Retrospect of a Grace Showered Individual – My Dgroup

I wanted to create an entry about my experiences in leading a Dgroup but where do I start? It’s been more than four years already since I started my journey leading my own Dgroup. A Dgroup, is a discipleship group where you grow and study the word of God together. I feel undeserving but God has entrusted me to lead such fine individuals. Let me take you through my memory lane. This entry acknowledges that there is only one person who has hold together this group for more than four years and we collectively praise God for what He has done to us and what He is doing to do.

It was summer of 2008 when I was called. I remember I was in La Union on a vacation surfing trip during that time and someone called me to challenge me to start leading a group for the Reborn Identity Jzone Camp – I said “yes!” When camp came, I was very nervous it was my first time to lead a group and I have so many questions in my mind:

  • How can I make sure no one is left out and everyone will be engaged in the discussion?
  • Will they even listen to me?
  • How can I get to know them personally?
  • What are the things that they may be going through?

There was even someone in the group I was very terrified with. Every time I start discussing the lesson and talking to them he seems to be giving me that scary look. One wrong word seems like he is going to go crazy and beat me up. But that was me imagining crazy things and as it turned out this guy was one of the men I have mentored and have taken care of as my little brother. Although he is right now in another country he will always be remembered by me and our group. We wait the time that we will meet him again.

After camp, I definitely tired my best to remain in contact with them and schedule regular Dgroup meetings with them and as much as I can, I regularly texted them. I wanted them to know that I am here for them and have really desired that their relationship with God grow. Our group even grew and I was privileged to disciple one person who right now is doing great things for God. This person was very passionate for the Lord. I have always seen great things ahead for him and how he is leading the JZONE ministry in Alabang is an evidence of it.

I cannot completely recall all the details of what happened the past four years. There are so many things that have happened. From the Reborn Identity camp, I have experienced three other JZONE camps where I lead my group again and even had the privilege of serving with them because some of them started leading their group already in one of those camps.

After Reborn Identity (2008) camp was Trip (2009)

JZONE Trip Camp Collage

Followed by Face the Book of Life (2010)

JZONE Face the Book Collage

And then “Without Limits” (2011)

JZONE Without Limits Collage

The 2012 JZONE camp was the first camp I have missed after 4 years. It was hard for me to accept it during that time since I really wanted to be there to see my men serve and just be there for them. But God has a different plan for me since it was also just this year that He has started to grow the B1G South Singles’ ministry where I am called to actively serve and be involved with.

Group Picture in Fontana FountainI also planned Dgroup outings every year. Our first outing was last 2009 in Fontana. We locked ourselves in the villa and tackled a series about the life we were meant to live. It was a great time to be out of town with them for the first time and I have never imagined that the succeeding years will be full of fun memories with them in different outing locations. The following year (2010) we had our outing in Tagaytay, which was very memorable because we tried squeezing everyone (8 all-in-all) in our CRV. Along with the bags and everyone in the car we can barely move inside – thank God I was the driver. Haha. Poker Night in TagaytayIn that outing we played poker, watched movies, played sports and most of all had devotions and it was awesome! After our Tagaytay Trip, I wanted to go to a place far away from home and I wanted my boys to experience camping so I planned our next outing to be in Anawangin. I can honestly say it was not how I expected it to be. Although we enjoyed the feeling of roughing it out in the wild the place was really crowded and I feel that we haven’t been able to fellowship that much since the area was very big and anyone in the group has the freedom to go anywhere they want.Group Picture in Anawangin Beach So come 2012 we planned an outing that is simple and in a small secluded place. I rented a house with a pool in Laguna just for an overnight stay. We arrived in the house at around 2pm and even though pool is not yet filled-up during that time we still made the most out of it and played with the shallow water we have. We have a video for all the crazy things we did but as much as I want to show it to everyone, our bodies are not fit to be scattered in the internet. We played our favorite game called “MAFIA” and there we got to know who is a good bluffer and who is keen in observing people. Even on the way home we stopped as Nuvali and played “MAFIA” once again.

Group Picture in Pansol

Aside from the JZONE camps we attend together, the Dgroup outings we had, and the regular Dgroup Meetings we would do every Friday, there were so many other activities that we did.

Different Picture of Marc Sorongon's DgroupFrom organizing a “Despidida” party when someone from our group left us to migrate to another country, to supporting a dreaming- rock star-who-turned-into-a-ministry-head in one of his concerts, having poker nights, celebrating birthdays and other group activities – all these things were done to show our support and love for one another as brothers in Christ. And Christmas parties where we take the time to be very grateful for how God has truly blessed us and how He has allowed us to experience his love through the company of each other.

