May 10-16 was marked on my calendar. It was the seven days when we would go out on mission to North Western Luzon. All of us, Timothy Awardees, were excited to see each other again, build relationships, create perfect moments, and most especially, to experience Jesus. Indeed, we were able to experience the four F’s of YFC-fun, friendship, freedom, and faith.
It was only during the ILC that most of us met. Of course, we were all just “feeling close” to each other, just as we would “feel close” to new campers. So, in this mission trip, we did become close to each other. We shared great moments where some of them even put a label in our names-our bloopers. Every one of us has one or two, even the full time workers we were with. When these things were mentioned, we instantly were reminded of that specific person and vice versa.
Kuya Xavy was initially our Big Brother. He later on became B2-Budoy 2-and we sang the song, “sina B1 at B2….” Kuya Jerdie was our Bigger Brother, obviously because of his physique. He was also the team’s clown and would make us laugh with corny and not so corny jokes. After the short laughter, we would all sing, “Going bulilit, going bulilit, na-na-na-na-na-na-na.” Sometimes, they’re all “na-na.”
Ate Maan was our Big Sister who later on became our mommy, or “Mama Tim.” We remembered her with Pampers’ song, “Good morning, good morning, na-na-na-na-na-na.” She asked us to write down its full lyrics so she could sing the whole song to her pamangkin every morning and not just the first part.
Kuya Mike, Region Head of NW Luzon, was famous for his microphone voice. We would really laugh at his booming laughter when Kuya Jerdie pulled his jokes. More than that, he really made us laugh when he seriously said, “Alam mo Ate Em (Ate Maan), hindi ko naman talaga kinonsider yung sarili ko na mataba.”
Kuya Tonz, full-time worker for Pangasinan, had a lot of look a likes. One of them was my high school Economics teacher, that’s why I called him “sir.” Kuya Jueren, full-time worker for La Union, would always act as if he had braces. He said his braces were made of barb wire. Kuya Eggay, region head for Central Luzon, lost his cellphone in Baguio. But there’s nothing to worry about, he bought a new sim later that day. Kuya Jo, Mission Volunteer for Baguio, was “pressured” to bring every school in Baguio to GK Rayville Treasure Village. Ate Ivy, full-time for Ilocos Norte, gave us bowls of hot, delicious lomi.
Ian, awardee from Davao, was Jerdie Jr. because of all his remarks. He was Budoy 1 because he always sang the theme song of “Panday.” Star, also from Davao, really made us laugh with her text message to Kuya Xavy. It was Saturday night in Baguio, and we were leaving for Ilocos Norte that night, except for Kuya Xavy, Star and Angelo. Her message goes this way, “Kuya Xavy, may pupuntahan pa ba tayo, or are we going somewhere?”
Chikkie was from Siquijor. When we were in GK Rayville Treasure Village in Baguio, we were introducing ourselves to Tito Mannix, Baguio Area Head. Everyone was telling their names and the province they came from, but to our surprise, Chikkie said, “Siquijor po.” From then on, we call her Chiquijor. But she’s not over. When we were in GK Namnaman, we were having a last minute meeting before the “Araw ng SIGA” finally starts. Someone asked who the Emcees would be, and then Ate Maan asked Chikkie to be one of the Emcees. Without looking away from her notebook, she seriously answered, “hindi ako puwede, boring akong tao.” After a second of silence, everyone burst into roaring laughter.
Mike lives in Negros Occidental, and serves Campus Based in Iloilo. He was Popeye and Em-em was fond of singing to him “We Belong” by Toni Gonzaga. “Don’t you know that we both belong baby…” Russel was from Iloilo as well. He loved taking pictures of places and things, great for souvenir. He took pictures of Jollibee in La Union, and other places. He was also “Mr. Navigator.” We would always know where we were because he kept track of the towns we passed by and compare them to his handy-dandy Philippine Map. Diane came from Iloilo. We called her “Magic Sing” because she knows almost every song that existed, and she really memorized their lyrics. She was the one who gave Ate Maan the lyrics of the Pampers commercial.
Em-Em was our youngest from Oriental Mindoro. Carmz’ MP3 player was with her on the bus when it flew right out of the window while going up to Baguio. I was sitting behind her when I heard something out of my window almost the same time as I heard her say, “yung MP3!!!” Kuya Jueren and Russel went down the bus and down the curves to retrieve it. The MP3 player was back and believe it or not, it only had minor scratches and it was still playing songs!
Angelo, an awardee from Manila, was only with us for two days in Baguio. Even though he was late, the 10-clap he taught us became a hit. It even reached Ilocos Norte! Carmz, also from Manila, was really full of conviction. When she was asked what her course was by her host in Baguio, she said, “Nursing po, and I don’t have plans of leaving the country po.” Defensive!
So, the only one left was my blooper. Okay, mine was the first one and it was really not a joke. I left my bag in BK in North Luzon Expressway, where we had our breakfast Wednesday morning. We had to go back and it was really a long U-turn. It was not actually a U-turn, because we had to exit and enter the high way. But God showed how awesome He is because He did not let my bag fall to bad hands. The management found my bag and it was returned to me without loosing anything.
