Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sealed



The third day's theme was "Overflowing heart" and the song that made our whole day was Alabaster Jar. The lyrics really make a difference. This day I had the opportunity to teach in one of the training--spiritual conversations--which is something I take delight in knowing more about (this is an area that I've been working on since my struggle is that I don't like falling into stereotypes. I learned that it's not about me. Sigh. :D). The lively discussions and the material were really helpful and I loved hearing my peers' insights about the topic. Later when they engaged in their activity, I was secretly listening to them discuss. We'll be ready to do more of this next sem!

On the afternoon was the ladies and men's bonding. Tita Rachel dropped by just to be with us ladies, and to share the story of her out-of-the-ordinary life. Imagine meeting a real-life princess! :D But the fact that she lived most of her life reaching out for Christ is even more inspiring, and I'd love to know more of it. This day was filled with deep enrichment of what God promises for us in the future. :)

3rd day: Ladies & Men bonding


Friday, October 29, 2010

Much More

4th Day: Personal Vision
Day 4 was the Personal Vision training in the morning. I attended that of for those who are in-the-middle--not yet graduating yet have already journeyed with Stillwaters and started their personal ministries. Most of the delegates were leaders and leaders-in-training. This has been convicting to me. We are what the change we want to be, and this just excites me to go through the leadership training next semester. AGH. I wonder what would happen next sem!

Dinner was served in the evening as all of us were dressed up formally to celebrate our last night in the camp. This is new to the Square One tradition. We sang songs and Kuya Melvin delivered a message about craving. Definitely a great message to end the camp. The rest of the night was spent jamming, singing at the karaoke, making S'mores and staying up till dawn to write letters.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Word of Hearts


Fifth and last day of Square One was the baptism. We had eight celebrants. Every testimony was music to my ears. It really made me realize how pure our hearts can be once we let Jesus in. These people are not perfect, nor did they were in the perfect position to say yes to the Lord. But everyone prepared the throne of their hearts for Jesus. And to see that willingness was, in another witness' words, moving.

That evening we also headed home. But Kuya Viv, an alumni who is planting a church in Negros, invited us to have dinner with the students in his campus of ministry who happened to be in a seminar in Manila. I really just wanted to flop down my bed and snore the night away, plus I had no money. But I fortunately did not pass up the opportunity. We travelled to Manila with the flood waters and slippery staircases of the LRT (it was raining hard) to sit down with them at KFC. We had a little question and answer just so the conversation could get started. They were new believers of Christ, and I can still remember what they said. It never fails to amaze me that a person could make a difference to a huge group of people. I hope that after I graduate, I would be empowered to do so as well. :) We finished late and slept at Mikka's house, which is another funny story. What a great, powerful day. :)

5th day: Baptism

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

6th day: Track oval

Square One is over. Now is the time to look back, and I'm going to start on the sixth day--which is not part of the Square One program. :)) Sixth day, we ladies woke up from Mikka's house at 7AM, packed, but did not take a bath. So yes, the clothes I was wearing will be the clothes I wore the day before. We went to Tiann's condo to be with the guys before we head back to Ate Cha's dorm to pick up our stuff. We met his really cute little brother named Nico and goofed off at the kid's playground before the real kids arrived and shooed us away.

We rode the bus until Ate Cha's dorm, then headed back to UP. We ended up having a heart-to-heart conversation about family especially that Ate Rain started sharing. We can't get enough of the sharing that we delayed leaving and hung out more at the track oval and told stories of our pasts. Ate Von, Rey, Ate Cheng and I laid our blankets on the grass and spent a few bucks on food before we rode a bus home to our respective provinces.


These peeps are not from my house church, but I'm so blessed to have known their story a lot more deeply. More replay blogs the next few days :)

Snatched

Ral and I were commuting to SM MOA at 7PM for him to buy a new phone. We rode a non-aircon bus to save money. We transferred seats to the last row because there was a smoker in front of us in the middle. Passengers came by so I sat next to the window. Dad was asking where we were so I was texting him. Then a hand came over my phone, and together with it, a head of a youth on a red shirt. My wrists fought, but my phone snapped. The keypads, which are already broken, fell off. I think oyster shell-type phone's monitor broke. I happened to get the back cover. I thought I got the half. But he did. He ran away. He stole my phone which will never be in good use with him.

What a waste.

