Prepared To Serve


Prepared To Serve By CARL FONTANILLA I CAN very well say God kindly prepared me for the mission He has called me. I went to good schools-- at the Malate Catholic School for my elementary and high school education, and for college, to the University of the Philippines Diliman. I learned the rudiments of managing an organization – so important in leading my ministry groups—at the Rock Energy International Corporation where I  served as managing director. And I continue learning about Life, as God has gifted me with a beautiful wife, Melanie ‘Lanie’ Gillera, and He blessed us with three children: Carmela, now 34 years old; Carol Anne, 33; and Charize Mae, 25. Lanie and I first encountered the Light of Jesus Family in 1992. An officemate, Ferdie Reyes, invited us to attend a Living in the Light Seminar held at the Brookside Village chapel in Cainta, Rizal. Ferdie and his wife Fides were members of the Cainta Chapter of the Homes for Christ (HFC), the ministry of LOJ for married couples. When I learned that the LSS would actually take 13 Saturday sessions, I almost backed out. But Ferdie was a good friend who helped me in many ways, so I agreed to attend. My simple knowledge about the Charismatic movement was a group of people singing and raising hands which I felt awkward even thinking about. Sure enough it was what I expected. Lanie and I completed the 13 sessions with 2 absences, and I thought that was it. I didn’t realize that the Lord was bringing me to an experience which was lacking in my life. I was born and raised by only one person-- my mother. By the nature of our situation, the only times I was in a group was at school. Even there, I wasn’t a joiner. I had few selected friends even when I was already working. I seldom hang out and join any group. Our joining the faith community was then a struggle for me. I felt uncomfortable all the time. I didn’t want to speak and share before the audience. But God is patient, isn’t he? Through the leaders like from my first Caring Group (CG) head, Bro. Dante Alignay to Bro. Rudy Mallari, I discovered how patient God is. Here, our “baby” CG, from left: Me, Lanie, Eng Si, Nimfa Si, Rudy Mallari, Zeny Mallari, Maya Tan and Buddy Tan. I felt I was a burden to my Caring Group members. To this day, I don’t recall attending a CG meeting where Lanie and I were on time—we were always late, or I had dozens of excuses not being able to attend. Until God threw me to the fire. Despite being uncommitted and even with my apathetic behavior, I was asked to serve and become a leader, first as a CG head and then later as a Chapter head. I accepted the call not for an opportunity to serve, but it triggered my pride. In the

Prepared To Serve2020-10-08T10:59:44+08:00

THE ‘90s


THE ‘90s The Regions In the 1990s, the Light of Jesus spread on to the Visayas and to Mindanao, and so we organized into regions, each composed of at least three districts, each of which in turn with at least three chapters. Each chapter was composed of Caring Groups with five to 15 members—the nucleus of the entire organization. So, today, the Caring Group is called Light Group, for indeed, it is a mini-Light of Jesus Family. Today, we have three major regions, and here are our leaders… Mega Manila Provincial International #LOJat40

THE ‘90s2020-10-08T10:59:19+08:00

We Are Good!


We Are Good! By ARUN GOGNA And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. --Romans 8:28 (NIV) THIS favorite Bible verse in the Charismatic movement is also my favorite. Because yes, God has been working for my good all the time. I’ve been blessed with a good education—at Don Bosco Makati for elementary and high school for college, La Salle University and now, I have a Master’s degree in Religious Studies, attached with the Latin words magna cum laude. Best of all gifts, I have an MD—as in Marriage Degree with good and great Lallaine Lucas who didn’t mind adding a Gogna to her name. And if most couples wish to have children, preferably a boy and a girl, well, we have them good— Andrea Helene, now 12 years old, and Yohan Gabriel, 11. Little did I know, I was being groomed for this mission to preach the Word of God. Everything I learned in school, everything I am learning as head of a family, I’ve been able to share with the people I have been called to bring to Jesus. I was part of a parish prayer community, the Mary Help of Christians Prayer Community. And so, I was already a preacher when Bro. Bo Sanchez invited me to join the Light of Jesus Family in 2009. I preached in various LOJ gatherings and before long, I was already serving as Builder of Feast Bellevue in Alabang. In another second, I was asked to be Builder of the entire Feast Alabang District. And then, here I am now as Regional Builder of Feast Mega Manila! I am the happiest about this turn of events as I am receiving big blessings--more friends who are faithful to the Lord. Of late, however, like everybody else, our Feasts have been challenged by COVID-19. We are missing each other, missing serving face to face, hand in hand. But yes, God works for our good, because we now have this New Normal we call The Feast at Home. Lallaine and I have also conducted the Quaretreat (above right),—an online retreat for members during these Quarantine days. Indeed, God called each one of us for His purpose. Ours is not simply a battle against a virus. We are called to win a war – our own struggle to be what He purposed us to be, and to help others to win theirs. I sit here, nodding my head, before I type a period on this piece, because yes, everything will work out for our own good. #LOJat40

