A Challenge to Love and Serve

One of the graduates of the NCA Leadership Journey Batch 4, Katrina Ongoco, facilitated the recently conducted Leadership Training and Orientation for the parish youth leaders of the Dioceses of Novaliches and Caloocan. She shares here her experience on volunteering for the said activity.

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The author interacting with the participants

Everyday, as I check my planner in the morning, I am reminded of changing someone else’s life. I know when a good friend of mine gave me the Change Someone’s Life Planner 2013, she gave it to me because she simply knows I love to plan my daily activities. Only when I was invited to assist in the leadership training led by the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation that I realized the underlying reason why God allowed me to have this planner as my organizer-buddy this year.

As leaders, we are called to love and serve the Lord in everything that we do. However, the challenge does not end there. This leadership training opened my eyes and made me understand that we are not just called to love and serve the Lord. We are called to make others appreciate this calling, that they are also invited to love and serve. The Lord is seeking help from us, that by serving His young creations, we can bring His love to other people, to other aspiring leaders of this nation. Then again, it seems that He has prepared a never ending challenge to this calling because I also recognized what exactly I should do to meet His desired end. Learn to combine love, service and, most importantly, sacrifice.

In the two-day leadership trainings for the HAPAG-ASA Summer Feed Break Student Volunteers in the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Quezon City and in the Sacred Heart Morning Breeze Parish, Kalookan for the participants of Diocese of Novaliches and Kalookan, respectively, I figured out that God has summoned me to love and serve His people in the said places though it would mean taking two of my vacation days and converting them into working days—waking up earlier than my usual wake up time and traveling in an absolutely hot weather. But then, as we travelled to the venue, I continuously reiterated to myself that the challenge is not merely to love and serve, the challenge is to appreciate the combination of love, service and sacrifice.

“Everyone is called to love and serve,” we constantly reminded the participants because not all are aware of it. Worse, not all are willing to grab the challenge and, maybe, that is why I was called to be part of this leadership training. I was tasked to share my experiences and realizations of service and volunteerism. Recalling my story of service, negative and positive memories came to my mind. There is a significant difference between these two kinds of memories. First, negative memories do not matter because positive memories have overpowered such thoughts. Second, negative memories have minor effects as compared with positive memories which have drastically changed my life. Lastly, I can count the negative memories in my ten fingers but the magnitude of positive memories that I have cherished can never be measured by a simple instrument.

Having grasped all these, to combine love, service and sacrifice is not hard after all. All along, I thought that the challenge is a win-lose situation when in fact it is absolutely a win-win condition. I was called to take the challenge because, in the very beginning, He knew I would make it. Well, the NCAF team made it. We won the challenge because we were able to instill in the minds of our participants that service and volunteerism do not equate to sacrifice alone. Service coupled with sacrifice boils down to “love”. This explains it all. It is a win-win situation because the love that you gave would be given back to you. The only difference is that you will, most probably, receive more than what you gave.

In the next years, I’m not sure whether or not I would be given or I would buy the same kind of planner, but I do hope, God would still give me the same challenge and the same calling, that is to call other people, especially young ones, invite them to listen to Him, and make them realize that love, service and sacrifice is a worthwhile challenge to grab. We are all called by His undying love to serve others and we are all loved back even more than what we deserve. In the end, I know this country will be in good hands because more and more will be challenged and dare to become the country’s leaders and new heroes.

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