He’s Changing Me
Little by little day by day
Little by little in ev’ry way
My Jesus He's changing me
Since I made a turnabout face
I’ve been walking in His grace
My Jesus He's changing me
He’s changing me
My precious Jesus
I’m not the same person
That I used to be
Sometimes it’s slow going
But there is a knowing
That one day perfect I will be
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Jesus: the Decision We Made
by Emerald Joyce B. Delos Santos| 4-Jeremiah
“Walang magbabago sa buhay mo kung walang magbabago ng buhay mo(Jesus)”- Pastor Raymond Platon
This strong yet inspiring words of Pastor Ray Platon best provide a decision to this year’s Tarlac Christian College Retreat theme: “Making A Life Changing Decision” which occurred last February 5-7, 2013 in Rizal Recreation Center.
The three-day event helped us, fourth year and grade six students of TCC, to think clear for our future. The retreat also showed us that “one decision” can change and complete our point of
views, our attitude, our hearts, and even our lives, just like
how one puzzle piece completes and makes the whole
picture of the puzzle beautiful. That ONE DECISION is
accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Savior and making Him the piece that will direct our puzzled lives. This
event has always been done since then by the Tarlac
Christian College. Former students of TCC shares
their experiences to their younger schoolmates through testimonies in chapel hours, chats on websites, and
letters; but it is far more exciting that we have experienced
this wonderful retreat that most of us have only heard from
others. This retreat brought many students to Jesus and
they have decided to serve Him through charity works, sportsmanship, teamwork, obedience, and most importantly, the study of the word of God.
On our first day, we, students, came early TCC and later, we travelled to Payatas. When we reached Payatas, a bible school student came with us and told not only stories but facts about the place. He told us how the garbage from different places are being brought there even though that place doesn’t have enough facilities to manage it, that is why the garbage were just piled at the Smokey Mountain. We stayed at a basketball court and before the Supreme Student Christian Council distributed the goods, the kids that the bible school students teach during the Daily Vacation Bible School rendered a song with their eyes full of hope and big smiles which touched our hearts. During the giving of goods, we have realized how God is faithful to us and to them. They were not forsaken in their situation. The fact that God takes care of them during calamities is a great blessing. This mission will be impossible if God is not with us that’s why we should always thank God for giving us comfortable lives and we were able to give. As concerned students of TCC, we are praying for those who, according to a bible student, have learned to climb up a garbage truck at a very young age, stealing anything they need, then jumping out again even the vehicle is still moving. This charity work has set fire on our hearts and minds which served as a good start for our retreat.
After travelling from Payatas, we reached the Rizal Recreation Center then we proceeded at the Hautala Hall where we have our orientation. Rules were given so we could have an organized stay there. We were also assigned to our rooms which have beds and restrooms. The whole place is planted with coconut trees, flowers, and other plants. There is also a challenge course, basketball courts, volleyball court, bowling place, swimming pools, hanging bridges, a pond of Koi fishes, and other halls which are named after the different countries and places.
On our first night, we wore our formal attires, gowns and tuxedos, for the main event of the night, the banquet. Each pair walked going to the Randall hall where the banquet was held. Formal dinner was also served to us, provided with service of the waiters. The whole environment felt different. Pretty flowers were placed on a glass vase, candles were also in a glass, white blankets covered the tables, sweet music serenades our ears and everyone was assigned to seat with their partners. Regardless of our attires, we enjoyed playing a game like passing of “cheese rings” using the toothpick and another game where the ladies removed their shoes then their partners would find their partner’s shoes. After enjoying the games, the coronation of Mr. and Ms. Banquet chilled the whole room. Finally, Jennica Datu and Rhein Carreon, both from IV-Haggai, won the title.
We faced our second day with the word of God
delivered by Pastor Raymond Platon. Pastor
Platon hit us with a dare- a DARE TO DREAM! Not
just any ordinary dream, but a dream that comes
from God. In order to reach that dream, Pastor
Platon reminded us to have a right relationship
with God, to recognize God’s will for us, and to
fear Him by obeying our parents just like how
Joseph did. He did not stop to find his brothers as ordered by his father. Pastor Platon illustrated that sometimes when we were asked to find something,
we give up early in finding that thing, and that kind of attitude cannot please God and our parents. His statement and his preaching really challenged us.
After being challenged with the word of God, we faced another challenge in terms of sports. Speed, agility,
and presence of mind were tested in each game.
Some slipped on the grass but everybody’s
happy. One exciting game is the Frisbee.
We have witnessed big, and strong boys
playing with smaller ones and it’s funny how
the smaller ones tried everything just to get the
disk and make a score, even it takes to get piled
up with those big boys. Later, everyone’s tired so
they took their rest after eating lunch.