We Are Good!2020-10-08T10:59:04+08:00

MORE of the ‘80s


MORE of the ‘80s The Families From the Core Family, the Light of Jesus grew with more members coming from all walks of life. They were grouped into “families” each composed of 30-50 members, named Love, Peace, Joy, Strength, Faith, and Glory. The Ministries The Families went on to build more prayer meetings and so, the Light of Jesus organized the Discipleship Community for Christ (DCC) plus more ministries… #LOJat40

MORE of the ‘80s2020-10-08T11:00:26+08:00

From Carefree to Caring


From Carefree to Caring By HERMIE MORELOS CAREFREE, focused on self. Going to Mass every Sunday but that was it. That was me before I joined the Light of Jesus Family. Everything changed in 1987. Then my wife Josie was diagnosed with cancer. We so needed prayer support. It happened that Josie’s brother-in-law, Tim Duran, a member of the Light of Jesus Family, introduced us to his co-members who prayed over Josie not only once. They kindly served as our prayer warriors throughout our ordeal. Difficult as it was, I just had to surrender Josie to God when she passed on in 1992. And there I was left with four young kids—Abby, Hermie Jr., Michael Dennis, and John Martin, who was then still a toddler. I was distraught, to say the least. But then, there was the mission that needed my attention. By this time, LOJ members already had five mission groups— Homes for Christ (HFC) for married couples, Esther for single women professionals, Joshua for single male professionals, Tabitha for elder ladies, singles or widows, and the Youth Mission for Parishes and Communities (YMPACT). Norina David (at right, with me), Sis. Reng to everyone, who led Esther, caught my attention— or I caught hers. I told my children about her, and they practically pushed me to pursue her. As Divine Design would have it, Reng and I got married. Reng, bless her max, embraced my children as her own. The first three are now in their 40s and John Martin is already 29. In time, we received an additional, great blessing: David Emmanuel, born in 1999, five years after we got married, and after Reng suffered three consecutive miscarriages. David is now 21 years old. Even as we have a big family to take care of, we've been blessed to continue serving the Lord in LOJ. Reng and I became members of Homes for Christ where I eventually served as executive director. Then one day, Bro. Bo tapped my shoulders—and dragged me to be among the LOJ presiding elders and Council of Elders head. Next, more blessings! Bro. Bo founded The Feast, replacing our usual prayer meetings, and before long, I found myself head of the Feast South District. This happened as I was serving as president of our spin-off Media Ministries— Shepherd’s Voice Publications Inc., Shepherd’s Voice Radio and Television Foundation, and chairman and chief operating officer (CEO) of The Feast Media Inc. And then, as The Feast branched out overseas, by God’s grace, I would be taking the plane to serve as Feast coach-overseer of the LOJ Oceania Region which includes Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. As this region is way down under the globe, we have literally been fulfilling the Lord Jesus Christ’s mandate to His apostles: “…You will be my witness, telling people about me…to the ends of the earth.”(Acts 1:8) Last year, I reached my ageless season and thus I retired from my Media and my Oceania posts. I will

