatubili

Ngunit paglipas ng panaho’y natuto
Inggit ay tapos na ring nasaisang-tabi

Magkakaibigang higit pa sa kapatid
Mula sa iba-ibang mga magulang
Na pagmamahal ang nagbubuklod na lubid
Bawat isa’y may kani-kaniyang pagkukulang
Dalang alat ng hangin sa tuwing pag-ihip
Mahapding kuskos sa mga sugat na ating binuksan
Nanunuot sa dibdib patungo sa isip

Ngunit yakap ninyo ay laging naghihintay
Ngiting dala’y totoo, hindi kathang-isip

Binuksan ang pusong sarado para sa iyo
Ako ay nawalan ng takot sa pagtanggap
Nahulog na ngang tuluyan sa pagsuyo mo
Bawat araw ay may panibagong sangkap
Na lalong bumabasag sa marupok na damdamin ko
At nang sa dulo’y akma nang yayakap
Siya namang biglang pag-iba ng pagtingin mo

Ngunit yumaon na rin ang ilang mga taon
At ang nawasak na puso’y may pag-asa nang natamo

Hinabilin n’yong h’wag na subuking ibaybay
Ang likong magdadala sa masukal na daan
Ay walang paghihinahon na aking nilakbay
Tinig ninyong may dalang pag-aalinlangan
Isa-isa ko ngang nilimot at sinuway
Batid man na ang dulong doon ay daratnan
Sadyang kapahamakan ng umikli kong buhay

Ngunit lumuha nang ako ay naaninag
Tumakbo’t binuhat ang kat’wan kong lupaypay

Maraming beses na ako’y lumuhod sa Iyo
Sa trono mo ang kaluluwa ay humihiling
Nanliliit sa sarili at nagsusumamo
Sa bawat paglapit ng mga paa sa ‘Yong piling
Ako’y dinirinig at patawad natatamo
Ulit-ulitin mang suwayin ang Iyong mga tagubilin
Panibagong simula ang siyang alay Mo

Isipin ko man ay di maarok ang lalim
Ang walang hanggang biyayang natatanggap ko
Ay tunay na palaisipan sa akin
Walang ibang batayan ang parating Mong pagsuyo
Kundi buhay ni Jesus na sa krus ay inihain
Kaloob na para sa sinumang magpapako
Ng tiwala sa Kanyang Anak nang taimtim

At doon ako’y mamahinga at lalagi
Pag-ibig na sa iba ay walang pagkabig at pagbaling

19 November 2017
(Poem recited at YAM Spark, CCBC)

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Macarius

Macarius is the Latinised version of the Greek given name Makarios. The word μακάριος (makarios) comes from the short form μάκαρ (makar) and they both mean blessed or happy.

I am tangibly blessed. On my birthday. Once again.

On the morning of the 5th of October, four days after my 32nd nameday, somebody was asking me for my preferred username and password together with best wishes and an invitation to drop by their office. I texted back the things they were asking from me with a tiny hint of giddiness knowing that such questions would never be asked normally. My happy suspicions were confirmed when I was sent a photo of a login screen with the username I gave.

Wavemakers finally got back to Manila a week after that and then I went to fetch it. Quick flashback: I said to God a year before when Ace (my laptop at that time which I later on named Azariah) was hanging on for dear life, ‘Lord, would it be okay if I asked for a Macbook?’ And so I was heading to the door secretly hoping for it to be that which I sheepishly asked God in passing a year before.

Flabbergasted – that was the overwhelmed me receiving a gift I seriously never thought was possible for me to ever have!

A month and a bit have passed since Macarius came into my life and it is only now that I am able to slowly process the wonders of God’s unfathomable grace in my life. End of August 2009 was when I was given my first laptop, Ace. First of October 2013 was when Azariah was handed to me. This year entered Max (short for Macarius) into the picture.

See, I am not writing this to preach prosperity gospel – that God is going to give all that we desire if we just ask Him or trust Him enough for it. To be honest, the opposite is true for me, majority of the times. I am more of a doubter, or rather, not a believer of asking God for such things. I am here to speak of the Lord’s goodness – not because I was given something but because He truly is, whatever circumstance I find myself in. I am just ashamed that it would take me moments like this to actually express this awe.

