CHRIST'S YOUTH IN ACTION
"For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants ... " (II Cor 4:5)
LETTER-FROM '" •• <
FOR CHANGING • TIMES • By Mike Joseph, Jr. "There~is a time for everything, . and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build ... ... I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and noth-ing taken from it" (Eccl3:1-3,14)
veryone experiences changing circumstances. For some it's the end of a semester and time for /"'"'\graduation. Then on to finding a job or reviewing for the Board exams. For others it's back to school, a new semester begins, new teachers, new friends, and a new tuition fee! HURTING INSIDE Many young men and women are overwhelmed by the changes in their life. They have to deal with their moods and emotions. There's often a new "crush" or a break-up with the old one. Even at home there's trouble. Recently a high school teacher
••••••••••••••••••••••• Mike Joseph, Jr., is the Director of Christ's Youth in Action.
told me he was amazed at the increasing number of his students that were coming from broken homes. No wonder so many young people are turning to drugs, alcohol and sex to help them deal with the pressures and difficulties of their changing times. They want to escape by eating, drinking and being merry. The next day they don't die. They just end up having to pay for all of yesterday's bills. Many are angry, rebellious and confused at what's taking place in their lives. They don't know who to trust. They end up isolated, lonely and trying to "make it" on their own. Recently one of our staff related an experience he had at the University of the Philippines. He noticed a young woman who appeared so full of life, eager to be back in school, to party, to have a good time. He found out that day from one of her friends that she had recently attempted suicide. She was happy outside but hurting inside. She wasn't "making it" on her own. MOVING OUT I recently went through some changes in my own life. I t was really nothing more dramatic than changing my place of residence, where I had lived for the past 11 years. But I re-learned some very important lessons about faith in the midst of changing circumstances. In late April we received a call from our gracious landlady informing us that the house we were renting was being taken over by her brother. There were eleven of us men living together at that time; eight (Turn to page 4)
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Greetings in Jesus Christ! We're off to a new semester. The challenges to evangelization are even greater now. More young people are being mesmerized by material goods and satisfied with a lukewarm form of Christianity. An ex-lukewarm friend of mine told me the story of how another Christian shook him out of his complacency. He hadfust brushed off an invitation to a Bible study: with, "1 believe in God. That's enough for me." "So does the devilf" was the rejoinder. "James 2:19 says the devils believe there is one God - and shudder. What makes you diilerent?" My friend began to come to the Bible study. That's a 'great challenge to us Christians: To be different. The scriptural term for that is to be holy .. It's to be set apart, consecrated for God's purposes. Thank God for his Holy Spirit that makes this calling possible.
1 want to thank Andy Juan, who is moving on to conquer new fields in the business environment, for his five years of faithful service to CYA. He has set a great example of a man who wholeheartedly serves the Lord Jesus. He has affected many lives and we'll miss his joyful presence. But the Lord does need more Christians in the marketplace. Go for it, Andy! . . 1 also want to say good-bye to Syd Calo for his two years of service to CYA. Syd is now working for Morningstar, a Christian organization working among the poor and in rural areas of the Philippines. I'm sure we 'U be seeing more of Syd as the Lord leads 'us to more coOperative works - (Jurn to page 3) .
12 PART I IN A 3ÂˇPART SERIES ON "BUILDING CHRISTIAN GROUPS"
LOVING PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS:
The Vital Ingredient By Jake Yap
ne.of the ways in which we see the Holy Spirit at work in the Church today is in the emergence of new youth movements and groups. "Renewal" has become popular, embracing neighborhood youth groups and parish programs.
19. After a while, the excitement of being part of a Christian group wore off. I resented having to attend our weekly meetings. I sometimes avoided the other members like the plague. In time, even my commitment to the Lord wavered. It was only later, after I had once more committed my life to the Lord, that I discovered the missing vital ingredient: Loving personal relationships. I had neglected to make friends, to deepen relationships, to reach out and serve. Without this element, even the most exciting activities become dry bones.
A friend of mine joined his parish youth program when he was thirteen. He was immediately attracted to the warm, friendly environment. Affection was profusely expressed. The members really loved each other, and their love and acceptance quickly won him over. Today, five years later, he is as much committed to the group as he was before.
Second, create environments that can help members to win friends. A Christian group can still be Christ-centered, while organizing "fun" activities that are not blatantly "spiritual" or "religious" in tone. In our community, "barn dancing" is a popular group activity. Your group can also sponsor socials, picnics and outings. (Of course, the other extreme is to forget the spiritual dimension altogether and end up being a social club!)
