Showing posts with label Ministry Updates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ministry Updates. Show all posts

Onward to Tagkawayan

20 years is a very long time. A newborn baby would have bid farewell to his teenage years at 20. A fledgling business would have become well-known after 20 years. Two decades equal 20 years or a "score" as in Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," "Four score and seven years ago..."

But for us at the UP Dormitories Christian Fellowship (UPDCF), 20 years signify our sovereign God's faithfulness to the Missions Exposure Trip (MET).  From its beginnings in 1994, God has enabled generation after generation of DCFers to go out into different parts of the Philippines to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Based on available data and interviews with alumni, I've compiled a list of the different provinces, cities and municipalities God has blessed through the MET. They are as follows:

1994: Calapan, Mindoro
1995: Lucena, Quezon
1996: Catanauan, Quezon
1997: Manaoag, Pangasinan
1998: Benguet
1999: Sorsogon City, Sorsogon
2000: Daraga, Legazpi
2001: Mindoro
2002: Sta. Maria, Isabela
2003: Antique and Guimaras
2004: Irosin, Sorsogon
2005: Amulung, Cagayan
2006: Lucban, Quezon
2007: Sibalom, Antique
2008: Sta. Maria, Isabela
2009: Infanta, Quezon
2010: Sta. Maria, Boac, Marinduque
2011: Catanauan, Quezon
2012: Sorsogon City, Sorsogon

And this October 15-22, 2013, the executive committee and Kuya Caloy Novisteros decided to help a pioneering church-based campus ministry in Tagkawayan, Quezon.

This will be my sixth Missions Expo since my sophomore days in UP Diliman, and I can attest to the transforming power of the Gospel both in the lives of the team and the communities we visit.

1 John 4:10 and 19 serve as the MET team's battle cry this year. Here we read two of the most striking verses about "agape" or unconditional love penned by the Apostle John, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins...We love because he first loved us."

God defined love as Jesus' ultimate sacrifice for the human race. Motivated by this love, we also share Christ to people who don't know Him yet so that they too may take part of the joy of salvation. The truth is, unless God loved us first, called us first, we would be unable to respond to the Gospel. It is truly purely by grace that we are saved.

As with last year's MET, several activities have been lined up to bless the communities we'll be visiting. At the heart of the Missions Trip is a day-long campus evangelism. We will be visiting the Katimo National High School and the Kinatakutan National High School to share Jesus on campus and in the classrooms.

Please pray with us so that the school principals and officials will open the schools to the team. Pray also for adequate preparations and training for each team member, especially for those who are joining the first time.

We will also invite the students to a whole day seminar on love, sex and marriage using the "True Love Waits" curriculum. The talks and activities aim to give the students Biblical foundations on these three crucial issues. It is our desire to see the attendees committing themselves to a life of purity as they wait on God's perfect plan for their lives.

Other than the campus, the team will also be sent to the community to do house-to-house evangelism. This usually happens in the neighborhood where the team stays. In the past years, I found this kind of evangelism more challenging because people do not readily open their houses to strangers.

We ask for your prayers, then, so that God will soften the hearts of the people in the community. Pray also that the Lord will embolden the team so that they can share the Gospel clearly and powerfully to the people they'll encounter.

The last evangelistic activity involves a ministry originally started by Kuya Dave Griffiths in the Philippines. Kuya Dave is a British Missionary who spent several years helping the dorms fellowships. He brought the Beach Missions (BM) in the country almost four years ago.

The BM is originally designed to engage locals and tourists who flock the Philippine beaches during the Holy Week. We included the BM in our MET last year because Sorsogon City has several coastal barangays.
Instead of foreigners, however, we ministered to more locals who live just around the area.

Because we're going to help a church-planting effort in Tagkawayan, I'm not sure if there is an established youth fellowship that can partner with us there, but we have still prepared a night of worship and fellowship. This is our way of strengthen and encouraging one another to continue God's work in our individual Jerusalems.

Songs and Biblical exhortations will fill the program. This will also help recharge our spiritual batteries as we continue to minister to the community.

And at the end of the entire MET, the team will spend time relaxing and resting in preparation for the long journey home. The RnR (rest and recreation) is usually a simple fellowship where the entire team shares about God's mighty workings throughout the trip. It is during this time that we echo back God's goodness through our individual experiences in sharing the Gospel and leading people to Christ.


