Action Update www.christsyouthinaction.com
Being Worked into Completion
by Raoul Roncal
by John Valdes, (Ateneo de Manila University)
John 4:42 “…and they said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the saviour of the world.” Remember the first time you were approached by someone inviting you to take part in one of CYA’s activities – as a participant or as a benefactor. What convinced you to accept the invitation? Was it your friend’s demeanor (he was so enthusiastic and sincere)? Did the activity have something you were interested in (good music, opportunity to hang out, meet new people from other schools, investing in young people, fostering leadership in the youth)? Did you want to get to know better the person inviting you? Or was it the change in your friend that compelled you to ask him why he seemed more at peace, joyful…happy? Whatever the reason or the occasion, it was enough to convince you to check it out for yourself. The verse above is taken from the story of the Samaritan Woman and her encounter with Jesus at the well. We are a lot like the Samaritan woman’s neighbors in John 4:42, who went to see Jesus and after meeting Him for themselves, they believed. The people encountered the story, just heard the story. They went. They saw. Their conclusion -- they don’t need the story anymore because they personally encountered Jesus. This encounter was so real that they concluded that what she experienced, they also experienced. In this simple verse we may learn three things. First, regarding the call of the Lord for us to tell others about Him -- there is a need to not only tell the story (of how we encountered Christ) but for us to share our experience of Christ to others. The Samaritan woman remarked that, Jesus had told her everything she had ever done. Just like her, we tell our story. We are never sure that people will respond, but our hope is that in telling our story, they will experience what we have experienced: a personal relationship with Christ. Second, if people are willing to listen and to open their hearts then it’s possible for them to make the same conclusion that was made by the Samaritans: they don’t need our story anymore because they have come to believe. Third, when we evangelize, it is not really about us and what we could do. We are just storytellers. The story that we tell is the means the Lord would like us to use to bring people to know Him. By the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, through His work in us, in this way, men and women will not only hear the story but meet Christ Himself.
“There is a need to share our experience of Christ to others”
The Samaritan woman encountered Christ and, because of it, was moved to share it with others. She invited people to meet Jesus Christ themselves. Those she invited went. They believed. So, go ahead, tell your story!
When I started college, I certainly did not plan on having a stronger relationship with my God. My goals for college were simple: study for four years, get my degree, maybe join an organization or two, gain friends, and have lots of fun before swiftly moving on to the next stage of my life. Lucky for me, God wanted to make my college life more meaningful than I had originally planned. He placed me among people who have active, growing relationships with Him. I realized that they had a certain joy and peace that was not shaken even when their grades or friendships fall apart. I began to understand His love for me as if for the first time. I attended the 30th anniversary of Christ’s Youth in Action and realized that 30 years earlier, God had begun a work which would bring all these past and present CYAers together. Mike Joseph, founding director of CYA spoke about how God’s promise of bringing tens of thousands to the Lord seemed incredulous back then, even to him! Yet here I was riveted to my seat listening to him that day, a product of the seed that he planted and the faith that he sowed three decades earlier. He could not have possibly planned for my own personal spiritual growth in CYA 30 years ago– but God did.
“My goals for college were simple: have lots of fun before swiftly moving on to the next stage of my life. Lucky for me, God wanted to make my college life more meaningful than I had originally planned.”
I realized that you never know how far the ripples of your actions will reach. What if there are a million Christians to be won out there and all you have to do to bring each of them to Jesus is to talk to one friend? I wondered what I could do to share the gift of Christ to others in my own small way. I have seen a hunger for God from the people in my school, like my blockmates. I felt that if only there is CYA in Ateneo, their hunger could easily be met.
“What if there are a million Christians to be won out there and all you have to do to bring each of them to Jesus is to talk to one friend?”
Soon after the anniversary, I began to share these thoughts and my hope that my friends could experience growing relationships with the Lord with Kuya Jim Orbe. From there, we started to meet with brothers and sisters. After half a semester, we’ve grown from a small handful to a bigger handful, but a blessed handful nonetheless. God has brought me a long way from being a nominal Catholic and I know I still have a long way to go. Just like Mike Joseph, I don’t know how the Lord will move in my school and what the future holds for CYA. But I have faith that one day He will complete his work in me and in those around me.