His group has discovered a vital ingredient for attracting new people: Loving Personal Relationships. Many other Christian groups today tend to be either task-oriented (to get a job done) or issue-oriented (to solve a problem). In the long run, this doesn't help to keep the members in.
"'You might get the job done, but there's no guarantee the group will stay together long enough for the next job. " What can we do to build ships in our group?
Third, teach your people how to relate to one another. It's the case that many people just don't know how to relate properly: in their speech, forms and limits of affection, honor and respect, good order, repairing wrong relationships, asking and giving forgiveness. Such patterns of proper relating should be spelled out and pastored well, so that each member can relate to others in trust and confidence.
MAKE IT A PRIORITY
THE RIGHT FOUNDATION
First, recognize its priority in the life of the group. In a sense, it's an end in itself - It's a type of the church as people of God. Jesus said that the world will know that we are Christians by our love for one another. Christian leaders must realize that unless the members are personally related to one another, the group becomes another "work committee" or "task force". You might get the job done, out there's QO guarantee tne -group will stay together long enough for the next job. I became part ot a Christian
at the age of
Fourth, see that relationships are rooted in Christ. Many groups today also specialize in warm, congenial, loving environments. (The way their members love one another can put some Christian groups to shame.) But, a love that's not based in Christ is, at best, a human love. Ultimately, it's unredeemed love, a love that cannot sanctify. Our love for one another should draw us to live holy, obedient lives. I
People form relationships for a variety of reasons: mutual attraction, a common interest, experience, background; the right "vibes", other mysterious per-
sonality factors. But for a Christian group to be a distinctly Christian group, and for it to remain a Christian group, the members need to love one another with the love of Christ. What should bind them together is a common love for the Lord that leads them to love one another. Loving personal relationships are a gift of the Lord. They enrich our Christian life. They are also the life of the Church. We need to recognize it for its priority, build it into our groups, and establish them on the firm foundation of Christ. Then will we see our members become more committed to one rimother, and more mature in their ~ersonal lives .â€˘
(From page 1) together. God bless you, brother! Renee Punzal is leaving for a year of training with University 'Christian Outreach at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She'll be joining Mae Legaspi there who will go on for another year of training and exposure. Hurry back, sisters! (Pleasel} I want to. welcome Cynthia Olan, a CYA-U.P alumna, who is doing volunteer work with us. Ginger Estavillo, another UP. grad ('88), has also recently joined our staff Thank God for these generous, courageous hearts! Beth Melchor is also returning from the States and she 'll certainly add to our strength on campus. She will oversee our outreach to women. We 'know the Lord has blessed her stay in Ann Arbor and we're looking [cruiard to serving the Lord together this coming year. I do want to thank all of you for your ongoing support and encouragement to us. May "our manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Let us stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side /'01' the faith of the <gospel ... " (Phil. 1:27) ~~
"I Learned To Choose My Friends!" By Jules Cerrada
s far back as I can remember, I was always in the company of friends to share the good times as well as the bad.
person God wanted me to be. I did fine for a while, but the pull of the world was too strong. I was back to my oid haunts.
I'm not one to initiate contact, but acquaintances learn that I'm easy to get along with once we met. Almost to a fault, I'm known to be fiercely loyal to my friends, but I've also had my share of disappointments with trusted friends who breached that trust.
I learned to choose my friends and stayed clear from those with dubious reputations. It was in my senior year in high school that I first began to take a few liberties with myself and my relationships. I explored the darker side of friendships and experimented with "grass". I suppose initially it was the thrill of "getting away with it" which attracted me, but on hindsight it really was an act of conformity with my peers, with that sense of kinship it evoked. When I entered into UP Diliman I toyed with the idea of having a "relationship". Maybe it was a temporary hormonal imbalance. Maybe the liberal, non-sectarian air of Diliman made me giddy. At any rate, the obsession persisted. I felt that it was an academic need, like kodigos and "wheels". After a few miscues, I ended up having a relationship which I wasn't mature enough to handle. My undergraduate years were a blur: aimlessly immersing myself in campus activities, indulging in a lifestyle devoid of compunction. I entered college with great expectations, and left it without any sense of achievement. When I made it to the Ateneo Law School, I resolved to turn a new leaf. I seriously thought that a strong will, coupled with the innate rigors of law school, would eventually transform me into the
hen in August of 1986 I was invited by a friend to join a Bible study. Surprisingly, the study of scriptures whetted my appetite for God. But I felt I needed more. As if on cue, I made contact with a CYA group in school. It was like a breath of fresh air. I felt an immediate, strong bond of brotherhood. In some ways it was like a fraternity; but more than fraternal ties held the members together: it was their love for God and for one another.