From Carefree to Caring2020-10-08T10:58:26+08:00

Macho for the Lord


Macho for the Lord By TOMMY LARA AS you can see on the photo at right, that’s me leading a prayer meeting as Builder of Feast Sydney. I’ve come this far from my first service in the Light of Jesus Family as a Macho. MACHO. Noun: a man who is aggressively proud of his masculinity. Adjective: showing aggressive pride in one’s masculinity. That’s the definition of the word that you’ll find on Google. I am big and masculine. And I am macho – but not as in the Google definition. Yes, I started in the Light of Jesus Family as a macho. That is, as head of the Macho Ministry. In the infant days of LOJ, we held Life in the Spirit Seminars (LSS)—the first step in learning about committing to accept Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, and being His disciple. The Macho Ministry was in charge of going to the venue where we would run the LSS and check if the place was suitable for a gathering. We checked if there’s a kitchen where we could prepare snacks, if there’s a clean toilet, and enough chairs for the participants. So, days before the LSS, I would go visit the venue and check it out. Then on the day of the LSS, together with other members of the Macho Ministry, I would go to the venue and set up the chairs and the sound system. And at the end of the LSS we would pack everything up. If ever we were aggressively proud of our masculinity, it’s in the sense that we were used as instruments in sharing Jesus with as many as we could. This passion to make disciples for Jesus stemmed from an intense spiritual awakening when I joined LOJ in 1980. I was then working at the National Computer Center as a Computer Systems engineer. There, I met Caridad, or Epay to everyone, who was a Systems analyst, through her then boyfriend. One Tuesday, Epay invited me and other officemates like May Ulanday, to the LOJ prayer meeting in Cubao. And impressed, we attended the prayer meeting regularly. At the end of one prayer meeting, Bro. Bo announced that he was forming a team that would conduct Life in the Spirit Seminars in various places in Metro Manila -- wherever we would be invited to. Bro. Bo asked for people who wanted to join the team to attend a meeting that same evening after the prayer meeting. Epay, May, Vic Balenton, and I joined that team. We met every Sunday for training-formation before we ran our first LSS. During the training, we were asked to choose a ministry where we would like to serve. I chose the Macho Ministry and became its head. At the end of our training, which went for a few months, we attended a retreat at Maryhills, Antipolo, where we made a commitment to serve for one year and continue our formation every Sunday. We then ran our first LSS

Macho for the Lord2020-10-08T10:58:16+08:00

My LOJ Story


My LOJ Story By PIO ESPAÑOL MY life in the Light of Jesus Family is an open book which I tell again and again in my talks, to as many as I can tell it to— for it is a wonderful story, not mine alone but a little, humble part of the mission of our Lord Jesus, the greatest story ever told. My favorite Bible verse, John 3:16, says it all: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Yes, God gave His Son for me— even as I didn’t seem to deserve such a priceless gift. In the ‘70s, I worked at San Miguel Corporation, going around the country to oversee our projects. I was already married to Evelyn or Bebot to me and everyone in our LOJ Family, and we’ve been blessed with three children— Fritzzie Lyn, Emmanuel, and Joanna Paula. I must admit I hurt my beautiful family as I ran around with women in places I worked in. But yes, God so loved me that He made sure I would have a Jesus in SMC— none other than my boss, Bro. Eugenio Sanchez, father of Bro. Bo. Tito Gene, as we fondly called him, invited me to join the prayer meetings he and his wife, Tita Pilar, and their children started in their garage in 1980. You don’t say “No” to your boss, so I joined LOJ in 1982, just two years after its founding-- thus I became one of the 30 pioneer members of our beloved faith community. Following Tito Gene’s management expertise, I’d been able to help in our day-to-day operations as he assigned me to be among the leaders of LOJ. To this day I treasure this calling as my most unforgettable moment in LOJ, as I’d been privileged to serve with LOJ’s top leaders, from left: Gene Sanchez, Bo Sanchez, and Anthony Calaycay. #LOJat40 I’ve received countless blessings as I served as director of the Light of Jesus Training Center, leading formation seminars week after week, teaching members, especially future leaders, on true Christian living not only in the Community but equally important, at home. At right, here I am with Bebot during a recent reunion with LOJ members. When Bro. Bo founded the Shepherd’s Voice Publications Inc., he also involved me in the management of this media organization which produced the ever-popular Kerygma magazine, daily devotionals, as well as Bo’s bestselling books. When he started the Anawim Home for Abandoned Elderly, there I was serving as member of the Board of Directors, attending to management details, as we cleared a portion of a forest in Montalban, Rizal, to put up cottages for lolos and lolas who had nowhere else to go. For me, this is one of my most rewarding missions, this privilege to share the love of Jesus with our elderly left by the people who should have