Who am I to Say No to God? by Tone Villareal, Mapua Institute of Technology narrated to James de Castro A smoker and a tambay in the wrong crowd made a 180° turn towards the Lord during one unexpected moment and said ‘yes’. A CYAer named Lean approached Tone Villareal during one of his cigarette breaks and invited him to CYA events. “Makulit si God!” That’s the line Tone told us when he was telling us his story of journey towards finding God. Lean became persistent to the point that Tone finally said “Yes!” to a Crossroads Retreat invitation and because it was just an on-the-spot answer. When Tone was thinking of changing his ways and was ready to be a part of CYA, this is where fear and anxiety came in and tried to deceive him. He started asking himself, “Where’s the change?” God answered Tone’s question through a presentation with the theme “Watch out fear, here comes Faith!” And from then on, Tone started to transform. He stopped smoking, he was no longer a tambay outside of his house, and he became a person who was ready to put on his new self and to share what he had experienced.
“With God, anything is possible, we simply have to respond.” At first, Tone was afraid to share about Christ to his classmates so he turned to God and asked for help. God told him that he should follow Him, and that was enough for Tone to gather enough courage to join some CYAers in presenting in front of his class. Out of the 86 who graduated from the Christian Life Series, 28 of them came from Tone’s Biology class. Who would’ve expected a tambay to eventually end up using his time to serve God? Who knew that an irresponsible person would become a dependable kuya to many young people? Who knew that a person who seemed to be going the wrong way would be turning around to have a close relationship with God? Tone’s testimony indeed proves that with God, anything is possible, we simply have to respond. And for Tone, his response to God’s call would always be, “Who am I to say no to God?”
Out of Love by James de Castro A few days before Lea Sabilla’s birthday, she sent a message to some of her high school friends from Philippine Science Bicol, to go visit CYA UP Diliman’s Semester starter event. She invited a small group at first, but the group soon became a group of nearly 20 people. Lea saw this as an opportunity to invite them to CYA. She wanted her friends to experience what she had experienced the year before.
“Bringing people to Christ out of love, changes you to become excellent, patient and passionate.”
Since then, she has invited around forty brothers and sisters from her high school to CYA-UPD, and a lot of them also invited their friends. She also asked help from her batch mates and even invited people from the dormitories. What drives her to keep inviting? She believes that bringing people to Christ out of love, changes you to become excellent, patient and passionate. Lea does worry, such as how her friends would respond to her invitations. Yet, she has learned to trust the Lord. She knows that the Lord is using her as an instrument to “plant the seed in their hearts and everything else depends on Him.” With trust and realization, she tries not to entertain such thoughts. With hope in her heart she muses, “if they do not choose to be part of CYA, I am still confident that the Lord has other plans for them and that they will still grow whichever path the Lord leads them to.”
Different Strokes for Different Folks by Mae Teotico and Mitzi Ramos There are several ways to reach a person’s heart. For some, food is the way to a man’s heart. For Christian Sanchez, the way to his heart was through video games. The CYA recruitment booth had a Wii installed as part of catching students’ attention. Christian, a videogame lover, was one of those. He stayed and played, and only filled up the signup sheet out of courtesy, “Nakakahiya kasi pinalaro nila ako ng matagal”. He really had no plans of joining any religious organization because he had his hands full with Engineering activities already.
“He really had no plans of joining any religious organization”
With his name on the list, Christian decided to join various CYA activities (still out of courtesy). The feeding program with the Missionaries of Charity was his turning point. The experience made him decide to join CYA and respond to God’s call.
In responding to God’s call, Christian decided to join and finish the annual Christian Life in the Spirit Seminar (CLS). What kept him attending? He simply said that the talks were in sync with everything he expected to hear and learn about. The talks made him want to turn his life around, and direct it in the way God wants. Through the CLS he has found a new relationship with the Lord. Christian is one of the fruits among the numerous efforts of DLSU to reach out to students. The CYAers from DLSU are determined to share God to more young people, using what they know best, such as games. They also hold forums for students on titles on Love, Sex, Desire and Can Man Live Without God? Different strokes, for different folks – all means employed to bring young people to God.
“He has found a new relationship with the Lord.”
Sent Out Into the Forefront by Mae Teotico, De La Salle University
Being part of CYA was the backbone of my freshman life. Entering a school that was entirely different from the one I felt at home in was difficult. In a university filled with individuals having different values, it was challenging to do what was right. I’ve had my own experience of being tempted to join the bandwagon of cheating because I myself was not able to study for a test. While the test was going on, all my blockmates were looking at each others’ paper. I was faced with a choice: to cheat and possibly get a high grade or not to cheat and most likely fail. In the end, I stood my ground and decided not to cheat. All throughout my freshman year, CYA constantly kept me rooted and grounded in the Lord. It helped me stick to what I believed in, stand up for what I thought was right and mostly, it helped me practice the faith I preached to have. I had many opportunities to share Christ to my schoolmates. We came up with a feeding program in Missionaries of Charity, a mini sports fest inside the school and 2 talks (LSD, Can Man Live Without God) which garnered a lot of participants, some of whom were very interested in joining CYA. We were also able to invite a few of our newly recruited members to join the yearly Christian Life Series. Evangelizing is also a challenge because of fear of rejection and embarrassment. The disappointments we had to face did try to bring us down, but what kept us going was the faith and belief that God’s promise to us would be fulfilled.
