Happiness Found

2018-10-23T05:34:09+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast I’ve been to the darkest of places all my life. I grew up without a father. My brother was the typical bully to his younger sister. I ran away from home a couple of times because I felt nobody understood me. I had a boyfriend without my mother’s consent. I got pregnant at the age of 17. I got married because of the pregnancy. I dropped out of the university. I cheated on my cheating husband. I tried to commit suicide.  I had no direction in life even when I had my own children. Though I knew I was supposed to be a good mother, I didn’t know how to be one. I scolded and hit my kids when they did wrong particularly my eldest. He would get hurt every time he went home with bad scores on his tests. I served my husband like a slave as a way of punishing myself for my sin. He made me feel I deserve it. I lived like this for 15 years of my life. I was so unhappy. I was looking for something, but I didn't know what. THE ONLY HOPE Once, a co-parent from my youngest daughter’s school asked me, “Do you know Bro. Bo? Panoorin mo s’ya. Magaling ‘yun!” That night, I tried to google Bro. Bo. I browsed through the videos and watched one. There was this lean man wearing a suit, holding a Bible, and raising his other hand in worship. I didn’t continue watching. I am a Catholic, but I would cringe when people worship that way. For me, you don’t have to shout your praises. It's enough that you pray in silence. Years passed, I was flipping through the channels of the television when I chanced upon the same man. That time, I listened. We were rock bottom. Our finances were zero to negative. Feeling ko si God na lang talaga ang pag-asa. After a few weeks, I found myself looking forward to watch the next episodes. I shared this excitement with my kids and husband. ‘Yung palagi nilang napapanood, siguro nagustuhan na rin nila. We would watch and worship at the same time. Nagkakaroon din kasi kami ng discussions after ng talks. Somehow, we all felt the messages we got from The Feast were words of enlightenment for us. Ito rin ‘yung time na nag-open ako sa kids ko about my sins and their dad's drug addiction. Not for them to hate us, but hopefully to understand what is happening in the family. The kids were aged around 12 to 18 then. I could vividly remember the feeling when, for the first time, we were able to attend The Feast live at the PICC. There was a sense of belonging. So every chance we get, we go to The Feast and I would always come out crying. Each talk feels like God is personally talking to me. Even as I watch the live streaming on days we don’t have money for

Happiness Found2018-10-23T05:34:09+08:00

From Rejected To Appreciated

2018-10-24T14:32:36+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." (John 13:7) I have no parents anymore, so I decided to be a working scholar since my second year as a Computer Engineering student. Even before I graduated, I was already considered "hired" by one of the giant software companies here in Cebu. God is indeed good, right? This is just an intro. NEEDS IMPROVEMENT A couple of weeks after graduation, I already started working as a trainee in that company. I was among the first batch of newly hired engineers. My batchmates were really really really good and skillfull. The exercises were very challenging especially for me as I was not very confident with my software development skills. (I am more inclined to electronics and digital design.) After six months, all of us were ranked according to our performance and scores. There were 14 of us. Would you bother asking what my rank was? I was the 14th! :D No kidding. I was last among them. I was given a note of "Needs Improvement." Very painful on my side. I spent hours in the CR crying after seeing the result. We were then deployed to different projects. The result of my training did not stop my determination to succeed in that field. I told myself, "One day, I will become a supervisor." So I performed very well and gave my best. But during our first deployment, my boss seemed not to appreciate me and my skills. I could deeply sense his judging thoughts toward me that I was not good enough. Long story short, I was not given a regular position and was kicked out of the company for a reason I have no idea about. The note "Needs Improvement" that I was dreading to see haunted me again. It was the same evaluation result I received. Very painful. Everything did not make sense to me that time. I comforted myself that maybe, there is still another job for me. A company wherein I would be appreciated for my effort and dedication. So I went ahead and sent out resumes and application letters to this company and that company, and this and that. If I remember it correctly, I applied for over 11 companies hoping that I would be given a chance. I told myself, "It will literally be a joke if NOT EVEN ONE of these companies would accept me." Well, as it turned out, I was right. All those companies rejected my application. I was unemployed for about six months. During those times, though, I still went to interviews although most of them did not reach out to me again afterwards. A father of my college friend even helped me look for a job and recommended me to someone he knew. Still, no response. I believe those six months of my life was one of the darkest seasons of my life. I was literally hungry and was not able to give myself proper