In this 20th year of the Missions Exposure Trip, I invite you all to journey with us. Journey with the 40-member team in prayer and giving. Pray especially as we begin to invite people to join the trip. Pray also as we start to raise funds for the needed Php 150,000 for this year's MET.

It may seem a large amount, but God has been faithful these past 19 years, we're confident that He will again provide for His work in Tagkawayan, Quezon.

Pray for the workers who have gone ahead of us and will be staying long after we've finished the Missions Trip. May God ever empower them to continue proclaiming His Name in their Jerusalem.

Finally, pray for all of us in DCF and the Living Word Christian Fellowship (LWCF), our partner ministry from Lucban, Quezon. May God prepare us for this ministry. May God transform lives through this ministry. May we learn to love the Gospel more, share it more and live it more not only in MET communities but most especially in our campuses, dorms, families, churches, neighborhood and classrooms.

To God be all the glory, honor and praise!


If you're interested to join, please fill up this FORM
If you want to help in any way, please contact me directly at 09265531527.

July 2013 Prayer Updates

Freshmen Fellowship

Hello Praying Friends!

I pray that this letter finds you well! We are now well into the the first semester for AY 2013-2014, and the Lord has been so gracious in His ministries. I continue to serve students as a full-time campus missionary for the UP Dormitories Christian Fellowship here in UP Diliman.

Last academic year, majority of the students I've worked with for the past two and a half years have already graduated. It is my joy to see them venture into a new phase of life as working professionals. It is only by God's grace that I've managed to minister to that first batch, even if I'm not yet experienced in ministry.

At the start of this year, I am at awe for God opened several new Bible Study (BS) groups with freshmen students. At the moment, I'm serving mainly students in the Molave and Centennial Dorms. We started Evangelistic/Discipleship small group BS using Pastor Bel Magalit's "Encounters With Jesus."

This is a series of seven expositional studies focused on answering the questions, "Who is Jesus?" and "What does He teach us about salvation?" We hold the BS throughout the week aside from our weekly fellowships in the dorms.

We have several students from Pisay CVC this year who are active in both Victory and DCF. I'm thankful for the partnership because we all learn from each other's best ministry practices. I also enjoy the sessions with these students because of their evident hunger for God's Word.

Pisay CVC boys

Aside from Pisay students, God has blessed us also with several freshies coming from Christian backgrounds. This is a tremendous blessing because even if they're still young, we can already tap them to help in the fellowship one way or another.

This has been very true when it comes to inviting and engaging people to visit the weekly Bible Fellowships.

God has been working breakthroughs as well among the second year members of DCF. The Kalayaan Brigade -- the second years in charge of the Freshmen fellowship -- has been truly a blessing and an encouragement. They are very responsible, eager and bold for Christ. In fact, for the first meetings of their fellowships, they chose to speak in pairs.

This is different from the usual set up where the students asked the alumni to speak on certain topics for the fellowship. My main help has been to ensure that their messages remain Biblically-rooted and Christ-centered.

Reflecting on the new strategies that we implemented this year, I figured that genuine relationship is very important in sharing Jesus. Compared to the previous years, we chose to focus on people rather than events this year.

Centennial Fellowship

In fact, even before the start of the academic year, we went out of our way and engaged the incoming dormers by helping them during the enrollment period. We also provided review lessons for their Math exams and other school requirements. And while we did these, we grabbed every opportunity to share Christ in words or deeds.

Ultimately, however, it is God's grace that enabled the dorm ministry to survive thus far. As I always emphasize, we are not working for DCF or the glory of the organization. We are working for Jesus. Our strength and our strategies will fail if we do not rely on Him.

Continue to labor with me in prayer as we begin to deepen our discussions on the Gospel with the freshmen attendees. Pray especially for those who do not know Jesus yet that God will work in their hearts and enable them to believe. Ask the Lord to open their eyes that they may fully understand the Gospel and embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Ask God to empower every DCFer especially with the increasing academic load. May each learn to balance their time and still put God at the center of all their work. Pray for me also that I may have the strength to handle the different ministry work on campus. I'm also helping out in Pisay Diliman so I really need time management and physical and emotional strength to finish all my work.

Pray to God that He will continue to provide for the fellowships. We had been providing free dinner to the freshmen attendees at Molave for the past weeks because their dorm canteen was shut down for renovations. We noticed that even this simple service is a way of extending God's love especially among the financially challenged members of the fellowship.

Ask God for wisdom for the Kalbrig as they figure out how to engage Kalayaan students better. May God also provide breakthroughs for us in this dorm which has become all girls due to the dorm renovations.