When we woke up, we prepared ourselves
for the second evening service. Pastor
Platon used Gervine Tayag, Rhein Carreon,
and Kier villanueve as illustrations. Tayag
was the body, Carroen was the soul, and
Villanueva was the spirit. If the spirit is dead,
though the body is healthy, the soul is religious
and full of good works; man cannot still enter
heaven because the only way is through Jesus Christ our Lord. After receiving the blessing of God’s Word, Mrs. Jane Madriaga, principal of Tarlac Christian College, asked to close our eyes and think of our parents. How mothers carried us when we were still not born, how
they were very careful in everything they do and eat, how we had our first touch from our parents, how they keep
us from harm while we were young, how they work hard to provide our needs and wants, and how we break and tear their hearts when we become full of ourselves. While these words were whole-heartedly said by Mrs. Madriaga, bitter cries were heard, regretful tears fell, and breaking hearts were felt . As we opened our eyes, Mrs.
Madriaga asked those who want to read their letter
from their parent. As the big guys were reading their letters, they too have cried. As what Mrs.Pigar ,
adviser of IV-Jeremiah, said, crying is not a sign of weakness but it shows that you are strong in letting others know about your feelings. Joshua Suba also said that when he was in front, reading his letter, he can’t stop his tears from flowing because he remembered all the pain he has brought to his parents. The service ended with thanksgiving for God has given us our parents for a purpose.
That night passed and the last day of our retreat came. We prepared ourselves and went to the Hautala hall. There waited Reverend Joe Mauk, title holder of the World’s Biggest Top in the Guinness Book of World Record. In the hall, he presented his collected tops of different sizes, colors, shapes, and symbolisms. Those tops came from different places and countries like America; Australia; Istanbul, Turkey; Italy; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; Taiwan; China; New Zealand; and Palawan, Philippines. According to Rev. Mauk, tops are made to spin. He related the top as the person and the spinner as God. This shows the relationship with God, that a person is made to worship Him and be ruled by Him. Mr. Mauk also stressed that the string is the faith that comes by hearing the word of God, the anchor as Jesus who should be anchored in our soul, and the knot as the Bible. He uses his tops and their symbolisms in sharing the word of God. He said that he saw this style of soul wining in 1973. In 1975, he started doing it in Australia. And by 1980 when he first came here in the Philippines, he also started it and he had 4500 shows.
“Make our lives a model for God”, Mr. Mauk said. With God; Revor Hill, designer of the top; and 25 engineers, Mr. Mauk achieved the world title, but the very day of their first attempt, he met an accident. He was almost got killed due to the great impact on his head. The doctors
Photography by: Irish Claire Aribe and Jairus Galvo
Mrs MaryJane Madriaga- TCC Principal
Mrs Marriane Millanes 4- Haggai
Mrs Mirasol Pigar- 4- Jeremiah
Mrs Lourdes Paginag 4- Isaiah
Mr Kevin Bagain 2- Ezekiel
Mrs Rhea De Jesus VI- Thessalonians
Ms Cely Deocaris V- Ephesians
Guest Speaker: Pastor Raymond Platon
Shekinah Glory Baptist Church
took the affected part of his skull and by the grace of God, he survived and is really a model for God.
Before we left the Rizal Recreation Center, Pastor Platon for the last time warned us about the Wicked desire, Worldly desire, and Worthless desire which will mess up with the word of God and His will. He invited us to make our life changing decision-to accept Him as our Savior and know His way for us.
After hours of traveling, we reached our last destination, the Enchanted Kingdom. Different breath-taking rides like RioGrande Rapids, Anchors Away, Space Shuttle, Flying Fiesta… Almost everyone has the same expression “NALAGLAG ANG PUSO KO!!” Even the teachers, Mrs. Pigar, Mrs. Millanes, Mrs. Paginag, and Mrs. Madriaga tried the extreme rides. Other students screamed as high and loud as they could while others cannot scream for they were so nervous. We were also happy to see our funny and weird faces on the monitors. Before seven o’clock, we began buying souvenirs then with God’s presence, we reached our homes safely.
Yes, we have enjoyed every single moment in our retreat, but what we enjoyed most was the blessing of God. This retreat may not have changed us physically, but it changed our decisions. As an adage says, “It is good to plan for tomorrow, it is better to plan for the future, but it is the best to plan for eternity”-it is the best to have Jesus in our lives, and this retreat has helped us to make our best decision. Well, have you already made your decision? If not, settle your hearts now, MAKE JESUS CHRIST YOUR LIFE-CHANGING DECISION.