What is faith to you? That was the very first question, from the first session Firestarter, asked during the Wildfire Echo Conference in Hong Kong last May 26, 2013. Afraid to get asked to answer without a prepared response, I immediately questioned myself, “What is faith to me?” then I thought, “Faith is believing and trusting in the unknown.” Many people in the room responded to the question the same way I would’ve responded to it, and it made me realize that everyone had sort of the same idea on what faith was for them. Our ideas weren’t wrong, but Ate Joy made us understand that faith is so much more than just about trusting and believing in the unknown, in something we’re not able to see. Faith is a gift freely given to us by God. We should make use of it and respond to it by saying “yes” to God and all of his plans for us. We should live by faith and grow in it, no matter how difficult it may be.
The talk that was the hardest to let go of, Catching Fire, the second session, was probably the one that got to me the most as well as to everyone else. I know this because I could see that so many of the YFLs present there poured their hearts out most especially during the group sharing session. Everyone could and wanted to relate, and this was probably because everyday, everyone faces so much pressure from the uncertainties in life that undeniably challenge their faith. Sometimes, it would even drive them to quit on something they’re so capable of doing just because they lose hope. It made me realize that probably everyone in the room feared the unknown. However, Kuya Mac taught us that because we have faith in God, the uncertainties in life become certainties and the impossible becomes possible. Faith works wonders, and it was such a great reminder for all of us because we tend to forget to have faith in God as well in ourselves, most especially during times when we face so many obstacles and difficulties in life. We become blinded and our hearts tend to grow cold. But like Kuya Mac said, faith isn’t faith until tested. There is no doubt that it is during those hard times that our faith becomes challenged…threatened, but because we pursue our faith by the grace of God, it still prevails in the end no matter how complicated the situation might have been at the start. We just have to learn to give up our flaws, our fears, and our entire ourselves to God.
Wildfire, the last session, talked about igniting ourselves with faith so that we could go out there lit up, full of hope and most especially ready to set the world on fire with faith. Kuya Jo-I taught us to keep our focus on God no matter how blurry life situations might get, to imitate Him as much as we can so that we can grow more in His likeness and to evangelize others into our faith to hear and to really understand His words. I think that the most complex part of the talk to digest for me was about radically surrendering ourselves to our faith, to God. Totally surrendering ourselves to God can be a very difficult thing to do because we have our fears and there are just times when it’s difficult to trust in something we can’t really see. It takes time for us to surrender ourselves to God because whether we want to admit it or not, we all fear uncertainty. But by working on our faith and striving for greatness for our God, one day, I know we’ll be able to fully surrender ourselves to Him, to let him control our lives. That’s when we’ll be happiest.
It’s been such a blessing having delegates from the Philippines come up here to Hong Kong to speak to us and spread God’s words. As adolescents, we need constant reminders and teachings on how we could and why we should grow deeper in our faith, and the Wildfire Echo Conference provided us with that. Even more so, it has tremendously inspired us to grow deeper in our faith. It has definitely ignited our hearts to be the lights that would set the world on fire with faith.
by Zarah Lingan, CFCYFL Hongkong