By the way, I wasn't there just simply for a trip. I was there for the 17th Sinlges for Christ International Conference (ICON) or International Leaders Conference. Proud to be SFC.
February 18, 2010: Sunny Thursday it is.
Our chapter (Makati - CC1A) has 25 delegates including of course our dear chapter head and full time worker who is part of the organizers of the Pre-ICON and ICON. Almost everyone were in Davao already as they went Feb 17 and to my envy (they went to SAMAL island). Well, everything happens for a reason as I always say to myself. My flight was 4:55 in the afternoon via Cebu Pacific. Ticket bought as a promo and cost me about 1.3K pesos. The explaination by the way of why I was behind was because, I still have to work on the night of 17th being a night shifter. I was even planning to not sleep at all after work on Thursday morning in fear of missing my flight but God is good. He allowed me to sleep about 2 hrs and let my housemates who (lucky for me) were offshift that morning, wake me up.So by God's grace I was able to make it to my flight with no problems and reached Davao at around 6:30 PM. My first set-foot in Davao. It felt good. First observations: The moon that night was in perfect crescent shape. The airport isn't that big compare to Manila's or even Cebu's for the matter but Davao's is way cleaner, not just the airport but the city itself. What was more greater feeling is when I heard locals speaking dialect. Wohooo, felt just like home. Being with the group at last, 21 of us for there are still 3 who were on later flights than I. We had dinner at Penong's Resto, famous for their chicken inasal and unlimited rice. Plus we had cake as our birthday surprise to one of our brothers who is celebrating his big day that day and turned out that he treated us all that dinner. Ain't it good? As they say "the best things in life are free". hehehe. God is good for giving us a place to stay; Bro. Vic's place. While I, still having not enough sleep, slept at 1Am and woke up 4AM. (wakwak mode). Well, part of the restlessness is the excitement to conquer durian, to explore davao and all the wonderful things in it. One more thing, the air was fresh, so fresh plus the water was refreshing. EOD
Feb 19, 2010 (Friday, sunny still)
As I mentioned earlier, I woke up at early 4 AM. I had pandesal, puto cheese, rice, boiled egg, fried bangus for breakfast. Super breakfast it is for the first Friday of the lenten season. Well, I was planning not to eat lunch anyway. To my disappointment, from 4 AM, we had to start our exploration late 9AM already. Kinda just idle for 5 hours and talking to stuff toys. hahaha coz i can't sleep (sisa mode). At long last we departed from the house past 9 AM, all aboard to coby (Vic's multicab/jeep) and met up with the others who stayed at Bro Choco's place. We were 2 vehicles, one was a revo or some kinda like that and the other was KOBE where I with 12 other girls and Vic (driving) where boarded. Our first stop for the day, the famous Davao's Eden Nature Park up and up to the mountains where Mt Apo (tallest mountain in the Phils) could be seen as well.
While on the road, I really enjoyed the sceneries. Being a travel-lover, that is for me, a therapy, too see beautiful things while moving. Away from the city, far away from the conjested places where all you'll feel is nature. Halfway to our destination, we track on a road that was a steep slope. KOBE had hard time, we were left behind by the other vehicle. But we made it, KOBE made it on top, that's when Bro. Vic, heard something squeaking. On the instance, he managed to bring Kobe to the side and we stopped. I, being on the back of the driver's seat, immediately felt something wrong at that time. We stopped 1 minute, Vic, asked the one seating on the passenger's seat to get a stone (stopper) "bangil" in the dialect. Just right after, she had stepped out of the vehicle, our vehicle abruptly is moving backwards. We were going down.
My mind at that few minutes of turbulence had flown so far away. My family, my mother, my dreams, our dreams, my promise, my life, my sadness, my triumphs. All flashback in that very short moment and then, I surrendered. I did surrender to HIM. Thy will be done. When I opened my eyes and realized our situation isnt getting better that we might go directly down the cliff, of hit another vehicle, or Kobe would flip over, roll over and we, trapped inside the helpless Kobe, I saw, the only girl who was not on the vehicle, also running towards us, seemingly helpless too, I wanted to shout to her "tell my mother I love her".
It was all sudden, the other girls are already shouting but so mysterious that no one really panicked so much. It was great, our driver didnt leave us behind. He manuever the vehicle that from tha right side of the lane, while Kobe was going down, he tried to steer the wheel in a way that we reached the other side of the road and eventually hit something that made us stop. How great is our GOD? Really great, that He wouldnt allow us to be not present in the ICON.
Realizing, we have come into a stop. Everyone, get off the vehicle. Kobe, was tilted just enough that it didnt flip over. Nobody was harm. Only Kobe's side mirror and late on we foud out that it's his cross joint that broke off that's why we had no back brake. The other thing that was harmed was that thing that made us stop. Amazing, it was amazing that it took a single banana tree and some died ones that cushion our stop. We could have hit the big stones there or the bigger and harder trees but we hit the soft banana tree. Simply amazing, how the ways of God works. It was a strengthening of faith. I for one, had realized BIG in that life changing experince. God still has greater plan for me and for all of us.
