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2/25/13

ICON 2013: Obey and Witness

My 3-day kit.
The expectant SFC Dumaguete Chapter.

Another year has passed, and the Singles for Christ brothers and sisters are back together once again to experience God's ultimate love and grace through the 20th ICON or the International Conference. Singles for Christ all over the world are invited to come and join this year's ICON with the theme Obey and Witness. (Do whatever He tells you. John 2:5) held at the World Trade Center, Pasay Manila, Philippines. This is a 2 and a half day event; that has talks, workshops, and a daily Holy Eucharistic celebration. Let me share to you what I have learned personally.


Day 1: Friday evening


We started the event with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist which tells us to open our hearts and be ready for the entire conference. The Eucharist was graced by Bishop Bernard Cortez. He shows his gratitude over all the delegates who have their own priorities and walks in life came and experience Christ. He also note that the youth is the hope of the fatherland.  He also urged everyone to fast as this is the time of Lent. He as well quoted "be like that rainwater, inspired, controlled, guided so that it could bring growth to the community, to your country, and to your self."

Talk 1: The Invitation

About 8200+ SCF brothers and sister graced the conference. This is by far the largest ICON ever!
The first talk was given by missionary JQ Quimpang. "Our ultimate destination is Heaven". He says that this weekend for the ICON is an invitation to God's ultimate and constant exchange of Love. Now, responding to this one of kind invitation is through our vocation. The decision with conviction to choose Him at all times. Being in union with Christ can also be best described like marriage. Christ is married to the Church, and that we are the church. Being in union with Christ is not easy, temptation would always be there. That is why, it is important to always have that choice to always choose Christ. We ended the night with a praise and worship.

Day 2: Saturday

Talk 2: Believe, Trust, and Obedience

The second talk was held at Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The second talk was graced by Most Rev. Bishop Bacani. He talked about the importance of the Nicene Creed being the symbol of the church. It is not just a mere recitation but should be a concrete profession of faith and it starts with the word "I believe." He as well logically explains that we have the option to believe, and that we know the truth about God not because of an evidence or by reasoning but because God says so.


Trust

Trust is a result of the Faith and Confidence. We are challenged to put our trust in Him. And that with conviction we can say that if we put our trust in the Lord and that we put our lives in His hands, He will not let evil cover us. I also believe that through Christ, all things are possible- that is indeed Trust!


Obedience

Obedience is the most challenging task a christian is faced with everyday. However, with the points being stated above with Faith and Trust in the Lord would bring about obedience. We are urged to not just have faith and trust only through our lips, but as an SFC we are said to do it in action, thus obedience. Obedience also shows what values you have learned and how you live your life with those acquired values.

Are you a joyless Christian?

Even tragedy is grace.
This is one of those talks that I really enjoyed listening and participating, well it's not that I don't like the other talk, Sir Edwin Lopez is funny and really fun. He shares about how we Christians are like the salt that looses it saltines. Thus, makes us a joyless Christian. It is pointed out that being a Christian is not just about joy and happiness, it also about sacrifices, temptation, and a cross. He pointed out that he who cannot sacrifice cannot love. What really struck me is how he asked everyone of us if we are still empty even if you are with the SFC community. If yes, then this community might not be the right community for you. Go find Christ and be the salt of the earth. It is also logical that the element of pain is Love, because when you come to think about it, you are feeling the pain because you care, right? Just a thought.

Empty

Emptiness is the space between God's heart and our own Heart.
The speaker Rob Escaño started the talk with the point that we all started as full when we were a little child, and that what breaks us and what makes us a broken and empty is sin. He also stated that the emptiness we feel is a consequence of choice and the choice from circumstances. Choices are based on our lifestyle, livelihood, leadership, and vocation choices. We then have this question if emptiness is a punishment. Is it? I strongly beg to disagree. The way I see it, emptiness is grace, because if we feel empty we are allowing God to pour out His grace towards our empty jars. We will have that longing for love. That ultimate love that only God has the capacity to give, because a life that is empty of God is an empty of love.

There are ways in breaking out of emptiness:

L- ong for God consciously and consistently.
O- bedience to what He's plans are for us.
V- irtue of humility.
E- nligthen your heart and mind.

He also added that we can't obey Christ if we still have the stain of guilt in our hearts. We need to know that we are forgiven. I totally agree!

Talk 3: Transformation

There is a mini play before the start of the talk. They have wonderful voices
The best example of transformation is the turning of water into wine.  Just when Mary says "Do whatever He tells you." John 2:5
Transformation of our lives takes a whole lot of humility, patience, and obedience. Faith driven by obedience precedes transformation and miracles. Like Christ as the model of obedience by accepting the cup of sorrow and died on the cross for us- He is the only wine that can fill our jar of emptiness. Therefore, has the only key for transformation. Now, I also believe that the Lord uses people as instruments of our transformation. There are 3 sharers on how Christ has fill their emptiness and transform them into a witness of Christ.

Sis Nathalie Antonio born rich but empty. Has achieved and acquired too much in life feeling the emptiness. Upon searching she found out Christ is the only one who filled her up.
Bryan Funcion being ruled by lust was transformed because Jesus called Him, and took him out of that world that he has been living.
We ended the day with an anticipated mass celebrated by no other than His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, D,D. I must tell you that this for me is one of those memorable masses I have came to celebrate. No matter how sleepy I am, I tried my best to listen and feel Christ in the Eucharist. He has this undeniable humor and charisma that would really get you hooked in his homily.