From Rejected To Appreciated2018-10-24T14:32:36+08:00

A Lawyer-In-Waiting

2018-10-24T14:31:52+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast While I was still in college, I had the chance to work for a law library, and from then on, I dreamed of entering law school and eventually becoming a lawyer. It took me six years after graduation for the said dream to come to fruition, but I was really excited then because I was a step closer to reaching my goals. I was hastily making decisions, too happy to think about the important factors that could affect my endeavor. My only focus was to study — nothing else. I was in my second year in law school when I realized there was nothing left of my savings from work to support my studies; and because of the nature of my job that entailed me to be on call 24/7, I had to resign. There was another position in the government sector waiting for me, but the processing of my application took a considerable amount of time. I wanted to continue studying even after my resignation from work, and so I sought the help of one of my classmates, and I borrowed money from my parents. Everything seemed fine for a few months. Unfortunately, these decisions just delayed the inevitable. For I had stopped attending classes before the final examinations of the first semester in my second year. I had no means to pay for such exams anyway. Two years of studying hard, and it all ended in just the blink of an eye. Furthermore, my job application in the government sector was taking longer than expected. I had no money, I had no job, and I had to let go of the opportunity to reach my dream. I could not keep up with what was happening in my life. There were times when I would just look out the window or isolate myself in my room and cry. Things were fuzzy, and I could not think properly; and sadly, I was blaming God. I was blaming Him for giving me hardships despite the fact that I strive to be good all the time, and I offer my service to Him during Sunday masses. I was blaming Him for the despair I was experiencing despite the fact that I am supposedly one of His treasured children. But God was still good to me. When I finally gained back my composure; and when I opened my heart, mind, and soul to Him, I found out that He was the only answer I needed. When all I saw was the difficulty I was facing, He kept showing me all the good things He has given me—my family and friends, a healthy life, and my technical capability that will not be taken away from me even though I have stopped pursuing a law degree. Through these blessings, He was telling me to just patiently wait and let a great life unfold before me. At that point, I knew He would answer my prayer. I wholeheartedly accepted that my stint in law

A Lawyer-In-Waiting2018-10-24T14:31:52+08:00

Extra

2018-10-24T14:56:39+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast At age 11, I already learned how to work, so I could have an allowance for my school expenses. I used to be an “extra” and spent 24 hours on TV show tapings just to earn 300 to 500 pesos. LEAST PRIORITY Many people were asking why a boy like me had to work even though my father was in Saudi. Well, let’s just say that my mom and I were not on his priority list. Every time my father would send his “balikbayan” boxes to us, my name would not be in it but that of my cousins.’ When my father lost his job in Saudi, he simply said that I needed to stop schooling. Since I really wanted to finish my studies, I enrolled in a public school which was just a walking distance from our home, so I could go to it even without money. (This journey of self-supporting my studies continued until college.) BIGGEST UPHILL BATTLE February 2006. I carried my father on my arms to rush him to a nearby hospital. On his fourth day of confinement, he told me, “Babawi ako sa ‘yo.” For someone who hadn't been on his priority list, I got excited deep inside because finally, I would feel my father’s care. But that didn’t happen. At 11:55 that night, he started to vomit blood, and it didn't stop even after the doctors injected different medications to prevent him from losing too much blood. He died the following day. I was on my third year in college that time. I decided to stop going to school and just focus on taking care of my mother who had started to experience the complications of her diabetes. To support our daily needs, I would go around our area to ask for plastic bottles, scrap metals, and old newspapers. Before 9 AM, I had to make sure I had earned at least 50 pesos from selling them, so I could go home and cook “lugaw” or “sopas.” I fortunately got hired as a janitor in one established company. Yes, we were no longer eating “lugaw” or “sopas” for the whole day, but we still needed to buy medicines for my mom. So I tried my luck and submitted my resume in a call center. I’m not good in English, but I was overwhelmed when I got hired. Eventually, I transferred to another call center company where I pioneered as level 2 support. I thought it was a good start for everything. TRYING TO START ANEW 2009. We found out that my mother had a heart enlargement. She was an only child, so I didn't tell her that her mother — my grandma — was also at the brink of dying. I was afraid it would only make my mom’s situation worse. My grandmother died, and in February 2010, my mom followed. I left everything behind to start anew after experiencing all the challenges I had. I moved to another call center; and

