Bravely, On to the Future!
By MARVIN TAN
“AT first unchurched, he went through a long journey of seeking God which has made him today one of the longtime leaders of the Light of Jesus Family.
He held various leadership positions in LOJ and he now serves as Feast District Head of Bulacan, Overall Head of LOJF Disaster Recovery Ministry (DRM) and LOJF Representative to the Federation of Transparochial Charismatic Communities (FTCC). He lives in Valenzuela City.”
That’s how I am introduced in The Feast Stories (https://feaststories.com/), one of Bro. Bo Sanchez’s discipleship websites.
Here we are, members of Feast Bulacan District (above) and Feast Baliwag (right)
In 2007, I became a member of the LOJ Council of Elders. I never thought of becoming or being selected as one of the members of the Council of Elders.
I have had endless blessings since I joined LOJ. The spiritual blessing is on the top of my list. I am deeply grateful that I’ve come to know, love, and serve our God.
I have particularly come to appreciate the meaning of the Holy Eucharist.
I treasure the blessings of our faith Community life, many friends!
And the perks of going abroad to fulfill our core mission to go and make disciples for Jesus.
Today, bravely, with my Feast co-servant leaders and members, I face the COVID challenge.
We meet through The Feast at Home, our online live-streaming of our Feasts via the ZOOM app. Some members are not familiar with it, so we are teaching them how to zoom!
We are conducting The Feast at Home, our online live-streaming every Sunday 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. via our Feast Bulacan District Facebook page.
Although some of our servants assigned in the technical side of producing this online streaming are not that knowledgeable with the details, we seek help from other servants in the District to learn the techniques.
Some of our members lost their jobs and many are looking for additional sources of income. So, we created the Bulacan District Livelihood Opportunity project, a venue for sellers to promote their products and an opportunity for others to re-sell those products in the market.
Yes, by God’s grace, we are responding well to this challenge.
Together, we are adjusting, adapting the crisis situations to live the New Normal by uniting, cooperating, and helping one another to survive each day.
I am particularly confident we shall overcome this ordeal. God called me to this mission, and I have fervent faith He, not I, who is in control of everything, just as He has always been in control of my LOJ journey, as my Feast story (below) attests.
My Feast Story
Here, I share with you what I wrote in The Feast Stories:
BEFORE I joined the Light of Jesus Family, I had a very simple routine – workschool-home. I was a working student. Sometimes I spent my free time joining my friends for a few bottles of beer or watching movies. I was not a practicing Catholic. I got inside the church only when I had to attend baptism, wedding, and burial rites.
Not until I met Liza. We attended Mass together. Then an officemate invited me to attend a Cursillo movement. From then on, I began to seek God, starting with attending Bible studies.
When we got married, Liza and I continued to attend Bible studies, the Life in Spirit Seminar, and we joined a Charismatic group in our parish.
Here we are, with our beloved son Paul.
February of 1988, someone invited us to attend the Victory Celebration with Jesus, a general assembly of the Light of Jesus Family held at St. Paul College Auditorium. In August 1989, Liza and I attended LOJ’s Dakilang Pagibig ng Diyos’ first Christian Life Series (CLS) in Monumento, an 18-week seminar similar to Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS), including the Growth Series. After the seminar, we were invited to serve as facilitators for the next batch of CLS attendees in LOJ Cubao.
Liza and I are now on our 32nd year as members of the Light of Jesus Family. One of our best times in LOJ has been with our Caring Group where we could share our joys and struggles in life with brothers and sisters.
Our CG sisters, from left: Liza, Cindy Calderon, Edna Azucena, Mimi Col-long, Vicky Ortiz, and Chay Santiago; the brothers, from left: Ed Santiago, Me; Eugene Calderon,Caloy Ortiz, Nap Col-long, and Eddie Azucena.
Early on, service was a new thing for me but as I continuously served in LOJ ministries, I realized that I just loved serving God and the people assigned to my care.
A great blessing is our LOJ Disaster Recovery Ministry which enables us to reach out to the needy such as victims of the Taal volcano eruption.
Joy at The Feast
Though busy with our LOJ service, Liza and I are attending Mass regularly in our village chapel where I serve in the Formation Ministry.
Since I’ve been hearing the inspiring talks at The Feast, Faith has become real for me. During the Mass, Jesus becomes real. Attending the Mass becomes an experience of Jesus’ merciful and compassionate love for me.
The Feast fills our hunger for the word of God. It feeds our soul and meets our practical daily needs. My image of God has changed. My image of Christianity has changed. Christianity becomes a joy. Serving God becomes sharing of my inner joy. Christianity becomes a relationship with God and His people.
With Him and my faith community, I face these uncertain times with great courage.