Hello there! 👋
It’s been more than a month (!!) since I arrived in the Philippines. The reality of moving to a foreign country has sunk in, and I feel like I’m in a foreign land every single day.
In my initial days here, this was the cause of much loneliness. I could not understand the language, I didn’t know the people, I was not used to the culture. Even community here felt familiar, but different.
But as time passed, I started feeling better. Settling into a regular schedule helped. Meeting new people and speaking to them helped. And while I still can’t understand Tagalog, my hosts everywhere have been taking care to use English whenever I’m around.
Above all, praying daily & surrendering my troubles to the Lord really helped my disposition toward this season of life ☀️
My home away from home
Over the past month, and for the coming year, my home away from home has been the Servants of the Word household in Quezon City, Metro Manila. This household is the residence of 6 other Servant brothers, including Jake Yap, John Keating, Mon Samson & Adrian Menezes. Most of the brothers are currently on different mission trips until the end of the month.
I have also received a warm welcome from my host community, Ang Ligaya Ng Panginoon (translated: “The Joy of the Lord”, and commonly called “Ligaya”).
CYA Summer Household, Quezon City, Manila
The majority of my time and service over the past month has been within the CYA Summer Household. CYA stands for “Christ’s Youth in Action”, and is Ligaya’s outreach program to college-going youth of ages 18–24. As for “Summer Household”, I quote from an SW blog post:
“We invite students to take a whole summer as something of a discipleship retreat, as an opportunity to grow in following Christ and in serving others. So even though the men take classes during that time, we approach it as an intense living experience, which includes common meals, daily prayer times, evening activities and weekends away.”
Because of my engineering exams in years past, this is actually the first Summer Household that I have been able to attend in its entirety. It’s a great learning experience, and I am taking diligent notes 📝
Since the Household is ongoing until the 20th July, I’ll cover it in greater detail in my next newsletter.
National Leadership Training (NLT), Olongapo City
I had the honour of being invited to attend the NLT, an annual training conference for leaders of Ang Lingkod Ng Panginoon (translated: “The Servants of the Lord”, commonly called “Lingkod”).
Lingkod is a movement of young professionals dedicated to bringing their peers to committed personal relationships with Jesus Christ and other Christians. Like the CYA, Lingkod is affiliated with Ligaya.
For me, one of the most striking sessions at NLT was an exploration of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “Rejoice and be glad”. Kuya Jake focused on Section 14–34, which is Papa Francesco’s call for us to be “everyday saints”.
I also noted Mon’s mention of the Joshua Generation and Aurora 2017 in his annual report. Good job, Aurora organising team! 🙌
Jim Orbe will be my “service leader”—which means that he will be overseeing my service and formation over the next year.
Considering my expectations and goals, he recommended that I serve primarily within one of the college outreach branches of the CYA, with a few hours of the week devoted to serving in Lingkod.
I have also been assigned to a men’s group that will be led by Jake Yap.
I am in a setting where I have the chance to practice guitar and work out daily. And though I miss Indian food, the adjustment to Filipino cuisine has not been too bad. I thank the Lord for His small mercies.
I have already been a part of a few CYA, Lingkod meetings and leadership training sessions. I anticipate my formal service to start some time in August.
I got a chance to attend Jeremiah Goes Home, an outreach ministry packaged as a theatre production. The entire production, from writing to direction to cast and crew, were Ligaya or CYA members. I love how this endeavour gave many people a channel to use their talents to build the kingdom of God.
JP, Anthony and Josh showed me around Manila and helped me figure out some of the acronyms that were flying about. JP also accompanied me to the National Museum of Fine Arts. I also got the opportunity to visit Intramuros, a historic “walled city” within Manila from the Spanish colonial era.
I ask for your prayers that I might be blessed with humility. Adjusting to all of the people that God has put over me is challenging. I also feel like I am called to be more open to criticism and feedback. I also ask for your prayers for the strength to make a daily decision to follow the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength.
How can I pray for you?
I would love to know what’s been happening in your life and if there is any specific prayer I can pray for you. Drop me an email or ping me on WhatsApp or Messenger and I guarantee a reply 🤗
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to once again thank you for your prayers, emotional support and donations. I am blessed to have you in my life! 😇