Note from the author: This is part of my daily account of what happened in the True Life Retreat last November 29 to December 1.
If you haven’t been able to read what I have been writing the past days, you might want to check out what I wrote for Day 1 and Day 2.This is now my last entry as I try to wrap up everything that has happened in the retreat. I slept at around 2am and really pushed myself to wake up at 6am. Now 4 hours of sleep is really not that bad but I have already exhausted so much energy the past days that 8 hours of complete sleep would have been better. But still, I wanted to push myself to wake up early and play basketball. I guess my retreat experience wouldn’t be complete without playing my favourite sport. But I am not playing just for the fun of it – I had a purpose for inviting people to join us to play at 6am in morning. I see basketball as a good way to break the ice and get to know people. Basketball was one of the reasons I got to know people when I was attending youth camps in the past. It’s a good avenue for people to connect and be comfortable with one another. I also see it as a way to reach out to others. Through this sport, others would see us as normal. That we are not just a group who loves the Lord and serves Him, but we also know how to play and have fun. I played one good game then had breakfast after.
After breakfast, I took a bath and immediately went to the snack bar to just think. We had our volunteers huddle there and I briefed them with everything that was going to happen for the day. All Module 1 participants were asked to stay in the main hall for the baptism message, while all Module 2 participants went on to participate in the different workshops. After the message and workshops, everyone was encouraged to attend Baptism, either to be baptized or to witness the event. I came early to the pool to dip my feet in the cold water and just pray. Somehow I was already imagining what was going to happen and with thankfulness in my heart, I just praised God for allowing me to be part of His work. There were three pairs that handled the baptism and I was part of that. Whenever someone walked towards us to be baptized, I could see how overwhelmed they were. Aside from the fact that the water was really cold, I can feel them shiver with the thought that this is it – this is the day that they would publicly declare their commitment to their God. I welcomed each individual that came to us. I asked for their names, and hoped that with my tone and smile, they would be able to relax a bit. Whenever I would ask the three questions, I would look intently in their eyes. From their eyes you’ll see what was inside their hearts. Some would respond with an outstanding “Yes!” while some would respond softy, but in their eyes and tone, you would see that it truly came from their heart. I was overwhelmed with joy as I witnessed fellow believers get baptized. I don’t know if people noticed it, but I was already coming to the point of breaking into tears because of immense joy. There were times I would just wash my face with pool water to hide my emotion and cover my tears. Hehe.
When the baptism activity was over, everyone washed up and packed their things before having lunch. When I got to the mess hall, they asked if we were going to proceed with the Top Show that the general manager of the RRC suggested. This was really not part of the program and I was hesitant to allow it since it means we will have to go beyond schedule. I talked to Mrs.Mauk and as we discussed the details, it was already pretty clear that there is no way of stopping the top show from happening. The only impression I really got it was “You will do the top show” and not “I hope we can do the top show.” J I gave in and announced to the coordinators that there was going to be a change in the schedule. After the top show, we had the closing program and then it was time to head home.
I won’t make this long anymore. As Day 3 came to a close, I just felt thankful that I was able to witness His work. I’m also very grateful that He sustained me for the past months we were planning and preparing for this retreat. I wanted to take a deep breath and comfort myself by thinking – “It’s over, you did the best that you can and now, you just need to learn from the things that still needs improvement.” But as I recall everything that happened, I realize that it’s not completely over. That burden in my heart just got bigger. I keep hearing my heart saying – “We need to catch them. We need to catch them. We need to catch them.” It’s hard to be contented by the retreat. The cry of my heart is further motivating me to ensure that the participants continue to grow in their love for the Lord. This retreat is not just an experience but the start of their renewed life with Jesus. That’s why we need to actively pursue discipleship. The 3 day retreat experience may seem like an emotional high for everyone, but as we go on with the daily battles of life – reality will always strike us – there will be temptations left and right and our flesh will desire the things of this world again. That’s why we need to stay connected to one another. We need to continually encourage one another to walk in the way of the Lord. We need to catch everyone and intentionally disciple. This is my prayer for all breakout group leaders. That they would continually reach out to those who were part of their group. And in that process, build a relationship where they can invite them to attend bible studies or our Singles Connect services. This way, we can ensure that through discipleship, we’ll be able to guide them in their journey to get to know the Lord.
It’s somehow hard for me to share this burden in my heart because I know a lot of people want to rest. I want to rest as well. But I am just sharing a piece of my heart that cannot remain silent. It is just my desire that Jesus will be shared to everyone. That we will all grow together in our love for the Lord as we become active in discipleship and ministry. And I just want to share, as I was prayerfully thinking and talking to God, He has been somehow showing me another vision. It’s still blurry as of moment but this is what I know – The best is yet to come! I do not know what that means but I just have a feeling it’s going to be big and I want to be part of it. I want to see His name be glorified. I want His name to be praised. So won’t you join us? Can I invite you to be part of this ministry which desires to see a movement of singles’ living out transformed lives to the fullest for the glory of God? We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. I would love to see you attend and also be part of a discipleship group. If you have any questions, just drop me a comment below or connect with me through Facebook. I’m always excited to hear from you.
I just want to take this time to thank each and every one who helped in the True Life Singles retreat. From the cluster heads, volunteers, breakout group leaders, program team, worship team, prayer team, marketing team, curriculum team and many more – you are all deeply appreciated. I might not have been able to personally say thank you, but know that your ultimate blessing is with Christ. I look forward to working with you guys again. Let us not grow weary of doing good for in due time, we shall reap what we have sown. This is a video that I feel summarizes what I learned about God. Hope you guys like it. I love you all. Lablab. Hehe.