On Fire in the Holy Spirit
Stepping Stones Retreat
for Young Adults in Manila, Philippines
Transforming Work of the Holy Spirit in My Life
by Bea Morales
For I know the plans
I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you
following testimony was given by 16 year old Bea Morales at a meeting of
the Ligaya ng Panginoon (Joy of the Lord)
Community, the Sword of the Spirit community in Manila, Philippines. Bea
is the oldest of three sisters, the children of Chito and Luz Morales,
a coordinator and senior woman leader of Ligaya.]
and not to harm
you, to give you a hope and a future. Ė Jeremiah 29:11
I believe that it was definitely Godís plan for
me to be born into the Ligaya ng Panginoon
of the Lord) community in Metro Manila, Philippines. Since my parents Chito
and Luz Morales, were very active members of Ligaya, my life has
revolved around community for as long as I can remember, such that I actually
find it hard to imagine life without living in community. My experience
of growing up in community is very similar to many other kids who have
grown up in community. I always tagged along with my parents, going to
Ligaya events, especially on Sundays even though I preferred to sleep
in on Sunday morning or just stay at home. I didnít ďgetĒ why community
was so important to my parents. There were times when I would see them
that Iíd question why they even went to community activities.
I mean, stay at home if youíre tired, right? But nothing ever hindered
them from faithful participation in Ligaya events.
I survived the experience of growing up in community
with the help of other young community friends who were experiencing the
same things I was going through. All of us went to Ligaya events because
our parents brought us along with them. We had somehow gotten a glimpse
of the way of life of Ligaya and how the older people went about living
community life together. But aside from the summer youth camp which I liked,there
was nothing else about community life that was very appealing to me at
Kairos Summer Camp in Mindanao
When I joined the communityís Young Adults (YA)
program I started encountering God more and I experienced him doing something
important in my life.
I learned that after attending camp each year,
retreats were the next big thing which young people looked forward to in
the Young Adults program. The Stepping Stones Retreat was the first community
youth retreat I ever attended, and the first time I ever stood up in front
of a group of people and publicly said yes to God. After that, retreats
became my opportunities to once again say yes to God. That ďYESĒ was a
constant reminder for me that I was allowing God to use me as an instrument
to spread his word and witness to the great love he has for all of us.
God did indeed use me and I recently found myself in situations where I
was really given the opportunity to serve others.
Bea with youg patient at
Philippine General Hospital
Last December the other YA participants and I
went caroling to a variety of Christmas parties in several districts
of the community. Our goal was to do some fundraising for an outreach project
called Crosstraining. The goal of our project was to reach out to
the children who were confined at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH)
in Manila. It wasnít easy service at all. There were a lot of transportation
problems we had to face because Manila is a very big city and many young
adults lived far apart from one another. But I experienced the overwhelming
support of many community members through their generosity, despite the
fact that we may not have been the best singing group in the world. Through
our caroling we raised around 48,000.00 pesos (Philippine currency) Ė the
majority of which we spent on the medical needs in the childrenís ward
in PGH, and the rest was used for a mini childrenís party in the ward,
with a magician as the main event. In the end, it was all very fulfilling!
This year I also experienced giving my first talk
in an evangelistic Stepping Stones Retreat, which was also a Crosstraining
project of our YA program. It led me to remember my own Stepping Stones
Retreat and I realized how far Iíve come since then - from a reluctant
participant to the speaker in front. Last April I got to serve for the
first time as a discussion group leader at the Kairos Camp in Mindanao.
I also gave another talk to the other participants there. Preparing for
the talk was difficult. There were so many nights where I just felt frustrated
and afraid that I would disappoint so many people. During a night when
I cried over it, Dad told me that service is never supposed to be about
me. God is merely using me, and as I give my talk, it will be God speaking
through me. As long as I do my best to prepare, God will work through the
words I say and allow it to make a mark on the participants.
It never occurred to me in my wildest dreams that
I would be standing before the community as a witness to how God has worked
in me through the years and allowed me to do the things I am doing right
now. Giving talks, being leaders, and serving has always been something
I watched my parents do. I would just stand there wondering how they can
do it and telling myself that itís their thing, not mine.
Godís plan for me did not stop when he allowed
me to be born into Ligaya Community. Right now, He is continuing to fulfill
his plan in me, with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been
transforming me to become the person I am today. And it is because of the
Holy Spirit that I actually have the courage to stand here and testify
to how God is truly amazing.
In hindsight, I realized that it was also the
Holy Spirit working in me that allowed me to serve God and serve others.
I was so passionate regarding the PGH outreach that it never occurred to
me to give up despite the problems we were facing. I wanted the kids to
experience Godís love through us, and I guess thatís what motivated us
to keep going throughout the fundraising to the start of the outreach itself.
The same thing goes for the talks. Iíd never agree to give a talk if I
didnít love God and if I didnít feel passionate about serving him. I agreed
to give the talks because I knew that God was presenting me with an opportunity
to serve Him, and after all those retreats, it was my chance to once again
say YES to God and in a very concrete way this time. I guess itís the Holy
Spirit that keeps the fire burning, and keeps me passionate to serve God
and have that desire to be used by Him for His greater glory.
I trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to
work in and through me and I know that Godís plan for me is far bigger
than I can ever imagine. He is determined to complete what he has started
in me. And I will forever be thankful for the gift Christian community,
and for the people God has sent to help me along the way, and for the guidance
of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Bea (second from right)
with her parents and sisters Camille (left) and Coleen