Place, Big Growth
Peter H. Cariaga
has been a year to remember. International
affairs have had a prominent place in our news and daily
life this year. Nations held their breath as elections worldwide
raged across the headlines. Tens of millions across the
globe cheered on their teams at the Olympics in Athens.
Leaders from countries around the world mourned the loss
of former US president Ronald Reagan. It's been a year of
change for all of us, and it's been especially full of it
for me. Here's my perspective on the year, a look into the
year of a missionary kid in the Philippines.
came by necessity early on in the year. On our first Sunday
back in Mactan (our home congregation in the province of
Cebu) I was asked to lead singing. Apparently I did something
right because they haven't asked me to stop; I've been the
worship leader at Mactan almost every Sunday from then until
of the things I looked forward to coming back to was the
youth group here in Mactan. I'd been involved when we were
here in 2002 and had learned a lot from my youth group in
the US. I was happy to find that many of the faces I knew
were still there, along with several new ones that have
become like family. Over the summer we hung out together,
went swimming and mall hopping and made it a point to do
as much with each other as we could. We went to Negros (central
Philippines) for an annual summer camp; we participated
in weekly inter-congregational devos; and we were involved
in a big area-wide church overnight at the end of the summer.
In that time I got to know my friends even better and learned
a lot about ministry in the process.
June (when classes start here) I was transitioning to a
new role that needed playing: that of a full-time student.
I've been home schooled most of my life, so the transition
was difficult at first. My first few months at Marie Ernestine
Science High School were a bit tumultuous. From adjusting
to the 8-5 daily schedule, to trying to decipher physics
class to being elected to the student council, to landing
a lead role in the school play, it's been challenging but
fulfilling balancing act of life.
of the things I've grown in and enjoyed the most has been
in the area of my life skills and leadership. I've been
a reader of leadership expert John Maxwell's books since
I was fourteen and have done my best to apply what I learn.
I can say I've seen firsthand what a raised "lid"
of leadership can do. In August I had the opportunity to
go to Baguio City for a nationwide leadership training seminar
for student council members. Because of that I was awarded
a scholarship to attend a leadership conference with John
Maxwell himself as a speaker. Before the end of September
I had attended another seminar and befriended the two influential
organizers, Adrian Ding and Marnelli Abatayo.
November Marnelli asked me to be a host of a parenting seminar
our school was hosting. The speakers were celebrity-turned-businessman
Anthony Pangilinan and his wife Maricel Laxa. The invitation
floored me; I had heard Anthony speak in Baguio and at the
Maxwell conference, as well as at the seminar in September.
Maricel is a successful movie actress and motivational speaker-in
short, I felt in over my head. However, the seminar turned
out wonderfully. My co-host and I had a lot of fun and I
got to talk with the Pangilinans for a bit afterward.
been a year full of change and growth for me. From taking
over what I could when our youth minister had to move to
the US, to learning what a hypotenuse is, to interacting
with high-profile individuals, to realizing the value of
leadership, it has been like the seedling planted young
that suddenly springs up and starts bearing fruit. These
days I'm concentrating on certain subjects in school and
preparing for college. However, I'm still going to speak
at a youth fellowship later this month and will attend another
seminar in January (Anthony Pangilinan will be speaking
at that one, too). My motto has become, "Never shrink
at a chance to grow."
particular lesson has impacted me a lot this year: the fact
that today-every day-matters.
Just for today I can take care of my health.
Just for today I can live out my faith.
Just for today I can act on my priorities.
Just for today I can reach for an opportunity to grow.
The Philippines is a small country but experiences here
have allowed me to grow a hundredfold. I look forward to
the opportunities of the coming year and hope you will join
me in making the most of each, one day at a time.
the URL below for more of Peter's article.
a Mentor in John Maxwell
What You Really Want by Peter Cariaga
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