Tuesday, May 3

Rejoice, Pray, & Give Thanks: #OneMNLSHouT2016

Home from a week of training our hands, minds, and hearts in Antipolo! Being part of Couples For Christ's (CFC) family ministries, this year's summer house training (SHouT) revolves around the theme of "Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks".  It is anchored from St. Paul and Timothy's epistle to the Philippians:
Rejoice in the Lord, I shall say it again: rejoice. Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
The YFC SHouT for 2016 follows the life of Paul, and his pursuit to spread the Good News to the Gentiles. What happens in a SHouT? For a week, YFC leaders gather live together under one roof for both practical and pastoral training. I won't go into the nitty-gritty of our training because: a) that will be too much, b) we will be implementing this to our big sectors (no spoilers!), and c) no amount of words can truly give justice to the amount of grace and love I/we have received over the week. Instead, allow me to share this letter with you. 

We will shout, ONE MANILA!
To my brothers and sisters in Christ, my co-missionaries that constantly keep the heart of the mission beating in Manila:

Praise God for each and everyone! Within the SHouT week, much has been shared. From one story to another, from struggles to victories, from one person to the next. Inspiring stories and testimonies as to how the Lord continues to call us by name to fulfill His mission. Apart from the main theme, another rises from our stories. For one to fully Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks, s/he needs to acknowledge the Past, the Present, and the Future.

I have been trying to recall how I met each individual. Most of you saw my growth (and vice versa) in this ministry - as part of the HSB Manila Team. . Then there are full time pastoral workers, my kuyas and ates, who have seen me through through thin and thick (literally and figuratively) for the past years. Some were unexpected friends - people whom I met through common friends - while some were part of Area 1, with whom I've spent my first two SHouTs with. Others, I have met within the past three years I have been with YFC Metro Manila.

One in Spirit, One in the Lord

No matter how or where I met you, I am happy to encounter you in this journey. You are a constant reminder of how great God has been to me , of how He has brought me to places I've never imagined. Thank you for allowing me to experience Christ through each individual. It has been, is, and will always be an honor to be part of the YFC Metro Manila Team...aka #TeamChummyChummy. People who are not afraid to find Christ in the midst of this chaotic metropolis. A team which spreads the Good News to young people, even if the world tells them otherwise.

Our stories may be different, but all these point to one truth - Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is the leading of the Spirit to put us in one team? To simply be living examples of how God works in any and every circumstances imaginable (or not) through our lives. Thank you for sharing part of your journey with me. Thank you for your presence - for every emotion shared, kulitan, jamming moments, kilig moments with the sisters, etc.  

Equipped with prayers & petition
I rejoice in the affirmation of the Lord that there is no lesser calling. He calls us by name, and no calling is ever the same. All we have to do is to listen. I am guilty of talking more and listening less to the Lord. To ask for signs instead of understanding His messages. Yet, He continues to work wonders in my life. It is only keeping my relationship with Him constant that I'll be able to unravel His plans for me. A relationship which is strengthened through prayer.

Thank you for praying for me, and for allowing me to do the same for you. It is through entrusting ourselves to the Lord that we allow Him to work in us. It is an act of humility, of acknowledging that He is God and we are not. I am confident that even when things get rough, there will be people praying for me. It is enough affirmation to get me through each day without breaking down. Your prayers help me get through each day. It is through the love and the grace of God that allows me to live each day.

People have been thanking me for staying, and I praise God for giving me the strength to do so. Part of this strength I get from you, YFC Metro Manila. The team has been one of my constant refuges in this world. Beyond our service, I am constantly thanking God for allowing me to encounter you. You will always be part of who I am. Naks. I love you Manila!

May the grace and love of God be with us always. Amen.