Finally the Regional Family Retreat No. 2 winds down. The sun sets and darkness starts to creep over Angel’s Hills as the 14 participant FR 2 families make their way towards Manila and the sponsor-servant FR 1 families go about wrapping up their particular team materials and luggage.
As the Brotherhood Christian Family Retreat Course Leader, the long road to this final day had not been easy, but the Lord had been faithful, though hidden from time to time, in bringing back an experience so unforgettable, unrepeatable, unique but ultimately fulfilling.
To start with, this service is totally different. Of all the services we undertake in the BCBP through the years, I have always constantly focused on leading participants into a deep appreciation and involvement into a personal relationship with the Lord.
In many BCLP’s (Christian Life Program) over its 13 weeks it is teamwork with several couples or individuals that creates that synergy that the Lord shifts to a higher plane where he uses that team to be his instrument of loving individuals and couples with His Holy Spirit to those who undergo the program.
In the BCMR (Marriage Retreat) Weekend, he uses then a team of married couples who through their combined efforts love back other couples through their heartfelt service to share that loving Spirit of the Lord to refresh and heal their marriages.
The BCFR ( Family Retreat) on the other hand finds its unique dynamics of families loving other families with our Triune God as a loving family loving both participant and servant families.
Having been a BCLP Course Leader and a BCMR Course Leader in the past coordinating had been a challenge that had not been easy but a common experience as directing individuals and couples is something so part of the BCBP Way of Life in our Action Group meetings and Chapter Life. Sometimes in the cycle of service where I have found myself short-handed, I have found that sometimes the sure way of moving things if they are stuck is to move them myself, individually.
But in the case of the BCFR service there was no way I as BCFR Course Leader could take the place of a family in service. Neither could I be a dictator or a task master that will command things into completion. It took a lot of prayers for me to love my family first, so that they in turn may love other families as well. And that servant family to servant family would likewise extend their love and sharing of responsibilities in such an unconditional and selfless way. Knitting together this team of loving families had to be the work of loving prayer and the Holy Spirit.
I was in awe as the Lord moved silently from session to session, practice to practice, meeting to meeting, planning to planning, from empowerment to the FR Weekend itself, from Friday to Saturday and finally Sunday. I saw the Triune Spirit at work through the National and Regional FR leadership as seemingly big obstacles tumbled out of the way with their care, wisdom and direction.
I saw the selfless dedication of the presenting families as they allowed the Holy Spirit work through every family member to show a holy fire that burns through the concerns and hurts of participant families and bring about a renewed love and healing for the whole family. I saw also our auxiliary families and graduates still aflame with the love of the Lord volunteering their extra time, presence and love offering to be able to make the FR blessing a reality for this weekend’s participants and sponsors.
I saw hearts melt in both participant and servant families as the Triune God, a Holy Divine Family, penetrated, healed and changed hearts at a time they least expected shedding tears of joy without shame. Families brought together, families that served together, families that shared together, families that gave their time, talent and treasure together, families that were molded together, families that were spectacularly blessed together. Families now standing together, with new hearts, a new creation in the Lord! To God, the ultimate Family, be the Glory!