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YFC GAT: An opportunity to be where the action is

It was both a privilege and a blessing, say members of the CFC Youth for Christ from the International Missions, to have immersed in the advocacies and programs  of Couples for Christ and its ministries here in the Philippines.The activity is called Great Adventure Tour, whose goal is to draw the participants to the heart of the community, and at the same time, give them a tour of the country. 

The YFC GAT started last August 1 and ended on August 15, 2017.The YFC participants toured the Global Mission Center where they also had workshops and sessions, followed by a city tour around Manila. To live out the YFC Advocacies such as 100% Free, Rev Up (Revolution of Uplifting the Poor), G-Project, and A+, the participants went to different cities in Luzon and Metro Manila and experienced firsthand such programs.

Part of the GAT is an immersion in an ANCOP community. The YFC GATers were brought to the Our Lady of Banneux ANCOP Community in San Mateo, Rizal, where they stayed and spent time with families in the village. They also helped in the ongoing Shelter build in the village and got a chance to learn from the women of the village how to make purses out of recycled coffee sachets.

The participants went on a mini-Visita Iglesia (church visitation) to five parishes in Lipa City, Batangas. They sampled the delicacies of the prov-ince while attending the Theology of the Body Camp, which made their GAT journey sweeter.

The GAT-ers also had a chance to experience the beauty of Palawan, where they had their Rev-Up and G-Project workshop.Some of the GAT delegates guested on Radio 

Veritas to talk about their trip to the Philippines and how their faith was deepened by the experience. They also attended leaders’ assemblies and activities of the various programs of YFC.After their immersion, the YFC GAT participants came “home” to the Global Mission Center in Cubao for their last session titled 

“Grateful Missionary” given by Jeremy Quimpang, newlyappointed YFC International Coordinator. 

The YFC GATers flew home to Canada with a fresh perspective on the life and mission of YFC and the bigger CFC community.

I joined the Canadian GAT in 2009, so hearing about this year's GAT, I got excited! I became both nostalgic and excited for what was going to happen. I expectedeverything to be like GAT 2009, but more than that I expected for the youth to grow deeper in their appreciation of the mission and for myself to experience Christ in an intimate way. And we did! I learned that the mission is bigger than myself, that it's okay to ask “why” as I have a God who is the answer to all things;that there is beauty in simplicity; and that we are his masterpiece. Most of all, saying Yes to God has always borne good fruit.(Evony Evangelista Full time Pastoral Worker for CFCY Canada)

As the Advocacy Youth Head of Calgary, Alberta, I wanted to learn more about being a true advocate of a Christ-centered life. I also wanted to grow more as a person and I saw GAT as an opportunity for me to explore my strengths and weaknesses. The most important things I learned? That I am blessed, and if I put my trust in Him all things are possible, and His love is always enough. I now appreciate the importance of family and that I should be grateful for what I have.(Celine Berdin, Advocacy Youth Head, YFC Calgary)

Throughout all of the immersions what we have gone through, I think the most important things that I've learned is that you should not look for something that you don't have, but look at the things that you do have and figure out what you can do with it. Also find the joy in every situation, even if it's not the best situation. God's message for me is that He will always provide, whatever it may be. Also, to always trust in Him and continue sharing his love with others even if they don't believe in Him. No matter how hard it is to share, or how hard His tests are, I should continue working and being a missionary. You never know whose lives you'llchange even with a few words. He's transformed me in a way I can't explain. I'm not very good at expressing myself through words, but He has showed me how much he loves me. He has reminded me how much joy life is and how much blessing He continuously gives me. God has transformed me to be more open and more willing to share my faith with others, to continuously be a missionary and share His words through my encounters with others.(Lynel Valderama, Calgary Alberta Household leader, CFC Youth Victoria)

The first important thing that I learned is that recently my faith, and my dedication to God, have been gradually receding. It was never noticeable, but being surrounded once more by the community, by the CFC Youth leaders, and especially by the CFC missionaries, people who have devoted their entire lives and dreams to God, I was constantly reminded that my faith is something that needs to be strengthened and nourished daily, and that my relationship with God has so much more space to grow. This GAT has shown me the importance of family. The ANCOP immersion especially has just made me realize more how much I DO appreciate the presence of my family around me, and that it is ok to show them that you love them. I think this GAT has made me more willing to participate in my faith, and for sure has revived my driveto share the love that I felt, God’s love, with everyone around me, especially my family and friends. It has also strengthened my will to actively discern and to not fear discernment. I also carry within me now treasures that I bear from the Philippines, whether that be my new friends from the Philippines and Canada, the amazing natural beauty of the Philippines, the warmth I felt from the ANCOP family/families, or simply every memory I have made here. I think most importantly I have learned that God’s mission isn’t about me, but it is about me forgetting myself completely in Him and allowing God to do His work through me. (Danielle Roy, YFC Member, Canada)

