Last Thursday's heavy rains and floods, brought about by tropical storm Santi, did not deter the VIDES volunteers from going to Don Bosco School Sta. Mesa to be a part of the annual encounter with Sr Sarah B. Garcia FMA. As always, the volunteers were very much eager to hear what the Provincial Superior of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians has to say.
Sr Sarah started her message by congratulating all the volunteers for all the good they do in transforming the lives of children. She acknowledged the contribution of the volunteers in shaping the loves of children through education.
Here is Sr. Sarah's inspiring message to the volunteers:
"Continue walking with Christ, which means contemplating the love story between God and you. It is awesome to live and walk with Christ as we journey daily with Him.
A young boy asked Pope Francis how to believe and search to be faithful. The Pope answered, 'Walking is an art; if we are always in a hurry we might not be able to reach our destination'.
Walking is the art of looking to the horizon; thinking about where I want to go, and coping with the weariness that comes from walking. Moreover, the way is often hard-going and it is not easy. I want to be faithful to this journey, but it is not easy.
Listen, there is darkness. There are days of darkness, days of failure, and some days of falling. Someone falls, and falls. Sometimes we feel weak, we can’t move on; there is darkness… yet, always keep this in mind: Do not be afraid of failure. Do not be afraid of falling.
In the art of walking, it is not falling that matters. Get up immediately, and continue to go on and this is beautiful. This is how we ought to walk every day.
It is terrible to walk alone, terrible and tedious. Walking in community, with friends, with those who love us… this helps us to arrive precisely at the destination where we must arrive.
Christ is our greatest friend who is faithful and true.
We go through different transitions in life, midlife… late adulthood. People change… sometimes we get tired.. WE ARE LOOKING FOR RENEWED MEANING IN OUR LIFE. Times are moving forward… we experience changes.. These transitions are normal; they are a call for us to discover ourselves better.
We, who give ourselves to others, we expand our hearts, we transcend ourselves, especially when we encounter the poor. Even if we are in deep pain, we still understand why we move on. We have discovered that 'more' in life… and if we continue to search, we will discover the 'more' beyond that more."
Sr. Sarah also asked the volunteers present why they continue to be with VIDES. Here's what they have to say:
Amy: Family. We experience the sensitivity of the volunteers to the needs of the others, especially the poorest. We don’t have to put up appearances because there is always acceptance. Our self-gift, no matter how small, becomes great when mingled with the share of the others.
Jun: Contentment. No matter what happens, we make possible what seems to be impossible.
Charm: Since my childhood, my dad has already introduced me to VIDES. Here, I grow in responsibility and sharing.
Raymund: Because of all the negative news around, VIDES gives me the boost to become more positive. The pork barrel scam and all other evil things around us, make us down. With VIDES, we find hope because there’s so much good. VIDES boosts my morale, keeps me going.
Reccie: VIDES is a gift. When we receive gifts, we don’t know what’s inside. When we join VIDES, we meet persons, even children, volunteers, and their parents. We still have to discover the treasure within each person. Persons are all gifts, and we meet them at VIDES. Even if some members are not Catholics, we find volunteers and young people, and we marvel at them. Our students are joining us. They said that it is tiring to volunteer, and yet they find joy in serving.
Darline: Service and simplicity of the things being done. The impact of what we are doing is great. Volunteers come from other countries to serve, why can’t we? It is my contribution and way of paying it forward… the people I meet give me more, because they are very grateful and appreciative of what we are doing.
Irene: My world became bigger. Before, I only thought of myself and my family. With VIDES, I realized there are many children who are really deprived. I acknowledge the blessings God has bestowed on me.. I learned to open my heart to others.
Varry: For me, I am enjoying as a volunteer and staff of VIDES. I am happy to serve the children. At VIDES, we are all equal. Truly One for Others.
Rhea: VIDES is my first job. I’m counting five years already. But I still feel very young. I don’t notice that I’ve been here for so long. When I go home, I bring home many happy feelings every time I go home. I enjoy volunteering.
Yunisa: I knew VIDES when I was still in Malihao. I didn’t realize that one day I’d be able to join VIDES. Here, I can say that even if I’m not rich, I can help and serve… I can contribute to others. Wherever I go, I know that each one has a story to tell. I hope to give inspiration to others also.
Rose: I stay with VIDES because I feel recharged spiritually. I feel relaxed when I’m at VIDES. At home, I feel tired with my three boys. When I return home, I’m ready to be with my family once again. I keep on looking for VIDES because it is already in my heart to serve and to give joy. I learned many things at VIDES because I teach and at the same time I learn from the children.
