They say you’ll always remember the first time you experience something. Many of us can truly attest to that since many of us unanimously agree that the first-ever World Youth Congress we attended to is among the most memorable experience we ever had.
When we arrived at the Clark International Airport, I had this feeling from the outset that it is going to be a special three days for me and my fellow delegates from YFL Hong Kong. This year’s WYC event was held at the outdoor Athletic Bowl in Baguio City. And since we arrived in the city eight hours before WYC formally opens, we got to tour around Baguio and enjoyed every minute of it.
However, I believe that the Baguio tour was miniscule compared to the WYC experience my fellow delegates and I had the privilege of being a part of. I’ll start with the talks and sharing by selected participants. Inspiring and thought-provoking are two adjectives that come to mind. One such sharing was by a YFL member from Tacloban. As many of us are aware of, Tacloban was recently hit by a catastrophic storm and left many devastated at its wake. The sharer recounted how she was able to overcome the storm through her unwavering belief and faith in God.
The several friends I made acquaintances with should not be underestimated either. It’s very heartwarming, knowing that I made friends with people who shared the same faith and love for God as I do.
And who could forget the immense talent that our fellow YFLs have to offer? CFC-YFL is so talented that it’s only fitting that organizers included iSikat, an event segment where for three minutes, every YFL district can showcase whatever talent God has blessed them with. I must credit my fellow delegates here because YFL Hong Kong more than held their own in the event. I believe this talent is epitomized by the performance of the JBand — the de facto official band of WYC 2014. This band was behind every praise and worship session, performing its heart out for the Lord. As a part of the music ministry of YFL HK, I am truly amazed by them as they inspired me to continue to further my craft in music so that I too may be able to express God’s greatness and love to other people through this talent of music.
There are many other aspects that make me think the 2014 WYC is more special than past WYCs. I believe the most important reason is the fact that we faced many difficulties in the event. You may wonder: how can difficulties possibly enhance this WYC experience? The underlying theme of this particular WYC was being “radikal.” In other words, it is to be able to bring fellow youths to experience Him through us YFLs exemplifying Him because we are “addicted” to the Lord. And as we try to bring them closer to God, we become much more vulnerable to attacks from the Devil and he will create obstacles that block us from our goal.
For instance, the bad weather during the WYC weekend in the so-called summer capital of the Philippines tried to dampen the event as participants faced hunger over food becoming inedible.
We could’ve just called it a day and said “well, at least we got to experience God for a little while.” But of course, we won’t be denied. We praised and worshipped the Lord despite of the rain; we continued to listen to the talk that night even when we faced hunger. We smashed through these obstacles because we’re “addicted” to the Lord.
Kasi mga adik na kami para sa Panginoon.
All these were actually lessons being taught by the Lord. And this is why this WYC will go down to be one of the most memorable of all-time, because it was a direct teaching from God Himself. It was best described by the words of Kuya Dylan, the national coordinator of CFC-YFL, which was, “wala ng sugar-coating.”
As people of God, we will be attacked by those who are against His will, but we must defend ourselves because we’re always involved in the battlefront. To prove ourselves as true people of God, we should strive to win the skirmishes that confront us in our daily lives. This battle will be harsh. It may never end. But to be able to give your all to the Lord is something that you’ll never regret. And it will be something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Just like the first time.
– By Pao Bilo
WYC. Three letters that gave me a new experience. Three letters that changed the way that I think. Three letters that brought my faith to new heights.
When I was first asked on whether or not I wanted to join the event, I obviously wanted to go. It seemed, at the time, to be such a big event. And as I guessed, it was. We left for Baguio on a Thursday night. And to be honest, a very long night it was indeed. Our flight was Thursday night, and we landed at Clark International Airport at around 11pm. Then proceeded the long and tiring van ride. We could barely sleep. Then on Friday morning, we went around tired and all.
But, the Lord gave us strength. We managed to go through a restless day. We were given the chance to go around Baguio. And doing so we got to see the main tourist attractions. Finally we had got to go back to our accommodations. Thanks to our wonderful Kuyas and Ates, we got to stay at an amazing place. Thanks to them, the event went smoothly. The event continuously surprised me. Whether it was what they prepared or what they did. And because of this, it made the event an all the more blessed experience.
As the day of our flight drew nearer, I was filled with more and more excitement. But I was also more and more reluctant to go. The thought of having to leave my family behind, even though it was merely a four-day trip, it was nonetheless scary. I didn’t think ahead about what I would have to manage or deal with. And it constantly had me thinking about whether I should back out or not. But I kept praying. On the way to school. Before I slept. Every chance I got. I asked for guidance. For help whenever I would be in need.
I asked Him to guide me especially because I would be far away from my loved ones. And God answered. When I was there, I didn’t have any problems throughout the duration of me being away from them. And although I wasn’t with my family, God gave us a new family to be with. All the foreign, and local delegates became part of our extended family. Through the events, the talks, the songs, the cheers, the tears, the toils, the troubles, the pains, the differences, the whole congress, through it all, we became one, we became YFL. We are family.
The battlecry of this year’s WYC calls us to be Saints, Martyrs, Warriors. Three words that have a completely new meaning to me now. First we were told that we are called upon to be Saints in the making. We were called not only to be ordinary YFL, but holy YFL. We need to show that we are truly worth becoming “RADIKAL” witnesses. Next we were to become Modern Day Martyrs. Just like Pedro Calungsod. Just like any other martyr in history. We need to be selfless and refrain from being selfish. Selfish in time, lifestyle and service to others.
Temptations could cause us to be inactive or to stray away from serving the Lord. But we need to be strong and fight away sin and temptation. And finally we were called to join God’s revolution. To join God and his army. To be warriors and not just watching from the sidelines. We were told that the spiritual battle is real in the world. There are many who are against the will of God. And we need to be the tools and channels for God to spread His works and evangelize. We can do so in many ways, through all the activities that the YFL organize, worldwide acknowledgement is the end goal. And through all this, we can make everyone “RADIKAL” witnesses.
Finally, I’d like to thank all the Kuyas, Ates, Titos, and Titas that made this amazing experience for me possible. Through all that happened and all I’ve learnt. May God be praised.
– By EJ Anonuevo