Christmas Party Group Pic 2012

Truly there are just so many things that have happened that I cannot even write it all down! Leading a Dgroup was something that I didn’t envision I’ll be doing someday. I never knew how much it is an honour to be given such responsibility until you experience it personally. With the 4 years that has passed I am just in awe at how God has worked. Four guys in my group are now leading their own Dgroup and there are others who are serving in a ministry. We have grown together in past four years that we have studied and discussed the word of God together. I am just thankful to God for allowing me to experience this joy and I am hoping that those who are not yet leading their own group will experience this joy someday as well.

I just want to leave a piece of advice to anyone looking at discipleship or have that desire to lead their own group someday. Time is such an important element that you need to consider. This is something that I have really sacrificed and have given to my group. I have always told them to make time for Dgroup and not find the time and it applies that same to those who will be leading their own group. You need make the time to prepare for your lesson. You need to make the time to talk to them and have one-on-one discussions with them. You need to make the to time schedule Dgroup outing and activities with them. I have always been passionate about discipleship because I have experienced that joy that comes with it. Despite the busyness of life spending time with my group is something I make time for. Yes, time will always be asked from you once you start leading – that is the cost of following Jesus.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19, NASB)

But the experience that comes with it is just so priceless. In return you get to see how God can use you to touch people’s lives. You get to experience the love and support of your group as well when you need it. And when you need to prepare for a lesson to teach, you’re even the one learning it you go through it. There are so many things in store for those taking this challenge. I have learned and grown the past four years and again, I am really just very grateful to God for calling me to experience it.

This is an entry of a grace showered individual about my experience of leading a Dgroup because I do not feel worthy of such responsibility. It is truly just because of the grace of God that I can stand and lead. At times I have felt tired and in my own strength and own capability I know I will fail and will fall short of what He wants me to do. Praise and Glory to Him alone for what He has done and what He is going to do in me and in my Dgroup. If you have your own personal testimony of how God has used you to lead a discipleship group, leave me a comment below and let’s continue to inspire and encourage one another in doing the great commission.

My B1G8 Single’s Retreat Experience

B1G8 is definitely another retreat that I’ll include in my book of retreat memories. We have been praying for this singles retreat for months and I know there is no simple prayer for Him. It was truly a different experience. I was thinking about my first B1G retreat last year (B1G7) and was comparing it to B1G8. There were some things I missed from last year’s retreat, but there were also a lot of things I gained this year’s. For the first time, after all the retreats I have attended, I was not a facilitator but a retreat worker. I had a different role and responsibility – which was quite a challenge for me. But all the challenges I faced was nothing compared to how great our God is and how he can orchestrate everything.

We arrived at Hotel Stotsenberg Thursday (November 22, 2012) afternoon since we were part of the advance part for the south group. When I arrived at the main hall, I couldn’t believe how many seats there were and the number of singles we would be expecting.  Picture of Hotel Stotenberg's main hallI was so excited. I began imagining more than 900+ singles worshiping and getting to know God is love therefore He loves them.

On that day, we finalized the registration for Alabang and helped around fixing the materials that needed to be prepared before the retreat started. We know we can rest in Him but we also know that we needed our physical rest. We slept at around 1am since the next day was going to be a big day! It was the official start of the B1G8 retreat.

Day one: November 23, 2012. We woke up at 7am, had our breakfast and started fixing our booth for Alabang. Actually, it was already fixed by the St. Francis registration team (Thank you guys!) and we just posted our tarpaulin to promote our B1G Connect Service every Saturdays, 6pm at the 3rd Floor Multipurpose Hall CCF Alabang. We also did a couple of verifications plus changes in the facilitators kits. The Alabang buses arrived at around 10:30am and I started handing the kits to the facilitators. We had lunch and right after lunch, the first joint session started. But there was a problem, all the rooms assigned to the Alabang team cannot be used until 2pm. Everyone was requested to put their bags in Tipanan hall for the meantime and proceed with joint session. Along with this, the registration of the rooms had to be fixed. I was going back and forth the main hall and the lobby to talk to people and get the keys for all the rooms assigned to us. It was pretty tiring – I think I lost a couple of pounds from walking back and forth. But despite that minor setback, I was actually smiling deep inside. I loved what I was doing. There was such a love deep within my heart, which God has put, to serve the ministry no matter what.  It was really confirmed within my heart that this is where God has placed me, this is where He wants me to serve. I was so thankful to Him for giving me this opportunity to serve. This was one of my realizations for that day: I am privileged to take part in this ministry and serve Him because in reality I am not worthy of such responsibility. After the breakouts, we had dinner and then it was time to rest for me. Picture of friends in B1G8The team (Worship Ministry) God has entrusted me to lead, invited me to bond with them. I’m blessed to have this group of talented individuals. They are truly God’s gift to me. Day one was over in a flash. Whew! That was fast. I knew that the next day was to be another busy and yet fun day.

