Kerygma Lenten Recollection 2017: Follow

Episode 146 – Sunday, April 16th, 2017 (7411)

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(Photo courtesy from Kerygma Lenten Recollection Facebook page)

Good day! It’s Easter Sunday – the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross. And throughout last week, the Holy Week, all of my friends from Feast SM Santa Rosa (SMSR), Technopark Hotel, and Pacita gathered for three-day recollection. It’s the Kerygma Lenten Recollection 2017, and this year’s theme was Follow, which somewhat identified on a social networking site, Twitter, with birds flying over, I think. This was my fifth consecutive year to attend KLR this year since I first attended in 2013 – its initial year.

KLR is an annual Holy Week special of the Feast/Light of Jesus Family. When I, together with some of my former college classmates, saw this for the first time, I had no idea about this event, but I got curiosity on this discovery which was the way for me to attend (and to serve) The Feast regularly in which I’ve been doing for almost four years. Since then, I’ve been a part of this Holy Week event as an attendee and also a servant (for Media Ministry) which was my third time to do for this year’s KLR after 2014: Adik (Christ Is Enough) and 2015: Lost (last year, I didn’t serve because of feeling alone after being heartbroken despite of attending for two days without any companion). And it was also my second year to attend in post-LDR (long distance relationship) era.

Early last February, it was launched with a worship song, “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin, and our friends from the Feast found out that this would be called “Follow”. We had our early preparations for this year’s event. One of these was the introduction of new visual software that we used for Media Ministry led by Layacan Sisters (AJ and Lou), and we had already our test/dry run after being installed this for Feast SMSR last February. We also had our promotions like posting KLR posters near our homes, during announcements after Feast, and thru social media.

A night before the biggest event for Holy Week, there was a servant’s worship night where all (almost all) the servants for KLR gathered to have a warm-up and prayers for the next day’s event. However, before I went there after a whole day of work in Cabuyao, there’s something strange when a nice, beautiful lady surprised me, and she asked me for my cellphone number and some questions while we’re riding in a tricycle and stuck with heavy traffic from Balibago Complex. I thought I had a feeling that she was looking for a “prospect” because of her pretty personality, but until I realized that she’s looking for a “prospect” in networking when she encouraged me to join for her networking business while we’re walking going to Enchanted Kingdom (she lives near the place). Akala ko hinahanap nya magiging “prospect” yun pala prospect sa networking ang hanap nya, hahaha!

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Anyways, I arrived at Enchanted Event Place with lots of sweat after walking from WalterMart. In there, I met one of my beloved friends, Abby, who chatted me earlier when I left from Cabuyao going there. We sat together with Sis Melissa and other friends from the Feast to attend a simple servant’s worship night led by Bro. Jon Escoto. Afterwards, I approached to Media Ministry where Earl and Layacan Sisters were there operating for that night’s mini event for the preparation of KLR. There’s free dinner for servants, and I joined with Abby and her cute little sister, Angel, together with some friends to walk from Enchanted Event Place going back to WalterMart then we rode tricycle going to Balibago Complex. After we got separated to go home, I supposed to ride a jeep when there were loaded with lots of passengers so that I couldn’t take any ride. Because of this, I just decided to walk along the National Highway from Complex to the tricycle terminal inside the subdivision (almost one kilometer walk from there) which made me so sweat and tired.

Day 1 (Maundy Thursday)

I left from home around 7:15am, and I supposed to go to SM City Santa Rosa where there’s a bus shuttle provided for the attendees going to Enchanted Kingdom (my “crush” was also there serving for the passengers/attendees after we talked thru text messaging earlier). But instead, I just went straight to Enchanted Event Place where I first met my former college classmate and Feast friend, Karen with her beautiful daughter. When I entered inside, Ivan of Music Ministry met me and let me to show a big tarpaulin posted outside where my face was there. I laughed but yet was glad because I have been a part of KLR for the past five recollections since 2013 (from Life Begins, from Adik, from Lost, from New, and now to Follow).