His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D,D

Day 3: Talk 4: Witness

Do whatever He tells you (John 2:5)
The last session of the conference is titled as Witness by Shok Ariola- a missionary and an international coordinator. Witness is something that would change someone else life. This starts with the invitation. This would require you to open your eyes with faith and a heart with love for you to be able to respond, because somehow you need to respond to the call either with a yes, no, or even just don't say nothing and be just quite is a respond. Where, the effect brings joy. Being a witness of the Lord will bring about glory, and you will be blessed 100 folds. We need to be reminded that we are immensely loved by God. The challenge for us is how to recognize His voice. We need to be in union with Christ all the time to be able to hear His voice each time. Witnesses therefore are the agents of change. We are to transformed lives because we are the living witnesses. People are experiencing God through you. Say yes to the Lord!

There has been witnesses or sharers in this last talk but we only got one photo.

This is a missionary who has been robbed. The culprit put them on a sack thinking they are already dead. An old man came to the garbage fill to look for something valuable, saw 2 sacks being disposed. He came closer and see what's inside the sacks, and when he opened it, there are 2 young women in each of the sack half dead. She has a lot of fructures and her face is 80% titanium. She is a witness of God's love.
 I must confess that I am half-heartened joining the conference. I don't know, I was so lazy to pack my things, and I slept the whole day; doing nothing so to say. Something is pulling me down that day, and I prayed that Jesus would be graceful towards my mood and lift me up. Ultimately, Jesus was there. He was always there that I always ended up bursting in tears during praise and worship. I feel so blessed and loved by the Father.






 
I would like to thank you my fellow bloggers for hearing my life out. I feel like this is the only avenue for me to share my faith and what I am passionate about. This post is too long, and I always wish I can say more, but I need to contain it as I will have the series of post about my Manila trip. Once again, with a grateful heart I'd like to say thank you...xoxo!


P.S. So the question is where to next?...Cagayan de Oro!!! See you there next year!



26 comments:

  1. What a Wonderful event. Like events that preach God's words:)
    Thanks dear for sharing what you learned:)

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  2. Ang saya naman ng event na to... can't wait for the Youth factor namin sa April woot woot... more motivated thanks

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  3. wow.. so what's your story on discovering God's grace?

    mabuti naman at dahil sa event na ito ay nakilala ka namin in person... kitakits uli ha...

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    Replies
    1. meetin you guys is one of those...:) nakaka miss kayo....:P


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  4. how i wish i was there to experience

    honestly i was asking god for signs of his presence coz i'm quite bothered for this past few days
    i trust him but there are times that it seems everything isn't right at all
    but then i saw you post and those things you said about trust in god makes a lot of sense to me

    I think god made you as his instrument to inspire me

    In god i trust, I surrender everything on him with no hesitation and doubts

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    Replies
    1. well, I'm honored mecoy...sure you will find Jesus when you seek using your heart. I am as well sure He will embrace you whole-heartedly...:)

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  5. :-) long post but you inspire your reader about your faith in God.

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  6. ang haba! halatang sobrang nag-enjoy ka at marami kang natutunan sa mga speaker.. at nakita ko ang favorite kong si Cardinal Tagle.. na-miss ko ng umattend ng mass na sya ang nagsesermon.. im glad you enjoyed!

    ang saya ng SFC at dahil dito nagkita tau kahit sandali lang.. next time sana matagal.. mga 1 week ganyan hehe.. nice meeting you sis :)

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    Replies
    1. kaya nga...so happy....sana nga magka bonding tayo ulit...:)


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  7. Member din ang husband ko ng SFC nung single pa:)

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  8. I missed the talks!
    I missed the gatherings!
    I missed the fun!
    I missed GK : )

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  9. Wow, looks like an amazingly awesome time.

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  10. Really nice to see how passionate you are about your faith Grah :) Looks like you had loads of fun! Sayang di kami naka punta sa Bloggers eyeball, di ka namin nameet ni Joanne. Pero di bale, I'm sure may next time pa :)

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    Replies
    1. sure there is next time...sana next time yung bongga na....)


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  11. It's always nice to see many young people convene and act on their faith. Keep on!

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  12. Good to read this post from you my dear sister in the Faith. Continue loving and serving our Lord. Continue being an inspiration of others. And never stop professing our Faith.

    God bless you.

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    Replies
    1. Sayang lang at wala ako sa Manila during your visit. Na-meet din sana kita.

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    2. yes, bro....always..:) kaya nga wala ka doon...sige lang next time...:)

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  13. hello po! i know some SFC's here in South Central Mindanao and i heard ICON 2013 was very successful. keep the faith! :)

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  14. I admire SFCs. My housemates are..

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  15. May you continue to be a good example and inspiration to the youth by serving our Lord God. Thanks for sharing this great experience. God bless. :)

    - Rogie

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  16. Hope to see you sis. SFC from New Zealand :) Continue to be a blessing and be a blessing to other people.

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Your lovely comment means the world to me! Thank you so much!