Extra2018-10-24T14:56:39+08:00

The Gain in my Pain

2018-10-24T14:57:04+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast July 2016 was not that good for me. During that time, I hit the rock bottom of life. Lahat na yata ng klase ng pain naranasan ko — physical, emotional, financial... PHYSICAL PAIN I was hospitalized for three days and three nights. First time in my life na maospital ako nang ganun katagal. Akala ko ‘yun na ‘yung katapusan ko. I cried every night and prayed to God na bigyan pa ako ng chance to live. Sobra ang pain! Makakatulog lang ako kung merong injection ng pain reliever. Hindi makatayo nang walang assistance. Hindi rin makalakad, kailangan pa ng wheelchair. I felt so helpless. Sunday after lunch, the doctor came. After a series of tests, I was diagnosed with GERD and with findings of a 5 cm cyst in my right ovary. Puwede na ako makalabas sa hospital but needed to see an OB-Gyne. Hindi ko alam ang mararamdaman ko sa mga oras na iyon. Wala pa akong health benefits from the company. I was newly hired that time and on a training pa lang for two weeks. I was hoping na puwede pa akong i-consider ng company. When we went home ng sister ko, I texted my boyfriend na nakalabas na ako ng hospital. He was happy hearing the good news, and pinalakas niya ang loob ko saying that I could recover fast. He was about to visit the house the following week, and it made me excited. Gusto ko nang gumaling nang mabilis. FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL PAINS Two days after, I reported for work with my medical credentials. But to my surprise, my supervisor said they couldn't consider me anymore. I could reapply daw after six months. Sobrang down ko that time, hindi ko ma-explain ang pakiramdam. When I got home, I called my BF and shared with him what happened. His responses that night was so cold. Then suddenly, he called me by my name, which he had never done before. He said, "Ina, napakabait mo. Napakabuti ng puso mo, hindi kita kayang saktan. Sasakit lang ulo mo sa ‘kin. Hindi pa siguro ako handa. Find another man who deserves your love..." I thought he was joking. But, oh my! It's real. He said walang other girl, he just wanted a breakup. I felt so numb, hindi ako makakilos at makapagsalita. The only words that came out of my mouth was, “OKAY, GOD BLESS.” Confused, heartbroken, and blangko sa reason kung bakit at ano’ng mali. Hinintay lang akong makalabas ng hospital. Mixed emotions. I didn't know if magagalit ako? Iiyak? O sisigaw ba? Emotionally, financially, and physically drained. I was in the process of healing, nawalan ng trabaho, nawalan ng love life. Tinanong ko ang Diyos, “Bakit ako? Ano’ng kasalanan ko? Bakit sabay-sabay ang hirap na nararanasan ko? Isang buhos talaga???!” I tried to win back and i-work out pa ‘yung relationship namin ng boyfriend ko. But finally, he confessed the next month na meron na s’yang iba. I was so depressed. Until I found

