Let me just begin by stating the obvious: I miss you all.
It has been a week since we had our last photos together. Remembering our graduation day still brings a bittersweet nostalgia. Browsing through my camera roll and even more so our Facebook messenger groups bring hollowness in my heart. I would tear up while listening to Hillsong’s What A Beautiful Name and I would mope around remembering our fun moments together.
In my guilt of being knocked over by such longingness, God reminds me to stop drowning myself in anxiety (Philippians 4:4-7). So here I am, moving on and forward with a letter of truth and love. And I hope this brings a smile on your face.
I miss how spending time together used to be as easy as walking across many halls while memorizing our breakfast-pass or exam-important verses or calling out each other to say, “Mag-start na ang lecture! Tara na!” I miss the conversations that stretched lazily for hours because we just want to be with our teammates for prayers and encouragement. I miss the way we mastered the many iconic icebreaker lines (e.g., “Check na check na check!”, “1,2,3, Power!”, and “Live bone (5x), Dead bone”) and the way we defeated our sleepiness while in class (e.g., massage/slap yourself, take photos of those already sleeping, or stand behind and pray). I miss the way we borrowed makeup and shoes without a second thought. I miss our fieldwork dates when we spied on people as souls worth loving and prayed for opportunities to share the gospel.
I miss how we all struggled to munch on fish heads, how we managed our time during the mock presentation and crusade week, how we reminded each other with “Kakain ka? Nasaan ID mo?”, “Bawal slippers sa Faith Hall”, “Cleaners ba tayo bukas?”, “Tama na aral. Lights off na!” or “Kumusta re-entry plan mo?”, and how we dealt with ninety-nine other people of different attitudes, leadership styles, backgrounds, habits and perspectives. We were not overcomers ourselves; it was all because of God’s grace. His presence united and sustained us together. His love allowed teams to work together even under pressure. His mercy welcomed transformed hearts in a short span of time. His grace revived those who were faint-hearted.
I will treasure our willingness to accept character corrections. I will treasure the times when we shared our personal desires sealed with the goal of Christlikeness. I will treasure the lessons of humility and boldness which we learnt together from our lecturers/speakers, training organizers and kitchen crew. I will treasure the stories of God’s faithfulness and favor heard through many testimonies shared over dining conversations.
I miss our small talks, shallow jokes, and how we rushingly lined up together for food or coffee. I miss how awkward and shy we all were during the first day, and how happy we were when we saw the glimpse of rainbow during our group photoshoot. I miss how we worshipped, played games and danced together. I miss the way we genuinely congratulated one another.
I miss the way being together felt like being home. But mostly, I miss you all.
Over the course of thirty days, beyond the requirements, God built friendships between us – not a shallow one, but one with a common mission (Matthew 28:18-20); one that is eternal. And as my closest team buddy would always say, “Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them”.
How is life lately? Trusting God, I know you have been relentlessly sharing the gospel, too. It could be that life is still not the way you planned it to be but because of God, we are exactly where He wants us to be – assured and secured of His perfect and pleasing will. You are probably worried about having a job or maybe still disoriented with the load of work you need to catch-up on. You are probably already facing challenges in your family or maybe internal struggles that need Christ’s victory. But in whatever circumstance or feeling, we know that we can stand firm in the Lord because He is able to make us stand firm.
Soon the tune of “Madali lang, madali lang, madali lang” may fade in our heads. The fun memories of our thirty days together may come into a blur. It will be another LDI batch before we know it, and our chat groups may no longer have the same sense of excitement. We may one day skim through our souvenir books and wonder, “Kumusta na kaya sila?” But in whatever circumstance or feeling the future holds, we are always assured of who holds our future. We do not need to hold on to the memories, but we can always fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Hidden behind the walls of nostalgia are steel beams of a shared history, and underneath the days and years we will all be apart from each other is a strong Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). I look forward not only to the day when we can hug each other and laugh together again; I look forward to the day when we see each other at the finish line, and all of us hearing our Master’s reply, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Your fellow pace-setter,