What a joy it was to be in Manila for CFCFFL’s 30th Anniversary and the Country Servants’ Meetings! It had actually been exactly thirty years since I had last been in the Philippines—way back in the summer of 1981, I was writing letters to Mike Frigge (who was later to become my husband!) from the small village of Blagan in the hills up above General Santos City, where I was doing literacy work with SIL. In my spare time, I’d write to Mike about the wonderful fruits I’d been introduced to (mango, papaya, lychee, rambutan), about purple (!) ubi ice cream, about the pig that lived under our bamboo house and the sound of the rooster crowing every morning, about the amazing speed with which the sun rose and set in this land so near the equator…. Thirty years ago, I never dreamed that Mike and I would be married with six children and living at the other end of the globe in Iceland, and that God would call us in 2002 to serve in a community that He was raising up AT THE VERY SAME TIME He’d brought me to the Philippines the first time! It never ceases to amaze me how God weaves together the strands of our lives….
It was such a privilege for Mike and I to come to Manila for the 30th Anniversary celebrations, and we thoroughly enjoyed spending those two weeks with our CFCFFL brethren! What a blessing to finally get to meet the people behind the emails, such as Maribel Descallar and Jack and Peggy Burgoyne in the Home Office, and Xavy Padilla, to mention just a few—I marvel at all the work they and so many others in the Community are able to accomplish, day in and day out! And how can we say enough about the generosity and hospitality of Filipinos—we were overwhelmed with love every place we went—from that first late night when the Borja’s picked us up from the airport and brought us to stay in their home… all the way through to our final dinner with Fr. Gustilo and the Country Servants at Amici on the night we left to return to Iceland—we feasted on the joy of being together with brothers and sisters in Christ even more than on all the delicious food during those two wonderful weeks!
During the various meetings we attended, I really appreciated the emphasis given to our CFCFFL charism—the clear-cut reminder that we are called to evangelism through family renewal—this must be our first priority, di ba?! It is so easy to get caught up in the daily details of family life, ministry, work responsibilities, keeping up with friends on Facebook, taking care of issues or problems that keep popping up like weeds… and lose sight of the essentials—what the Lord has specially called us to be doing and why! And as I heard the stories of CLS’s in Africa where people walked 20km EACH WAY for NINE consecutive days, or about our brethren in Arab countries who weekly risk losing their jobs or being imprisoned or kicked out of the country because they get together for their household meetings in family homes, or about the woman in Myanmar who saved for a whole month in order to afford the fare for the ferry so that she could attend their GA…well, I felt totally wimpy! I am in awe at their sacrifices, and when I look at myself, I find I need to pray: “Lord, You lit a flame under me in Manila—please keep blowing on it with the breath of Your Spirit so that I can break out of old habits and run this race with renewed vigor and strength, faithfully fulfilling Your call to me through our CFCFFL Covenant. Please use me and our entire world-wide Community as workers in Your fields to bring the Good News of Salvation to everyone!” My God is now my strength—may I always walk in that strength, giving Him the glory!
–April Frigge, CFCFFL-Iceland