My LOJ Story2020-10-08T10:58:02+08:00

Through the Years


Through the Years Go and make disciples of all men. --Matthew 28:19 THE Light of Jesus Family exists in obedience of the mandate of Jesus Christ before He ascended to Heaven: to make disciples of all men. The Light of Jesus fulfils this mandate through three major ministries: Mission, Media, Mercy. MISSION 1978 The Light of Jesus faith community started with a couple: Eugenio Sanchez Sr. and his wife Pilar. Bo’s parents met during the Japanese occupation time in the Philippines. Sis. Pilar, then only 17 going on 18, applied for a job in an office. And Bro. Gene, then a clerk at the office, happened to be assigned to process her application form which included her beautiful photo--he was smitten right there and then. Long story short, he pursued her, in a matter of days or weeks they were attending Holy Mass together—a devotion they continued when they got married, and have passed on to their children. At left, Bo with his parents; and the Sanchez siblings today, from left: Pinkie, Bubu, Beckie, Bo, Chelle, and Tina. Earlier, in 1962, Pope John XXIII prayed for the Church Renewal. In 1967, during a retreat, a group of Catholic students in Duquesne University, a private school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States, experienced a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The phenomenon, called the Duquesne Weekend, fired up the Charismatic Renewal that reached the Philippines in the ‘60s. A year before the Duquesne Weekend, on July 11, 1966, Bo Sanchez was born. Obviously at the time, no one would have guessed Bo would be called to continue the Church Renewal in this our part of the world. March 26, 1978 On the invitation of Petra “Etring” Crisanto, mother of Celso Crisanto, husband of Chelle, the Sanchez eldest,  Bro. Gene and Sis. Pilar attended the prayer meeting of the Upper Room Prayer Group in Project 7, Quezon City. 1979 On July 27, 1979, days after his 13th birthday, on July 11, Bogene attended a Bible Institute seminar held at the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Project 4, Quezon City. In her Diary, our main reference on our LOJ history, Sis. Pilar narrates that during the lectures, Bo didn’t seem to be listening to the lectures. He was drawing his favorite Voltes V characters at the back of the lecture handouts. Towards the end of the seminar, the lecturer asked questions to test whether the participants understood the lessons. Bo gave the best explanation on the Word of God and even recited the gist and key message of the seminar. On December 8, 1979, a Saturday, Sis. Aida Manongdo, leader of the Upper Room prayer group, visited the Sanchez couple in their home at 56 Chicago St., Cubao, Quezon City. She came with the good news: she received a prophecy that Bo a would preach the Word not only in the Philippines but also around the world. She then suggested that Bo prepare to preach at

Through the Years2020-10-08T12:13:14+08:00

After 40 Years, Will You Trust Him?


After 40 Years, Will You Trust Him? ON one balmy afternoon exactly 40 years ago, my otherwise sane parents, Eugene Sr. and Pilar, came up to meand said one of the most insane statements they could ever say:“Bo, we’re going to organize a small prayer group in our garage. And you’re going to be our leader.” Just like that. And the trajectory of my life was changed forever. Picture me at that moment in time: I was 14 years old. What did I know about leading? Goodness, I was not even doing well in school. Not to mention my, uh, unforgettable physicality. I had an abundance of pimples, I was thin as a used toothpick, and my presence created this pervasive ambiance, because I was reeking with armpit odor, as I believed using deodorant was against God’s Divine Will. My awkwardness was off-the-charts. If there was a competition for awkwardness, I would be its undisputed all-time champion year after year. Every time I preached, I wore an ill-fitting tee-shirt that was given away by the corner hardware store, with its name, complete address, phone number printed at the front, and the list of materials you can buy from them, printed at the back of the shirt, like Lumber, Plumbing, and Toilet Accessories. I also wore soggy jogging pants and the ugliest pair of brown sandals you could ever find. If I gave it to a beggar, the beggar would give me money. Yes, my fashion sense could kill people. Look at me once and you die laughing. On the photo (left) I am in one of my early mission sorties wearing an oversized shirt. I have no idea where it came from, but it definitely made me feel more like my model, St. Francis of Assisi. But would you believe? That small group of 20 to 30 persons listened to that 14-year-old boy. Week after week after week. Why they did, my teenage brain could not grasp. It was a question I asked God, and in one sweet moment in prayer, I remember Heaven visiting me, and hearing His whisper: “Bo, I’m their leader. Not you.” And with these simple words, just like that, He blew away any whiff of pride growing in my heart. That small prayer group did not remain in that garage. Forty years later, that group of 30 has become a global movement of Feasts in 26 countries. Along the way, I’ve stepped down from my over-all leadership position and a new generation of young, humble, selfless, and Jesus-centered leaders has taken over the movement. More good looking, better smelling, and with improved fashion sense. And I’m absolutely sure they don’t wear teeshirts that announce “Toilet Accessories” at the back. But in the spiritual realm, one truth has remained unchanged: God says, “I’m their leader.” We face tomorrow, trusting that wherever the future may bring us, we follow Him alone. Friend, perhaps you’re afraid of the future. So many worries. So many uncertainties. But in

After 40 Years, Will You Trust Him?2020-10-08T15:50:37+08:00