Im so excited to go home.. 3 more nights and i'll be back in the company of my family. I only get this opportunity once a year and now I'll be maximizing my vacation coz I'll be on leave for a month. whew.. I guess that's enough time to get my bearings and acquaint myself once more with the neighborhood where I grew up. You see, for the past six years, I haven't stayed at home for more than two weeks. And during those times, I'm always out with friends or visiting some relatives. God, I really miss my home.. If it were not for the dusty and bumpy 6-hour ride, I would be going home everytime the airlines offer promo flights.
Another reason why I'm so excited to go home is to see for myself how the CFC community is growing in our hometown. You see, I've been praying and dreaming about this for the past 4 years. Ever since I joined YFC and experienced the loving embrace of brothers and sisters in the community, I always prayed that my parents, 2 brothers and 1 sister would be able to experience this feeling. Before I joined this community, I've always felt that there's nothing wrong with me. I'm just an ordinary Christian who attends mass every Sunday and prays to God regularly (thanks to my Catholic education). But then, I've never been so wrong about that. In this community, I realized that God is ever-present and ever faithful and that He has a divine plan for everybody - including me and my family. And I'm holding on to that assurance that someday, somehow the rest of my family will be able to realize that too..
I never knew that God had something up on His sleeve. For 4 years, I just kept on praying and hoping - but nothing happened. Nevertheless, I still pushed on with my service in the community - attending youth camps, joining the production numbers for the conferences, giving talks, and all that jazz. But at the back of my mind, I kept on wishing that someone would be doing the same thing in my hometown. Recently, my fervent hope became more of a mantra. We've been having minor problems with my dad and his vices. And these problems escalated to a level which me and my siblings cannot tolerate anymore. I don't wanna put him in a negative light. Its just that I'm overly concerned for my siblings who are in their formative years. But I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Putting myself in his shoes, I know that its very hard to raise a family during these trying times. And considering his background, he was able to hold a prominent position in an NGO and now he's back in our hometown trying to establish his businesses most of which did not yield any profit, life wasn't very easy on him. Maybe that's the reason why he resorted to his vices - to be able to escape reality for a while. In the long run, this kind of life wouldn't be good for his health. I've tried various ways of convincing him - writing a research paper about the ill effects of smoking, talking to him about it, trying the technique of reverse psychology - all to no avail. My last hope was a community who would support him and understand what he's going through. After four years of waiting, it finally came during the time when I least expect it. The CFC couples conducted a 3-day retreat for the parents in our school which served as their entrypoint to the community. My father did not change overnight but Im so thankful to notice small changes in him. Truly, God cannot be outdone in His faithfulness.. The verse in Mt. 7:7 always comes to mind whenever I reflect on this blessing.. "Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened to you."