who is Jun-G?

Jun-GI AM… Firmo, but my friends call me Jun-G. I am an only child. For the past years of my life, I’ve gained so many friends around the Philippines and abroad. I consider them not just my friends, but also as family.

When you look at me now, it seems as though I’ve never encountered hardships in life. I’m always happy, active and high spirited. It’s just that my life now abounds with so much of God’s blessing. Each day is an anticipation of God’s miracles and wonders. Everyday is a concrete manifestation of God’s love for me.

From a child full of hatred, to a youth renewed, to a man in God’s service and now a servant after God’s own, these transformations are all God’s work in my life. God has been a good and loving Father, He has blessed me and the transformations in my life are all part of my sacred romance with Him.

A child full of hatred…

It was painful for me to watch my entire family suffer because of my mother’s vices. Hatred started to dwell in my heart and I hated my mother. Because of her drunkenness, she would beat me instead of appreciating me for a perfect quiz score. I distinctly remember my elementary graduation when mother was drunk and made a scene. After pinning my medal, she walked down the stage and fell. People laughed at us. I was humiliated. I was the butt of jokes, I was the “the son of the falling star.”

My mother also gambled. We were forced to sell our property to pay for her debts, and we had to rent a house for PhP300/month. It was difficult to accept my miserable family when life was hard and hopeless.

There was just so much hatred in my heart. I hated my dad because I thought if I were him I would have left my mom. I hated God because I felt the world was not fair. My family suffered so many misfortunes in life, and He was not doing anything to help us.

A youth renewed…

My life changed when my parents invited me to join a youth camp of CFC Youth for Christ (YFC). It was easy for them to convince me because the campsite was in Davao City and I had always longed to visit that city. So I went and became a CFC YFC member.

At first, I found the camp awkward and corny. However, the facilitators were so engaging and animated that I came to eventually appreciate the activities and participated in the singing of songs. My perception of a Christian group changed from boring and corny to surprisingly dynamic, lively and exciting.

More importantly, for the first time, during the camp I had the chance to have a real dialogue with my parents. I remember crying so much as I told my parents how I felt about them. I was moved by their sincerity and humility. It felt so great to be free.

Since that camp, I slowly witnessed God transforming my family. My mom just dropped all her vices and to me it was a miracle. I remember our first family prayer and that time, my father was crying because we didn’t have anything to eat. Then, the following day God provided for us. At 5 o’ clock in the morning, someone knocked at our door and paid a long overdue debt. Our neighbors had also left half a sack of rice and some crabs outside our door. It was so amazing to behold an answered prayer.

The PhP300/month house was a small place that brought us together. We were sleeping on 2-inch double sized bed.

Along this light, my parents and I became active in CFC community. As years went by, my parents became leaders in CFC GenSan and I was in CFC YFC. There were so many activities in CFC that brought us closer and more intimate with each other. We attended family recollections, retreats and other related activities of the community.

The brokenness in my family was healing. My heart that was full of hatred was slowly being filled with love. God gave us a chance to mend our wrong decisions and actions. It wasn’t easy for me to forgive my parents, but through His grace I was able to do so.

What we are is God’s work. He has created us in Christ Jesus for the good works he has prepared that we should devote ourselves to them.” Ephesians 2:10. These words became so real to me. All the experiences I had were God’s work for which I acknowledge Him as my father who loves me dearly. These made me discover the beauty of His love.

I fell in love with God so much so that I spent much time in prayer. God revealed himself to me each time I prayed. I discovered that He is the God of goodness and kindness. He longs for what’s best for me and He is patiently leading and guiding me. I feel joy every time I discover things from Him because it makes me discover myself as well. Discovering myself brought me to acceptance. Accepting brought and continues to bring changes in my life.

A man in God’s service…

My renewal is God’s gift to me. It is not for me to keep for myself. I have to share it with others. When I became a member of CFC YFC, I had a taste of God’s service. I became very active that after a few months in community. At my young age, I was tasked to be a speaker during a youth camp. My talk was entitled “Who is Jesus Christ?” As I read the talk outline, I was challenged to seek who Jesus Christ really was in my life. It was so humbled to know that He is a real king, yet a genuine servant. He became my new idol and I wanted to imitate Him. I wanted to serve Him and my prayer from then was for God to give me a group to lead.