The Gain in my Pain2018-10-24T14:57:04+08:00

My Annoying Co-Passenger

2018-10-24T14:54:33+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast Selfish! Self-centered! Insensitive! Inconsiderate! Those were the words I was shouting in my head for my co-passenger. I was on my way home from The Feast, and I took an FX ride as usual. I was the first passenger, so I decided to sit in front, beside the driver. After a few minutes, that passenger got in. She seemed to be working as a security guard based on her uniform. That probably explains her boyish demeanor. She chose to take the seat beside me. But when she sat, she sat as though nobody was beside her! She occupied more than the space she deserved! I got irritated, so I made a deliberate movement to remind her that she was already grabbing some of my space. Hello! No avail. Her face was devoid of emotions. She was staring at a far distance. I was seething with annoyance, but since I had just attended The Feast, the better part of me took over. I was able to control my mouth from hurling hurting words at her. Her phone rang after a few minutes. Without meaning to, I heard what she said to the caller in a pained voice: “Last day ko na ngayon. Natanggal ako sa trabaho.” Why she lost her job? It did not matter to me anymore. I was already shrinking in shame for myself. I was rebelling for the little space she unconsciously conquered from me, while she was in great pain from losing her job. All her actions — even her lack of reaction — were tell-tale signs she was going through something, but my insensitivity blinded me from noticing. Yes, I was the insensitive one. Not her. The words I used to describe her were the very words that described myself that moment. Since then, I would always remember her every time I am tempted to judge others whom I find annoying. I keep in mind that like her, they may also be carrying a heavy burden or are going through a painful experience. I learned not to rely purely on the things I perceive, because what I can perceive is simply a speck of a bigger picture. There are many facets to every story, and who am I to judge when I do not know all the details — externally and internally? Who am I to judge, when I had also hurt or offended others in the past — intentionally and unintentionally? Who am I to judge, when I am not perfect myself?  “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?" (Matthew 7:1-3, NLT)

My Annoying Co-Passenger2018-10-24T14:54:33+08:00

My Journey To Real Manhood

2018-10-24T14:58:31+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast Growing up with a father who was a member of the Philippine Army, I had a worldly perspective on manhood. I thought being a real man meant being a playboy. My dad had 19 wives and mistresses. I thought real men don't cry. I grew up being suppressed or discouraged to cry when disciplined or punished through military squatting, pushing up, and spanking. I thought being a real man meant being strong and looking strong. In high school, my dad enrolled me in taekwondo classes. To be perceived as tough, I did my best to excel in it until I got to represent the Bicol Region in the National Taekwondo Championship held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. I thought being a real man meant being handsome and being swooned over by a lot of girls. So when a co-taekwondo player invited me to join Pretty Boy 2000 of a local TV show, I did. And I thought real men NEVER wear pink. It was only when I began attending The Feast that my perspective on manhood was gradually transformed and corrected. I realized that the popular perspective on it is so focused on lifestyle and personality, but is insufficient to define it in its truest sense. So what makes a man a REAL man? I got to interview Bro. JPaul Hernandez in our radio program for the youth, and he shared three (3) things about manhood: 1. BEING A REAL MAN IS BEING LIKE JESUS IN WORDS AND ACTIONS. For the longest period of time, I was such a hypocrite. I was the Lord’s servant on the outside, looked holy, but was a sinner on the inside. I was so immersed in my addiction to porn, masturbation, and sex. But our merciful God freed me from the bondage of these sins. 2. BEING A REAL MAN DOES NOT MEAN BEING “MACHO” AND LOUD. A man may look “macho” but is coward to deal with real life challenges, to face family responsibilities, and is unfaithful to his wife. I made a decision not to engage in multiple relationships at the same time. When I get married, I will make sure I will be a responsible father and husband. 3. A REAL MAN NEEDS A “CAVE.” Most women recharge by chatting with other women, but men recharge by caving. I schedule a "me time” at least once a week to spend time with God, reflect on my dreams, exercise physically, relax, and read self-help books. Every time I am facing problematic circumstances, I go to my cave in order to reflect, accept, and confront. This simple practice prevents me from sabotaging myself and others. These three concepts on real manhood can be wrapped up in one word: FAITHFULNESS. Being a faithful man means being obedient to Christ, faithful to your wife, responsible to your family, and committed to lifelong learning and personal development. Maximizing one’s manhood is a journey. It is strengthened by dying to oneself daily, being captivated by the mind

