Weekly Centralian Link (December 30, 2016)
By Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Happy New Year!
Each one of us, most probably, has a New Year resolution of some sort. If this is so, then let us also make some resolutions in our spiritual life.
What would this YEAR be?
Y - Yearn to know God deeper. Have you already finished reading the Bible? We believe that the Bible is God’s Word yet we do not make an effort to read it. We have finished reading so many books yet the Bible remains in our "to be read" list.
E - Engage in spiritual activities. Let us go to church frequently. Let us attend retreats, Bible study meetings and devotionals. A meaningful worship experience will surely fuel our desire to do God’s will in our lives.
A - Accept the mission that God has entrusted to us. Each one is given by God a mission. Have you found yours? Ask God what it is and He will surely reveal it to you. But on top of this individual mission is the mission to spread the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Christ.
R - Repent from our wicked ways. We oftentimes regret the sins that we have done yet we sometimes failed to ask God for forgiveness and repent. Regret is not the same with repent. To repent is to turn away from those sins.
By Cyrus A. Natividad
After all the celebrations, reunions, homecomings and gift-giving; lanterns, Christmas trees, mistletoes, lights, fireworks, etc... Let us welcome the New Year Two Thousand Seventeen.
Then the question “is there something new?” Except for taxes, what else is new? (Or so people seem to think). New years have, by observation become so ordinary. Waking up in the morning with a cup of gladness or cheerfulness for the new day has become passé - as years gone by.
To welcome 2017 is to look forward positively. Looking back is not to blame oneself, – but to identify where the mistake was made. Sometimes people blame their parents, their government, and even ask God - why? The insecurity from this cloud of doubt creates fear, hatred and hunger. This is the reason why problems continue. Without working or thinking out for solutions, problems can occupy a person and make him worry.
Many people appear with strains of the past hard, debilitating experiences. Wrinkles among others, even at a young age are apparently, signs of worrying too much- about survival, about existence in the future. Regrets and sentiments of the past stop people from moving on. New Year is all about the reason to move on. It pays to be proactive.
We should move on to 2017 and welcome the New Year with its challenges. Whatever happens around the world, or in our country affects us. Anything is possible, but everything is uncertain. The future is for us, as it is upon us. The Bible says: “All things work together for good for those who trust God”, and “Faith is the essence of things hoped for...” There are many passages from the Bible that can help us. They can guide, encourage, and renew us.
Let us value the New Year as we travel on to a new journey in life. It is a promise from the past, it is a new beginning. We move forward for all the good things that God has prepared for us in 2017. Yes, we can also ask for a renewal of our faith, commitment to our fellow human beings, our family, our organizations and society. We may help in the development and progress of our community, contribute to the ideals of good governance and promote peace and security by our obedience and attitude. For this country to succeed, our government needs to be inspired by God. We can help our officials by praying for them, and also making them accountable to the will of God. By faith, hope, love and devotion we should value the New Year as a new gift from God. Happy New Year dear Centralians and Friends!
By Keziah G. Huelar
Being the eldest of 6, Rodie Leysa has a lot of dreams for himself and his family. But apart from the desire to give his family more than enough, the greatest desire of his heart is for them to see Christ the way he encountered Him in his life’s journey.
Rodie hails from the humble baranggay of Balagiao in Lambunao, Iloilo, at an early age he learned to be hardworking, he helped his mother and did random chores in the farm such as carrying palay, harvesting bananas and cutting bamboos. “When I was younger I helped my mother sell ice cream and did random errands for people around town, they would give me money in return and I would use it to help support my family.”
Every day he would walk to school with only one peso in his pocket and along with it he carried his dreams – which were bigger and stronger than the challenges he faced. He was able to graduate from Malagit Elementary School with bigger pursuits.
His parents didn’t have the money to let him continue his education. However his relatives in the city saw his persistence and decided to support him. Rodie stayed with his cousin and studied at Lapaz National High School. “During high school, my daily allowance was five pesos. From time to time I help my cousin clean yards and houses to have extra income. I was really excited to move to the city and see what opportunities it has in store for me.”
Moving to the big city wasn’t easy for Rodie but he had a determined spirit. Growing up in a small town made him dream big. Rodie didn’t always have the faith that he had now – it was a long tortuous journey before his heart had the courage it had now.
For his college education, Rodie did not have anyone to support him. The choice to finish college was a choice he was to make on his own – it wasn’t easy. “Going to college was beyond any of my capacity. My cousin could no longer support me. My father is a construction worker while my mom is farm worker, at the moment I wasn’t sure what to do or where to ask for help.”
Rodie had a friend who was a working student at Central Philippine University (CPU). He encouraged him to enroll in CPU and apply as a working student. “My friend told me to apply as a working student at CPU. There were 500 of us who applied for the 150 working student slots. I didn’t get in, so for a moment I continued to do random work but my heart was still persistent to finish my education.”
When asked why he chose CPU, Rodie would exclaim that his heart was excited for a reason he cannot explain. “There was just something about going to the city that made me really happy. I would wake up very early in the morning with both my heart and mind expectant for new things – for something that is uncommon.”
On his second try, Rodie was blessed to be assigned as a working student at the CPU Educational Media Center. “It was a great blessing, I remember back in high school that I really wanted to control mixers for sound systems and now I had the opportunity to do something I was passionate about.”
College proved to be a more challenging journey. He would go home very late after his working student duties and did his household chores up until 1 AM. He would then wake up at 4 AM to fetch water and be ready to go to CPU at 6 AM. Rodie took up Civil Engineering but shifted to Environmental Management in his second year because of the greater opportunity to go abroad and work as a missionary.
During the Christ Emphasis Week, Rodie was assigned at the sound booth. There he heard the Word of God and a desire kept on growing in his heart. Finally, a faculty from CPU invited him to work as part of the technical team of Full Gospel Global Community Church. There, he encountered God and offered his life to Him in full. “God changed my life and my family’s life as well. I saw His faithfulness and I knew that during those times when I felt like giving up and I called to Him – He was listening and He was in control.”
When his faith grew, his generosity grew as well. “I know what it feels like to have nothing. That’s why when there is always an opportunity to give – I give.” Rodie greatly shares how God uplifted him and made him persevere with everything he went through. His life is a testimony of the faithfulness of God.
Now, Rodie is on his final year in college. He continues to dream big and grow with the Lord by using his testimony to inspire others that wherever you may come from God has a greater destiny and purpose for you. “I remember walking along the prayer garden in CPU and I stumbled upon Jeremiah 33:3, the verse says: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known – it is a verse close to my heart because it is a promise from God that he will always listen will you call out to Him, that he cares and He longs for you to tell Him all your burdens.”
For Christmas, every year Rodie would bring his family to the city and spend quality time with him. It used to be a dream but now it is an answered prayer. “It was my prayer before that I could have enough money to bring my family here in the city and let them eat out and enjoy themselves, God has answered that prayer. I will be thankful for everything He did to me and I look forward to experience more of His faithfulness. We should never give up – God is always there to help.”