God immediately answered my prayer. I was tasked to lead several groups. The task of taking care of my members became my priority. I became so seriously involved with my service that I decided not to take my university studies outside my hometown.

I grew in service during my college years. By God’s grace, I was given many opportunities to share His goodness in my life, using myself as his witness to the youth. He gave me opportunities to organize communities and establish the CFC YFC organization in schools. It was a privilege for me to be one of the top leaders of CFC YFC in the province of South Cotabato and I took my leadership as an opportunity to serve.

But God gave me more chances to be of service to Him. In Year 2000, I served in Gawad Kalinga (GK), our community’s work with the poor program. The first GK site in our province was established on top of a mountain and our beneficiaries were the B’laans, a group of indigenous people. After graduation, I worked and volunteered to serve in GK spending almost all of my weekends there. As I was exposed to the work, I found myself so involved in it and realized that I was blessed with an opportunity to be of hands-on service to the poor.

I became so passionate in my desire to serve God that I decided to resign from my corporate work and apply as a missionary for my community.

My first year as a missionary was in South Cotabato and Maguindanao Provinces. Traveling became a challenge as I had to pass through dangerous highways. But my heart had learnt to surrender and trust in the will of God. I knew in His hands, I’ll always be safe.

Serving in a Muslim dominated area in the Philippines was God’s preparation for me because the next year, I was assigned out of the country to handle CFC’s Borneo-East Timor Mission center. I was based in Brunei Darussalam and for more than a year in this mission area, I had a better understanding of missionary work. I realized that a missionary to be effective had to be madly and deeply in love with God, willing to live and die for Him. “For to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil 1:21.

A servant after God’s own…

My passion to serve in the community brought me to the height of giving my all. When I decided to work as a missionary, I surrendered my career, my family and my personal dreams because I know God will take care of them. As a result, I enjoyed the fruits of my investment in serving God. I experience peace and joy in my heart and I didn’t want to lose it. I wanted even more of it.

Like Jesus, I am challenged to offer my life to build God’s kingdom and reign here on earth. I dare to surrender my right and longing to raise my own family. It was a joy to submit all these in strength for God’s service.

During my mission trip to East Timor, I remember listening to a song entitled “Panunumpa.” I asked myself, “Are the lyrics of this song true for me?” Subconsciously, my mind answered, “In order for me to be true I should be a priest.” But I denied the fact that I heard something. I did not entertain it at all because priesthood was not yet an option in my life.

August of 2003, I attended our Global Leaders’ Forum here in the Philippines. I was assigned to facilitate a workshop entitled “Future Religious from YFC.” During the discussion, I was quiet, meditating and contemplating. I was listening to Him through the youth who were discussing issues. At the end, I couldn’t believe that my desire to become a priest was already budding. Since then, I started nurturing the desire for pursuing priesthood.

February 14, 2004, I said “yes” to take a step to His invitation. Yet, it took me a year to discover how.

May 31, 2006, I entered the Society of Jesus. Now, I am enjoying my formation as a Jesuit. By God’s grace, my passion to love, honor and serve Him is being sustained here. The formation here has contributed a lot to the growth of my faith and my capacity to love.

Indeed I put no value on my life, if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by Lord Jesus, to announce the good news of God’s service.” Acts 20:24. I know it is a continuous journey of discovering my God. I am excited to experience victories in struggles, security amidst doubts and confusions. This journey for sure, will make me grow and become mature. To spread His good news to all is my purpose. It is my dream to do the task that He has given me. I will strive to finish the race giving all my best and all I am.

My prayer is that God will continue to unravel His ultimate plan for me. I dream of a world that is prosperous and abundant; where no one is in need. I know that things will not be easy but I am sure that God will strengthen me and use me powerfully to bring this dream to reality.

I can’t do this alone. Indeed, God will be with me. Hence, I don’t want Him far or even just beside me. I want Him to be with me and in me. My deepest yearning is to be one with Him, that like St. Paul, God may consume me; that like St. John the Baptist, I may continue to decrease and that He will increase; that like St. Ignatius de Loyola, God may grace me with valor to surrender my entire will, memory and freedom to Him; that my life may no longer be mine but His.