Ask God for wisdom for the other dorm fellowships that are rebuilding this sem. Pray particularly for Sampa, Kamia and Ilang that the Lord will work in the hearts of the residents so that they will seek Him more. May the DCFers in these dorms be ever steadfast and dependent on God as they go through this challenging season.

Finally, uphold all of us in prayer so that we will keep in step with the Spirit in everything that we do. May God be glorified always!

In Christ,

Pau T.

Yakal Fellowship

Thank You HP Youth Sta. Rosa!

Sa aking mga kapatid sa HP Youth Sta. Rosa,

Ako'y lubos na nagpapasalamat at nagpupuri sa Panginoon sa pagkakataong ibinigay Niya sa akin upang tumulong sa inyong ministry sa Sta. Rosa.

Nakakataba ng puso at nakakagalak na makita ang patuloy na pagalaw ng Diyos sa buhay ng mga kabataan. Ako man ay naka-base sa Maynila, nais kong ipaalam sa inyo na kasama kayo sa aking mga panalangin.

Nawa'y patuloy kayong magpagamit sa Kaniya sa lahat ng pagkakataon. Maslumalim pa kayo sa Kaniyang Salita at patuloy na ibabad ang inyong mga sarili sa presensya ng Kaniyang Espiritu.

Ipagkakatiwala ko sa inyo ang lahat ng mga dumalo sa inyong youth event. Nawa'y masamahan niyo silang lahat sa higit na pagkakilala kay Hesus bilang Panginoon at Tagapagligtas. Alam kong may mga buhay na nabago ng Diyos sa natapos na event. Maging sensitibo sana kayo upang makita ang maraming pagkakataon upang tulungan ang mga kaibigang ito.

Tandaan niyo rin na malawak at sagana ang ani ng Panginoon pero marami pang mangagawa ang kinakailangan. Dalangin kong bawat isa sana sa inyong fellowship ay hindi lang maging attendee or spectator kundi lahat kayo'y maging mga disciples na nag-aalab para kay Hesus. Patuloy ninyong ibahagi ang Mabuting Balita na ang kaligtasan ay matatagpuan lamang kay Hesus sa grasya at pagtitiwala sa Kaniya.

I leave with you these exhortations from Paul to the young minister Timothy:

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)

God bless you all!

In Christ,

You can read and download my talk HERE.

Chronicles of a Staff Worker (May 16, 2012)

I'm planning a lot lately. In fact, I spent most of May preparing for the coming semester. This means that I'm at home most of the time, putting into writing all the ideas I have for God's ministry in the dorms.

What preoccupied me today was my personal strategic plan for the coming academic year. It's done, praise God! Though I still have to polish some of the more specific programs, I'm happy to say that the most pressing ones are over.

I also updated my dormS page today. I added an entry on the Centennial Dorm as requested by one of my incoming freshmen friends. dormS is an idea that came out from my conversations with a Christian friend. It's closely linked with the concept of service evangelism. That is, you introduce Christ to people first through acts of service to gain their trust and confidence before grabbing the opportunity to have a meaningful conversations about Jesus and His Good News.

Come to think about it, this is also similar to relationship evangelism. It woks on a principle creatively summarized in this statement: "Before people care about what you say, they must first feel that you truly care."

After one and a half years in campus ministry, this is one difference I learned: Students now are highly relational. Because of all the distractions of media, the internet and urban life, it really takes strong relationship connections to get them to sit down and listen to what you have to say.

This doesn't mean that we have to throw away one-on-one or stranger evangelism. This, too, is extremely valuable in scattering seeds of the Gospel. But if we desire to journey with a friend, a relative or a classmate in their faith discoveries, investing on Christ-centered friendships is a must. One missionary friend put it this way, "When we walk with people until they come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are actually discipling them into faith."

Of course all these are strategies and methods of men. I still strongly submit that they are useless apart from the grace and mercy of God touching the hearts of people to open up to Jesus.

dormS is my way of connecting to the incoming freshmen dormers in UP Diliman. I placed several useful articles on the Facebook page while interacting with the comments and questions of the viewers. I am praying that when I meet these students face to face, God will use the acts of service as our jump board in pointing them to Christ.

I have also started browsing our Bible Study material for tomorrow. I still need to answer it on my own, though, and make handouts for my companions. We are using a very old BS guide which was given to me by one of our church elders.

