Fellowship

God wanted us to come together so that we always know we’re not alone.

It was one of the best family days I attended in the community.

Finally, after almost two (2) years of planning, our Light Group had a chance to step back a bit, to unwind and to enjoy summer at its best.

Light Group

1 Corinthians 14:26 “Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.”

It was a fun-filled weekend!

Just good vibes, more food, sunny weather and memorable memories of being one as a small family in the Light of Jesus (LOJ) community.

Our Light Group

Matthew 18:19-20 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

The venue was too big for us but our giggles and laughters echoed like a thunderstorm in the secluded resort tucked in the heart of Amadeo and Tagaytay.

My Light Group (couples) were the most generous and kind-hearted bunch of servants. They always went out of their way to serve each other.

Led by Bro. Allan and Sis. Bebet Gayondato everyone was inspired to give more and to share more.

Bro. Fred and Sis. Jane Pagala sourced out the venue and like any mission-ready servants, they brought an arsenal of home-goodies to make the fellowship a memorable event like no other from complete set of chafing dish and the best-seller Becky’s Kitchen sweets and knick-knacks.

Bro. Anton and Sis. Flor Erni generously contributed for the venue fees and brought freshly picked and sweet red makopa fruit or wax apple from their farm and also a hefty serving of fresh crabs.

Bro. Don and Sis. Emily Consuegra prepared a piping hot Sinigang during dinner and some “agua de pataranta” for the brothers to enjoy.

Sis. Faye cooked a delish original Bicol Express recipe- seafood and meat combined.

Bro. Mark and Sis. Lorrie Calangian prepared a sumptuous feast of all-time favorite Filipino breakfast. With barely no sleep, they woke up early and became the couple chef in tandem.

Fellowship

Some of the yummy spread shared during our Light Group fellowship.

Our LG was heaven-sent for me, a mixed of future business moguls but humble in serving God. A pure heart to love and to be of service to others for the greater glory of God.

Fellowship like what we did our LG, help us to keep our eyes on God.

He also works through them to provide us what we need in darker times. Coming together with others can aid in our healing process and give us the encouragement to move forward.

Coming together is a great way for each of us to grow in our faith.

God gives us a gift of learning and growing when we come together in fellowship we show each other how to live as God wants us to live, and how to walk in His footsteps.

When we come together in fellowship, it’s like us as a whole demonstrating God. Think of it like a cake. You need the flour, sugar, eggs, oil, and more to make a cake. The eggs will never be the flour. None of them make up the cake alone. Yet together, all those ingredients make a delicious cake. All of us together show the glory of God.

No matter where we are in our faith, fellowship provides us with strength. Being around other believers gives us the chance to learn and grow in our faith.

61

To my father who taught me to be cordial with everyone, to spread goodness amidst difficulties, to value relationships over money and to be thankful for all the blessings and challenges – happy birthday Papa Ramon! Cheers to the great life! Abundant blessings & good health! God bless! #grateful #loved #healed

Ali

A riveting film about love, family and hope kicked off the PLM-SCA servant’s pastoral formation this summer. Ninang/Ate/Dra. Laarni “Let” Fajardo-Roque led the movie reflection activity with Kuya Chad Riobuya.

This must-watch film is an eye-opener for me to value what really matters in life.

Children of Heaven, a 1997 Iranian family drama film was written and directed by Majid Majidi. It deals with a brother and sister and their adventures over a lost pair of shoes.

Children of Heaven

Triumph prize winner at many prestigious film festivals, this uplifting, crowd-pleasing story of family and love was also moniated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film! When Ali loses his sister Zahra’s school shoes, this young pair dream up a plan to stay out of trouble: they’ll share his shoes and keep it a secret from their parents! But if they’re going to successfuly cover their tracks, Ali and Zahra must carefully watch their step on what rapidly turns into a funny and heartwarming adventure! A magical motion picture acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, Children Of Heaven is a charming treat you’ll love, too!

He takes them to the cobbler for repairs, and on the way home, when he stops to pick up vegetables for his mother, a blind trash collector accidentally carries them away.

