I signed up for #OnHigherGround2017, the biggest singles’ event of Victory South Hub, with three things in mind: church involvement, fellowship, and God. True enough, I’ve gained a new family (my teammates from Team A’right Arayat), and new sisters (my roomies at room 436). But on top of everything, I have experienced God’s overwhelming presence — in that shaky function room in Manor Hotel — like I’ve never experienced Him before. He gave me confirmations; He comforted me through songs; I was reminded of His promises; I was reminded of my purpose as a Christian.
If you haven’t joined a singles’ event or any retreat before, I hope this entry could inspire you to join the next retreat in your congregation. I promise it’s worth the vacation leave.
Three days of fellowship earned me lifetime friends.
As you could see in the photos, my team was the cool, creative and clingy A’right Arayat. We’re like my favorite seafood platter — diverse yet perfectly mixed. There’s someone who makes us laugh through his genuine randomness (Hi, #UVExpress!); there’s a shy yet wisdom-filled lady, a businessman with a weird accent, a chinito engineer, a North Korean representative (JK!), a generous hotelier, witty/slightly bully teachers, a campus missionary who’s searching for the one, a fresh grad who’s getting out of her shell, a 100% English-speaking lawyer, and there were observers like me. A’riiiiiight?
(c) Atty. Jori
Apart from the fun group activities, I think the best moment I had with this team was during our last night at The Manor. We were pouring our hearts out in that real talk session — ignoring that we’re all freezing and sniffing because of the cold weather. I got to know them deeper; I got to see their souls; I got to see God’s work in their lives. Under the moonlight, we prayed together, plus rebuked and encouraged each other. In fact, until now, our team is still communicating. We have a Facebook group where anyone could open up a problem without feeling judged, where anyone could start a “poll” for unity’s sake, a group where we can send encouragement and virtual hugs.
There are a lot of verses in the Bible that talk about the importance of fellowship – Acts 2:42, Colossians 3:16, and Hebrews 10:24-25 to name a few. I never understood these verses until I became part of a Victory Group; and all the more after joining the singles’ event. You won’t trust someone you barely knew, right? I wouldn’t either. That’s why we really have to be intentional in getting to know other people. If you can’t boldly introduce yourself to someone just yet, joining a retreat could be a strategic move.
Being with souls who were as hungry for God’s presence as I was boosted my fire.
If you want a coal to fire up, you have to put it together with burning coals. The same goes for Christians. Whenever we’re feeling dry and empty, we have to be with people who have the fire for God. That’s what happened at On Higher Ground. I was one of those losing the fire. But the little spark left in my coal became ablaze because I was able to worship and spend time with other coals who were also burning for God. Romans 12:11 says “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive.” To ensure this, we have to stay together.
I gained beautiful memories.
(c) Charm & Jerilyn
Another memory that I’d like to revisit from this experience was being able to talk about God’s Word with my LG-mates in a totally unique setting. I can remember holding my stick of street food along Session Road while listening to my LG-mates as they share how God spoke to them during worship and the sessions. It was a beautiful sight to remember.
The girl talk with my gorgeous, girly companions at room 436 was also worth mentioning. I’m glad even for a short span of time, I learned a glimpse of their love lives and faith walk. <3
God has used this event to confirm what He wanted me to do.
My mind was filled with questions and uncertainties before the getaway. God wanted me to do something that my heart was resisting. I was full of fear and unbelief. I even thought maybe I was just hearing myself and not God. But God spoke to me through the songs, the preachings, and through the Holy Spirit. I can still remember the powerful words that came from Pastor Janssen Morados. “Relentless faith is not moved by fear. You are not intimidated; you are not moved by fear.” And he continued with “We, people, are in search of fulfillment. Unfortunately, most of us see it in the wrong places. God would love to [give you] the comforts of this life, but He wants to use those for His purpose. This is not your story; it is God’s story through you.”
While cringing at the truth, I couldn’t contain my tears from falling because I could sense the Lord’s presence. I know the Holy Spirit talked to each and every person in that room through Pastor Janssen.
The event aimed to glorify God, and He was there with us.
(c) Victory Alabang Singles’ group
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20
I don’t know how to stress this enough but while worshipping, many of us cried, lifted our hands, and jumped to the point of almost breaking the second floor of the Forest Lodge because we have felt God’s presence. We knew He’s there. We knew He’s happy seeing His people gathering to celebrate the freedom he gave through Jesus Christ.
The miracles didn’t end in the retreat. God has given me a “direct” word/confirmation through a random Christian person I didn’t know a few days after the event. I still couldn’t believe it until now, but that’s our God. He reveals Himself graciously and wonderfully. I won’t tell the story here anymore ’cause I don’t wanna read TLDR comments. HAHAHA.
Anyway, the Lord has used #OnHigherGround2017 to increase my faith in Him, and elevate my fellowship with the Holy Spirit. It has helped me better appreciate the importance of being with fellow believers, to be fearless, and to continuously say yes to the Great Commission. With that, I’m grateful.
Thank You, Lord! Thank you, Victory South Hub. Thank you, Pastor Francis and Miss Christabelle. Thank you, OHG-mates! I can’t wait for the next getaway! <3