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Hiking with a Twist
Last January 25, 2020, at 11 p.m. was the start of the great adventure of the 43 participants of the TGIS (Thank God its Saturday) Hiking and Tree Planting Activity in Mt. Alapaap, Tanay, Rizal. The group travelled from Quezon City all the way to the hiking site.
The activity kicked off through the Holy Eucharist at 2am which was celebrated by Fr. Iwao Ikegami. His homily was about the calling of the first disciples which he associated to the event. He shared that everyone has their own call, that God planted it in everyone. It is the task of the person to make it grow, not just for himself but also for others, and to bear much fruit.
The hiking started at around 4:30 a.m, the participants, each one carrying a plant to be planted later on that day, started their journey to the top. Each of them has their own stories to tell. Even though different from one another everyone has the same goal which is to reach the top and appreciate God’s creation. God’s love was represented by the picturesque site of the place.
Mylen Samson from Verbum Dei Pansol shared a testimony on the fifth station of the mountain. She shared about how her faith grew throughout the years, despite the challenges that she encountered. She shared that being connected to God is a big help in continuing her dream to share him to others.
The hiking and tree planting activity concluded with the Awarding of the Certificates of the Participants headed by Jonnalyn Estrada from Verbum Dei Pansol and Fr. Iwao Ikegami who were the main organizers of the event.
Like the message of Philippians 1:6 which says “He who began a good work in you will carry it to the completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The hiking and tree planting activity served us a reminder to never stop planting good seeds because in due time we will reap the harvest.
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks from the WordNews team
Life is a constant journey. As the old saying goes, “Difficult roads to beautiful destinations.” Every journey in life begins with a leap of faith.
Just this Sunday, I together with the Verbum Dei Teens and Youth were invited to unfold a journey. It was to have a moment of truth and silence with Jesus through a long walk that will help us realize our individual mission and to reflect on this question, “In this season of lent- where am I invited to walk?”
It was a warm Sunday morning when a total of 14 Teens and Youth accepted the invitation to have a long walk with Jesus. The hike started with the reminder of do’s and don'ts that must be considered since most of the participants were first-timers. Then we were invited to have a meaningful and purposeful walk with Christ.
Everyone was excited to embark on this trip. After we did our stretching, we began. We started walking and following the trail. After a few step, jump and leap, we arrived into a “mini-stop” close to the waterfalls. There we get to be acquainted with a local who sells coconut. We stopped for a while to drink water and to buy some coconut juice. Minutes passed by and everybody was ready for the next miles. As we carry on the next long walks, it was the time in which we need to deal with the steep and stony parts of the hike. Our trail guide, Kuya Andy, had to stretch a helping hand since the rocky part of the trek was astounding. Nevertheless, with everyone’s courage and determination we made it to the next part on the trail.
Under the scorching heat of the sun, we looked for a place where we had our next activity. The activity focused on building camaraderie and recollecting on the purpose that we have for this Lenten season. The game went well and everyone was able to build friendship through actively participating in the games that were provided. After the game, Ate Adree shared beautiful phrases on how essential and important this season of Lent is. We were challenge to think about the invitation that God wants us to discover and to put in action.
As we continued, going up and following the footsteps of our trail guide, the path was stonier and impressive. The higher we go, the more scenic the area gets. So many places were picture-perfect. Along the way we meet new friends who will either lead or block your way. They are the local dogs and cows. They were very friendly. It was already noon when we arrived at the basketball court; we stopped for a bit and had our stomachs ready for lunch. We need to regain our energy back by nourishing our body with food.
Afterward, we had to keep going so that we can cover the next few kilometers that will lead us to the peak. Everyone seemed exhausted and tired but not willing to give up. We were determined to finish the walk and excited to discover our individual realizations. Taking every stride, little did we know that for just a few more cow encounters, uphill road, grassy pavements and cogon tunnels, we were close to the goal.
When we arrived at the peak, everyone appreciated the view. Together, we gathered ourselves and had a group sharing. We didn’t just conquer the peak, but we courageously found peace and acquired the invitation that we were called to, as well.
Indeed, the picturesque view from the peak will never disappoint you. Through the experience, we found beauty in tranquility, as we grasp the invitation for this journey. It was for me to realize that I am not alone; God’s will is there and He will lead the way, accompanied by faith, courage, strength, and hope. With heaven sent companions the journey became lighter and brighter. It was a journey that helped us to look deep within and realize the message that God want us to know. One of the most rewarding things everyone experienced. Truly, I can say, I didn’t just become courageous, I also knew where I am invited to go and found growth with my relationship with the Almighty. What a beautiful and meaningful journey it was.
Here is a short vlog of the event:
Here are some photos from the event:
With thanks to Ena Clavel and the WordNews team
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