Of course, the boy, named Ali, is afraid to tell his parents. Of course, his sister, named Zahra, wants to know how she is supposed to go to school without shoes. The children feverishly write notes to each other, right under their parent’s noses.

The answer is simple: Zahra will wear Ali’s sneakers to school every morning, and then run home so that Ali can put them on for his school in the afternoon.

But Zahra cannot always run fast enough, and Ali, who is a good student, gets in trouble for being late to class. And there is a heartbreaking scene where Zahra solemnly regards her own precious lost shoes, now on the feet of the ragpicker’s daughter.

The tale of two children in the movie communicates to us a lot of interesting values that we can somehow say similar to Christian values.

We may be are different in religious beliefs but we are sure that all of us are aiming for peace and tranquility within our community and the whole world at large.

Though the movie is set in an Islamic country yet we share the same values. We, as Christians, may be are biased on looking at Muslim lives as reported by media as any terrorist attack is always associated to them. We should not create a hasty generalization in judging the acts of their fellow because they do not represent the whole.

Majid Majidi’s film has a wonderful scene where Ali and his father bicycle from the almost medieval streets and alleys of the old town to the high-rises and luxury homes where the rich people live. The father hopes for work as a gardener, but he is intimidated by the challenge of speaking into the intercoms on the gates of the wealthy. His son jumps in, with offers of pruning, weeding, spraying and trimming. It is a great triumph.

And then there is a footrace for the poor children of the quarter. The winner gets two weeks in a summer camp and other prizes. Ali doesn’t care. He wants to place third, because the prize is a new pair of sneakers, which he can give to his sister. My guess is that the race and its outcome will be as exciting for many kids as anything they’ve seen at the movies.

“Children of Heaven” is about a home without unhappiness. About a brother and sister who love one another, instead of fighting. About situations any child can identify with. In this film from Iran, I found a sweetness and innocence that shames the land of Mutant Turtles, Power Rangers and violent video games.

This movie has showed me a side of Iran that one cannot learn about in history books. The movie portrayed life in Iran through the eyes of a little kid and the struggles he faces.The movie also showed showed different aspects of Iranian culture such as family structure and value of relationships. The father was seen as the one responsible for providing food for the family. The little girl would help the mother with preparing food and taking care of the baby. I was also able to see the Ta’arof in Iranian culture through offering food to the old and sick neighbors, and even “pretending” to refuse money after the gardening services were offered. The father took the money only after the old man insisted on it.The wide gap between the haves and the have nots have been very beautifully potrayed.

The entire story revolves around one pair of lost pink color worn out shoes.

It makes me realize that each of us in the world is responsible when a kid suffers to get basic necessities of life.

Many a times we throw money frivolously and seldom realizing that there are millions of children dying from hunger with one set of clothes battling and surviving through life.

It’s a moving story about the universal bonds of family as well as the specific circumstances of a poor family trying to make ends meet in Iran. The climax of the film is exciting reinterpretation of the “comeback kid” sports movie, and it takes many unanticipated twists and turns.

This was the first Iranian film to earn an Academy Award nomination, and with good reason. The themes and characters are universal and the story is as exciting as it is poignant. Children of Heaven is one of those magical films that breaks down perceived barriers and differences between cultures, an enlightening and entertaining cinematic journey.

Prepare

Are you raising your kids to become an entrepreneur or a corporate slave?

The ‘Big Message’ in last week’s The Feast was ‘Preparation is Everything’.

Inspired by the story of Joseph in the bible – preparation is the price we pay to become great leaders.

Joseph was only 16 years old when his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelite traders.

The Pharaoh appointed him as the Governor of Egypt when he was thirty.

God spent 14 years just preparing his chosen leader.

Preparation takes time and let us be patient and not lose heart during the most difficult stages of our preparation.

For the Awesome Kids Ministry we shared to the children the value of preparing for the future by knowing the basic concept of money and honoring their parent’s effort of providing for the family and how to save money.