I do not deserve this favour. And even if I did anything notable, it would not warrant my qualification to be on the receiving end of His gifts. But I already am and quite frankly I don’t get it. In fact, I may never be able to understand how He could shower me with things I could only dare mutter a word about. I am not complaining though – not at all. What this is is a delayed and long-overdue contemplation on the Lord’s hand in providing for me and assuring me that as long as I seek first His Kingdom, I shall have what I need to live…and more! Truly, He is able to bless us more than what we can ever ask or imagine.#

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Dream

Eyes pierce into this darkness
Reaching slowly for a rail
Better yet a solid trail
A way out of this madness

Will you not call out our name
Hold these hands, steady the heart
From us to never depart
Pull us out this endless game

So let me pause, picture home
Take a break from tiresome news
Where east and west seem to lose
And dream of my king forever
Safe in the true hope I own

9 November 2016

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Sworn Bannerman

As I walked alone on a dark winding road
Repeating lines from a long forgotten code
Carrying on while the night turned cruel and cold
It came
And for a moment I suddenly grew old

Shaking and wandering, I was hopelessly lost
That path I once knew was all covered in frost
Did not know which bend would lead me back to you
Wondered if
Any mark could give me fraction of a clue

Cried out for a name but whose I was not sure
Did not know that my mind could only just endure
So much pressure – thus tiny cracks to form
Bringing it down
This broken spirit to despair would conform

Then I heard a hum from a crevice I saw
A faint melody yet familiar and raw
Ran to it with whatever strength I had left
My feet stopped
As I glimpsed what mystery that sanctuary kept

You were sitting on Your throne not a bit fazed
Knowing everything yet storing them all un-erased
Rainbows dimmed at the presence of Your majesty
Unworthy
Such as I to behold incandescent beauty

What am I but an incompetent warrior
Fighting but losing, unequal to my armour
To constant threat a whimpering coward
A liability
A living proof of mercy struggling onward

But You will grant me new strength as I march on
This battle I fight is one You’ve already won
I am Your servant and for Your house I shall die
I am Yours
And Your unfailing word I shall live by

1 October 2017
This poem is inspired by Isaiah 6:1-8.

For My 32nd Birthday

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Sa Kanya

(Poem recited at CCBC’s 58th Anniversary Celebration, #bettertogether, 30 July 2017)

Ako
Nag-umpisa sa daang dinatnan ko
Naglalakad
Sumasabay sa pag-inog ng mundo
Taas-baba
Dala-dala ng pagpitnig ng ritmo
Itong puso
Na nais ay ‘wag mapalayo sa Iyo

Ikaw
Nababatid ko sa himig mo’t galaw
Tungo roon
Ang pagbaling ng ‘yong diwa at tanglaw
Hindi pansin
Ikot ng buwan na siyang salo ng araw
Lubusan nga
Na sa Kanya kaluluwa’y napukaw

Ako
Patungo sa Iyo
Ikaw
Hinihila ng Ilaw

Siya
Sa bawat hakbang doo’y gumagabay
Bumubulong
Malambing na laging nakaagapay
Nakangiti
Mukha Niya’y liwanag na umaakay
Walang hanggan
Sa piling Niya ay nagbabago ang buhay

Ako, ikaw
Patuloy sa pag-uhaw
Tayong dalawa
Nakaugat sa Kanya

Tayo
Hindi ako, hindi ikaw, hindi sila
Magkabuklod
Isinilang sa iisang pamilya
Lumalago
Higit-higit ‘pag kapiling ang iba
Tumatayog
Matibay sa unos at hitik mga bunga

English Translation:

BEARING

I
Started in this path I found
Walking
Moving as the earth goes around
Up and down
Carried by the rhythm of the sound
This heart
Unto You it seeks to be bound

You
I know by the way you go about
Over there
Is where your mind’s looking out
Oblivious
As the sun meets the moon without doubt
Sincerely
Unto Him – your soul is devout

I
Towards where You are
And you
Drawn by His bright hue

He
Every step leading the way
Softly whispering
Gently His hands are at bay
Wide smile
His face glows with guiding rays
Eternal
There are always better days

I, you
Thirsty for dew
The two of us
Rested in His trust

We
Not me, not you, them not even
Together
Into the family of heaven
Growing strong
As this chord we keep on weaving
Increasingly
Firm in the storm and fruits we’re bearing

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For Kuya Do’s 50th

Minsan nang ipinangako sa sarili
Na ‘di na muling ako’y magkakamali
Kunin ang pluma’t magsimulang magtahi
Ng mga tugma para sa isang lalaki

Ngunit sa palagay ko’y may pagmimintis
Itong adhikaing walang paglilihis
Magagawa ko nga bang ika’y matiis
Gayong may handaan at lahat kami’y bihis