The most important thing I've learned from GAT is to really appreciate even the smallest things. Through the small interactions I've had in my time here in the Philippines, I've really been able to see how something as simple as a conversation can really brighten up or have a big impact on someone's life, and the relationships I was able to make. I think God has really been pushing me out of my comfort zones and out of my boundaries. I think the message He has been trying to tell me is to really surrender my self in Him and to place my trust in Him, because He will take care of the rest. I have been transformed in multiple ways here. First, during my mission here, my view on life has been totally changed. I've been able to see how blessed I am to be living in Canada and how life really is different here in the Philippines. I've also really been transformed in how I serve the Lord through the community. My experiences here have really changed how I see my service and the direction I will be going forward with it. Lastly, I've been transformed in my relationship with the Lord. I've been able to change things in my life to better myself and to better my relationship with the Lord. Through my experiences here, I've been able to learn or relearn many things not only inside of the community, butin everyday life as well. Things I will be able to bring back with me and experiences I will be able to share with others.(Ivan Seva, Alberta Cluster Head)

Through this GAT experience, the Lord has called me to be patient and to continue discerning. He reminded me that He has planted the seed and that I only need to uncover His plans, trust in Him and surrender. The Lord has challenged me in many different ways and has allowed me to be sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit. He also taught me how to put others first, and to simply appreciate what I have. (Karla Mercado, Calgary Alberta Cluster head)

The most important thing I learned in this GAT is that joy in mission requires going back to the very basic. At times mission gets complicated but at the end of the day it is giving your life to others in whatever capacity the Lord asks of you. The Lord's message for me is to be more open to Him in my prayers. To ask Him the why's, whether big or small, and be excited because with the Lord, there are greater things to come. He allowed me to be more open to what He has in store for me and convicted me even more in my calling as a missionary through teachings about the mission and experiencing it first hand in the people we encountered during our immersions. (Niccolo Arboleda, Full time Pastoral Worker for YFC Canada)

I have learned that openness is the key to growing. Not only in faith, but in general. Having an open mind and heart allows you to experience everything the Lord has in store for you. In all moments, not just in prayer or snorkelling, we should be willing to take a risk. Every risk I have taken while on this trip, from reaching out to strangers on the street for gateway evangelization or jumping out of a boat, has been worth it. Through everything I have heard from the Lord that I must trust in Him. I had expectations and plans for this GAT. Yet, it was the Lord's itinerary that prevailed. I wanted an experience and that is what I got from Him. He provided exactly, and perhaps more, than what I wanted. He truly provides for those who trust in Him. God has shown me that those who follow Him will be provided for in all that they do. We prayed for good weather for island hopping in Palawan and we received it. We wanted to try new things and we were featured on a live Radio Veritas show. The Lord is good to those who seek Him fully. I have a new sense of direction and understanding. The ANCOP immersion has shown me what it means to truly live a simple life, yet, be happy and full of love. Being in the GMC has opened me up to the notion that our community is founded on lifegiving relationships with one another. Experiencing the new food and culture has expanded my worldview. Seeing the Catholic faith here has allowed me insights into its slight differences and theoverwhelming universality offered to us by our Father above. (Adam Lachacz, CFC Youth Edmonton Cluster Head)

GAT taught me to be more open to the leading of the Lord. Preparing this activity, even during the activity itself, was not a bed of roses. Trusting the Lord more and surrendering everything to Him were our mantra, and the Lord never failed us. He led us to where we are supposed to be, where we can share His greatness and where we can feel His loving mercy and presence. I believe that in every activity we had, we encountered the Lord. From openness, the Lord led me to simplicity of life. Indeed, there was beauty in simplicity and that simplicity made us see the Lord more. His creations are majestic - from the mountains, skies, sea, animals and most especially humans. The Lord allowed us to appreciate and experience Him through these gifts. Everything was a gift from the Lord. And through this GAT, we were given the opportunity to bask in His greatness. It allowed us to focus more in Him, to focus more on our prayer life and to focus more on our Catholic faith. This GAT was not only for the participants, but it was also for us leading them. It was a breath of fresh air. It was seeing a new perspective of life. It was one of the best moments with the Lord! And I am grateful that I shared these moments with these young people. (Zen Margarette Gutierrez,Fulltime Pastoral Worker, YFC GAT Facilitator)

Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017



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