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Pushing our boat further in Olango!
Last November 9 and 10, members of the Verbum Dei Family of Cebu facilitated a silent retreat with the students of Nemesio-Epifania Taneo Memorial High School in Tingo, Olango Island, Cebu. This was the first retreat in the island, in partnership with their Campus Ministry, which we have been working with since February of this year.
Tweny-seven young retreatants from Olango, and three from Cebu City joined us for the two days, where we had four guidelines, longer times of silent prayer with the Word of God, creative/working prayer, shared meals and snacks, and afternoon icebreakers. It was beautiful seeing these young people discover Jesus so alive in the Word of God, and writing their prayers. At the end of the two days, where we deepened on Luke 5:1-11, we gave the retreatants a necklace with the cross, as a symbol of their newfound friendship with Jesus who is our greatest friend.
One of the young retreatants, Rgeane, shares her experience of the retreat:
"Sometimes in life, we feel an emptiness within us. We feel that we are alone in the four corners of the room engulfed by total darkness, but the truth is we're not. Our boat is full that is why God can't enter. Our life is more focused on earthly things that is why we can't entertain Him. ‘He allows us to feel our downs so that we can have a space for Him.’ He allows every obstacle for us to learn that he is just on our side, even if we don't notice his existence, and even if we are not willing to be his minister.
Have you gone in front of the mirror and asked yourself, "Who am I?" No one can tell us who we are. Our circle of friends, teachers, family, social media accounts, and even ourselves can't. There is only one person who knows us beyond what we know of ourselves. It is God, only God. We can talk to him without any hesitation. We can talk to him without any doubt that he might judge us. Talking to him is just like having a long, heart-to-heart conversation with an old yet unforgettable friend. ‘The more you know God, the more you know yourself.’ With him we are more than real and more capable to do things.
We think that every day is a normal day. We wake up, go to school or work, eat and sleep. ‘We don't recognize that the small things are miracles or a blessings in disguise. Being able to see the beauty of the world, to breathe, to talk and listen is a miracle.’ It's a chance that is given to us. We should appreciate the value of small things because not all of us have the opportunity to always recognize that value.
I am not an expert singer but I will sing about his greatness. I am not a good dancer but I will dance just to show to the world that he is flexible enough to cater to a lot of people, good or bad. I am not a talented person but I can shine because I have my light - God! I made and will make mistakes but now I am with God. I'm not so fully equipped with wisdom, knowledge, and experience to defend him, but I can be a living testament that he is not dead; he is surely alive and he is writing my story. I am a stone in the shore, not that important and precious, but God offers his hand to lift me. I am a solitary bird on a flight to nowhere but now I am home because I am with him. I was once lost but now I am found."
Here are some photos of the event:
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