Category Archives: More Than Verses

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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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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Running for Real

It’s the 7th of December and it’s already past 6 in the morning.

So why am I still up? It’s because I wanna zap my energy empty so I can sleep early tomorrow – later today, that is. Tomorrow is a pretty big day.

The 8th of December 2013 marks the first-ever race I have fully committed myself to. Mind you, I’ll only be going for 10k. You see, I did not use to be into running. I’m new into this whole thing. I won’t even consider myself sporty, though some say I look like one – LOL. Well if you counted dancing as one then I would, but you can’t really.

I grew up not engaging into any kind of sport. I was scared of flying objects or falling down or getting injured. I couldn’t keep up with too many things going on knowing everything I did could affect the team. I also had poor hand-eye coordination. It was one of those things I couldn’t really excel at in school so I never really bothered getting good at it.

That gap sort of hit me right in the face when I got older and realised I couldn’t dance forever or do drills in civilian military training to keep on being physically active! I had to find me something I could love. Then, school finished and I went to the UK. The second family that hosted me there were all into some kind of sport. The head of the house is a marathoner (he ran the London and Snowdonia Marathons). He was the one who inspired me to dive into it.

When I got back I started dreaming. I wrote down ‘run a marathon’ as one of my wishes. I put my gear on soon afterwards but I immediately lost the will to carry on when my running buddy got busy. But things have a funny way of getting back, I suppose. Last year, a former professor told me about Milo R2 Apex. Sadly, the training season then was about to end. Even sadder, the next season was during summer which I knew for sure I couldn’t do. And then came the latter half of 2013 along with the bigger push to get back to it.

Now here I am – loving it. Thank God I have found something new I can be passionate about. I am grateful for the experience, the people I have met, and that place where I can be and hear His voice in the middle of all the madness around me.

Tomorrow, I am running for real.#

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Thinking About Love

I would like to share my journal entry today.

14 February 2012

A few thoughts on the past weekend about LOVE.

Ptr ReyAv’s message and ‘Judgmental’, UnChristian – there was a resounding message from both these two: Love must be the distinguishing character of Christians. If we claim to be Christ’s disciples, we must love. That’s how the whole world will know that we follow Him. That was also something that Jesus left behind to His followers who obviously had to carry on the Lord’s work after He was gone. The way they should do the ministry must be one of love. They couldn’t go wrong with love.

Judgmental. That was our topic in Ditri. This ugly description is something that plagues everyone but especially a pet peeve of outsiders about us Christians. I must say that is true to some extent, not excluding myself. Yes, I am judgemental. I know and I am kind of working on it. It is really a hard subject to deal with. I mean, how do you draw the line between accepting people for what they are and keeping to Biblical values? There are four things that the book suggests are contributing factors to being labelled judgemental: wrong verdict, wrong timing, wrong motivation, and playing favourites. So, I must be careful with these four. Most of all, I must love. Love can do it. God’s love embodied through the life of Jesus did it. That was how He was able to keep to God’s standards yet manage to attract sinners to Himself. Tricky, isn’t it?

The Vow. I never thought I would like watching this film on big screen…but I did! It too touched on the topic of love. Somebody asked me, ‘Why couldn’t she remember that she loved him even after all the evidence she saw?’ Answer: I don’t know! But I do have a theory: What they had for five years was more anchored on emotions rather than the mind. Remember, she did all those things after a traumatic family problem. Everything she did in those years stemmed out of wanting to get away from that. It was one decision after another done quickly, and probably without much thought. I’m not discounting that she could have truly loved him; all I am saying is that she must not have thought about it deeply so as to embed it in her long-term memory or in her subconscious or IN HER.

If I were right, it would just all the more strengthen the fact that loving truly is something that involves all three: deep thought, emotions and will.

Above all, I really must keep a journal! LOLz. 😀

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