The brothers and sisters never failed to express their faithful commitment to the Lord and to each other. That meant a radical departure from "normal" human relating; it involved having a servant's heart and dyi ng to oneself. I had to make a decision: Shall I follow Christ? And if so, to what extent? I knew the stakes were high. It meant giving up my former passions, dreams, ambitions and yes, even my former friends. But I decided that Jesus Christ was far more important than anything in this world. And the sacrifices I had to make were miniscule compared to the joy of spending eternity with him. It isn't easy following the Lord. Some haggling still goes on between God and me. But as I grew in the virtue of diligent prayer, the loss I felt when I had to break ties with the past was quickly filled up by God and the brothers and sisters he gave me. The Christian relationships I now have show me that God really intends to establish this group amidst the exacting confines of Law School. He wants us to be a people he can call hJ$-Âˇown!.
,FAITH ... (From page 1) were full-time CYA staffers, two had secular jobs and one was a medical student. It was clear that the Lord had brought us to that particular house and we began to pray and ask if he was leading us away.
uy oung people want to escape by eating, drinking and being merry. The next day they don't die. They just end up having to pay for yesterday's bills." GOD GAVE US THIS HOUSE! In November of 1977, Fr. Herb Schneider, S.J., two other men, and I first moved into 714 J.A. Santos St. in San Juan. We had decided to live together for the sake of training in the Christian life. We also wanted to grow in support and love of one another and to be of service to the wider Christian community we were a part of. As we prayed together on our first day in the house, I experienced the Lord calling my attention to II Chr 7:14-16: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. " We decided to call our home" E rnmanuel' House" because of the Lord's promise to be with us. , Two years later the Lord again showed us he wanted us to be in that particular house. When I asked a friend who had come to spend a night with 'us if he had a hard time finding our place he said, "No, I just recalled my fa vori te verse." "What's that?" I asked. "II Chr
7:14," he replied, "If my people ... " I only then realized that 714 was also the number of our house. "Hrnmm, interesting," I thought. I shared this with Fr. Herb who told the story to a Jesuitcolleague, a professor of the Old Testament. "Take a look at Isaiah 7:14," the professor said. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel. " Well, the Lord clearly wanted us there! Good fruit was also borne in our lives and in the lives of many other young men. We had grown content and comfortable. But now a change was taking place. SOME LESSONS As we prayed and sought God's will one of the first things He reminded us was that He doesn't change. He is on His throne. He reigns and rules over all. Everything is in His control. He is always a faithful, loving and generous God. He is trustworthy; a "rock," as King David would often pray. He also taught us to rely on fellow Christians. Ken, our household leader, asked me to call my relative who was working in real estate. I quickly forgot to do that. A few days later, as I was praying, I sensed the Lord reminding me to give this relative a call. "But he only handles industrial real estate!" I protested. But I decided to obey and call anyway. He found a house for us!
CHRIST'S YOUTH IN ACTION MikeJoseph, Jr., Director )
Ken Noecker, Francis Iturralde, Gil Galeste, Rogel Plata, Beth Melchor, Terry Savage, Jake Yap, Harvey Campos, Renee Punzal STAFF:
Lorna Santiago, Erwin Navarro, Raoul Roncal, Andrew Guitarte Jun Cruz, Landa Campos, Tisha ' . Colayco, Tetel Fernandez, Arlene Macalintal, Cynthia Olan, Ginger Estavillo ~HRIST'S YOUTH IN ACTION (CYA)
is a movement of young Christian men and women actively engaged in ;/ youth evangelism and apostolic service in different campuses in Metro Manila. CYA also serves renewal groups in the Philippines and Asia. For inquiries, 'eall or write us at:
300 P. Guevarra St., San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines Tel. ÂˇNo. 708-095
of change I can honestly say, "Put your faith in Jesus Christ. He will never fail you nor forsake you." (Heb. 13:5) Enter into loving Christian relationships. Persevere in keeping the faith. The Lord is faithful and trustworthy .â€˘ (Editor's Note: Mike Joseph, Jr. ana nine other CYA male staffers now live at 27-B Scout Tobias St., Kamuning 1103, Quezon City.)
Thirdly, the Lord taught us to proclaim our faith in Him at a time of uncertainty. We were often discouraged by the high cost of housing in Manila. We were under pressure to move out by a particular date. But we constantly spoke to one another in a way that would build up our faith. The Lord did provide a cozy house that we could afford. He also provided it a week before we were scheduled to go on vacation. God's timing is always perfect! As I meet more and more young people going through their own time
"look. I Jusl don'l feel the relationship Is working out."