My Journey To Real Manhood2018-10-24T14:58:31+08:00

Ayokong Magpahinga

2018-10-24T14:58:30+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast I'm just an ordinary boy. Simple lang, happy-go-lucky, masayahin, at laging gala. Until 8th of April 2016. That day, bumaliktad lahat ng sinabi ko. Noong araw na ‘yon, my Nanay joined our Creator. Inatake. Wala ako sa tabi niya; I was in Bohol. May international conference kami, and magple-play ako roon for the battle of the bands. Mundo'y nadurog. Ni hindi ko alam kung paano pupulutin ang bawat piraso. Kung may degree program lang siguro sa pagmu-move on, malamang nag-enroll ako agad. Kasi no words can express kung gaano kasakit. PAGKALIGAW Alam ko, masayahin ako. But suddenly, I found myself listening to "emo" songs. Mga tipong “Will You Ever Learn” ng Typecast o ‘yung “Let Me Be The One” ni Jimmy Bondoc. Even love songs, pinapaiyak ako. Natatandaan ko, one time, pinatugtog sa radyo ‘yung “Remember Me This Way,” hagulgol ang kuya mo. Every lyric, besh! Nawala ako. Naging theme song bigla ng buhay ko ‘yung kantang “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” Paano ko nasabi? That time, may service ako sa isa ko pang community. ‘Yung service ko roon, pambuong probinsiya. Mataas na talaga. Binitawan ko ‘yun. Hindi na ako nagpakita pang muli. ‘Di na rin ako um-attend pa ng kahit anong prayer meeting o assembly. I was the youngest leader in our province noong naupo ako. When you are at the peak of something, someway somehow, everything seems perfect pala. At ayun na nga, sunod-sunod na ang pagbabago sa buhay ko. ‘Di na ako nagsisimba. ‘Di na rin ako nagdarasal. Para saan pa nga ba ang pagdarasal? Nasaan Siya noong naghihingalo si Mama? Nakalimutan ko na ring mangarap. Para saan pa nga ba ang pangarap? Kung wala na si Mama para masilayan niya na maabot ko ‘yun? Nakalimutan ko na ring ngumiti. Para saan pa? Ang isang dahilan ko ng kasiyahan, ‘di ko na kasama. Kung ano-ano ang mga pinaggagawa ko sa buhay ko. Ang dami kong pinaggagawa na talagang matitindi. (Secreeeeeet, walang clue!) Naghahanap ng panandaliang lunas. Nga pala, apat kami sa pamilya. Ako, kuya ko, si Mama, at si Tatay. But since my mom left, kaming boys na naiwan, nagkalayo-layo ang loob. Iba-iba kasi kami ng paniniwala (literal kasi magkakaiba kami ng religion) at pananaw sa buhay. Naisip ko, ang lakas pala talaga ng role ng isang ina sa isang pamilya, ‘no? Sobrang importante. Kaya pala ilaw ng tahanan. Kasi sa gitna ng kadiliman, magbibigay siya ng tanglaw sa kapaligiran. At ayun nga, ako na lang ang naiwang mag-isa. Literal din. Si Kuya ko, ‘di na sa bahay nakatira. Si Tatay, nasa Cebu na. I have to be responsible in every move. Adulting. Shookt! Almost every day, bago ako matulog, sobrang blangko. Stress, depression, at lungkot would strike. Gutom din, kasi ‘di ako marunong magluto; lagi akong nakikikain sa ibang bahay. Kaya ang ginagawa ko na lang, lagi akong nasa galaan, gigs, bahay ng kaibigan. 11pm onwards lagi ang uwi ko. Naghahanap ng mapaglilibangan, ng mapupuntahan, ng magagawa, para lang maiwasan ang pagkagat ng kalungkutan.