My hilarious side was screaming "Poverty!" and the night was spent joking and sour graping. We can't afford buying really expensive things in fear of getting them stolen. We can't buy a good house in Manila in fear of getting them submerged in floods. We can't stay too late in the night in fear of getting mugged. We can't wear shorts or skirts in fear of getting perverted. We can't buy a nice car in fear of someone breaking the glass just to get the bag inside. We can't ride the train in fear of getting frisked. So many reasons to stop; yet we have to go on and deal with them--if you call moving on as dealing with them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Intimate Peculiarities


Since tomorrow is Square One, I had the chance (and the $!) to shop for things I needed for the next five days of the camp. I dropped by the intimates or the undergarments section and still find it quite amusing that all the bras and panties are hanged for everyone to see. It got me thinking that a time-traveller from the 18th century would probably stare in wide-eyed horror if they witness the "utter" violation of privacy: things that are not to be seen are under the spotlight--and in rows and racks of them. Also the fact that guys seemed to tiptoe and hush when they accompany their wives or girlfriends in this section, as if begging to escape into the shoes area where they're more secure. And that it's just so...commercialized. To imagine that all my things are from some big factory with big machines producing every intricate detail doesn't make the garment feel so special. No wonder people are still crazy about handmade and organic things. There's a certain humanity to them.

Tonight I'll be loading my iPod with playlists that will by no means be a bore, from The Camerawalls and Silent Sanctuary. I only had three hours of sleep this morning, jumping from my bed to the gym. The gym is an intimidating place for youngsters. It looked like a grown-up place where what you would know as play comes with a price and big heavy metals and repetition and crunches. I am not trying to be thin or muscular. I just like the feeling of strength. Strength and softness are two interesting elements.

Monday, October 18, 2010

If you love me you should let me know



Months after receiving Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages book for my birthday, I still haven't figured out which is my "ultimate" love language, i.e. the acts that make me feel most loved and the way I express love. I know I probably have two or three at the same time, but one thing that holds true over and over again is that my relationship with people has a profound connection...with food. Which, by the way, is not included in the list.

Inquiries such as, "Kumain ka na ba?" and "Gusto mo?" coupled with sincerity, and perhaps the last slice of pizza in the box, are enough for me to let down my guard and give you the "friend" label. Same effect when someone volunteers to accompany me to buy lunch, waits for me to get my order before eating, initiates praying before meal and lets me get a free taste of their different-flavored food. It's crazy, but food is the ingredient essential for love. My love.

Now, fishballs, anyone? <3

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh, Sembreak?

Today, my semester officially ended.

I came to my last class 30 minutes late, expecting to be doomed for the exam I never studied for (unless you count reading keywords from my notebook inside the jeep studying). A classmate smiled as I entered, the perpetually-late,-early-to-leave,-part-time-student-only. I finished in 30 minutes, with enough false humility to wait for people to go ahead of me (and honesty to admit it), so as my presence in the room could at least be felt and to make the impression that I took the exam, the whole subject, seriously. It may even sound more boastful that I asked my Prof, "Is there a part III?" Left the room without looking back. Left the first semester of third year with not much accomplishment to look back on. But enough memory to say that I enjoyed. At least.

I hope next semester would not be enjoyable. I hope it would be successful. That I'd come panting towards the month of March with drained energy and a cluttered room to prove all the labor. And when the last day of the semester comes I'd be screaming my lungs out as I run out of the room, confident with the prized grade on my CRS account. That will be the time when my semester would come in full circle. Now is the time to stop being comfortable.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Do you have any questions?"


"because this could change your life," said Tito Philip, as we ate good food in their warm home.

I could hardly digest everything he told us in the housechurch leaders' meeting. He relayed so many great news and plans.

Tito Philip and his wife Tita Rachel has devoted their lives pursuing God's work in campuses here in the Philippines. He told us of how a university excelled because of Christ; that Stillwaters is a new model of church that is being imitated by churches in other countries; that wherever God plants us after we graduate, we'll surely make a positive impact. It was hard to believe, even sounding too good to be true, that God really can change many, many lives through us, and that some of our colleagues are actually doing His changing work now! He's done it before. And He's doing it now.

In my previous blog I mentioned that I'm having a hard time trusting God with my future, with the abundance that I wanted to have, unsure if He's going to provide for that. But this abundance is way beyond imagination--an abundance of changed lives, changed generations possible within my own lifetime. He spoke to me of real abundance that I will have in pursuing His business. Yes, the abundance I wanted to have, but unsure of how. Tonight, He reassured me even more with a verse:



"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

-Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

" For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice;
but what I hate, that I do. "
-Romans 7:15


Lately God has been speaking with me through His silence. To not hear His voice and to continuously be inattentive to it has been a blow for me these past few days. There is a feeling that I'm starting to miss Him, especially His purpose for my life. I believe that it had something to do with my hesitation to trust Him with my future. I am honestly afraid of committing to Him my life because of my lack of faith in His faithfulness to me..