In this Mission Trip, we were able to see how great and awesome God’s creations were, and at the same time, enjoy them. We were able to see a lot of places in the four provinces we went to. In Pangasinan, we went to Lingayen and were able to see the gulf where they said Mc Arthur really landed first during World War 2. We also went inside their Provincial Capitol. It was facing the sea, so on the roof top was a great view. After Lingayen, we went to Our Lady of Manaoag Church. I was only a child when I last visited that place, and boy, how big it changed!
La Union was our second province of destination. Before going to GK Soledad, we stopped by a surf resort. The view was breathtaking! It was so majestic that I can’t imagine how God’s majesty was. We all can feel the wind, breathe the fresh air, hear the waves against the rocks, and see the rays of the sun-angel rays-shining on the earth.
We watched MI:3 in SM Baguio. Like the movie, Mission Impossible, every mission is possible, it can be accomplished. But unlike the movie, we don’t rely on our skills and capabilities, we rely on God.
Last stop was Ilocos Norte. We went to Dumadara Festival in Davila. They celebrate the festival to give thanks to St. Martha in helping them have fish-dumadara-to catch for their livelihood. We rode bankas to join the procession. We also went to Marcos Museum, ate Ilocos Norte’s Empanada (quite different from our empanada), and ate Lomi at Ate Ivy’s family Lomi house, all in Batac. Her mom even gave each of us a fan from Marcos Museum.
Of course, because this is a mission trip, we get to experience Christ with the local YFC members. We gave sharings, workshops, and talks. We also received nourishment through the SHOUT talks echoed to us (we, in Manila, were having the SHOUT that same week). In these activities, we really saw God working.
In Pangasinan, we gave a recollection to the province’s future leaders. Because two SHOUT days were over, we gave the first two SHOUT talks to them namely “Awesoome God” and “Walk with Me.” We also gave them the workshop “How to be blessed by the Bible.” The YFCs we met there were really young, but being with them, hearing their stories, the things they wanted for their province, we were assured that every corner of Pangasinan will experience the awesomeness of Christ and more than that, they would be walking with Him.
We stayed in GK Soledad in La Union. I was amazed at the different plants present in the small village. We later learned that the residents took the initiative to beautify their surroundings though those plants. There in GK Soledad, we met with the CFC Council and some YFC Coordinators. Kuya Xavy gave a short talk, and some of us shared. It was an appreciation night for the YFCs and the CFCs. The next day, we heard the talk “King’s Champion.” After that, we put on our gears-gloves-and grabbed our tools-paint brushes-to start the painting of the metal bars.
Wow. It was just amazing. Being a King’s Champion means proclaiming Him as our King, defending and trusting Him. Christ will be proclaimed in La Union because of His champions in this province. When the YFCs and the CFCs in this province stand side-by-side in this battle, trusting only the king to make everything possible, every heart and every soul will be conquered for Christ.
Kenon road was famous for the head of the lion. Soon, it would be famous for GK Rayville Treasure Village. Ray was a Fil-Am who died in a car accident in the US. Donating to GK was his parents’ way of keeping him alive. This was literal padugo. The word treasure was added to the village’s name because they said, for a long time, people have been looking for treasures in Baguio. But little did they know that the real treasure was the people. The Filipinos were actually gold covered in mud-poverty. In GK, the true Filipino was uncovered. We were very blessed to witness the awarding of the first ten houses of this village. One fact that really amazed us all was about the acquisition of the land where the village stood. It was donated by a local, Tito Gerry. The land was his only possession, yet, he chose to give it. He gave it out of his love for the people.
Just as what Kuya Jueren’s talk, “Burden for the Loss” said, we are called to love. Love the people who are hard to love even more. Because in due time, when we have given that love, the person who received that love will be able to use his highest gift. The Filipino, when continuously loved, will be able to realize his full potentials. He will soon discover the treasure within Him.
We spent the most number of days in Ilocos Norte. First, we helped in the Kasangga Assembly. The talk “Being a Leader” was given to the young leaders of the province. The next day, we went to GK Namnaman in Laoag. We met there the SIGA members to have just a day of fun and friendship. The plan was to have a lot of games then after that, a pep talk on “what is SIGA?” After our first game, the day took its own course. The brothers played volleyball while the sisters sat down and shared a part of ourselves, from favorite movies to our ambition. God became the day’s director for even if the day didn’t go as we had planned it, our objective was still met-to have a fun-filled day where the SIGA can build friendship with the YFCs present. The day was just a sharing of love for one another. Personally, I feel so blessed that time, standing witness to a transformation that was just starting. Namnaman means hope. That hope will remain because it was fueled with love.
That night, we also met with the province’s CFC Council. Everyone shared their experiences on the importance of the cooperation of the whole community. Indeed, when everyone in our community will work together, the 10-year vision would be fulfilled.
Yes, we all had lots of fun during this trip. All of us have different personalities, but we were able to become not only “feeling close” but really close because of the God we serve. We were able to build relationships not only within our circle, but also with the people we mingled with during the whole seven days. All of these became possible because of the freedom God gave us. He gave His love, and the freedom to do whatever we wish to do with that love. The ten of us chose to use that freedom rightly. We chose to reciprocate that love to His people. We chose to be mirrors and reflect all the glory back to God.