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Encouraging Stories From Christian Community Members - Part 6

We Will Fight

Excuse me if I talk about my son Patrick. If you are a father and have denied your son a much-sought-for desire, you will forgive my self-indulgent story. I only wish to honor my son's sacrifice. It may not be on the scale of Isaac's sacrifice, but it still was my son's obedient heart that caused his latest offering.

Yes, Papa

When we migrated to the states in 1988, it was always expected that my son Raffy would lead the Youth Camps scheduled in Seattle, San Jose, and Washington. But when immigration officials prevented him from entering, it fell on Patrick to run the camps. Patrick was only a shadow of Raffy. He had never led a camp. Assisted, yes, but never had he led one himself. So I talked to him on the phone, “Patrick, I think God is telling you to do it.” “Papa, I've never done it myself. But I'll do it if that is what you want,” he answered. Imagine his fears, speaking with a thick Filipino accent before an American crowd of Filipinos, blacks and Caucasians, leading a camp for the first time. But he did. He was the first to set it up in the areas. He had a way with them. Young that he was, he was also tall, then 6'3”, tall enough to have an impact on his big members. (At the time we migrated, he was also tall enough - and good enough - to play basketball for two top universities' champion-caliber varsity teams. He had to forego, of course, the offers.)

Would You?

As the youths graduated from these camps, the community began to take shape, the membership grew, and we needed someone of their generation to continue their formation, lead their community, as well as conduct many more Youth Camps all over where CFC was. I asked Patrick, “Is it okay with you if you did not study first, open the youth groups in the possible areas, train the leaders and then when there are leaders you can start to study?” He said, “Can I think about it?” “How long?” “One day. To discern.” He prayed about it and agreed. His was the choice; he accepted in obedience, knowing that it will delay his college degree.

Now, his choice has come back to exact another sacrifice. I was at Araneta Coliseum when the song “We Will Fight” was sung. He wrote that song. It has become CFC's battle song for the millennium. But while we were singing the song, my heart was bleeding for him. I recalled seeing him look sadly at the four new fulltime pastoral workers CFC USA just installed months before. Bishop Schneider and Bishop Rivas were there, blessing their life offering. He wanted so much to have been blessed himself, to be a YFC fulltime pastoral worker. But it couldn't be; he's not a college graduate yet. “Papa, is my obedience to you the cause of my disqualification?” I remember him asking. The question wasn't accusing at all, but all the same it hurt. I knew he knew the answer.

Want Some Company?

Though he is not a “full-timer,” he's what's called in CFC an “all-the-timer.” Traveling all over, his weekends have always been for the community. He leaves for a city Fridays on 'red-eye specials' (cheaper, no-frills plane flights scheduled in the middle of the night) and goes back home very early Monday like 2 or 4 am. We even surprise each other, meeting unexpectedly on these mission trips.

Well-liked and getting good grades in school, he was in LA while my wife and I had already moved to Virginia. After a year or so, he asked, “Shouldn't I be there with you?” He volunteered to stay with us and finish his studies in our area. Apparently, he and Terry (my son-in-law and his elder) were talking of the winter season again, how we needed someone to shovel the snow for us, pick us up from the airport, keep us company in our golden years. Yet, we had not pressed him to do so. Nor did we when he separated from his steady girl. My heart went to both of them. His reasoning, he said, went like this: I have to be with my parents. Yet it wouldn't be good to tie you down. It might be better to break up and when we're both finished (she this year and he the next) to continue it if we're still for each other.

We Will Fight

The song, “We Will Fight,” has its own story. He composed it right after a camp in '97 where there was a terrible possession that happened to some youths, one of them even being a girl of 11. While praying over, he was stunned when one of the spirits said: So, we meet again! Patrick recognized the same evil spirit from Bicol a few years before at a casting out too. When we came home, he was drained and got sick. Recovering for a week, it was in this period when he wrote the song. When Rouquel asked Patrick’s permission to use the song, he humbly said, “By all means!” He first sung it in the last combined SFC/YFC conference in ’98.

Impossible

One time on a plane, 30,000 ft above ground, my wife Edith told me, “You know what? I think it’s time to go. We can die.” “Not here!” I said, “We’d be responsible for the death of a planeload of people too!” Ever since the child who served last began serving the Lord last year, we now feel fulfilled. All my nine children and all my children-in-law are serving the Lord!

After the kind of life I had, He has restored me not only to Himself but also to my children. He has restored even everything I had lost when I had my cases. [In the worldly, proud and moneyed period of his past, Lito was charged by International Police (Interpol), among many other cases, with money laundering for the Mafia. That time, his children were taking and selling drugs like shabu and herion, shipping women to Asian cities as supposed entertainers, besides bullying the neighborhood and philandering with married women!] I just cannot believe I’m driving my own car. I’m living in my own house. I have a job I like to do. I’m being used by Him to do something I love doing. And my children are all with Him. What more could you ask for? Now I know why the Lord’s message to us was “I will restore you.” I said ignorantly then, “But Lord, I am already restored.” How would I Have known that when Edith’s parents died they left something for us; He had meant all along to restore me too in material goods!

We could really go. We have seen the fulfillment of God’s promise. As told by Lito Urgino

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