Please pray that all my devotion would go to the Lord--every single part of me that I am not willing to surrender, please pray that I give to Him with cheerful, willing heart!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Those Legs are made For


Grandmothers with their handbags and reading glasses, students in NSTP t-shirts, serious health buffs who took a break from corporate work, kid-toting fathers. More than a hundred thousand of those. All together in an isolated place that is MOA.

When the event finished at 8 AM, the mall is still closed and the tens of thousands are hungry, sweaty and looking for shade. And there is none available. They could have valued the runners as much they valued the Pasig river.

Good company made it worth the grind.


Monday, October 11, 2010

A Knock at the Door at 2 AM



To you who keeps on reminding me (quite annoyingly) to sleep, over and over again, until you come back to your room in angered surrender: I want you to know that I appreciate having you around to remind me to take care of myself when I'm totally messing up my health.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fast Food; Slow Hunger

All we needed was an ample amount of time doing nothing in the evening at the universal teenage hang-out called McDonald's.

See you at the finish line at SM MOA tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hesitant Skins




That feeling when you're unclothed and about to be immersed in a pool of cold, clean water. That inner tingle preparing for what's to come. Bracing yourself but not quite. Imagining the deep gasp for breath and the piercing sensation of low temperature, clutching your shoulders with your freezing hands. With a crouched, violently trembling back. Chattering teeth and stiffened body. Curled toes. Increased heartbeats. You take just one last breath and plunged. This, perhaps, is way better than staying dry.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Punta de Fabian


 It felt like a sinful getaway, staying at Punta de Fabian resort this weekend before the hell week. I have an exam on Monday and reports the day after that. Still, we gotta celebrate Mom's birthday right? And in advance! :)

For the first time, the whole family headed east. It was hard to imagine that for four years of temporary stay in Rizal the only way we know is out--that is, to Manila, and not on the other side of the highway (it actually continues, haha). We ended up in Baras, Rizal, staying at a spectacular hotel-resort. And a really remarkable one at that! It was with a full view of Laguna de Bay, with an infinity pool about 100 meters above the ground and note-worthy Japanese and European-inspired interiors. What a dream to stay in such place and jog every morning!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cyber Battlefield

Carlos Celdran
Another hot topic in the country popped up that launched Facebook fanpage wars yet again (these things mushroom a second after every sensational news story). I cannot believe that TV programs air news from Facebook pages. It's hardly a place to take a stand. People can indulge in the illusion that they're exercising freedom of expression and can battle it out "intellectually" with strangers in an egalitarian manner: whoever has the most persuasive sentences and the cockiest statements with the most "Likes" win. But the thing is, people are braver online, especially on Facebook where everything is public entity (compared to websites and published articles where someone actually owns the page). And they could easily not be held accountable for their ideas that they only got from stock knowledge and popular public opinion--in short, often not a juicy, insightful sentence. Just for the sake of a public showdown. It could have been a good thing if these were discussions where ideas are explored instead of labo-labo "heated" debates, but the only end is to nail down your point and screw others who contradict it. Everyone loves the flair of entertainment. Still to me these arenas (including Twitter wars for goodness sake!) are just new ways of getting free ego-strokes coupled with public support. In short, getting 5 minutes of fame, A.K.A. The Trend.

My opinions are common. I am anti-abortion but pro-use of contraceptives and sex education. We must remember however, that the argument that education will make things better is not always true. [Everybody says smoking is bad for your health, heck, even cigarette commercials say so, but does that translate to fewer smokers? No.] But I am against the excommunication threats of the Catholic church because I believe that in many ways, it is sending the wrong message to people about God. It made me sad that believing in God has another negative connotation. That, as a Christian, I would be subjected to the stereotype of non-separation of relationship with God from religion, when I only consider myself as having the former. Christ did not come down to earth to condemn people. Who are we to do the same? Yet I also recognize that religion is an institution (in political science terms: an organization with a recognized function) and I think it is performing what people expect it to do (even the opponents, whether they admit it or not, probably expect the church to contradict. On my thoughts, perhaps as a scapegoat for the government's shortcomings). Regarding Carlos Celdran, he was successful in agitating people into declaring Facebook wars. But he was really rude and out of place. He told the bishops to stay out of politics, and the police told him to stay out of the church.