Home Conference 2019
January 06, 2019
“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”
~Lilo, from Lilo and Stitch
Lately, the family has been a complicated topic, especially among the youth. Divorce, separations, misunderstandings, miscommunications… all a big mess. This can often leave a family broken, or on the edge of falling apart. So God gave The Lord’s Flock (TLF) Community an inspiration to help out with this highly relevant issue.
Last January 6, 2019, members of The Lord’s Flock Community were up early in the morning and were busy preparing for the Home Conference. An event geared toward teaching a family how to live and love each other the way God does. The morning breeze was filled with excitement as families from the country (and even outside) came filing into the TLF Heritage Sanctuary. The event started off with a Spirit-filled Praise and Worship led by the Psalm Ministry, followed by a very heartwarming message from our beloved Elder-Founder and Vision Holder, Sis. Techie Rodriguez. Later on came fun-filled games to break the ice with the guests.
Shortly after, the first keynote talk entitled “Full House” was tackled by the daughter of the Elders-Founders and TLF Head Servant, Sis. Mik Rodriguez-Flores. The talk was about what it really was to live a full life. More often than not, we look for the fullness of life in success, possessions, pleasures and positions in life.
“Our eyes can never see enough, our ears can never hear enough,” said Sis. Mik. But she preached about how we can never truly find a full life in the worldly things. And we often waste time trying to find that satisfaction in a world that can never give it. We neglect our families by working too much, we compare our lives to our neighbors, often causing pain to family members. She said that only God can give us that fullness of life. What is full is the life that only Jesus can give.
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~John 10:10
After the talk, the candidates were separated into breakouts. One for the married couples (Sanctuary), young professionals (Pastoral Lobby), youth (Events Place), and children (Mezzanine).
The breakout was entitled: “Thou Shall Do What I Want”. There were three speakers, namely, Bro. Erin Troy Rodriguez Flores for the perspective of the youth, Sis. Dr. Grace Ann Pancho for the singles, and Bro. Ray Cornejo for the parents. All for the young people to understand the three perspectives. They all revolved around the same verse:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.” ~Ephesians 6:1-3
Erin, the first speaker, said our teenage years are full of curiosity, dreams and desires to explore. But a lot of times, we feel that our parents get in the way. Whether it is not being allowed to go on sleepovers, not being allowed to go out to the mall with friends or just having to follow so many house rules. We always feel like our parents are trying to control us. But like it said in Ephesians 6, we must obey and respect our parents.
“We need to have open communication with our parents,” said Bro. Erin. “No matter what, respect our parents. They only want what’s best for us.”
He continued on saying that we should not forget that our parents are allowed to make mistakes too. We cannot expect our parents to be perfect. We need to keep trying to understand each other because our family is a work in progress.
But what if we have our own jobs? Our own lives? Do we still need to respect our parents?
“Growing up means you need to respect your parents even more.” said Sis. Grace Ann Pancho in the second part of the breakout. Graduating and getting a job get us excited for a new life, because we are finally on our own. “I’m free!” Is the statement that runs through our minds. But do we stop respecting our parents? Of course, not.
“Your parents gave their life for you, now it’s time to give back,” Sis. Grace said. She continued on saying that growing up gives greater understanding and wisdom, and more capabilities to take care of our parents. And that is exactly what we should do.
Then came the third part of the breakout, in the perspective of a parent. Bro. Ray Cornejo started out with a testimony, a story from his youth. He was the youngest in the family and considered the most troublesome. He would always sneak out of the house and come home late. And he hated it when his parents scolded him.
“When I was a kid I told myself: if my parents get mad at me, I’m going to run away,” he said. But when he became a father, he understood why his parents acted the way they did. They were only trying to teach him what was best. Later on in his life, he also realized that his parents were very supportive in his dreams and career, and that they were not as bad as he used to think they were. It is hard to understand our parents sometimes, but we have to stand by God’s word and honor them.
The Small World breakout session was handled by Sis. Remy. She talked about how everyone should be welcomed in each and everyone’s home. As the program continues, she then invited all the children to group themselves by age to prepare for the upcoming activities. They were asked to get a colored paper each and make their own welcome mats. It was symbolic of Matthew 10:40-42: “Whoever receives you will receive me, and whoever receives me will receive the one who sent me.”
Finally, after a short break, it was time for the candidates to gather together again for the next keynote talk. After the joyful singing came the most heartbreaking performance by the Dulaang Tupa. It was a spoken poetry performed by four people portraying a mother, a father, an elder daughter and a younger sister. They told a story of how miscommunications and misunderstandings can create a deep wound in the family and a giant gap between their relationship with each other. Tears were shed as the performance ended, and appearing on the stage was Bro. Noah Catan (Elim Community), who started giving his talk.
It was entitled “You Can’t Choose Your Family”. We complain about our family a lot, sometimes wishing we had a different one. But God chose our family, whether we like it or not. And whether that is good news or bad news is up to us. Our family has a purpose. We are to be a community of love. The family is the basic unit of society and without love, it will be dysfunctional. A family is to transmit life, physically and spiritually. Parents should teach their kids how to stay healthy physically and spiritually. They have to introduce their kids to God as early as possible. A family is to help develop a society and to evangelize.
No, we really cannot choose our family. So it is up to us to make the best of them.
Then came the last breakout for the event. This time, the singles were separated from the youth. Back in the Events Place, the youth listened to the next speaker, Sis. Malou Boriga, guidance counselor and psychologist started the next topic entitled: “What’s on your mind?”
She spoke of the many issues the youth today are experiencing, such as bullying, rebellion, depression, isolation, anxiety, low self-esteem and more. She said that kids today are more likely to fall into depression, especially with the growing amount of broken families. Then she called four people to testify about how they overcame such issues. They testified about their broken families, experiences in bullying, depression, suicidal thoughts and how they all overcame these with the love and grace of God. Soon after, the candidates were asked to write on a piece of paper what was on their mind, so that later on they could be helped.
After the Open Forum, the Home Conference ended with a consecration prayer and a Holy Mass, with a special blessing for all the families. It was a long but spirit-filled day obviously making the families inspired to continuously serve the Lord together.
By: Sis. Janaiah Billones