What I liked about the guide is its evangelistic thrust. It's really useful for seekers and new believers as it teaches them to engage with God's Word through thought-provoking questions. They are forced to think and speak because the material is full of questions. The session becomes a wonderful time of discussion and learning with everyone having the opportunity to voice our their minds.

We're going through a chapter of the material entitled, "A Call to Discipleship." It deals with the issue of true discipleship as seen in the New Testament. The chapter also challenges the readers to truly submit all areas of their lives to Christ as Lord, not just Savior. In this sense, the chapter also breaks the watered-down gospel's claims that Jesus can be our Savior without being Lord over our lives.

I'll finish my personal study in the morning and meet with my BS group in the afternoon. Pray with me for strength and wisdom as I wrap up my study. Pray also for healing, I'm not very well lately. I think it's the heat or simply because of stress.

This wraps up my day! Good night and God bless you all!

Random Thoughts and Updates

I graduated from a journalism school but I really don’t like writing. It had been a while since I last wrote anything in my blog. I always promised myself updates and short posts but I could not keep up with procrastination. I just don’t feel like writing.

Why am I writing, then? I don’t know. Maybe I just want to add something in my blog? Or maybe I can feel the resurgence of my writing juices? I really don’t know, but I hope it’s the latter.

The second semester of AY 2011-2012 is almost over. It was a challenging year for me in ministry. There were tons of struggles and challenges but God is indeed faithful. I would have never survived except for His abounding grace and mercy.

This is the time when I just stop and marvel at His wisdom. Even if I read hundreds of books or listen to thousands of podcasts, nothing beats the hands-on experience in ministry. After almost one and a half years in the ministry, I am understanding my mission field more and more. I pray that I can put more of my thoughts in this blog again.

Here are some prayer requests:
1. Pray for healing. I have cough and colds after joining the Beach Missions last week.
2. Pray for the second batch of Beach Missionaries who are going to Pundaquit starting on April 4 to 9.
3. Pray for God’s leading as we re-start the academic year. May we be sensitive as a church and a ministry to His will and Spirit.

Reflections and Prayers for the New Year

I haven't been updating my blog for a while because I don't have the luxury of time. But I believe a post about some of my biggest lessons in ministry last year deserves to be written. So, I'm taking a few minutes to update you about God's workings in my life in the previous year.

2011 is my first full year in Christian ministry. It was a difficult year because of the adjustments I had to make. There were several times I felt idle because I couldn't put my schedule in order. I had full control of my time but the challenge was most of the ministry activities happened simultaneously in selected periods of the day or week. This left me with alternating jam-packed and excessively free time, and switching my biological mood from one mode to the other proved difficult.

By God's grace, however, I learned to handle my unorthodox schedule, slowly mastering how to use my time wisely. In 2012, I commit to be a better steward of this resource as my ministry work expanded to include not only the UP Diliman Campus but also Pisay Diliman and Krus na Ligas Elementary School.

Yes, last year, God opened two new ministry opportunities for me. I now serve students from elementary to college as a counselor, Bible and values teacher, a staff worker, or simply a "kuya." Each ministry has its own set of challenges. Work with elementary students stretch my patience a lot. The hyper-active sixth graders-- around fifty in each class --have difficulty focusing and listening. Many times I find myself consuming much time putting the class in order!

KNL is actually the most challenging of my ministries. I was discouraged many times because I felt that the students were not bearing fruit. Some were becoming worse despite the values lessons we had week after week. But, praise God, because He sustained me until the end of the year. I'm now excited to meet my students again next Monday. Pray with me that they'll be more behaved in the last three months of our meetings.

Pisay is a new territory for me. I decided to help in the ACTS ministry in the Diliman campus because I figured that most of the graduates of the high school enter UP in college. I wanted to minister to them as early as possible and also continue ministering in college especially when they pass UP Diliman.  A few years back, several in our fellowship in the dorms started in ACTS. I desire to serve as a bridge to bring back the connection between their fellowship and ours in serving the students whom God led to our ministry.

I think the greatest challenge in Pisay is the seeming lack of interest of the students. Many of them are glued on their dreams and ambitions, and so find God and spiritual issues unappealing. There are also several restrictions on campus, making our projects and programs less flexible. Despite these, however, the potential of planting seeds of the Gospel is enormous. Pray with us as we continue to seek the Lord's guidance in expanding our ministry among the freshmen in Pisay.

I know that there will be much work in the coming months, but I have peace that God will be with us, giving us strength to  persevere.