Manong Mariano Sumaya was the owner of the banana tree, he was the one who helped elevate the tilted side of the jeep as gasoline started leaking. He even accomodated us to his humble house and offered "bahalina". Such a great experience to be in good hands. From our driver to Manong Mariano to the uncles of Bro Vic who repaired Kobe. The other vehicle was back and some of us headed to Eden while 7 including Vic, me and 5 other sisters chose to be left. Those of us left at the incident site while waiting for Kobe's successful operation happily ate banana. Such a wonderful new life. Indeed.
And Kobe was healed after the successful 3-hr operation. So off we proceed to our long awaited destination when all of a sudden, smoke in the vehicle. (moment of thinking, not meant to be where we are going? trials on the road?). Kobe was overheat. Hayyy, it was manageable, after Kobe drank plenty of water we hit the road again with much greater anticipation of what will we see in our destination. Finally, we arrived at Eden nature's park. Indeed, the view was heavenly. I blurted, the road to heaven is not easy, there will be bumps, stops, obstacles but reaching heaven is worth it. It was indeed an overly amazing experience.
SFCICON: First night (1st session of talk)
The praisefest was like a celebration of the new life. Persecuted but not abandoned were the words of the song that struck me. Yes, i might be persecuted but I was never abandoned. I felt God's warm hugged to me that night, I felt how He wrapped me in His arms and while singing I Give My All, I was tearful. Take me as I am. I am Yours oh God, Lead me to Your arms and I give You praise. I rejoice in You 'til the end of my days I give my all.
It was a feast. Being in a crown united in one Christ. Feasting in the bounty of life. FEAST - .
God calls us for His purpose. We were created by God and for God. We can never be too good or too worse for Him. Everyday, there is a reason to feast. Because everyday God loves us more deeply. That love is more than enough ad is never fading. To end the night, Joey Ayala sang his original songs. I knew him of the song Magkaugnay and coincidentally that night he sang "saging" (Banana), and we heartily jammed with him and HIM. Round of Applause.
February 20, 2010: Sunny Saturday.(Workshops day)
Even with very few hours of sleep, still I woke up early to compromise to the toilet situation as there are may people who'll be using the bathroom. Well of course, I am an early riser usually. (segway). Today is our workshops day. I have 1 in the morning that's 9-12 and another in the afternoon 1-4. I am excited to learn more, to listen and of course to encounter God again. My first workshop is entitled "The Blueprint of Your Purpose". The speaker Fr. Xavier, a very good speaker, I've known him already from the Metro manila Conference in Baguio, July 2009 and also, he is usually present in our Sector Assembly. I was happy, for I know Fr. Xavier would really impart a lot.
The Blueprint of our Purpose: is simply summarized into this phrase "His way not
The afternoon workshop was entitled "The Best 3 Hours". It was all about household. Household is the term we use in community for the group that basically is like a family. The talked is really how God has loved as as His household and that we should do the same. The speaker, I forgot his name (Tito Oscar). He is a surgeon and a magician. He was a great speaker as well.
The Best 3 Hours is to say "I love my household".
SFCICON: 2nd night (2nd and 3rd session of talk)
The Fool and the Full was given by an SFC Missionary MK Guano or as we fondly call her during our bootcamp as Mahiyaing MK. The session was presented like a mini-talk show entiltled "Let's Talk". It showcased the different kinds of life of SFC member who once been living as fools. I came to think as well the difference between being fool (with all the material things) and being full (believing that God is enough for me). Because, human as we are, we are vulnerable to temptations but God through His son JesusChrist is giving as the chance to redeem ourselves. How great is our God?
Fighting for the Fullness of Life. Bro. Nestle Jeturian speaks about how to fight for the fullness of life. The temptations I mentioned above, yes, sometimes they are too much to bear that at times we fall for it. I for one, am a sinner. But being one with God, we should fight for the fullness in life and that is to be like Christ, follow His ways. Nothing else will ever be.
Again being full is to say "God is enough for me".
February 21, 2010: Super Sunny Sunday.(last day)
Woke up early again and excited to buy some things called "pasalubong". hahahahha. After the roam around, we settled for the early Sunday morning mass. The priest presider was Fr. Xavier. Here goes his homily:
“We see Jesus mingling with sinners, prostitutes & tax collectors. In the gospel, Jesus comes and approaches Levi, who was busy counting coins, earning his livelihood. Just as Jesus came and called Levi, Jesus comes and calls us. However, do we welcome the interruption? Many times we hate to be interrupted from our routine, our work, our comforts, but zooming in the scene for today’s gospel, we see that we need interruptions. We are gathered this weekend interrupting our busy lives even taking leave from work. We see that we need and are thankful for these interruptions. Levi, the tax collector, allows and welcomes Jesus’ interruption. He is never the same again. When he responded to Jesus’ interruption he was shown a much bigger world. The gospel teaches us not to be afraid of INTERRUPTIONS and not to hate the “interruptors” who lead us to stop and pause from our busy lives. It is meaningful that we come together to STOP from the things we’ve become so familiar with. Let us spend this time to examine our habits, our lifestyles…our lives. The Lord always calls us to collect and gather. To gather people and help people gather others.” Jesus is here and He calls, “FOLLOW ME.””
While mass was going on, the sun is at its peak. It was indeed a very hot day. After the mass was the morning worship under the heat of the sun. It was worth it. It was indeed.
The message was simple but the challenge is great: to let every single man and woman in the world experience CHRIST. Live life to the fullness in Christ. Colossians 2:6-7
"Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving".