AFTER MONTHS of absence, I had a chance to attend the youth fellowship in church. I used to join the Saturday meetings consistently in college and in the early days of med school. When clerkship began last year, my attendance dwindled considerably.
The Lord has used the Youth Ministry to help me grow spiritually. My Saturday afternoons could've been spent elsewhere—going out of town, strolling in the malls, meeting friends—but, looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way. My time in the Youth Fellowship was time well-spent. There I got to know more of God, to study His Word, and to meet friends who shared the same passion.
Pastor Lito Sto. Domingo's life and testimony has been an encouragement to me. I will always treasure the Christ-centered sermons he gave, week in and week out. Throughout all these years he has remained faithful to this call—to preach Christ crucified—regardless of whether there were ten or 20 people around. I'm grateful for his counsel. For instance, God has used him to give me advice on whether I should shift courses in college at all. I still find time to talk to him when I have big decisions to make.
Some of my closest friends today were my fellow attendees, too. We've seen each other grow and mature in the faith. Their lives and testimonies continue to be an encouragement to me. Some of them have gotten married and have decided to "graduate" from the youth ministry to pursue other ministry opportunities elsewhere. Some have started working and earning. Many are still active as youth workers, helping organize activities, leading cell groups, and taking charge of various committees. I'm always blessed to hear their "praise items," and I'm always encouraged when they ask me how they can pray for me.
On hindsight, Hebrews 10:25 really makes sense. "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." The Christian needs others to survive; such is God's design. By being with other believers, one is encouraged to keep walking in faith. He is rebuked from habitual sins. He is helped when he stumbles. He is strengthened to do God's bidding.
I'm grateful to the Lord for bringing me to our church's Youth group. I pray that He grant me another free Saturday afternoon, so I can at least sit in, say hi, and eat our much loved Tortillos snack.
Let me say "Happy Birthday" to:
Royden Dawal, and