Finally, I still have my first ministry, the UP Diliman Campus. We were able to start a fellowship in the newest dorm on campus and I am very grateful to the Lord for that. I know that it is only by His grace that the vision became a reality. I'm also thankful because of the eagerness of other Christians in the Centennial dormitory to help in starting the fellowship. Continue to pray for us as we expand our activities in the said dormitory.

As for the other dorm fellowships, pray with us as we revive and revitalize them. 2 Corinthians 4:1 always resonates in my heart when I think about my ministry in DCF. God exhorts, "Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart."

It is by God's mercy and grace that we are ministering to our fellow dormers. He gave us this ministry and He will sustain us as long as He sees fit. We are dependent upon Him. If He desires to expand us, He will. If He desires to dissolve us, I know He will raise other people to minister to the dormers. But as long as we are here by His mercies, we continue to work for God and not lose heart.

There are so many things going on and I'm excited and nervous at the same time. Just thinking about the workload makes me tired, but I know God will sustain me. Please pray with me for people to really commit themselves to the Lord. Pray also for burdened hearts to reach out to the lost in the dorms and in UP as a whole.

I will end here for the mean time. I have so much more in mind, but I'll share them with you in the days to come. Remember me in your prayers.

In Christ,


Designing our Missions Shirt

Now here is an improved version from my friend, Jet. :) It's a lot nicer than mine. Let's watch the evolution of this shirt design.

Here is my first attempt at our missions exposure trip shirt design. It's still a rough draft but I'm posting it for everyone to get an idea of what I'm thinking. It's more of a statement shirt, actually, that says: "Preaching hard truths even on hard times."

I'll work on the readability, though. :)

2011 Missions Budget


*The team is composed of 30 students (14 from DCF, 13 from LWCF-Lucban, and 3 from LWCF-Infanta) together with Pastor Caloy Novisteros (DCF) and Pastor Paul Pennaroyo (LWCF-Lucban). The missions trip will be held for 7 days, from October 21 to October 27, 2011. 

ð       Transportation
DCF team members:
500/person  x  16 people  x  2                                       =      16, 000.00
LWCF team members: 
250/person  x  16 people  x  2                                       =        8, 000.00
ð       Food
45/person/meal  x  32 people  x  22 meals                                   =        31,680.00
drinking water
                        35/container  x  20 containers                                     =            700.00
TLW lunch
30/person  x  80 people                                                   =         2, 400.00
TLW snacks
                        10/person  x  80 people                                             =             800.00

ð       TLW materials and Evangelistic Tracts
60-80 participants & 30 leaders                                                   =       5,520.00

ð       Board and lodging
200/person  x  32 people                                                             =        6, 400.00

ð       Rest and Recreation (Tuhian or Mulanay Beach)
Transporation, Food, Others (for 50 people**)                            =         4, 000.00
**50 people includes the 32 team members and
                some people from the partner church

ð       Other Expenses
Transportation to other barangays
                        200/person  x  32 people                                          =          6, 400.00
medicines/first aid                                                                        =             500.00
TOTAL: PHP 82,400.00

Note: Finances left from the Missions Trip will go to the expenses for DCF Camp on November 4 -5, 2011.

How you can help:
Board and Lodging, Food, Meds, RnR: 193.50/person/day for 7 days- 32 people
Transportation (Bus, and inter-barangay): 475/person one way- 32 people
                                                                               : 950/person full-32 people
Ministry expenses (True Love Waits Seminar, evan, tracts, Christian Literature): 109/participant- 80 participants

·         Option A: Board and Lodging, Food, Meds, RnR
·         Option B: Transportation
·         Option C: Ministry Expenses
·         Option D: Mixed Package
·         Option E: Any Amount

Shirt Designs to Choose from

Dear friends! Here are the three entries for the DCF Missions Shirt. I think another one's going to be added later. Please view the following and give your suggestions:

Option 1 
Option 2 

Option 3

May Newsletter

By God's grace, I'm able to make a newsletter update for my ministry. I pray that the Lord will use this to encourage and minister to all of you. May God alone be glorified in all the wonders and breakthroughs happening in the Dormitories Christian Fellowship.

Thank you in advance for responding to my praise and prayer items. To God be all the glory, honor and praise!

FPT MAY 2011 Newsletter

Praying for a better Quiet Time again

My quiet times were great and wonderful last week but I can feel the downturn coming. It starts with sin and continues to isolation, ending with desperation.