They made a simulated mini saving’s piggy bank adorned with colorful stickers.

Preparation Awesome Kids

Children learn everything from their parents. Raising children the right way is an invaluable way of helping them raise their parents’ grandchildren the right way. A culture full of spoiled children extinguishes the fire of earning what we have. A culture full of spoiled children encourages laziness. A culture full of spoiled children breeds spoiled and irresponsible adults. The ability of parents to discuss with their children financial responsibility is paramount. 

On a bigger picture, here are some
things you can do to raise your kids to become entrepreneurs according to PowerPinoys.com:

1. Encourage them to ask questions. Sadly, many Filipino people now are having this kind of mentality that “if you ask questions, you are dumb.” This is why many people now who instead of asking questions, they keep the questions to themselves which make them more ignorant. You better filter this kind of mentality from your kids.

Don’t Let this happen to your child. There’s are Filipino sayings that “Matalino ang batang mapagtanong” (Intelligent is a child who asks questions) and “Ang taong mapagtanong, daig ang marunong” (The inquisitive person surpassed the wise).

These words are just true. Asking is a form of active learning and this kind of learning results to a better retention. If your child ask you a question, answer his question then again ask you child something like “aren’t you going to ask why? or how?” or some other sort of followup questions. This way, you are programming your child to not just simply ask questions but you are programming your child to verify the answers as well.

Give your child scenarios that are new to them. This will make them think of the whats, whys and hows of A,B,C, and etc. You might want to give them valuable rewards if they got it right to encourage them to think more. Remember, keep your child always hungry for knowledge and encourage them to try new things.

2. Teach your child how to ask for help. Again, this is closely related to #1 but this is a bit different. Teach your child that if he cannot do a particular thing, the initial response should be to ask somebody who knows how to do that thing. Kids are in their learning stage where they need guidance. As a parent, you should help your child as much as possible BUT here are some points to remember:

  • Don’t spoon-feed them. Show them how to do it. Once they’ve seen it, let them try it on their own with your guidance.
  • Praise them if necessary to boost their confidence.
  • Ask them questions like “Can you think of better way to do this or that?”
  • Remember this proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. It is always worthwhile to teach your kids to do something than do it for them.

3. Teach them the importance and value of Teamwork. Let your kids know that not all the time, they can do every thing alone. Teach them that if they want to achieve big dreams, teamwork is necessary. Tell them they may be able to build their own house but they cannot create a high building alone or it may take them a lifetime.

4. Teach them how to be creative and analyze things. Always encourage your kids to try new things. Let them experiment on ideas and show them that learning can really be fun. You can send your kids to go music class and play instruments. Learning how to play piano, for example, can really boost your kids’ analytical and creativity skills while having fun.

Another thing you can help your kids improve skills while having fun is by providing them physical and digital games that touches creativity and analysis. One of the most famous toys that promotes creativity is Lego and other similar toys.

Have your walls bunch of interesting arts and other crafts. Tell your kids your favorite musician, artist, and scientists. Always ask them challenging “what if” questions that will push them to analyze situations.

5. Teach them how to save money. Being rich is not about how much money you are earning but it is about how much money you keep. You should teach your kids to not spend more than what they are earning, or else they will be in debt their whole lives.

You should teach them not to invest on things that loses value as time goes by. You should teach them to invest on things such as education, new skills and other self development stuffs they can use to earn money. You can start teaching them how to save money through their allowances.

6. Teach them how to learn from their mistakes & learn to accept rejections. You should tell your kids that not everyone and everything will work their way. Teach them to anticipate the worst case scenario and set solutions for those cases.

Practice your kids to commit mistakes and fail. Yes, fail. Kids who are not afraid of making mistakes and not afraid of what other people say are the ones who can handle risks and are emotionally stable. Teach them to learn on their mistake and laugh about it later.

7. Teach them how to be good at public speaking. Your kids don’t need to do what adults entrepreneur do. Simply exposing them in an environment where they can express their thoughts is a good place to start to learn public speaking. Let your child join other kids while playing on the playground and do some story telling activities. Simply having your child exposed in story telling or reporting type of activities will get away shyness and build confidence instead.

