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Office on Women – Part 2

Going around the provinces... and the world!

Gerry attributes the success of the projects of the Office on Women to another great support. “The men!” she emphatically exclaimed. “The husbands have been very supportive of their wives. They are especially happy that their wives have something to do. Now we have our own activities. We even go out-of-town, so the “how come you're not yet home” attitude doesn't bother the men anymore.”

Gerry added that the programs and activities just happened according to the needs of the women at a given time. All that was required were open eyes, minds, and hearts to address such needs and concerns. For instance, Gerry recalls how the very successful “Woman on Fire” Conference came to be. “Tony Meloto conceptualized the conference because he wanted us women to have something going on all the time. This is really for all the women of Couples for Christ.” To date, the Woman on Fire (WoF) Conference has brought excitement to CFC communities in Metro Manila, Baguio, Pampanga, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Naga, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Ormoc, lligan, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao. The WoF also gained international stature when it brought victory to the lives of CFC brethren in Canada and the U.S.

The WoF Conference challenged each woman to be a Woman of Hope, Woman of Courage, and Woman of Excellence. Aside from the Conference, the Office likewise conducts WoF Workshops addressing women's concerns on health, finance , personality, and home environment.

W@P coming right up!

After the highly acclaimed WoF comes W@ P or the “World Class Ang Pi nay” Conference. The community gets another feel of the depth of women power. Gerry explains, “This Conference will give us an appreciation of our country, especially after the World Trade Center tragedy in New York on Sept. 11. We realized that no country should be alienated. Even if we are a third world country, the Philippines is still part of the whole world. We should appreciate that we belong to one global family and we should reach out to everybody. This is the awareness that we will advocate.”

The Creative Pool for these conferences is credited with the beautiful backdrops, concepts, scripts and other aesthetic elements that go into the conferences. The Creative Pool is composed of very talented and equally beautiful SFC women who work hard for these conferences. They are Maricar Gatchalian, Bianca Dinglasan, Laksmi Martinez, Bambi Donato, Cherry Vea-Chua, Vida Tale, MK Guanio, Suzette Padilla, Maia De Claro, Grace Torralba, Josette Urgino, Des Yupano, Lenlen Carlos, Sandy Henson, Monica Payumo, lya Yotoko, Maybelle Bangayan, Cynthia Adalia and Gigi Aragon.

The Shining!

The Office on Women has become very visible. Undoubtedly, it possesses a certain “charm” that draws men and women alike. For Gerry, this “charm” stems from a woman's realization of her own value. “Initially, the wife will just go with her husband when he's giving a talk, so she's just a flower vase somewhere. However, we realized that this “decor”, without going against her husband's gifts, has to do something because she also has her own gifts from God. It simply means allowing the total woman in you to come out! Besides, we are not a restricted community. We are people in a society.”

Gerry was quick to share about her own shining moment. “When I was asked to head the Office on Women, I was afraid because my husband is an enigmatic person, someone who has this certain image such that people respect him so much. If I start sharing about myself, I thought it might diminish the respect given to him. However, I felt that I have my own personality, and that it should come out. It is not his personality, but mine. I want people to respect me, not because I am Frank Padilla's wife, but because I am a woman.”

Gerry's self-assertion and honesty has indeed made her more attractive (inside and out) not only to her husband but also to the people she meets, gaining high regard from those she encounters. Through the Office on Women, she encourages every woman to have her own “shining moment” too!

Have a Life!

The Office on Women helps CFC women find their niche in community, in the various family ministries (HOLD, SFC, YFC, KFC), social ministries and other works of CFC. These ministries include Teodora: In Defense of the Authentic Woman; CFC Educational Foundation, Inc. (EFI); Family Enrichment and Education (FEED); FLAME or the social communications ministry; CFC Medical Mission Foundation, Inc.; Isaiah 61:1 or the prison ministry; St Thomas More & Associates (STMA); Tekton Guild; Sword of Gideon; and Jacob's Well or the ministry for those in “irregular unions.”

The Office on Women seeks to enhance the roles of wives and mothers, as well as to allow the sharing of one's skills and talents to build up women and the CFC community in general. It seeks to bring women to the fullness of their roles as real partners of men, giving them support and building their confidence in order for them to be more productive.

For Gerry, the blossoming of women is a goal that is well within reach. A woman can be a powerful force when she lets go of her fears and simply allows God's courage to take over. She shares her own experience: “Though I was initially afraid, I found the work with the Office on Women exciting. Since I knew nothing, I guess that was where the challenge began. As I said yes, I prayed, and so God opened doors. As they say, have a life! I am busier now, but I thank God for giving me this service. I thank him for giving me this opportunity while I'm still healthy.”

Back to Part 1

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