I don't want to go through the cycle again. If only I have the strength and the power to will myself to offer everything to God, I wouldn't be struggling with even the most basic of Christian disciplines.

But the reality is, I am human and I am susceptible to sin and temptation. But I can't stand it anymore. I can't face my Savior every week just to ask for forgiveness for not doing this or for doing that. It's not healthy anymore. It's painful and disappointing.

My prayer this week? May the Lord be gracious unto me and give me the passion and excitement for His word.

May I be worthy to teach His word and to stand in His presence pure and holy.

I seek Your grace, Lord. Amen.


My blog just turned 3! :)

Anyway. As a treat to my readers (if I do), watch out for my gift to you. :)

Praying for a wonderful devotion time

I'm a bit frustrated with how things are going. I'm always tired from the long commute to work and back.

When I reach home, I just want to lie down and sleep until the clock rings the following day. What a life. I can't wait for the weekends when I can enjoy the time for worthwhile activities. Not that my work isn't worthwhile, but the repetitive tasks make it mechanical and tiring.

I still don't know what to do. There are things I want to do that time and circumstance won't permit. Pray with me as I seek His will. Pray with me that I may enjoy His presence and company. I miss my quiet times and prayer times and fellowship. It's true that the real world is harsh. Pray with me that I'll be able to survive it.

May this Psalm give comfort to my heart:

The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the
Lord forever.

(Psalm 23)

Invitation and dorm

Me and my brother gave out invitations today. I had the chance to chat with my former principals in CKC and CCNK. I enjoyed the quick conversations and realized how much I'm indebted to them for the molding and learning in my younger years.

I was expecting to see my teachers, but they were not around when we went to CKC high school. I met only Ma'am Mangaoang and some of the non-working staff of the department. They were on a half-day schedule for the rest of the week because of the ongoing enrollment.

We trooped to the elementary department next and I met Ma'am Eligio and Sr. Lara. It's always a joy to come back to CKC elem because I always feel at home there. Our last stop was my preschool, Capitol Church Nursery Kindergarten. I'm not really sure if they still know me, but we gave them an invitation nonetheless.

I'm glad that I can be reconnected with my past friends and teachers tomorrow. I hope and pray that we will have a good time together, and that I may also share God's goodness to them.

I'm still praying for the dorm admission. To those who aren't accepted yet, don't lose hope. Know that the God we believe in is a God who is in control. Trust Him. :) God bless you!

A day at the Potter's House

I attended a local church today, and it was my first time at the Potter's House Christian Center here in San Fernando.

What is striking with the local congregation is their young pastor. I don't know how old he is but if my estimates are right he's between mid-twenties to early thirties. He's really very young. But thinking about it right now, I can only remember Paul and his letter to Timothy. He exhorted his young assistant and said, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12)."

It's really amazing how God calls the most unlikely people for His ministries.

The message today is also very striking. It's about service in God's ministry. The pastor reiterated that going into the ministry is not as easy as it seems. He says, "The ministry is not a bed of roses." I already know this, but it doesn't change my desire to be involved in God's work.

Against the backdrop of Luke 14, "Following Christ," he built his case that before one attempts to follow and serve Jesus, he must fully know what's at stake. The person must understand every aspect of what he's going into.

This is very true that's why I believe every believer must be grounded on the truth of the Gospel. It's not merely the emotion that should drive a person's relationship with God. Instead, it should be more of the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now I fully understand why Jesus said before building a house the owner must calculate the expenses. Before we dive into ministry, we have to pray hard that the Lord will give us the direction and the passion to serve Him at our best.

But Christians must be careful to obey the Spirit's leading. Our attitude should be dependence on God in everything we do. It is not an excuse that we are not yet fully ready for what God is calling us to do. If this is to be our attitude, we will never be able to carry out God's work. After all, we can never fully prepare for what's out there. Only by God's grace and strength can we weather the trials up ahead.

This message gains significance especially now that I'm praying to enter GreenEarth. It is a Christian organization, and joining it means having a full-time Christ-centered work, the next best thing after full time. I don't know what's in stored for me, but I know God has it all worked out.

Good night. :)

GreenEarth Heritage Foundation

My friends know that I'm a frustrated green thumb. I know the basics of planting-- or farming if you may-- because my father's an agricultural engineer. When we were little, he would teach us how to properly water seedlings and aerate the soil around their roots.