Paano nga ba sisimulan ‘tong akda
Na sa puso at diwa mo’y tatalima
Gayong ito’y sa mga salita nagbunga
‘Di sa oras o praktikal na pagkalinga

Subalit ito’y hindi mo naman pansin
Batid kong basta sa looba’y taimtim
Ito sa iyo’y makabuluhan pa rin
Handog ng pagmamahal s’ya mo pa ring turing

Kaya’t di na papipigil ang pag-alpas
Sasabay na rin ang puso sa paghumpas
Umaasang sa pagtapos ko’y di kukupas
‘Tong lipstick na red o mga tao’y lumikas

Kuya Do, sa iyo ko noo’y napulot
Na di kailangan titulo sa paghakot
Ng respeto o di kaya nama’y takot
Mula sa taong ninanais na maabot

Kung sa akademya’y magpapakaaligaga
Di pa rin sapat; pagsunod ang mahalaga
Takot man sa gabi, hapo man sa umaga
O sahod man ay ‘di maarok ang hiwaga

Dahil sa buhay mo ay nababatid ko
Na mahirap man ang pagsunod kay Kristo
Maging pagtuloy sa Kanyang mga prinsipyo
Walang katumbas ang ligayang dulot nito

Marami pang ninanais na sambitin
Sa kaibuturan may nais awitin
Ngunit sa pagtutugma ako’y nabitin
At isingit ma’y mahirap ko nang pilitin

Lubos na pasasalamat – yan ang sigaw
Ng kalooban kong minsan nang nauhaw
Patnubay at halimbawa sa ‘king paggalaw
Na mula naman sa iyo ay siyang umapaw

Sana nga ay humaba pa ang iyong buhay
‘Di masasanay na wala ang paggabay
Na sa bawat yugto ay alay mong tunay
At nagpapatingkad sa mundo kong makulay

Maligayang Ikalimampung Kaarawan
Sa iyo na pangalawa kong magulang
Mundo ma’y magunaw o mag-ibang pangalan
Pagmamahal ko’y sa ‘yo laging nakalaan

18 May 2017

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Fight

Stand still, quick feet, stand still
Hold your ground till it is won
Change of sigil may be grand to don
But war is not yet over
And there are more to go on

Take arms, strong hands, take arms
Shield be held at the tower
The dragon breathes its dark power
But hope will not draw strength back
It shines the bleakest hour

Arise, worn soul, arise
Fight that long battle within
There also a struggle to win
But think not that you’re alone
For that’s where combats begin

Look up, faint heart, look up
Behold our banner unfurled
For though to dust this dream was hurled
But He hears my lonely song
And thus will it fly uncurled

3 May 2017

Whatever happens, all shall be well.
In You, my longing soul finds shelter.

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Bangon

Minsa’y salat sa pahinga
Ang diwa kong aligaga
At naghahanap
Ng katahimikan
Na sadyang mailap yata

Nandun din naman ang hirap
Na dulot ng pagsisikap
Ayaw paisa
Sa ugoy ng duyan
Na waring dala ay yakap

May panahong dinirinig
Mga tawag ng daigdig
Nasusugatan
Dulot ng pagdapa
‘Di pagsunod sa ‘Yong tinig

Sa pakikidigma’y hapo
Napagtatantong sumuko
At hayaan na
Malugmo sa parang
‘Di na mabilang sa hukbo

Ngunit ako’y Iyong tangan
Doo’y hindi mo iiwan
Makakaalpas
Muli nang tatakbo
At itutuloy ang laban

3 May 2017

Ikaw lamang
Para sa Iyo ako’y di susuko
At patuloy na lalaban

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Before Sunset

Light pierced straight
Through the cloudy gate
Your head rose
Where far gaze would close
And my soul
Felt ever more whole
For at last
Darkness was all past

You shone bright
Strong into the height
Then went on
Though some have withdrawn
And I cheered
For you never veered
All seemed well
More stories to tell

Life came by
Run hard did I try
Left you there
Didn’t need much care
And you knew
We got something true
Though apart
You were in my heart

But you dared
Sought how others fared
Entertained
What you thought was gain
Not looked back
To what they all lacked
The Person
From whom comes true reason

I love you
I’ll fight the dark hue
Not alone
Got Strength in my bone
Promises –
They’ll keep me relentless
You are His
Part in eternal bliss

3 May 2017
Dedicated to Dara

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