I celebrated my 6th year in the community last December 9, during our sector Family Christmas Party. The greater victory was that SFC, my ministry, won the best presentation in the Caroling for Christ Competition. :)
I would describe my journey in SFC as a rollercoaster ride with all the ups and downs, and the several "hold your breath, hang in there" moments. Kuya Lawrence was right when he said that missionary life is not a bed of roses.
During my years in SFC, I've had my share of heartaches, frustrations, depressions, disappointments, and animosity. I've been fooled, betrayed, used, condemned, judged, scolded, belittled, tempted, and was even lured to believe the biggest lies.
Not only once have I felt so bad that I wanted to leave the community and just forget about those people who took advantage of me.
"Give but don't allow yourself to be used. Love but don't allow your heart to be abused. Trust but don't be naive. Listen to others but don't lose your own voice."
When I received this message, it just felt so personal because it was how I lived my SFC life. I must have misunderstood the meaning of kindness and charity that I've allowed myself to be hurt and abused by people over and over again just because I thought I was being kind.
I've had my heart broken by the very people I consider brothers and sisters. And it was not how I expected to be treated in a community which I thought was transformative, love-giving, and life-nourishing.
|SFC Rosario Batch 2006. :) My first photo as an SFC member (December 9, 2006).|
But why am I still here? I have all the reasons to leave, right? And this is not just the only community where I can serve God. In fact, I can move to Light of Jesus (I was a regular attendee in Feast Ortigas until early last year.) anytime because they have better teachings, they have a livelier atmosphere, and the people are just so friendly and generous. Also, they start their events on time and they end quite early, sometimes much earlier than any SFC activity. Or I can just devote my time to the parish, especially now that my parents are already actively serving as ushers and members of the ME choir. Why am I still doing stuff for SFC? Why in the first place did I leave my job in Splash just to be a fulltime worker for the ministry? Why do I still accept invitations for a CLP talk or a mission outside Manila? What am I, a fool? After all that this community has brought me? Why still stay?
A few weeks ago, I received a text message from a brother who used to be so active in the community. He told me he had reasons why he chose to leave and live a life away from SFC. He said there are people who have hurt him and his family and he just can't bear the thought of seeing them and having to mingle with them in SFC activities. He also shared about his disappointments and frustrations and complained about the people he had to deal with in the community. I replied and helped him remember about my own not-so-good (read: bad) experiences in the community (we belong to the same chapter before). Then I asked him the very question that I answered six years ago: "Why did you join SFC?"
He answered "kasi gusto kong mag-serve kay God" (because I want to serve God).
I smiled and texted: "Exactly. At hindi yun naka-depende sa kung ano ang nagawa o hindi nagawa sa'yo ng mga tao, hindi kung ano at hindi mo naranasan sa community. It is and will always be just about you and God. "
I am a member of Singles for Christ not because I get nourished physically, not even just because I also get spiritual nourishment and lots of the "good stuff". I chose to stay not because I was forced or threatened by some leader. I stayed not because I just wanted to prove everyone that they're wrong in their judgment, that I'm not as weak as they thought I was and that I'm strong and brave enough to still deal with the people who caused me so much pain. I remained in the community not to show people that I'm really a loving and forgiving person and that I've grown so much in faith and spirituality.
I am SFC simply because I am blessed, forgiven, and loved by a great God and this is my way of giving Him back all the glory. Everything I am is because of Him, everything I have and I do is for His greater glory. :)
Jaime Cardinal Sin once said: EDSA was not only an act of courage. It was an act of love. Bravery is admirable but love is indispensable. Bravery impresses but only love redeems.
I was broken in SFC but also restored in SFC; betrayed in SFC but also comforted in SFC; neglected in SFC but also redeemed in SFC.
Because SFC is not about people, nor about experiences; it's about a relationship initiated by God, with God, for God. :)
I am Aiza.
Accepted. Healed. Restored. Redeemed. Important. Blessed. Loved.
I am Singles for Christ.
I am and will always be FOR CHRIST. :) ♥
I am and will always be FOR CHRIST. :) ♥
|The team that lets every single man and woman all over the world experience Christ. :)|