Recently, one of our Pastors — Pastor Zhaleen, told me that it doesn’t have to be their birthday for people to know that they are appreciated. Since, my primary love language is kind words, I was inspired by a number events to revive my blog and make this as an avenue to honor people, especially those that I meet on a regular basis. I would like to call this, “Through the Eyes of Echo.”
Here’s hoping, you can journey with me in knowing these people that I met through the years that in one way or another, made an impact in my life. If you would take a few minutes of your time to read on and get to know about these people Through the Eyes of Echo.
Firstly, I’m starting off with these guys: Mark Reyes and Kevin Diwata. I posted a photo of Mark on Facebook and Instagram which garnered a lot of likes, so I realized, this guy has touched a lot of people’s lives. And I’m not doing this blog to ride on the “like machine,” although I would appreciate it if you guys liked and shared this for people to get to know him too. I did this because again, I believe this could be an avenue in honoring these people.
I met this guys several years ago. I’m not even entirely sure how long I’ve known him but I started hearing his name, I believe around 4 or 5 years ago, give or take. He was invited to church and currently he is being mentored by my friends and co-leaders Raysal Dizon and Pastor Ben Dinglas.
The first I ever heard a mention of his name was from Pastor Ben. He said that they discovered that this guy, together with his close friend – Kevin Diwata, walks to church from Manila! Now, it would be great if Destiny Chuch – Manila is literally IN Manila but during those times, the church services were being held at the UP Film Institute inside the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
Imagine! They were walking for 3 hours just to be able to attend church! I was so amazed by the commitment of these two guys! Pastor Ben actually got a little angry because we didn’t even know that these guys were doing that! Of course, when we knew that, we gave them some money to be able to commute to and from church.
Eventually, I came to know that they were my team-mates in our church’s Production Team. The team is composed entirely of volunteers barring one or two people which are full-time church staff. Note that, Destiny Church is mostly run by volunteers – people passionately working to do great things for God through serving people and winning them to Christ. And so, I found out that these highly committed guys were working together with me in our, “Hakot” ministry as it was called then. Meaning, they transport our church equipment to and from our venues for church events. It would be great if these guys are buff and muscular, spends their time in the gym, eats chicken breast everyday and drinks their protein shakes. NO. It was actually the opposite. These guys are thin and sometimes, you would even call them a little frail.
If you can’t still see the entire picture, just to sum it up, they walk 3 hours from Manila to Quezon City, sleeps at the Destiny Center to prepare for transporting equipment the day after. Wakes up at around 3 or 4 in the morning, loads equipment sometimes heavier than themselves even, into two separate trucks, takes a very quick bath, transports the equipment to our venue, sets it up and serves the entire day in our five services then, sets everything down, transports it again back to our storage center, segregates equipment properly ready to be picked up if needed for the next even. That was our routine then. We usually go home at around 2AM or 3AM of Monday – the next day. Now sometimes, you need to repeat that around 4 or 5 times during the week for all the other events, midweek services, etc. Talk about the commitment of these guys.
Just to clarify things, I did not put it all here to show off or to undermine other people’s commitment. I just wanted to show you how far these guys are willing to exert themselves because they truly love God and they love our nation.
From here on, I would like to say some of the things in Filipino because they convey the message more clearly.
Sa Destiny, naniniwala kami na ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan. Naniniwala kami na, eventually, kakailanganin ng bansang ito ang mga lider na tatayo ng may integridad sa iba’t-ibang larangan. Maaaring ito ay sa gobyerno man, sa pribadong sektor, sa larangan ng arte at sining, musika, agham, teknolohiya, atbp.
So back to Mark and Kevin, they were willing to go so far doing a work in which they are not paid for – volunteering entirely because they want to see this nation change. And that on their own part, they are contributing in making that happen. How? The equipment they set-up makes our Sunday Service possible which enables our Pastors to focus on doing what they do best, minister to people and proclaim the message of Salvation – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They know that in doing so, people are saved from the clutches of Satan, lives are transformed, families restored and they help in eventually winning people to Jesus which will become future leaders of this nation. Leaders that have vision, integrity and the fear of God.
In their own little part, they contribute to change. To making this nation a better place.
I remembered this verse in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 in the Amplified Bible Translation:
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 AMP
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! 25 Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]. 26 Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. 27 But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service].
Earlier today, in one of our Youth gatherings, I saw this video of Mark. It was a video of what they are doing in their campus – in Universidad de Manila. That they are inviting people, doing small groups, leading people to Jesus. Now, they don’t walk from Manila to Quezon City. God has blessed their hearts and provided for them. Mark is now a 2nd Year, Electronics and Communications Engineering student in Universidad de Manila. When I saw that video, I got teary-eyed. He handled himself with so much eloquence, dignity and passion – passion for his campus, to seeing his campus be changed right side up for Jesus.
This guys, Mark and Kevin. They had their limitations but they never stopped dreaming – dreaming big dreams for God. Now, since they have honored God and their leaders with so much, God is also blessing them with so much.
When I saw that video, I am so proud. Proud that they are my team-mates too. So proud that indeed, these guys are the guys I will choose to guard my back if needed to. Proud that they have grown so much from those children I knew to leaders sold out to God and uncompromising. Proud also that they have been honored earlier in their commitment.
I have seen them since and I am seeing them now and I just am unable to see the limit of what God can do in their lives. I am believing for so much more for these guys. God is not yet done in their lives. That I am sure of.
I have so much more to tell about them but let those stories be for another time. But I’ll end with this. Remember when I used to joke that, Universidad de Manila which is known as UdM meant Unibersidad ng Dakilang Maynila? Well, that might not be a joke anymore. One day, I believe, it will be a reality. 🙂