Y'know the most famous effects they used in Hollywood movies to show flashbacks? The fluttering calendar pages and the blurring effects. Imagine that now and let's rewind the hands of time. It's now August 2004. My friend, Lala, was inviting me to a certain Catholic retreat called "Crossroads Retreat". Didn't give her my "Yes" first because my concept of a retreat is somewhat old school. In fact, the last time I attended a retreat was still in high school....where buckets of tears flowed down from the participants. Uhm... I don't think I would like that to happen again. She pestered me for awhile but I couldn't decide yet. Then she uttered the magic word--FOOD. Lots of food. I said yes ;oP
August 2005. With no sleep at all, I proceeded to our usual meeting place--ChowKing at Pasay Road. Had my brekky. There's a participant named Edwin that I chatted with while waiting for the other SOLV brothers to arrive. Around 7:30, we left for Tagaytay.
Our retreat master is a cardiologist named Gilbert Vilela but we call him Popsie. He immediately set the tone by cracking jokes and telling us very touching stories which made the participants comfortable.
Ramil assigned me to lead the Music Ministry. I've prepared a wicked multimedia presentation for all our retreat songs. When we got to Angels' Hills, I immediately noticed that there's no multimedia projector though. Bummer! We had to rely on an overhead projector. Anyhoo, I just gathered all our songs printed on acetates. Talk about Plan B. Later on, we used a multimedia projector but the lamp wasn't in good condition. Our screen looked like it was dipped in a purple ink.
There were 11 participants. We're very happy to meet all of them. I met a U-trekker named Jhede. He was invited by Joel. We talked about his Singapore trip and other stuff. JR (not short for Junior) finally joined us. I jokingly told him that he's a threat to me in Music Ministry. He uses the R&B "kulot" style. Edwin works for Smart and we teased him about getting free loads. Bong serves in his other community for years now and is now looking for a career that would maximize his talents.
Popsie delivered the first talk on "Do You Know Where You're Going To?". According to my notes, he mentioned that God has plans for all of us. He's CRAZY for us. We're like a lost coin/sheep/son to Him. We are all important in God's eyes. If we stand by Him, He will stand by us too and will never ever give up on us.There was an activity involving a presentation of an object that describes us. Guess what I presented? A tissue paper ;oP That was my way of breaking the ice. But seriously a tissue paper is really an important part of our daily lives. We need tissues whenever we cry or laugh so hard that we cry too. I like to be there for my loved ones whenever they need a shoulder to cry on or someone to make them laugh their bums off. I just wanna say that I'm always here for you ;oD In the second talk on "Choices of the Heart" that Caloy delivered, he mentioned that being in a community won't insulate us. There will always be attacks that will keep on testing our faith. We must wrap our hearts in prayer. Our hearts are capable of both doing good and bad. God gave us the freedom to choose. We must open our hearts and listen to Him. Make Him the Lord of our hearts. I really enjoyed his talk.
When my batch brother, Arnel, shared his personal testimony, he reminded everyone that it's our crossroads anniversary tomorrow. Wow! It's been a year and look where I'm at with my relationship with Him ;o) Thank you, Lala, and SOLV.
Was happy to see Algie and Wilson made it to the retreat. Our music ministry is complete now ;oD
We incorporated a "Lord's Day" ceremony in this retreat. It's one of my favorite things that we do here in SOLV. We partook focacia bread with cheese and red wine. =oP Had dinner later.
Kiko joined us for the third talk on "Invitation to a Feast". He gave us the parable of the wedding banquet. God compared His kingdom to a wedding feast. But why are people not accepting His invitation? Excuses like "I cannot attend because..." + "I got work to do" or "I don't need it" or "I got other commitments" or simply "I just cannot" are all short term. God is presenting us a life of happiness and contentment. He loves us so much that He wants us to be with Him.I was requested by my SOLV brothers to share my own personal testimony. I told the story about the invitation (scroll up again if you wish) and the good feeling of knowing that there's always a bunch of people who will help you with your relationship with the Lord (whom I consider to be my ultimate BEST FRIEND). The SOLV community, most especially my brothers, really help me get closer to Him. I'm so thankful that I'm NOT the only one struggling.
Entertainment night came. My group was the second to perform. Bong acted like a puppet. I did a "Kuya Bodjie" routine. Eric and Edwin were the stunt men, Miguel and Amante from "Be-Sugo". And lastly, Greg was our funny narrator. Of course, the night won't be complete without Joel's infamous "Waway". This time though, we have a new batch of actors. I played the cop (Wilson wasn't feeling well so he couldn't revive his character). Caloy was the director (Dennis is now in Singapore). Ramil was the clapper (lots of exposure!). Algie was the younger brother and Joel was the main character. They even filmed the scenes. Waway never fails to make the audience laugh ;oP There's even a plan of passing his torch over to Eric M. for his breakthrough performance!!! Cookie and I gamely played Sumo wrestlers.
Before we called it a night, the brothers planned out the activities for Sunday. I got to sleep too. Yay!