KAWAYAN CAMP – TO BECOME LIKE CHRIST IS A PAINFUL PROCESS, BUT IT’S WORTH THE PAIN
God provides through His children
I had to take a great leap of faith to be able to join Kawayan Camp 2015. KC, as it is usually called, is a month- long leadership training camp of IVCF Philippines (It is like a boot camp in the U.S.). The $250 registration fee is a small matter because the God whom I serve is able to provide.
By faith, I raised funds and God provided my transportation and pocket money for the camp. God also used people to be channels of blessing to us, the IV West Visayas “girls”, who were chosen by IVCF West Negros Regional Unit to attend. When I heard the news that MEANS sponsored our registration fee, I was speechless; tears flowed down my cheeks. I was puzzled by their gracious act of giving. Why were they so willing to invest a big amount of money on me? I want to express my warmest and sincerest gratitude to MEANS and Eumir Villamor (of IVCF) for being God’s vessels to enable me to experience a life transforming camp.
Kawayan Camp, a meaningful journey with God
The KC training for one month seems overwhelming. KC is not just a chance to meet students coming from college campuses in different regions in the Philippines. For me, it is also a month-long journey with God to experience a painstaking, gradual process of molding me into Christ-likeness. God used KC as an instrument to renew, revive and break my stoic, stubborn and proud heart. God knows how stubborn and hard-hearted I am in submitting to Him. He gently broke my pride, dealt with my submission issues and taught me humility. Being a leader, I tend to be perfectionist and bossy. I got initiated into leadership in the family, as the eldest of four siblings. At KC, I learned that true leadership is serving others, not demanding service from others. At every plenary session and in various activities, God spoke to me and taught me some precious lessons.
Embracing and practicing Kingdom values
The Kingdom of God session has taught me that as a Christian representative of His Kingdom. I must walk reflecting God’s image by practicing the values of the Kingdom of God. People will come to know God if I reflect Him in my life. One of the highlights in my KC experience was Community Involvement. I was assigned to go to a community where many couples live together, where either partner left his husband or her wife. I have an issue against this kind of relationship. My father broke my heart and trust when he chose to leave us and live with his mistress. I wrestled with God the whole time I was in that community. “Oh Lord, why here?” I cried. But God answered me, “My child, I put you there so you can become a vessel of hope, reconciliation and healing to others.” In that situation, God taught me that to be a follower of Christ, I must love others the same way that Jesus loves me; I must end my bitterness and let God’s love overflow in my heart.
Struggling with God’s Word
The Scripture Engagement workshop taught me to be fully dependent on the Holy Spirit, not on my mental capability. I felt insecure in the Exposition Class when I saw how good my classmates were in doing their outlines and the Manuscript Bible Studies. I had re-written my outline five times only to be marked wrong every time by my Exposition mentor. I felt hopeless, not knowing what to do. It seemed God had emptied my brain and left me with nothing. I couldn’t think and I couldn’t write. My mind was blank. I cried on the last night of our workshop. I asked God what was wrong with the Holy Spirit in me. Why isn’t He working? I cried the night before our Bible Study Leading. However, God assured me that the same Spirit who enabled Jesus’ followers two thousand years ago, followers like C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, John Stott, bible scholars, preachers and theologians, is the same Spirit who will enable me, if I will allow Him. That very moment, I let God’s Spirit move and empower me. I began to dig down deeper and deeper into His word. I was like a pearl diver and the bible was the ocean and I never ran out of “pearls”. I discovered that God’s Word is so rich!
A Painful Process
Yes, the process of becoming like Christ is painful but it’s worth the pain. If I have to enumerate all the things I learned at the camp, it would probably be long enough to fill a book. Attending KC 2015 does not guarantee that I am now a person who has grown in perfect maturity in all areas of my life. It does not mean I am better than those who have not gone to KC. I want to emphasize that God’s molding does not end at KC. It continues in my life-long journey under His grace and sometimes through a painful process of refining me into the person that He wants me to be.
Again, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for giving me the opportunity to join Kawayan Camp 2015 and for the privilege to be molded by our Maker Himself. I was an empty page and God wrote KC 2015 story in my heart. It is my prayer that you may continue to be vessels of good work to our Master. May God bless you according to His glorious riches. To Him be the Praise and Honor!
–Ezra Marie Edem Valiente – Incoming senior student, Bachelor of Science in Education – Major in Social Science at Philippine Normal University, Sagay, Negros Occidental, Philippines. She has been involved in many MEANS and IVCF projects like tree planting, distribution of relief goods in a disaster area, a family camp in Balabag Elementary School and in San Carlos City Jail.