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At the introduction which was started around 8:20am, the seven individuals stood and spoke one by one to represent their seven deadly sins. Then, Bro. Dreus Cosio and Bro. Jon Escoto started the program with Fr. Toto Cerado was the first speaker with lots of laughter and jokes that he punched and words from God. After, there’s a 10-minute break where I met Abby serving for Intermission Ministry and my two cute and petite sisters who are my batch mates from Love Life Retreat Batch 4 serving as Ushers. Abby accompanied me to go to Kids’ Ministry where her cute little sister, Angel, was there serving with the kids (well, she’s already in 20s but looked just a kid though hehehe), then we bought some snacks before heading back inside for the continuation of the program.

Although I missed the performance of Dominique Casacop, one of the grand finalists of Eat Bulaga’s Music Hero, I came back to listen a special talk from Jan Silan who bought his Hugot messages and spiritual words. Later, Bro. Dreus introduced our special speaker who shared her struggles, challenges, and achievements where she brought Filipino pride after bagging silver medal in Olympics. Hidilyn Diaz expressed her one-on-one interview with Bro. Dreus to share about her journey in weightlifting since she was 11 years old by her curiosity, and her tough training, struggles and triumph when she bagged the silver medal in 2016 Olympics, first Filipina to do so and ending 20-year medal drought for our nation. Bro. Dreus discussed on Hidilyn’s hard journey as “life’s heavy weight, use heavy faith.” After the one-on-one interview, Fr. Eugene Fadul came next to share the “Ear” where it connected to “Heart”, and the definition of “to follow” – hear, understand, and act.

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Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (second from left) with Bro. Dreus Cosio, his wife, Love, and wrestling athlete Marlou (Photo courtesy from Dreus Cosio on Facebook)

At the end of the program, Bro. Jon Escoto shared his stories and spoke the word of the Lord before powerful worship songs were played. While the attendees were going out after the final song, I approached Earl and other servants led by AJ Layacan from Media Ministry to discuss about tomorrow’s event (Day 2) where I would serve for visuals.

Day 2 (Good Friday)

I woke up early and prepared to go back to the Enchanted Event Place for the Day 2 of KLR where I would be the one to serve for visuals. I arrived there around 6:25am, about an hour late from the calling time of 5am, and I realized that I forgot to bring my ID to wear it for my serving in Media Ministry. At there, I met Earl and AJ preparing at the control center with new servants, Mylene and Shine. As we prepared for the event, we were given some sandwiches and food (as well as I brought my tumbler with full of water) before the start of the program.

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It’s me (in the middle) with my co-servants from Media Ministry where we served for the second day of KLR (Photo courtesy from Mylene Labanon-Agurob on Facebook)

AJ operated the intro and the first worship song where the deaf students from Ephphetha School for the Deaf Inc. in Santa Rosa, Laguna performed their special number in sign language. Later, I turned over to operate for the visuals while AJ assisted me to flash the lyrics of the songs. The first guest speaker was Father Rap Rap del Rosario to discuss about the Following the (Difficult) Road. Then, the next sharer was Marilyn So to share her short story about her life journey. And our guest performer for the event was Lucky Robles, one of the grand finalists of It’s Showtime’s Tawag ng Tanghalan, singing three inspired songs where one of them were sung during his performance in the grand finals of that competition.

During the 10-minute break, I went to the merchandising store outside to fill water on my tumbler, and suddenly I met two pretty sisters (the other two, different from the previous day) who are also my batch mates from Love Life Retreat Batch 4. Later, I went back to the control center to start the second part of the program where Miss Rissa Singson-Kawpeng was the guest speaker to speak up about Following the Path which stated Obey, Lay, Stay, and Pray. Then, our friend from Feast Technopark, Samantha Timbreza, shared her life where she was diagnosed with Lupus in 2015 while she was a student and serving at the Feast at the time. Our final guest performer for the program was Ony Carcamo who performed his ventriloquist act with his puppet who was so ugly and drunk looking, and they played some funny moments. At the conclusion of the program, Bro. Jon Escoto again recited for his words followed by powerful worship songs to end the second day of KLR.

After serving for the program, we were given free lunch and having to rest before going home in a hot sizzling Friday afternoon (most of Filipino attended church for the Seven Last Words). While I was looking to fill up the water for my tumbler, I supposed to enter a small house where the Awesome Kids Ministry was there, but I quickly exited after I spotted… well never mind (just my old friend who had his brag). Hehehe, but anyways, few hours after eating free lunch, I joined with Earl and Dennis who drove his motorcycle to ride together going to Balibago under the heat.