Melvin: I am happy at VIDES. Not only because this is my work but because I feel the spiritual support and guidance. I am also here because I don’t feel discriminated, we are treated equally. In my stay with VIDES, I have come to love to the children, when before, I used to bear them with a struggling heart. I’ve been part of the journey of the children and for this, I’m happy.
Eugene: I am happy because God gave me strength so as to give myself to the children.
Stanley: It’s simple. I’m looking for meaning. I stayed with VIDES because I feel part of a big family. When I serve, no matter how little, I feel happy and contented. Through my service at VIDES, these past five years, I have discovered my talents I’ve never known before.
Rizza: One word is not enough.. I am happy, contented. I feel I’ve grown. I never realized I could do the things I’m doing now. When I see volunteers giving themselves fully, I feel fulfilled. I’ve grown with VIDES.
Sr. Jojo: Thank you to Sr. Sarah for the trust given me as delegate. I give myself in joy and love because God has blessed me so much.
Ciel: I’ve been with VIDES since 2005. I stay on because I believe in the mission of the organization. Our motto is one for others. Through VIDES, I am able to serve. Here I have found a family. In other organizations, nothing happens after the activities. They merely give dole outs. Here, we are given the motivation for what we doing. We all serve from the heart.
Jennifer*: I haven’t been that long with VIDES as a volunteer. Yes I’ve been with VIDES as a child. I have stayed on with VIDES because I realized that I’ll grow more if I’m with VIDES. I saw that my contemporaries who are no longer in contact with VIDES are already lagging behind. I’m very proud because I’m still with VIDES. Some of them have already settled down. I feel they have not been able to achieve the best that they can be. For me, I haven’t reached yet that level of self-actualization. Before I used to pray the rosary always. When I became active once more with the children, I was able to go back to my spiritual journey. I met new ALS learners and told them they can still change. I felt that I had been able to motivate them. I know these children. They are now striving to do good. This makes me happy because I realize they have listened to me. I like to experience going to other places also. I also want to improve so that I can let others feel what I have experienced.
Dong*: Thank you. At VIDES, I am able to share whatever little help I can give to the needy children. I like VIDES because here we are all equal.
Toni Rose*: I stay with VIDES because it’s already part of my life. Even if I’m busy with my life and work, I still have VIDES at heart. I won’t be able to set VIDES aside because I am happy to share my self. I feel good when I attend VIDES activities.
Lezeil*: This is my apostolate as a Christian. I have responsibilities at home, at work, but as a Christian, VIDES is my apostolate. VIDES fulfills me. Comparing my commitment before, I feel I am less active. I used to be very active on weekends but because of my busy schedule, I have just pledged to help out in sourcing funds and resources for our mission. I feel that each one is important. We are equal. We are happy with each one’s achievement. We have ups and downs, but our passion for VIDES is what keeps us going. We can leave anytime and join other organizations. I actually tried out with other groups, but I realized I keep on coming back to my HOME, and this HOME is VIDES. I appreciate the friendship and bonding with each other. I never realize how long I’ve been with VIDES… because I enjoyed my stay here. VIDES has made me complete.
After the sharing done by the volunteers, Sr Sarah gave her response:
"I always look forward to meeting you all. When I meet people who are committed, I also feel re-charged. I am touched when you say you can give no matter what, no matter how little.
The Lord continues to multiply VIDES through resources, volunteers, and the children. You multiply because you find sense in what you do.
People get inspired by your commitment. Your circle generates life. In many ways, you are generating life.
At VIDES you find strength and support.
Whether we like it or not, the persons we love are those who hurt us most but they also give us the greatest joy. The closer we become, the closer we can love, but we can also hurt each other. This is the nature of love. If we don’t care about each other, we won’t feel any pain.
Children feel your love and presence. It is good if you bring this love back to your own families. Even if loving hurts, let’s continue our mission to love. We express this love by being one.
Your contribution is valid, no matter how small. You say you feel the equal treatment within VIDES. Yes, because we are all the same – we are all God’s children.
Others will also be inspired by what you live together. When you value others, especially the poorest, we make them feel they have a name, a face, and they have value.
Thank you for inspiring lives, and for inspiring me. I will give you some messages of Pope Francis, which Sr. Theda has taken from his twitter account. Asked about the scandals of the priests, the Pope said, 'The holiness in the church is greater than all the scandals done by these few persons'.
Be happy. Be holy. It is possible. What you are doing as volunteers is a holy act. When you do something loving, you do it from the bottom of your heart because we are God’s image."A truly enriching and inspiring sharing and bonding time with Sr Sarah it was.
*Testimonials given during the VIDES Meeting.
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