Monday, April 07, 2008

FIRE Weekend at Anawim

Last weekend, I was once more reminded that I was serving a God for whom nothing is impossible.

For about a couple of years, the Youth Alive members and Core Team have been praying for a weekend retreat, or a leadership seminar, or, dared we dream it, a youth camp.  But funds were low and schedules were tight.  We waited on the Lord, for in His time we knew our plans would be fulfilled.

Enter Bro. Alex Nolasco, mgl, who was sent here to assist Fr Brian in preparing the delegates to World Youth Day from Youth Alive.  
He was tasked to organize FIRE Weekend, and with his contacts at Anawim, and the overwhelming support of Fr Steve, Fr Brian, and Fr Geoffrey, he was able to accomplish what we had only dared to dream of - he organized a youth camp at the most ideal place possible.

We had a retreat AND an outing AND a youth camp AND an outreach (with the lolos and lolas at Anawim).

I came with little expectations of spiritual rest, thinking I was there to support the youth and to get a breath of fresh mountain air.

But I was happily proven wrong.

The youth went far beyond the usual singing, dancing, and laughing.  They were disciplined, following their chore schedule.  The girls washed the dishes while the boys fetched buckets of water.  They mingled outside their choirs and areas, and made new friends.

Most of all, last weekend, I heard their voices in praise and worship like I've never heard it before.  The Holy Spirit so moved and empowered them that they filled the chapel with their songs.  They danced not anymore to impress their friends, but to give glory to their God.  They yielded to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  They were able to sustain three hours of worship and prayer.  It was a foretaste of Heaven - from the peaceful silence while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, to the exuberant air of worship they released after they were prayed over.  

I do not remember the last time that I prayed like that.  The youth had grown up before my eyes.  I was also ministered to.  Tears washed over me while Fr Brian was praying over me, because that night, the light of Jesus rekindled the fire in me.  

It may be a tiny flicker of light at this time, but at least it is back.  To God be the glory.

During the FIRE weekend, we reflected on this Word, which is at the heart of the spirituality of the Missionaries of God's Love:  

Jesus cried out: "I have come to cast fire to the earth,
and how I wish it were blazing already..." (Lk 12:49)

This was a great start for the Youth Alive Summer Program, to be held Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 9a.m. to 12 noon, at the Parish of St Benedict, Don Antonio Heights, Quezon City from April 8 to May 24.  Donations in kind or cash for snacks are accepted at the parish office.  Email me at if you want to help.  Thanks.

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