Day 3 (Black Saturday)

I was thinking whether I would go for the final day or not because I had still no rest day at home. But still, I just decided to go there even though I arrived there around 15 minutes late for the third day of the event. So, I completed attending the three-day recollection which was my third time to have completion (I missed one out of three days in 2013 and 2016, and overall in the past five KLRs since 2013, I attended 13 out of 15 times).

When I was there inside, I met Abby with her friends happily standing with the worship song. One of them recognized me asking about my former college classmate (and “best friend” in college) who is his officemate. I didn’t know who he was, yet until I realized he’s one of my new friends at the Feast (and also in Facebook where I recognized him after changing his profile picture). I supposed to sit behind them when Abby let me to sit with them although I was not comfortable to sit with two “unknown” friends. Later, the program was started, and the first guest speaker was Fr. Bob McConaghy sharing his talk about Follow Through stating “the only one that could forgive and forget is God.”

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Fr. Bob McConaghy was the guest speaker for the third day of KLR

After that, I decided to move my seat to the middle side where my good friend and batch mate from Love Life Retreat Batch 4 was there sitting alone while waiting for her elder sister. The next sharer was Filipina veteran actress, Rita Avila, who shared her story (Follow: Thy Will Be Done) about her life and struggle where she had her lost baby who died only couple of days. After her story, Rita, together with her husband, FM Reyes, who is the director of ABS-CBN teleseryes, was prayed over by Bro. Jon Escoto and the audience. Then, Bro. Jon’s son, Yosef, performed his song which was his original composition that won #MoveOnLand Songwriting Competition earlier this year. After his performance, Bro. Jon announced the 30-day retreat after the recollection called Follow Up.

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Veteran actress, Rita Avila, with her husband, Director FM Reyes, were prayed over with Bro. Jon Escoto by the audience after sharing her story (Photo courtesy from Gail Montero on Facebook)

After the break, my companion’s elder pretty sister, who is also my batch mate in Retreat, came late and attended the next guest speaker, Father Arlo Yap, who was jokingly introduced by our emcee, Rye, that he’s the uncle of actor Richard Yap (really? Hehehe). Fr. Yap shared his talk, Follow Forward, where he described the word, FOLLOW – Faith, Openness, Love, Loyalty, Obedience, and Wisdom of God. He also discussed the generations or mana-mana where he talked about negative and positive traits from our ancestors. From there, after showing two inspiration videos, he let us and the audience to close our eyes and to think deeply where some of us felt down and cried from our past mistakes. After the talk, Bro. Dreus came to share about his funny moments with his wife where they’re still unmarried. Then, the servants and some volunteers stood up on the stage one by one to show their past negative things written on the cardboard and flipped it into their positive changes. From there, the ushers gave us white flags that we wrote some prayers, shared to others and raised up while a big cross was approached to the stage together with servants raising their white flags.

At the end of the program, a special video was shown featuring the clips from the three-day event including the long exposure of Bro. Jeff from Media Ministry. After that, I went back to meet Abby, Marian, and others friends dancing and jumping with final song, “Let’s Go”. Later, we gathered with other Singles together to eat our free lunch feast.

Easter Sunday

Because of my tiredness, I decided to not go to the Grand Easter Feast which was held earlier at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City where some of my Feast friends were there attending the talk with Bro. Bo Sanchez and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was my third consecutive time to not go and attend Grand Easter Feast due of, again, security reasons. The last time I attended this event was in 2014 (there were free tickets to be given back then). But instead of staying at home because of hot atmosphere and distractions, I just decided to go at my old office and was able to watch the event thru live streaming. It’s so convenience for me to watch Grand Easter Feast without going to the place from my “exile country” in San Pedro.

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Within the five wonderful years of KLR since 2013, there are lots of lessons and inspiring talks that we heard from the guest speakers and performers. It was started from a small place in the hospital to a bigger place near the amusement park where people may enjoy and relax after the recollection. It’s really a privilege for me to be a part of recollection, both attendee and servant. I wanna miss this year’s recollection, and I really enjoyed it a lot. So, next year, I’m hoping to continue the tradition and the excitement of the event during the Lenten season. Happy Easter everyone!

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