Strength in God Conference, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 18th November 2011
(By: Julie Mae H. Bacus)
“So GREAT… Exhausting, yet uplifting!” This is how most people who attended SIG Conference yesterday felt. The long travel, the hassles of waking up early, the preparation & all, have been dragging; but at the end of the day, we were all so filled with vibrancy, zealousness & love! Blessed are we for being a part of this community, and for being chosen to take part of this experience.
The conference was held in Flora Creek Hotel, Dubai UAE; the morning session was taken care of by the Northern Emirates (Dubai & Sharjah), while the afternoon session was led by the Southern Emirates (Abu Dhabi & Al Ain). The talks for Sessions 1 to 4 were delivered by Tito Benjie Gadi & Tito Pancho Lopez-Tan, respectively, with special sharings from their better halves, Tita Elaine & Tita Marilyn.
The 4 Cs – The Fervor of our First Love
Christ Centered. Called as Couples. Called to Care for the Children. Called to Community.
As it was written in the bible, we are all called by God even from our mother’s womb. He has given us our names & a purpose. What we need to do is to live according to the plan & purpose of the Father, so we could live a happy, meaningful, & purposeful life.
Although most of us feel that we have our own priorities (i.e., to assist our family, to take care of our husband/wife or children, to mingle with friends, etc.), we should organize our thoughts, contemplate & realize that we have to keep the fervor of our First Love, the Call, & responding to our Destiny, is essential in having Christ as the very centre of our lives and the top most priority. As the Prophet Jeremiah says:” For I know that plans I have in you, plans to prosper you & not to harm you, plans to give you future filled of hope” (Jer. 29:11)
Living out our Call
You are my servant, to whom I show my glory.
has always been forthright in His statements. He seemed offensive in most of His gospel, but if we look at the deeper meaning of it, we realize that what He actually means is to give us hope.
A light & a mirror, that’s what we are. We are called the “Light of the World”. How? It is when we become witnesses of the Lord, sharing our life in the community, sharing our stories to others, which showed God’s strength is within us. And with these stories, other people could get inspiration from it, especially during hard and troubled times. God has used us, and used us well, for we are called to share His mission.
Most of the time though, we question our capability and our worth in serving Him; at times, we are afraid to commit, for we think we are not worthy enough. Again, we were reminded that, it is not about the “ME attitude”, it is only saying “YES” to God, and He will do the rest.
God has neither hands, nor feet, nor eyes, to do His will, so He uses a person (like us), to fulfill His mission. Our eyes will be His eyes, our hands and feet, our whole being, will be as Him. For how will God show His love for us, if He will not use us? Giving ourselves generously to others means giving yourself to the Creator. Isn’t it fulfilling to know that we have helped God in making this world better, and helping Him complete his mission? Definitely YES!
As a host for the afternoon session of the conference, it was my first time that I felt my whole legs were too weak just before the program started. Yet the Holy Spirit has filled me with so much strength! And I praise the Almighty for that.
Comrade in Christ, focus in God’s Strength
God will provide what you need.
As our shirt boldly stated, of all the hardships, trials, sufferings, all the negative feelings & emotions, all pessimistic things that are present in our surroundings, WE WILL OVERCOME! God has been our source of strength; we draw it all from Him. He has manifested His strength from ordinary people, from saints, from His disciples, even from His son; so why not from us? He loves us so much that He will definitely take a step for us.
There will be times when we give all our strength to certain things: things that we love to do, things we want in life. However, He has not written these things to be part of our lives, so it was cut. Plans you have worked on for a long time but ended up useless, since these didn’t have any blessings from Him. As Tito Pancho said, “Do not desire so much for things, that when God doesn’t give it, you will end up frustrated”. God will provide what you need, not what you want.
Humble ourselves before Him, always remember that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus; believe that in Christ, we can do all things, because if God is with us who can be against us? (Rom 8:31). As our journey continue, be steadfast in enduring the difficulties we would certainly encounter.
Raise Restore Reach
“It is too little, he says for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth“ ~ Isaiah 49:6
CFC-FFL’s history is no accident in relating to this verse — we almost fell, but we rose and are restored, and at present, we are reaching out! God has planned our journey and has assigned each of us (whatever our service in the community is) to be a light to the nation.
As for those who testified about drawing God’s strength in their lives, we had: Bro Pol & Sis Viedahlyn Magracia (CFL-AUH), who shared their struggles in their married life & overcoming it; Sis Salve Aldeguer (CFL-Sharjah), who talked about her and her husband’s services for the SFL in Sharjah, and which helped them to feel younger and hopeful to live life forever in love; Sis Leny Comia-Chavez (HFL-Al Ain), who shared about her efforts in keeping a long distance relationship with her husband; and lastly, Brother Ed Diaz (SvFL-AUH) who talked about some humps & bumps in his life abroad, & shared his new blessings in having another and better job, which will lead him to his new mission country. God’s Strength was truly the key that gave them courage to share their lives in a big crowd, such as the conference.
We were also entertained by a couple of joyful and energetic moments, such as a dance number from our SFL Sisters from the Northern Emirates, which showcased their talents in the tune of “Trading My Sorrow”; and also the unforgettable icebreaker, which is the Banana Dance, that even after the event, you can hear a couple of people singing and dancing it!
But nothing beats the most awaited part of every CFC-FFL gathering — the Praise Fest. This is when we raise the roof, sing our hearts out, dance, and fill the whole ambiance with God’s grace & love, and also oftentimes we experience shedding a tear or two because we are just overwhelmed with God’s presence.
First love, our calling, being a light of the world, being blessed, destiny — these words signify one great day, great music, and a great event. The assembly was in no way an accident. God has planned everything to fulfill it according to what is written in our destiny, and that is, on that fateful date of 18th November 2011, God strengthened us.
Photos from: Bro. Randy Espiril, Bro. Joemer Hernandez, Bro. Rusty Estrella