Day two: November 24, 2012. I couldn’t believe it. I slept at around 1am but I was able to wake up at 5:30am to prepare for the dawn watch. I’m not a morning person by the way and I usually wake up 9am during weekdays. But since I knew this only happens rarely, I relished the opportunity to wake up early and have devotion with God’s people.

B1G South Men during Dawn Watch

I just want to highlight three things from that eventful day:

  1. Pastor Nate’s message. Although, this was the second time I heard his message, it still penetrated my spirit that I felt compelled to write down the things that I needed to improve on. His message confirmed what God has been teaching me even before the retreat begun – It’s not about me but about him. There was still a lot of areas in my life that needed pruning. There was still a lot to change.
  2. Worship Night.I love worshiping God. Through all the songs that we sang, I just broke in tears seeing how good He has been in my life. In the middle of the worship night, we were asked to group ourselves together and pray for each other. I felt God asking me to gather my Dgroup and pray with them. I shared to them how thankful we must be for the 4 years God has been gracious to us and has allowed us to maintain our fellowship all through those years.Marc Sorongon's Dgroup
    Our prayers just focused on thanking him and worshiping him. Our Dgroup has grown so close over the years and I just want to give praise to God for allowing me to lead a group of such fine individuals. I have grown because of them and I am just in awe, as well, at how much they have grown in their relationship with God. To God really be the glory!
  3. Fellowship Night. I didn’t expect it. I already prepared myself not to expect seeing her. But was she really there? My eyesight isn’t that good plus it was dark but when I saw her –I started wondering if I might be looking at right person. I asked one of my Dgroup members to confirm if it was really her since he knew her – CONFIRMED! I wanted to catch a glimpse of her since I haven’t really been able to see her face, but we were all asked to be in the lobby for Tommy’s surprise since it was going to be his birthday in couple of minutes. We surprised Tommy in the lobby and it was such a sight to see B1G South together and united. After the surprise, I took the time to pray. I prayed a small prayer to God asking Him to grant me favour tonight. I was determined to approach her and talk to her. But when I came back she was no longer in the fellowship area. I actually went around the hotel a lot of times to look for her. It’s funny, because I was even looking for excuses to go around the hotel hoping that I might bump into her. I can’t count the many times I went around the hotel and the center garden, hoping to find her. What a great ending to a hopeful love story! I couldn’t understand it, I was merely hoping to see her again (after a year and in a B1G retreat again). But I was also asking was it really her? She wasn’t supposed to attend this retreat, right? Anyway, I leave it all in God’s hands. Again, I can’t understand it but He is in control of everything and has a great plan for me and her. I just pray for the best of what God has in store for her.

We slept at around 3am since my Dgroup and I spent hours bonding in our room. They were playing our favorite game called “Mafia” and they even  ordered food to eat. But I decided to rest after a long day of serving and after my tiring endeavor of going around the hotel just to see someone.

Day three: November 24, 2012. I woke up late but was still able to catch the team leaders’ breakfast together. I listened to Pastor Ricky’s message and it was so rich and full of life lessons. And then Francis shared to me one of his biggest take away from it:

Do you know why the net didn’t broke (John 21:11) when the disciples where hauling in their large catch?  It was because it was the Lord’s catch and not the disciples.

It was pretty timely as I prepared for the baptism session. It reminded me –It’s not about me but about him. The person that we will be baptizing is His catch and He alone is to be gloried! It was truly a great privilege to take part in the baptism. B1G8 Baptism PictureI saw individuals declaring their commitment and faith to Jesus Christ. I saw others crying way before it was their time to be baptized.  It was really an honor to be a part of it. I pray that those who have committed their lives will grow in their relationship with God and be used mightily by Him. After the baptism, I packed my things and went directly to the main hall to return all the keys for Alabang and join the closing ceremonies.

This is my longest entry so far and I think I need to cut it short. After the closing ceremonies, we had the traditional B1G picture, got on the buses and headed home. We arrived in Alabang at around 9pm.

B1G8 Picture of everyone

I can’t believe it’s over. After months of pushing for prayer and tireless preparations, the retreat has just ended. But I know what we have experienced shouldn’t end here.  God is always ready to bless us with his presence and love. This is why I continue to encourage everyone who attended the retreat to commit to attending Dgroups and joining big and small groups because it is through these that we continue to spur one another and continue to experience our own small B1G event. Our fire and zeal for God should not die down or stop. We should continue to grow and mature in our relationship with God and we need to do that together. We need one another. I do hope to see everyone in the B1G South’s reunion.

B1G South Reunion Cover Photo

To God be the glory always and forever!

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