SOLO DIOS BASTA!

Responses

  1. Bro, natotouch ako sa sharing ng buhay. It is as if my inner self is stirred. Your life is a living testimony of God’s unwavering love for us. God truly beholds you!

  2. Jun-G! How are you? I am so happy to know that you are now in the Seminary. I know we’ve only served together once, in the first SHOUT, but I’ve suspected that you were one of them prayerful people :D.

    My family and I will keep you in our prayers. I am truly honoured and humbled to have served with you in YFC.

    God bless!

  3. I am glad to read who Jun-G has become. You truly are an inspiration. I am grateful you are in my life. The memories I have of you are pleasant and peaceful. May our paths cross again. xoxo Fen 😀

  4. kuya ,
    i dont know if you still remember me , but it doesnt matter ,
    you been a great instrument to us .
    thank you for serving YFC koronadal ” marbel ” south cotabato , specialy for helping us building YFC club possible in our school “KNCHS” and i am proud to tell you that YFC club in our school is one of the strongest organization , i believe that what we all started will remain and will continue to grow and were all hoping that everybody could experience the greatness of GOD and fullness of life .

    i can still remember the sweetness of your smile while teaching us a song . and i can’t imagine someone like you would have this passion … for i know in christ nothing is impossible .

    thankyou for being a living witness of GOD’s love , and sharing it to us .

    you will always be an inspiration .

    YZ .

  5. Hi Bro Jun-G, truly our God is an awesome God! Your life story is truly inspiring and you are indeed Gods manifestation of His love for us. Thank you for all your insights and sharings,I really learned a lot from them. We miss you here in Brunei. Hope will have the opportunity to work together again in serving God’s people. Will continue to pray for you and Philip and may Gods abundant blessings of His love, grace, joy and peace be with you always in your journey of life in Him.

  6. hello jun-g! so very touching story obviously coming from someone whose heart is really on fire. may it continue burning and light other fires as you touch other peoples’ lives.

  7. Hello Jun-Gi,

    You are a living testimony of His Grace and your surrender to Him is humbling and moving at the same time. May He strengthen and you and bless you throughout your journey.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts.

  8. hi there. I know you don’t know me but I really like the reflection of your life(its really touching).God truly work in changing your heart(bilib talaga ako sa Kanya). If you don’t mind I will use it for reflection sa CFC- YFC dito sa Utah. I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah USA. dati rin akong YFC (1994 Mindoro) but now CFC na.
    I will pray for you all the time.
    God Bless you and your family.

  9. hi gie! im happy that you made other people lives inspired in sharing your journey and experiences and you inspired me too…now alam me na ang sagot sa tanong na minsang naglalaro sa isip ko…i am proud of you not just that you are my cousin but because of your kindheart sa mga taong nakakasalamuha mo…you are truly an instrument of Gods love…your always in my prayer for your daily guindance, goodhealth, strength,perseverance at mananatiling masaya in our choosen vocation.
    God Bless Bro.

    In Gods love
    let

  10. Wow! This is truly inspiring! May you continue to be an inspiration to others especially to those who are discerning.

    Godbless u and i will surely pray for you.

  11. hi, jun-g! natuwa akong basahin ang kwento ng bokasyon mo. tulad ng ibang kwento ng pagtugon, may sariling timpla’t asim.ü pero lahat, nakakainspire.

    sana ay maraming makabasa ng blog mo para magkaroon sila ng inspirasyon na magbalik-loob at sana ay makapukaw din na isaalang-alang ang buhay relihiyoso.

    God bless!

    hi vergel!
    thanks for visiting my site and leaving a comment.
    it is my desire to be able to inspire many as they continue to trek the great adventure of life.
    i’m happy to somehow inspire you…
    ang galing mong mag-filipino, masining at malalim.
    maraming salamat ulit.

