Artists on a Mission (YCOM Weekend Cebu)
When I was younger, I would often wish I were as good as my friends who could tinker around with Photoshop and produce excellent results that I can’t make with just Paint. I would often sigh whenever they take beautiful pictures, or when they say that they’re good at performing… and mean it. It was after a few years before I was finally able to admit to myself that I really am not the creative type.
That is, until God called on me to go on a mission for Him in Cebu. There, He told me otherwise.
It was the 5th of May and we were in our third day on our mission trip in Cebu. I was with 4 other creative missionaries and we were making last minute discussions on the natures of our talk for the YCOM Weekend, an activity directed towards the YCOM Core; a 3-talk, 2-workshop overnight, which discusses how people can be inspired to spark their creativity and set ablaze their passion in the service.
When I saw the YCOM Core arrive, many from far locations, and many far older than I, I feared. How was I going to become an inspiration to people who probably knew more about being creative than I did? God whispered to me and said, “Why do you fear, My child? The answer is simple. Allow Me to have Myself shown through you.”
The first talk, which was given by Kuya NJ Sia from West B, reminded everyone of the many truths that surround us – in particular that of the prevalence of social media, and how we, as youths for and in Christ, should strive so that everyday we can become more Christ-like in what we post, what we say, what we write, and what we make. He said that it will be hard, especially since we live in a world today that undermines religion and laughs about important issues, but that we should be convicted in our beliefs. This was the same thrust brought forward by the workshop on Creative Thinking, which challenged everyone to go out of their comfort zones and make a beeline into their courage zones with regard to how they’re going to spread the love of God in places even they didn’t know were possible.
The second talk, given by Kuya Mark Castro, a mission volunteer, focused on drawing out this special kind of creativity that only youths who work for Christ can make possible. The workshop by Ate Kitin Pambuan from North B invited the YCOM Core to unleash this distinct ability in an activity called Marketing Jesus – where the attendees would have to incorporate what they have learned into a business proposal, which is designed in such a way that the product they endorse should be able to assist the buyer into finding God.
The last talk, conducted by Kuya Lex Alinsod from South A, discussed the struggles we may face when we decide to live lives that are geared toward Christ. He said that it will be hard – God never promised easy lives to those who decide to pick up their crosses and follow Him – but God will always accompany those who live for Him. After all, we were created in His image and likeness. Even before we consider ourselves fortunate because we’re creative, we should consider ourselves blessed because we have a God who is.
The YCOM Weekend was a weekend of prayer, worship, and a return to the basics. It taught all of us present that we can find a mission in things people normally wouldn’t, which is why we’re in YCOM.
The five of us from Manila, we may have been few in number, and – due to the fact that it was also us who’ll conduct the YCOM Workshops the following day – all of us would have to do double tasks, but we prevailed. God did nothing the entire weekend but affirm us of the mission, affirm us of the greatness only He would be able to show if only we put our complete faith in Him who gives us strength.
There were five of us who started the mission. God, however, sent in the Cebu YCOM Core – 12 souls, to continue it. There were five of us who aimed to inspire, and God surprised us by allowing us to be inspired more than we can inspire. There were five of us who were scared before the mission unfolded because many of us experienced our own personal problems even before the trip, but God talked to us personally and told us that there weren’t just five of us – He was always there within our midst.
The YCOM Weekend was a great chance for everyone to realize why they’re in the program. It was a weekend of bonding, of traveling, of making new friends, and trying out new things; more than that, though, the YCOM Weekend was a weekend where everyone saw Christ in each other, in whatever field they specialized in.
Now that I look back to the events of the YCOM Weekend; I realize one thing: the only fear I had in thinking creatively was my fear of falling short of people’s expectations. If I were to be perfectly honest, there’s actually only one Being who I should please with what I do, not the people around me, certainly not me, but Christ. All I had to do was reflect His light so that the whole world will see His greatness through the things He has called me to do.