*Poof* 💨 There goes my monthly schedule!
This newsletter has been in the making for 2 weeks. It has been one of the hardest posts that I have written, and I’m not even sure why. There just seemed to be a mental block every time I sat down to write. Your encouragement played a big part in motivating me to write. A genuine thank you 🙇♂️
Since I last wrote, my schedule has gotten much busier. That’s a good thing: I finally feel like I have settled down into a predictable routine. A major source of stress in my first three(!) months here was the fact that I had very little control over my own time & productivity.
Ligaya turns 43!
As I mentioned previously, I am being hosted by Ang Ligaya Ng Paginoon, a Christian community based in Metro Manila. Ligaya celebrated their 43rd Anniversary of being a “community of disciples on mission” on the 15th of July 2018.
I love how Ligaya has carefully archived all of the prophecies that came to them over the years, truly treating them like word from God. I also got to witness the sheer size of the community for the first time.
Kairos Summer Household
The majority of my service in July was within the CYA Kairos Summer Household. I described the setup in my previous newsletter, but one of the students who attended summarised it well:
“Twenty four brothers. Five weeks. One house.”
Yup. Household was exactly as crazy as you would think. But through all of the chaos/fun/banter, God was undoubtedly at work in the lives of all who attended.
As part of the HH activities, I visited the Quezon City prison. I’m not sure if I will get to serve here because of the language barrier, but I’m glad that I got over my initial aversion and went. Seeing the 3000+ inmates in various degrees of hope & hopelessness crammed into a space meant for 800 was a powerful experience. CNN covered this prison.
I wrote about the CYA & Lingkod movements in my previous newsletter. In short, these are Christian outreaches to college students and young working professionals, respectively.
I was formally introduced in the Unified Manila Chapter (UMC), one of the “hubs” of CYA, and the BGC, one of the branches of Lingkod. Going forward, these will be where I will do the majority of my service.
As I spend time interacting with the staff, students and young professionals, the opportunities for service are becoming clearer. I expect to be able to paint you a better picture by my next newsletter.
One of the objectives of my time in Manila is to undergo formation as a disciple of Christ and youth ministry worker. I was thus invited to be a part of two events—the annual Pastoral Teaching Institute (PTI) and the CYA Staff Orientation & Training.
I particularly enjoyed PTI. All of the input was centred around the 10 Commandments, which form the basis of Christian morality. A number of the sessions were conducted by two theology professors, ensuring a lot of “meat” in their content.
I also have a growing appreciation for moral theology and its application in society.
Wild at heart
Around the end of July, I spent a week on vacation with the Servants of the Word brothers that I live with. To be honest, I didn’t think that I deserved a vacation because my summer was not nearly as packed with work as theirs. It was a good time of fellowship nonetheless.
There was this one moment of clarity (and panic) when I kayaked about a kilometre out into the sea. The sheer vastness of this world hit me, along with a strong feeling of thalassophobia 🙈
Another good thing to come out of the vacation was a “fitness bug” that I picked up from the brothers around me. Be it walking, medium/long distance running, cycling or good ol’ iron pumping, each of the brothers invest time in regular physical activity. I ran my first 5K a few days ago, and am training for a 10K in December 🎽
I have been noticing that I am much bolder in situations where the older me would have preferred to hold back. I am finding it in me to push ahead and do what I need to do in things both large and small.
Looking back at the last few months since I gave my life more fully to the Lord, I can see how He truly knows and wants to fulfil the deepest desires of my heart, including my desire for adventure & fulfilment.
It’s my conviction that God does not want me, or indeed any of His children, to live boring, unfulfilled lives.
I feel obligated to mention three powerful books that I came across recently:
Before I picked it up, I thought that Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis would be abstract and theoretical. Spoiler: it is not. I can’t believe it took me this long to read what is perhaps the most frequently recommended book on the basics of Christianity (shout out to Björn! 😛) I can now understand why so many people—logical or emotional, leaning toward atheism or spirituality, young or old—have come to know God through C. S. Lewis’ brilliance.
The Mark of a Man by Elisabeth Elliot was recommended to me by a couple of people at Summer Household. I admit that my shields we up during the first few chapters, but the author makes logical & Biblically-backed arguments. I also like how the book is divided into bite-sized chapters.
I found Perhaps, I love you more when desperately rummaging for some light reading material literally 2 minutes before leaving for vacation. This delightful little booklet has a lot of insight about the impressive man that was Pope John Paul II. It left me with goosebumps. ’nuff said.
How can I pray for you?
I want to take this opportunity to once again thank each of my sponsors and supporters for helping make this year happen. I am truly grateful for your generosity.
To you, dear reader, I would love to know what’s been happening in your life and if there is any specific prayer I can pray for you. I would also like to know if you have any suggestions on how I can improve this newsletter.