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Ma. KatherineMove to Action as Jesus is Our Icon! by Stephanie Jones Jallorina
Posted by Ma. Katherine Guaño on 5/22/2009 12:29:21 AM

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Summer had officially started in Japan a week prior to the 2nd Singles for Christ Japan National Conference which was to echo the message at the SFC International Conference (ICON) held in Cebu, Philippines, in February. But instead of the beautiful summer sun, what greeted our conference here on the 16th and 17th of May in Chiba was a cloudy, rainy day.


The cool mist of the gloomy morning just sheltered us more to the comfort of our beds, trying to get enough sleep from exhausting weeks of preparations.


The gloomy morning prompted us to feel a little more nostalgic -- with our thoughts carried away by our personal burdens, baggage, financial concerns, and feeling rather wary about the status of our relationship with God.


But fervent prayers we uttered and alas, a fresh breeze swept away our anxieties as if God embraced and reassured us of yet another gratifying experience. This opened way for approximately 36 strong single men and lovely single women to brave the storms of our lives and seize a rare spiritual opportunity. 


As soon as we got to the conference, most of us had the same reaction -- as always, God really has intricate plans and that it was well worth acknowledging His loving embrace early on.


We were welcomed by the cheerful Service Team, clad in colorful ICON shirts, had our stomachs filled with sumptuous lunch, and were awed by the mega opening production by our fashionistas and gorgeous brothers and sisters. The full music ministry band invited the Holy Spirit to rock our Opening Worship, driving us to be spiritually high.


Whilst on top, we were amused by the turn of the Sessions, kicking off with a video-recall of our History Together as SFC Japan which flashed pictures from various SFC communities. This was History in the Making·because yes, we realized we are His Story in the making! God was speaking through each one of us as we gave our all in the past and faced ahead the challenges of doing more to evangelize, to serve.


God`s message from the start was very powerful: In Christ -- this is the Life! - a life of revelations, of conversion, of healing and forgiveness, a life of mission and sacrifice, and a life of fulfilled promise.  Our dear brothers and sisters led by Bro. Erwin Paler testified, revealed and shared their lives in Christ, of Christ and for Christ with their own stories, in all humility and conviction, that just highlighted our humane weakness and vulnerability.  Their personal testimonies also affirmed our faith -- that as long as we are in Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.


Hence, St. Paul`s message about "forgetting what lies behind" came next in the pipeline. We were encouraged to forget what lies behind because in all things, God always has reasons that even Reason cannot know. We were reminded that Jesus Christ himself was tempted, betrayed, scourged, and forsaken just as we had. He had to endure all forms of agony and pain and so should we. As we listened to our  Sis. May Graziella Masangkay`s sharing of her own love story through this talk, Father Resty Ogsimer who subsequently led the Benediction and mass pointed out that we cannot compete with God, and that we should lift our concerns to Him, forget the past and have Him flow in the river of our lives. The solemnity of the rare union with Christ during the Benediction and the Consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ during the Eucharist was a promising occasion of salvation from past turmoil and of a victorious journey ahead.


Highly moved by and filled with the Spirit by our Day One activity, we enthused ourselves more through sport fellowship, photo-ops for mementos, and some chit-chats with brothers and sisters from other areas till dawn. Still, when we woke up, we had much energy to spare and last us through the day`s activities.


On Sunday, we graced the day by starting with more picture-taking that would later choke our Multiply sites, Friendster accounts, etc. (what great way to evangelize!) We began the morning with fellowship through games and another powerful opening worship, after which we all heard mass at the nearby church in Goi together with our Titos and Titas from HOLD and CFC and a bunch of charming, bubbly KFC. During mass, God once again spoke to us, emphasizing the message of loving one another as He is Love. The gospel of that day was so timely that it fueled the remaining talk of the conference to move forward in Christ, exposing Jesus·heart posture. The call to us was clear -- let us be Catholic, Humble, Radical, Intercessory, Sacrificial and have a life of Togetherness. Delivering this talk was a dedicated servant, Sis Lisa Sanchez, who shared her life about standing up to the faith despite the ordeals that entailed with it, who shared how she was able to brave the storm in her life.  Just like us, trying to brave the storms in our live, even the swine flu that has struck Japan recently. It only takes God`s sufficient Love to overcome all these and love those difficult to love.


Resisting the odds and moving forward in Christ, fellow brothers and sisters cried, sang and danced the Praisefest, with their hearts burning with the passion for service and hearts always ready to take on the challenge of the new SFC vision -- "Every Single Man and Woman all over the world Experiencing Christ." This is our call of action, walang iwanan!


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