“What kept us going was the faith and belief that God’s promise to us would be fulfilled” Re-establishing CYA was also a venue for me to further deepen my own relationship with the Lord. Being surrounded with brothers and sisters who have the same desire to commit their lives to Him, has inspired me to become even more passionate in serving the Lord. There will still be temptations, difficulties and obstacles along the way but, I am confident that by God’s grace, all these will merely just push me to be more ardent in my desire to know Him and make Him known.
What’s the craziest, most creative or bravest thing you did to share God to others? People do crazy things for love. Let’s see how some CYAers expressed their love for the Lord by their efforts to bring more people to Him. I spent the night before the Crossroads retreat inside the school, after curfew, to teach my friend one whole dance routine just to make sure we’d go to the retreat, together, the following day.
Games are my thing. Thus, I frequently met with a particular barkada in their favorite tambayan. I challenged them to play different kinds of board games like Balderdash, Mafia, Monopoly Deal, etc. I also challenged them in computer games and bought them fruit shakes every time we met. Then, I slowly invited them to CYA events and eventually they stood up for the Lord. Kenneth Carandang CYA UP Diliman
CYA rejoices in God’s victory in you!
I also promised my friend I would let him cut my right arm off if he didn’t enjoy the Crossroads retreat. I still have my right arm intact. Rochele Pilones CYA UP Manila I have three experiences: First, my strategy was I invited a classmate to a Crossroads retreat and made him as my partner in CYA after. At first he expressed that he would not be active in CYA. But I dragged him over to different schools for TRAINING and SEMINARS of CYA and made sure he knew at least 5 different people. He eventually became the chairperson for CYA PLM. Second, I prayed that I would be led to a person that needs God for the day. Then, I approached a group of schoolmates that I do not know. With much courage and sincerity, I invited them to a CYA event. One of PLM’s current leaders was the fruit of that experience. Finally, A brother and I asked for some CYA skits and we performed in classrooms. We did it by asking Professors to allow us. Our main goal was just to PROCLAIM GOD’s LOVE and anyone that expressed further interest was just a bonus. A good number of Crossroads Retreat participants from our school came from these efforts. Jhunne Bennet Almeda CYA PLM/LP
Congratulations to Engr. Teofilo De Guzman, Jr. (CYA UST alumnus) who placed top 3 in November 2010’s Civil Engineering Board Exam and to Michelle Montelibano (CYA UMC alumna) who was in the top 10 nominees for Metro Manila of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines. You serve as inspirations to many young people.
Our Reach Metro Manila: University of the Philipines, Diliman Ateneo de Manila University University of Sto. Tomas De La Salle University Far Eastern University Mapua Institute of Technology Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila University of the Philippines Manila College of St. Benilde Luzon St. Louis University (Baguio) Holy Angel University (Angeles) Lyceum of Batangas Ateneo de Naga Angeles University Foundation University of Assumption (Pampanga) University of the Philippines, Los Banos
Editorial Board Editorial Consultants Miracel Juanta Mitzi Ramos-Saguisag Lorna Campos Editor-in-chief Giki Oliveros Staff Mae Teotico James De Dios Dan Cruz John Valdes Nova Olosan Layout Artist Jules Jurado
Visayas University of St. La Salle (Bacolod City) University of Iloilo St. Paul University (Dumagete) West Visayas University (Iloilo City) Colegio de la Immaculada Conception Baybay-FCIC Riverside College (Bacolod) Mindanao Mindanao State University-IIT San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish Corpus Cristi Parish (Iligan City) Xavier University Mindanao Polytechnic State College Liceo de Cagayan Capitol College (Cagayan de Oro City) University of Immaculate Conception Ateneo de Davao University
San Isidro College (Malaybalay) Bukidnon State University (Malaybalay City) Central Mindanao University (Musuan) Notre Dame University (General Santos City) St. Vincent Parish (Iligan) San Jose Obrero Parish (Iligan City) Sta. Maria Parish (Zamboanga) Basilan State College Claret College of Isabela Camiguin Polytechnic State College Institute of Agriculture (Catarman) Holy Trinity College (General Santos) GADTMC (Tangub City) Zamboanga Western Mindanao State University University of Mindanao San Agustin Institute of Technologies (Valencia) Agusan College (Butuan)