*This is supposed to come out in the CYA UMC Newsletter, if Pauline and Jorem decide to include this in the first place. I am not aware of the 200-word limit. This one’s about 600 words long. Hehe
We all have our own unique stories to tell about how we are evangelized.
We have come to grow in a personal and blessed relationship with God through a persistent brother who offers free food during events; or through a random invitation by a sister to get inside Youth Center and study. It is through these incidental and seemingly common gestures through which God acts to herald the good news of salvation in our lives.
Mine started in a prayer meeting.
The daily 5PM Eucharistic Celebration at the PGH Chaplain just finished. I remembered asking the Lord, “Lord, bigyan Niyo po ako ng spiritual group.” Back then, I was at the brink of giving up on my responsibility as a coordinator of service activities for my sorority in UP College of Medicine. I was tired, bitter and frustrated, because it seemed like my efforts to improve our service activities and to inspire the people to serve were fruitless.
Father Chester Yacub, SJ, the mass presider, was the approachable type of priest. I went to him and asked if he knew of a spiritual group I could probably join.
He leaned closer and lowered his voice, as if he was going to divulge something really important. “Alam mo biased kasi ako eh. Irerecommend kita sa group ko sa UP Diliman noong college. Narinig mo na ba yung CYA, o Christ’s Youth in Action?”
I never heard of it. “Sorry,” I replied.
“Okay lang. Doon ka nalang sumali,” he smiled. He then called the attention of two people who happened to be just a few meters away from us. It was Ate Ghea Mata and Kuya Joff Quiring. The next day, I was walking hand in hand with Ate Ghea (close na kami agad!) for my first CYA activity: the Thursday prayer meeting.
That prayer meeting was still so fresh and vivid in my mind. The people were genuinely warm. They received me with such openness that my tendency to be self-conscious and run far away from YC just flew out the window.
And just watch how these people worship! They are raising their hands! They sing with great passion before the Lord! Such strangeness! They are quoting Bible verses and encouraging one another in prayer. I listen and try to join them in singing songs of praise I never heard before. The whole experience feels wonderful and weird and mysteriously attractive all at the same time.
To my surprise, Ate Ghea was the sharer for that prayer meeting. Her experience of serving relentlessly the people affected by Yolanda struck right through my tired, bitter and frustrated heart of a servant leader. God was calling me to serve Him where I am. And to serve Him with my whole heart relentlessly.
That crucial first prayer meeting was followed by many other prayer meetings and CYA activities I was blessed enough to participate in.
Up until today, these prayer meetings still touch my heart in ways that the Lord can only do. He speaks through the worship leaders, the sharers, the main speakers. He speaks through the brothers and sisters who open their mouth and proclaim the message of God.
Up until today, the people in CYA still worship God in such wonderful strangeness. This strangeness probably stems from their close personal relationship with the good God. They pray with such ardor one would think they are plain crazy.
Well, they are. They are so crazy for Jesus it’s amazing. This is the kind of craze I want to be part of. This is the kind of craze I would commit my life to. And this craze started during that one prayer meeting, when Father Chester told me to join a group I never knew existed, but is now so close to my heart.