I learned how to take care of seeds until they germinate. He taught me how to transplant seedlings without damaging their roots. My father even gave tips on when to best leave young plants under the sun and when to put them under the shade.

Despite his coaching, however, I never succeeded in mastering this craft. I remember planting sunflowers and Mr. & Mrs. (it's an ornamental plant), but that's just about it. The rest of my attempts failed. A cactus even died under my "care" because of too much water.

But the earth, the soil, trees and plants continue to fascinate me. I remember attending a forum when I was a freshman in U.P. where I learned about the "healing wonders of plants." The speaker, a tree doctor, said we should hug trees when we're depressed to "transfer the negative energy." Looking back, the idea now sounds like New Age to me.

It's funny, however, how, after thee years, Ate Jacq and Ate Janet would find a tarpaulin with a young boy (he looks like me-- the complexion and all) hugging a tree. It's part of a collection displayed around the Acad Oval in UP Diliman.

So, why am I suddenly writing about plants and trees and the environment? It's because of GreenEarth Heritage Foundation. I'm not really a member of the group, but Kuya Butch asked me to help him write their annual report. I'm doing nothing at home so I said, "Sure, why not?"

After two hours of checking their website and monthly reports, I grew fond of the ministry. The foundation's very young-- a little over a year old-- but its goals and vision are inspiring.

GreenEarth aims to transform a piece of land into a thriving organic farming community centered on Christ. I'm not sure about the entire project, but so far, they're tending organic gardens and selling the produce for the benefit of around 15 farming families.

The foundation also engages in reforestation efforts, planting hardwood like acacia and fruit-bearing trees like mango. I find their choice of the acacia tree interesting. Acacia was God's choice for the construction of the Ark of the Covenant which held the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

"In honor of Him who is the grand designer of the heavens and the earth" GreenEarth volunteers planted acacia seedlings around the community's perimeter. During their clearing operations, the group also discovered a century-old mango tree that still bears bounty. This, together with several other mango trees of varying ages, was labeled as part of the community's fruit-bearing assets.

I'm still learning about the community, but more than the environmental and social advocacies, GreenEarth's greatest gift to its beneficiaries is the spiritual transformation it points to Christ. This sets it apart from other environmental and socio-civic groups. Whereas most foundations bank on hard work and dedication, GreenEarth rightly brings the focus back to God. After all, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it (1 Cor. 10: 26)."


There are two things I want to share with you today. The first one is a letter; the second, a simple message about God’s goodness. So in the next couple of minutes, I ask that you bear with me.

It is an honor and a great privilege to address you today. This is surely my most humbling experience so far. I will be honest with you. I have already written three different speeches for our graduation simply because I don’t know what to say.

One of the speeches turned out too academic; the other’s too dramatic for a joyful celebration and the third too surreal, even abstract. So I ended up writing a fourth one, this speech that you are listening to right now. It is my prayer that you consider the message I will leave with you today.
If I were to summarize the other three speeches in an inverted pyramid news style, the first few paragraphs would have gone this way:

This year’s top student challenged a new batch of media practitioners to bring “fresh ideas” and “new
blood” into the industry.

Speaking to almost 250 mass communication graduates in the University of the Philippines, Frederick Paulo Tomacder said they should not be defined by the “ills of media” but by their ability “to correct them.”

“We must not be boxed by what is already out there. Instead, we must bring with us whatever we’ve
learned from the university and share it with the industry to effect change,” he said.

I haven’t really mastered this style of writing, but that would have been the news if I delivered any of the other speeches. But I didn't. In fact, what I have with me today is a letter addressed to the future—25 to 30 years from now. Roughly around that time I believe a number of us will already be the heads of different companies. Some will already be editors, senior reporters, professors, businessmen and women, some may even be politicians… gurus in our own fields.

But before that happens, I want to share this letter to everyone, something we can look back to when we’re already there. This, I hope, can also serve as our guide. Something we can read just to remember our most potent, a time when we were relatively untarnished, full of dreams and hopes for ourselves, our families, perhaps even for our country.

Here it goes:

April 25, 2010, Sunday
University of the Philippines Diliman
College of Mass Communication

Dear blank. (You can place your name there.)

This was the day of your graduation. Finally, you transferred the sablay from the right to the left shoulder, ready for what’s next. I don’t know how you are in the future. I don’t know if you pursued your course and if you are now a top researcher, the anchor of a primetime newscast, a multi-awarded director or the editor of a daily broadsheet.