Ayokong Magpahinga2018-10-24T14:58:30+08:00

When God Empties Your Cup

2018-10-24T14:59:29+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast It was a toxic relationship that was full of lies and deceit. One confrontation would lead to another until the justifications became endless. I tried so hard to salvage what was left of us, but such attempts all turned futile. It was like my world just stopped. I was stuck, too shattered to dig myself out. It seemed like my confidence slowly faded. I asked the Lord for an explanation to somehow help me understand what I was going through because nothing made sense at that time. I could go for days without even praying because I thought He abandoned me. I chose to stay tough despite the pain that I would feel in my throat whenever I tried not to cry. I told everyone I was coping well, when deep down, I knew I was still hurting. I built walls and burned bridges to safeguard myself. CALLED BACK HOME But no matter how far you’ve gone astray, God has a way of calling you back home. I had a workmate who shared the topics from The Feast, her faith, and how she prays for her dreams. She even let me borrow her book, “How to Find Your One True Love” by Bo Sanchez, which helped me set the negotiable and non-negotiable traits that I want in a partner. It also helped me discover more about myself. As the days went by, I got more and more curious about The Feast. So when I learned that there’s one near me, I immediately asked my family to accompany me. I can still remember the day I first attended The Feast. The second I stepped foot on the venue, I knew something good was going to happen. I was overwhelmed by the songs, by the hands thrown in the air, by the voices of the people whose declarations of faith in God were uncontrollable. I honestly had goosebumps, that in less than five minutes of praise and worship, I was already crying my heart out. I was ashamed of myself because I rejected His love. I almost gave up on myself because I thought I was beyond repair. But He didn’t, and He even welcomed me back with open arms. He showed me that His love for me is endless, and that He would always want what's best for me. He reminded me of the things I have, the things I always forget to thank Him for. After a while, I found myself singing, my hands in the air, praising our Father with no care in the world if I sounded terrible or looked absurd. I asked the Lord for mercy and healing. I realized, no one can make me feel whole except Him. A GOD OF AMAZING SURPRISES A year after attending The Feast, I knew I became stronger and better. It gave me a sense of renewal and strength, and a whole new level of faith and love for Him. I learned to forgive myself for all the

When God Empties Your Cup2018-10-24T14:59:29+08:00

Feast Experience: A Letter to a Friend

2018-10-24T15:06:09+08:00

#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast Hi, Kenneth! ‘Musta na? Ang dami ko nang naisama sa Feast. :) At first, I thought God was not at work in the lives of the people I’m inviting. But He works silently pala. One day, a friend shared that she was already having frequent fights with her husband because of their financial situation. Her husband doesn’t have a stable income being a house construction contractor, while whatever she was receiving every payday as a call center representative would just go to the payment of debts. Even the 15-20 pesos fare she needed to go to work, she had to search pa; and had to do the same thing going home. And they have six kids! Four are studying and the youngest is still a baby. The nearby eatery and sari-sari store had already refused lending to them because of the big amount they owed. She recalled an instance when it was already lunchtime, and her children were already crying out of hunger, but what she had was just 12 pesos. Insults were even hurled at them by some of the people they approached for help. She was crying all throughout our conversation. I felt her desperation. Her soul was tired, and her spirit was drained. I could give her money that time, but I knew in my heart it would not really solve her problems. So I invited her to The Feast, promising to shoulder her transportation and lunch. She agreed. But came Sunday, she abruptly changed her mind. She had to sell merienda or else they would have nothing to eat. I just then included her in my prayers and regularly sent inspirational messages to her. Around six months passed. I was surprised when she texted me, "Jen, what time ka pupunta sa PICC bukas?” The next day, we attended The Feast in PICC with her 12-year-old daughter. She shared that when she turned down my invitation, she prayed wholeheartedly, “Lord, alam ko naiintindihan Mo naman ako kung bakit kahit anong tawag Mo, hindi ko magawang sumunod. Ayusin Mo ang buhay namin, Lord, ako mismo ang pupunta sa ‘Yo sa Feast.” God is faithful. He answered her prayers! Her husband got a 4-million-peso contract for her retired Tito’s house construction. From the down payment, they immediately received P100,000 out of their total profit of P400,000. She said it was like winning the Lotto. They just woke up one morning and suddenly, “Magbayad ka na ng utang.” “Mag-grocery ka na ng pang-two weeks.” “Bilhin mo na lahat ng kailangan ng anak mo.” Ayos na, may sobra pa raw. And you know what, her husband passed the construction proposal six years ago pa. They had actually forgotten about it and had stopped making follow-ups. So they were more than surprised when out of the blue, her tito called, asking for a re-quotation. It’s amazing how they got the contract at the time they needed it most. And all these happened within two to three weeks after her prayer! Just about

Feast Experience: A Letter to a Friend2018-10-24T15:06:09+08:00