8. Teach them how to lead others. Your kids should learn how to motivate others to achieve a common goal. This skill can be acquired from you, the parent. Set a good example! If you are a father, you should be the leader in your family. You set goals for the the family, create budget (for moms), plans for leisure activities, etc. It will be automatic for your kids to be a good leader to.

Here are some skills and attitude you might want to impart your children to be good leaders.
Initiative, Consistency, Teamwork, Strategy, Planning, Perseverance, Decision making, and Good Communication.

11. Teach them how to sell. One of the biggest part of every business is selling. Any good company with good products or services, if not able to sell is good as nothing. The main point of making business is to create profit and if you cannot make any profit then what do you call your business? Charity?

This skill is where most people laugh at but are not good at. It has been injected to people’s mind that if you’re selling something, you are in a lowly situation which is a big no. Not all people have this skill but once you have this, it can be applied not just in business but in other aspects of life as well.

12. Teach them problem solving. Entrepreneurship is about solving other people’s problems. You may want to give your kids quizzes and puzzles to solve. Think of Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, rubicks cube, and etc. Playing computer games can also help them increase their problem solving skills. But be picky on what computer games they will play as there are computer games that only wastes your kids precious time.

Learning math is really a fun way of learning how to solve a problem. Let your child learn the value of math by showing them what they can do if they know math. You can also let your child learn problem solving through physics problems and a lot more.

Problem solving added with creativity is the ore of innovations. If you hone your kids’ skills on these, they will have a big advantage over others.

Unleashed

We are commanded to forgive others, God is really after our own good. So forgive from the heart and set yourself free.

This is what we shared to the kids last Sunday at the Awesome Kids Ministry service.

Unleashed

Remember, forgiveness is for our benefit. The other person’s behavior may never change. It is up to God, not us, to change others. Our responsibility is to be set free from the pressure and weight of an unforgiving attitude.

We took a bottle of water and some effervescent vitamin tablets.

We encouraged the children to think of someone they need to forgive.
• Someone hit you and pushed you down.
• Someone won’t let you play a game.
• Someone broke something of yours.
• Someone called you an unkind name.
• Someone took what you were playing with and won’t share it.

We talked about how they were hurt. They felt mad.

We encouraged them to ask God to let go of these feelings.

We asked the kids to put a piece of the tablet in the water and the children imagined asking God to help them forgive.

As the bubbles start to come off the tablets, they imagined giving the hurt feelings to God.

The tablets took a while to dissolve, which also illustrated that sometimes it might take a long time to forgive.

The water might also have changed color, which illustrates that it’s not as if the thing that hurt you had never happened, it’s just been changed by God.

For the craft activity, they colored an artwork that reminds them to always be kind and good to others.

I felt God’s embrace every Sunday because of these children.

Their presence affirm God’s abounding graces and mercy.

They taught me more to love and to live life.

A simple activity but has a profound meaning.

It was difficult for me to forgive few years back but I learned to let go.

To more years of serving and loving the children of God!

He Cares

Grace-filled.

Inspiring.

Empowering.

More than 200 kids from the poorest of the poor in the neighborhood of Quezon City taught me today the deeper meaning of true love.

Every Saturday, they looked forward to the feeding party led by Bro. Joe Dean Solas, a lay missionary who devoted his life in fulfilling God’s call of faith and hope.

He Cares Mission, a street children caring center started in 1996 with a humble promise made by Bro. Joe Dean to two little street children that they will never be hungry again.

 

He Cares

Together with our Light Group, Bro. Joe Dean Sola (seated in cap) was a source of inspiration to many. He founded He Cares, they takes care of street children, offering five programs that cater to the children’s spirituality, health, family, life, education, and livelihood.

The day started with prayer and thanksgiving through worship songs.

Then a short program followed. I took charge of the games.

It was not easy at first.

It was difficult.

Very challenging.

But, I learned to let go.