By the way, I’m curious how newspapers look in the future. Are they still on paper or are they already something else? I hope you still remember everything your professors taught you. You learned from them, you know. And after all the infamous red marks, the humiliating remarks, the impossible deadlines and the unending revisions, you became better. Believe me, you did.

Slowly you learned that jump-cuts are a no-no, that widows and orphans make the layout ugly, that there’s such a thing as mise-en-scene and that the related literature need not necessarily be boring. Some learned faster than you did but those who remembered and applied the corrections were the ones who finished strong. You finished strong.

But are you still applying what you’ve learned? Or are you now caught up in the system? As you read this letter, are you sneering at your younger self for condemning “envelopmental journalism,” avoiding plagiarism, for trying to elevate the quality of broadcast news and for introducing intelligent films? Do you find your younger self too ideal for the world you’re living now?

Only you can answer that. But if ever you’re now part of the vicious cycle you so utterly despised when you were in college, look back and remember. You once desired to improve that system. You, together with your friends and classmates, promised to influence the industry for the better.

You wrote papers against media corruption, joined rallies against political killings and despised the “dumbing down” of movies and television shows. Now don’t tell me you did all these only for requirement’s sake because I know you didn’t.

I’m excited to find out how you are in the future. But I’m nervous at the same time because I know there are roughly two things that can happen—I may see you rising above the vicious cycle, becoming the strongest link, reversing it all together. Or I may, in the future, find this letter, read it and feel dismayed and ashamed of myself for being too ambitious but failing.

Many people sneered when you wrote this letter. They were cynical. They said you wouldn’t make it. They even predicted that just like them, you would be swallowed by the ills of the industry and the society. There was just too much evil that they thought any beacon of light would be easily snuffed out.

But I believe in you. I know you made it. You started from the bottom; you weathered the challenges; you finished strong. But, in the slightest chance that you failed, I pray that you will find this letter, read it and be inspired by it. If not, I pray that you will have the wisdom to pass the message in the hope that someone along the way may pick it up and live out what you failed to do.

Thank you for reading and see you soon. I leave you with this verse from the Bible,

"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace."


Blank. Place your own name there again.

I’ll be posting this letter on my Facebook page and on my blog. You can keep a copy if you want so that you may have something to read when you’re already high up in the industry ladder, something to gauge how well you faired after 25, 30 years or so.

I am not about to end yet because there’s one more thing I want to share with you today. This has guided me throughout college.

A few days before graduation I was asking God that if it was His will for me to graduate with the university’s highest honors, He will give me the grace to address the graduating class, that I may share about His goodness.

It wasn’t His will for me to get the highest honors but He gave me this privilege to share His goodness to you. And for that I am grateful. Why am I saying this? You know every Sunday, a Christian Church gathers in this very hall to worship God.

The believers are not here today because it’s our graduation but I share the same passion they have for the Lord. And borrowing the answer of the apostles Peter and John in their trial before the religious leaders: I’m sharing this “for I cannot help speaking about what I have seen and heard" about Jesus Christ.

There is a reason why the most famous verse is John 3:16— "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is because the verse essentially summarizes God’s message for humanity.

There is a God of love and of justice who reaches out to us in our inadequacy, offering forgiveness and reconciliation through His Son on the Cross. By grace, through faith in His name alone He offers the free gift of eternal life in fellowship with Him.

That message was something I didn’t expect to meet, understand and even accept in a university unjustly stereotyped as godless. But I testify that the message changed me. It wasn’t for me to reject for He has given and before the King of the Universe, I can only stop and utter my humble Amen.

And as I come to a close, I leave you with the words of the Psalmist. I pray that they will also be true to you as they are to me: Despite everything, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Thank you and God bless you all!

God is great

I cannot help but write about God's greatness. I appreciate everyone who congratulated me, but I bring all the glory back to my Creator. It's really not about me. It never was about me. All the achievements and the awards are nothing compared to the love of God and His free gift of salvation.

I really cannot explain how I feel right now. I am torn between the joy of graduation and the sadness of parting ways. The last four years have been very challenging, but I've learned a lot. I'm willing to live through those years one more time.

I'm not making any sense right now. I just want to write. I just want to express my joy and gratitude. I want to praise God and thank people. I want to tell everyone about His love and grace and goodness, and how He desires to have a relationship with everyone through Jesus.

I pray I may be able to say all these on Sunday. I pray that God will give me the right words. :) I know He will and I'm excited :) Weeeee....
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