By Celine Marie A. Santos
CFC SFL Bangkok
And He said, “serve me and I will grant you all of your heart’s desires.” This was the message that I heard loud and clear all throughout the World Singles Congress last March 2014. This year’s WITNESS CONFERENCE was my first WSC experience and it surely did not disappoint. Before the conference, I had experienced some of my most difficult months of my life; a time where I felt my faith in God challenged the most. But if there’s anything that I learnt from the conference, it is that even in times of trial and difficulty, we can still witness the Lord. It was during the “Listening to God” workshop that I first heard God’s message to me. God knew what my deepest desires were and I felt affirmed that as long as I continued to serve and glorify Him, he will not stray. God will always honour our faithfulness, and all of our blessings and graces are manifestations of His love for us. This rang true for me as I received countless blessings from God after WSC.
He asked me to serve Him, and so serve Him I did. When I returned to Bangkok, there were several opportunities to serve, and I embraced each one of them. I served at the Live Pure Forum, which we conducted as part of a university’s Ethics Seminar, along with Live Pure MVs from the Philippines. I also served as the Technical Director for CFCFFL Indochina’s Empowered Weekend conference. This was my first time to be a part of the conference’s service team and it was such a great privilege. Being part of the service team and re-experiencing the conference added fuel to my fire. I was left in awe of God’s awesomeness and love and was empowered all the more! I was reminded, once again, to live a life of holiness, to allow God to use me as His instrument so that others may revel in His love.
With these experiences, I realized that there was more that can be done. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and serve those in need. So when the opportunity came to go on a mission trip to Cagayan de Oro as part of the No One in Need Movement, I did not hesitate. It was going to be my first time going on mission in the Philippines, even my first time to experience being in the province. I had no idea what to expect, so I just prepared myself emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically to be outside of my comfort zone. From the very moment that we arrived and met with Kuya Chris, the full-time worker that is currently based there, and our host, Tita Marissa, I knew that it was going to be an exciting mission. I was overwhelmed by the love, hospitality, and generosity that they both poured upon us. Ate Giella and I were fortunate to be able to visit five Habitat for Humanity sites in CDO. Seeing how vibrant the sites were after Sendong happened, merely three years ago, was a testament of God’s great power and love for His people. We were blessed to be able to immerse ourselves in one of the sites, Bulangaw, where we had the opportunity to meet with the families, listen to their stories, have meals with them, and conduct “Usapang Bata,” which is part of NONe’s Child and Youth Development Program. Immersing with the families, especially the kids, was such a fulfilling experience. I was humbled to hear their stories, the horror they faced when Sendong happened and the struggles they endured to rebuild their lives. Yet, three years later, their community stands strong and vibrant. It is amazing to see how people who live such simplistic lifestyles, who just have enough to survive their every day lives, are filled with so much happiness and contentment. They are among the strongest, most grateful, and faithful people I have had the privilege to meet. God is truly present here. CDO is such a beautiful place, one that captured my heart. I may not know when I will be back, but the CFCFFL community, the sites, and the people there will forever be in my heart and prayers. Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to go on mission. In every site we visited and in each person we encountered, I experienced You! Thank you for answering all my prayers, for never falling short in providing my heart’s true desires, and for showing me just how much You truly love me.
This year has been filled with a lot of firsts. My first time to attend WSC, my first-time to be a part of CFCFFL Thailand’s conference service team and my first time to go on a mission trip in the Philippines. I am so blessed to have been able to experience all of these firsts, but what makes me excited is knowing that none of them were my last! I am reminded of a quote that I came across a while ago that goes: “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” I pray that the Lord continues to bless me with a heart for service. May God continue to mould and prepare me for the greater things that are to come as I have been empowered to witness and take on the world!
Tags: catholic community, catholic community for singles, catholic group, catholic group for singles, cfc sfl, cfcsfl, committed servants weekend, God, jesus, jesus christ, prolife, prolife singles, singles for family and life