Istambay sa Mindanao

Personal blog of MindaNews' Walter I. Balane. Visit www.mindanews.com for more news, views and information on Mindanao.

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Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

I'm Walter Balane. I am a journalist based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. I initiated the group called Atong Press (www.atongpress.ning.com) for press freedom and responsibility and media education in Bukidnon.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday Reflections: Trying to be more faithful, useful







I'm proud to be a part of a simple community in our church called Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon or Lingkod, a Charismatic group of single men and women, mostly young professionals. I originally came from the group's branch in Malaybalay City where I had been a member since October 2001.

Now based in Davao, I have joined activities here since July 2004 up to present.

My life in Lingkod for the last five years had been an encounter that has helped form me. It was and still is an experience with real people who struggle in their own spirituality and strive to be better persons everyday. Above all, this has been the path that led me to experience God in my life in a more personal way.

It helped me anchor my plans and activities to a grand design greater than mine. It has taught me the way to deal with other people (friends and enemies), God's creations too. Also, in the community I met real people who, like me, experience difficulties in many aspects. Personally, Lingkod helped me realize that God's love is greater than all my sins, shortcomings, failures, mistakes and my other imperfections combined. It has taught me to struggle to Love others also in a more special way, especially to my family, friends and loved ones.

Also, the community life that I have in Lingkod has also helped me embrace a wider community around Mindanao, where there are greater differences between members. The teachings on Love, Faith and Hope helped also in my understanding of love, faith and hope in the context of multi-cultural or diverse communities, inter-religious dynamics and even poly-lingual circumstances.

The teachings on prayer, peace through forgiveness, respect and support; and also about unity helped me understand the need for genuine Peace in Mindanao, amid wide differences: ideological and others.

Above all, my experience of service in Lingkod made me resolve also to make use of my God-given gifts to help others.

The photos above were taken last year during Lingkod's Christian Life Program, a 13-week series of talks on Basic Christian truths. I'm shown with the discussion group assigned to me. Today, June 18, 2006; I was asked to give the first talk on God's Love. The opportunity to share my personal experiences through the talk and also to be a "mouthpiece of the Lord" to the participants, have refreshed me of God's call for me to be an instrument so that others would come to know him and would also live blessed lives themselves.

God's love means he wants everyone to be happy. This also means he wants us not to be poor but rich so we could help more people. But I also learned to struggle to stay in control in the use of my resources.

I pray that in this way, I can help change Mindanao, clearing it from dirt, starting with mine.

At days end, I'm ready for a sound sleep; for you, my God, have put my life back together (Psalm 4:8)

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