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Gathering of Christian Youths – Part 2

CATHERINE RUBIN, YFC BACOLOD

I came from a broken family. Before I appeared on the delivery table, my parents were already separated.

My father ran away from his responsibilities, so I grew up with my grandparents while my mom worked in Manila.

My mom would visit during vacation time here in Bacolod, but now that I'm older, I go visit her instead in Manila.

I'm already 20 now. Yet I haven't seen my father. Not even one picture! When you talk of him, I could only draw a blank face. In fact I find it my life's adventure to search for my father. I know he's here in Bacolod.

I really wonder why I haven't seen him; Bacolod is only a small place. I think Jesus is just whispering “Cat, just wait. There will be a time for that, not now, just wait.” So here I am. I'm just waiting for that right time, ready for it to happen.

My mother married. I have a stepfather right now in Manila with 3 half-brothers. The problem now (and that's why I'm still here in Bacolod!) is that my stepfather was supposed to tell his parents that the woman she's about to marry already has a daughter. His mistake is he didn't tell them. Up to now, it's still a secret.

They do not know in Manila. Only my stepfather knows. Even my half-brothers do not know. Every time I visit, I am called cousin.

You can say that by now I probably hate my stepfather as much as I hate my real father. I can have all the reason to hate him, but with God's grace, He gives me this gift of forgiveness.

I don't hate him, in fact I'm eager to meet him.

If you're in my place, you will probably have those times you will feel that you're the most hapless person in this world.

Of all the people here on earth, why me? Why does it have to happen to me?

In high school, there were the parents and teachers meetings, and how I would envy my classmates. Now that I'm in college, it's a different situation in the dormitory. Every weekend I see people packing their things and I would tell them “You know what, I envy you. You have a home to go to, you have a family.”

Since last year, I now have a community - YFC. I just joined last July, and I saw youths like me that are also in pain and are struggling to heal. That is where I found people who give me the assurance that God loves me inspite of all of this suffering, all this pain that I'm going through.

Since I come from a broken family, I just have this dream or a wish that, someday, if I'm going to have a family of my own, I will love them dearly. I will make it a strong family, bonded by love, and in its center is God.

Right now, brothers and sisters, I can tell you that I am healed. I am already healed. If I am crying right now it is because, I can't imagine children who would say “I hate my parents!”

It's a blessing for you to have parents. All you have to do is love them. For me I thank God, He is there as my Father. He is the one guiding me; He gives me friends and relatives who's supporting me, keeping me strong, always assuring me that they love me inspite of my Mom being away and having no father.

Right now I want to tell all the parents, and I will be speaking for all the children right here, that I love you very much and we love you.

I know that I am healed 'cause I have a family here in Couples for Christ and Youth for Christ. '

MINNIE PADILLA, YFC PANGASINAN

I was born prematurely at about 7 months. I was so small that I had difficulty in breathing - Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

When my father found out, he stayed up until 4 in the morning, praying hard for my mom and I to make it and taking that long ride from Manila to Pangasinan to see us.

I needed to be put in an incubator, but the hospital's own broke down. So we went to Manila, where I lived for a month in an incubator at Manila Children Hospital. There would be times I was so black and blue from the heavy breathing that people there were surprised that I made it.

I became partially blind. I could see shapes and colors but that's about it. At 3 years old and after 3 operations in Makati Medical Center, I permanently lost my sight altogether.

But that is still not enough to stop me from living a normal life. When I was 4 years old, I went to Virgen Milagrosa Child Learning Center. From nursery up to grade 6, I was always the first in class. I couldn't believe that the Lord did give me talents.

Before I joined YFC, I had a lot of fears. But when I joined last May, my life changed.

I came to know Jesus as a personal savior. I thank the Lord very much and I'm willing to serve him. I've realized that he loves us no matter who we are. Even the most evil, the most helpless, He will love.

REYNALD VILLARICA, YFC SYDNEY

It took my friend, Ronald, 3 years to get me into YFC just chipping away slowly. But because of his determination, he brought me to YFC and this really changed my life.

I came into this trip very uninspired. I was getting irritable. I was in that stage where I thought, “why continue?” I didn't really get inspired by any of the conference until yesterday's PraiseFest. It was so amazing to me.

Because of what you started here in the Philippines, when I go back to Australia, I know that I'm gonna serve the Lord with the power of the Holy Spirit. I really found myself lacking in the power to serve. But because of everything that happened since then - now that I see all your faces, now that I see how much you love the Lord – I and my fellow Aussies are very inspired. There are many things that we'd like to take back to Australia with us - one of them is Jollibee! But above all that, what we want to take back to Australia is your unity, your inspiration.

SAMMY MONDIA, YFC BACOLOD

I am one of those single fathers. Before I joined YFC, when I was 19 years old, I had a girlfriend who was just 16 years old. I gave her and her family a lot of pain and suffering. The only girl in her family, I destroyed her plans for life. That time, I was living a loser's life; I was so selfish and thought of nothing but myself. When we broke up, I didn't know she was pregnant.

She delivered our child on the 25th of December – Christmas Day.

I nearly committed suicide. I thought I was garbage fit to be thrown out.

But all is not lost. Until now, even though I was living with this guilt, I will continue to serve the Lord because I know that it is only Jesus Christ who could heal me. I know that it is only with Jesus Christ I can find happiness.

When Jesus Christ came into my life, I studied harder and got to the dean's list. I'm serving Christ now because without Christ I am nothing.

Back to Part 1

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