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DYING TO ONESELF (Part 1)
It is never easy to leave our comforts behind. It only becomes rewarding when we have the conviction that leaving is in response to the Lord's greater call. What tremendous and perfect joy it becomes!
Along the way, we get bewildered. The perplexity has nothing to do with the work from our perfect God, nor with our relationship with Him. Rather, it comes from circumstances and events which we feel are not of God's anymore. We feel it deeply in our hearts.
There comes the call once more to die to oneself. The pain is intense, yet joy abounds, knowing that we are heeding the same voice which beckoned us to serve. Here are more thoughts from our brethren who made the sacrifice for the sake of truth.
I joined CFC in 1983. My wife, Jocy, and I became facilitators of the first Christian Life Program in Rizal Province and Cainta. I went through all the stages of service: Household Head, Unit Head, Chapter Head, Cluster Head, Sector Head, Provincial Area Head, Regional Area Head, Country Coordinator, GK Regional Coordinator.
The resignation of Frank Padilla, Lachie Agana, and Tony Meloto brought me sadness. Yet, I was hopeful. As the days passed, however, issues were raised. I found myself actively involved in the Board of Elders to introduce reforms, calling for the adherence to the recommendation of the three bishops to dialogue before holding the election. Unfortunately, our efforts were unsuccessful. I did not understand why things had to be rushed. It was impossible to heed what others say that I should just keep quiet and just continue working. What also troubled me was the character assassination hurled at my brothers.
I filed my early retirement as fulltime pastoral worker last July 31. I also voluntarily surrendered to the Council my service as Sector Head and Regional Area Head. I was a fulltime pastoral worker for almost 14 years. My life speaks of CFC, my hearts beats for CFC, my thoughts are of CFC. However, I wondered why, all of a sudden, the CFC leadership has not responded well to issues raised by Frank Padilla. What was also surprising was the loyalty checks being conducted. I also heard statements that leaders should follow a chain of command, especially now that the community is in crisis. That was ironic, because when I became a FTPW 14 years ago, I knew in my heart that the hierarchy of my loyalty is to GOD, then to the community, then lastly to the people. I had nothing against the present leadership, but I simply felt that I had to leave the present CFC structure out of my ardent love for God and the community.
It was an emotional experience for me and Jocy, especially because I had to leave something I love very dearly. Yet, I also know I can continue to be an evangelizer. I also strongly believe that the Lord will powerfully use CFC and FFL to further His work! This, indeed, is the Lord’s plan. We have to move on for a greater call. I see beautiful things bound to happen as CFC and FFL become two powerful instruments to be used by God to lead others to His kingdom. For the meantime, I believe that people should be given time to discern which course to take. Likewise, let us be discerning because of the deceptions of the evil one.
Lastly, let me just reiterate that I believe this is part of God’s wonderful plans for all of us. I’ve always believed that our ways are not God’s ways. For the meantime, I continue to bear my sacrifice, my lamentation.
TONETTE AGANA - PANGAN
I have been exposed to the community since I was nine years old when my parents joined CFC. In 1993, I joined Youth for Christ, and became a fulltime pastoral worker in 1995.
I decided to give my life in fulltime service for God right after college because of my deep gratitude to Him for how He blessed me and my family. I’ve witnessed at how he mended my parents’ broken relationship. I served in Youth for Christ and it was very timely that after my marriage to Jay in 1998 and with our newfound calling to raise a family, I was given the privilege to serve in the administrative side of the work. I headed the Secretariat Committee of all CFC Special Events and eventually, also handled the Community Services Department of the CFC Home Office.
I can only think of the words love and joy when I think of fulltime work for God through CFC. Coming to the CFC Center everyday was like being home. Co-workers treated each other like family, as we were not only preoccupied with the desire to offer the best service to our brethren, but we also spent a considerable amount of time relating with one another. Everybody had time to listen. Everybody had arms to embrace. More than being able to see many places around the Philippines and abroad, it is the sense of family at the Home Office that truly left a mark in me. My challenge was achieving excellence in whatever task was given to me. I would always remind my co-workers to give their best in each task as a way of serving God and His people.
Sadly, events began to unfold early this year. It had a very personal impact on me because it involved my father. I witnessed the disloyalty, disrespect and the death of love and joy I once knew in the Home Office. The wounds were very deep. The events caused me to speak up. I never kept quiet. I tried to talk with the elders in position, joined forums that may help me understand, and I prayed like I never did before. Several times, I asked the Lord how these could happen to someone, like my father, who gave everything for Him and for CFC. God’s answer? “THIS IS YOUR ROAD TO HOLINESS”. That gave me peace. I was very hopeful that matters will be resolved and everything will be back to normal. However, it never did. I reached the point of having to make a decision. I tendered my irrevocable resignation on July 31, 2007. It was conviction that made me stay in fulltime work for 12 years. The same conviction led me to leave as well. I cannot work without my heart. I cannot excel for my God if my wings are clipped.
It was really painful to say good-bye to the best friends I have and to the place I considered home, but there is nothing better than to have peace knowing that I made a decision which is right with God. The Lord has been affirming me through Bishop Villegas’ message about moving forward without looking back. Right now, I am taking each day at a time, grabbing all opportunities the Lord opens up to me. I could only anticipate the Lord’s best plans for me!
Contributed by: Myra M. Menguito
"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)