I just smiled a lot and I let God took full control.

I knew they enjoyed it.

Their smiles and loudest cheers took my breath away.

They have been to a lot of challenges.

A few minutes of fun and laughter was all that matters.

They are still kids after all.

It was the first outreach activity for 2018 of our Light Group (LG).

I was grateful to Bro. Mark and Sis. Lorrie Calangian together with their children Lance and Chase for sharing their service love.

They tagged me along for a road trip from Cavite to the City of Stars and it was a memorable journey.

After the short program, the volunteers prepared for a sumptuous feast of spaghetti, fried chicken, rice, water turned into iced tea, fruit salad and a mini pancake with choco fillings donated by a generous Japanese businessman who visits the center monthly.

The feeding party was organized by Bro. Joe Dean with love.

Lots of it.

He encouraged the volunteers to always smile.

Every table were assigned to a feeding facilitator that helped the children on their needs.

I met Kathleen, a kindergarten student who had difficulties finishing her food. Her seatmates encouraged her to wipe out the fried chix and rice. She brought home the fruit salad.

After the feeding party, the volunteers were led to a short thanksgiving prayer and had lunch. I met other volunteers who have the same passion of serving others.

A short presentation about a new vision for He Cares in the coming years was shared.

Help build the He Cares Mission Promised Land – a sustainable farm community that aims to go beyond feeding and giving shelter for a day, towards giving a meaningful and abundant life day after day after day.

To know more about the program visit http://www.hecaresmission.com and find ways on how you can make a difference.

Bro. Joe Dean toured us around the He Cares Mission Center and mingled with the fulltime workers.

Their story of selfless love was inspiring.

I encouraged you to volunteer now.

Visit them at No. 9 Mines St., Project 6, Quezon City or contact them at (+63) 02 928-8910 or (+63) 02 453-0100. You can also email: hecaresfoundation@gmail.com.

They also accept donation thru bank account name:

He Cares Foundation, Inc.
Bank of the Philippines
Savings Account #1953093053

Cartoon

I have always loved cartoons. I might not watch as many cartoons now as I did when I was a kid but I enjoy them way more than any other adult I know. A significant part of my childhood has been spent watching cartoons, especially Tom & Jerry.

I saw this Tom & Jerry – true to life photo shared by Mr. Jerry Fernandez, a dear friend from India and a former colleague in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Cartoon

The bitter-sweet relationship of Tom and Jerry taught us why life is meaningless without a partner to share moments of fun and laughter with.

This particular piece of animation uncovers the reality of our everyday life.

The twisted friendship between Tom and Jerry draws a brilliant analogy with the relationships we share with people in today’s world.

According to NoisyRadicals.com, there are valuable life lessons from Tom & Jerry:

There will always be someone you will meet in your life who will make you feel ‘small’ or ‘big’.

We often feel that others are more superior than us and believe that there is someone better than us and we are, after all, not that great.

Your strength and your might is not measured in physical attributes. You are bigger than you think you are!

It is not always the external appearance that matters. The ways we think also matters a lot. A person should not be judged as a powerful human being only in the basis of his/her physical strength.

Is there ever a shortcut to success? Haven’t we all learned it the hard way?

We often tend to take shortcuts to reach the acme of success. But the shows presents a lesson that there is absolutely no shorter way to achieve what we really want in life.

Life will constantly push you. Change is the only constant.

We hardly take a moment to breathe and don’t take enough breaks. We have reached a stage where when we do take moment to chill, we feel restless. Even though, this show was made way before the internet generation was born, it spectacularly sketches an image of something way ahead of its time.

Every scar is a story to tell.

Crossing difficult destinations with patience and determination makes us a strong person. The same is implied in the cartoon. Every experience is a lesson to be learnt.

Changing the way, you look at a problem can prove to be a game-changer.

When one solution we think does not solve the problem, then think from a different perspective to solve it. Jerry tries to escape in every different way and Tom chases the same way. So it is all about looking at a problem from a different perspective just like Tom & Jerry who never seem to give up.