  12. kambal!

    i honor your courage to pursue a far greater love.
    and i thank God for giving you the grace to pursue Him.

    christian aliwanag

    kambal!

    thanks for reading… thanks for the comment…
    anong balita? email ka naman…

  13. Kapatid, babalikan ko lahat ang isinulat mo dito sa blog. For sure mag eenjoy akong basahin ito. I am really happy to meet you and Neil. God bless kapatid and keep on inspiring us.

    masaya din po ako na nakilala ko si HoneyBrisketBabyFat… isa pong karangalan 🙂

  14. Hi Bro Jun-G…

    I though I’ll pass by… I ended up reading some of your recent posts and this page…

    Napaka-inspiring naman ng kwento mo… 🙂

    I have to ask, did you attend the 2009 SFC ICON in Cebu?

    I find your background familiar…

    Anyways, I’m adding you to my blog roll, and I’ll be a regular visitor….

    maraming salamat po sa pagbisita 😉
    yup i was there at the 2009 SFC ICON in Cebu. ako po yung nag-introduce ng benediction and mass…

  15. Haha! Sabi ko na nga ba ikaw yun! Hehehe… Nic emeeting you “again” here in the blogosphere… 🙂

    biruin mo yun! hehehe… nice meeting you here too 🙂

  16. like the pic! ayos!

    tnx 🙂

  17. kapatid, i forgot to tell you–kinukumusta ka nga pala ng SFC (west b). helped out in their lenten reco last time. they know you! sikat! 🙂

    oo nga… lagi akong nagbibigay ng talk sa CLP dyan dati… hehehe… please extend my regards to them. na-miss ko na sila.

  18. Hi Bro. Jun G, i dont know na im reading na pala ur blog. God is so faithful.
    Natuwa ako during our workshop “Nature Talk” for 4 hours di man lang ako inantok.
    Kami yung ist batch na nag papicture sayo (wow ist batch) hope u rememeber us pa.
    See u sa Davao Icon ’10.

    Goodluck Bro. and God Bless!

    hi melina! natuwa naman ako na naligaw ka sa blog ko. hehehe… pahingi naman ng picture natin, para may remembrance ako… sana nga makapunta ako sa Davao Icon ’10.

  19. Bruder, Thank you so much for visiting my humble site. Its an honor to have a Jesuit presence there from time to time.

    I haven’t read your story above. I just skimmed and scan pero know what, ganyan din ang author page ko, mas mahaba pa ata haha. Kala ko ako lang ang may drama sa blog, now we have a common ground.

    Anyhow its nice to meet a “kapatid” in the blogosphere. Madami ako nameet na kapatid dito dahil lang sa either ako o sila ang nakatisod sa bawat blogs. But anyhow thanks to jorge for being the bridge.

    Babalik ako to read especially the story (im a sucker for vocation stories). Just returned the nice compliment and courtesy that you paid my blog.

    Pax et Bonum tol

    oo nga… salamat kay Jorge… naku! sikat na naman si Jorge… hehehe… thanks for visiting my site. nadagdagan na naman ang kapatid ko sa buhay… hehehe… Happy feast day to us! St. Ignatius, pray for us! 🙂

    pax et bonum… i googled this… peace and all good pala ang meaning. kaya… pax et bonum too.

  20. hindi naman “nagtalang” its “hungod lang” hehehe.
    tignan ko po kasi you tube ng Home, naalala kita..
    anyway wir can i send the pics?
    pics or pic kasi isa lang naman? peace!

    you can email it to me… salamat po!

  21. im really blessed to your life….same situation in my life, but onething still now my family is not a christian…sometimes in my life..sinisisi ko sarili ko s alaaht ng nangyayari sa family ko..mukhang napabayaan ko sila..
    … … …i thank God for your Life i learned a lot of things…but i know its very hard to forgive… …siguro ako i ko magagwa yun sa papa ko..wala na kasi syang ginawa kundi mag inom, mag sugal… kahit wala ng pera..nagagwa pa din nya lahat ng gusto nya.. kahit hindi na kumain ang mga kapatid ko..okey lang sa kanya… minsan natutuwa na nga lang ako pag nagkakasakit sya..kaso there is a time na even he is sick he still continue his vices..hay grabe talaga… …there’s a lot of miserables happen in my life… di ko alam bakit…pero alam ko its my fault… ssiguro malala na ngayon kasi my family is living in the streets.. and me im living in my friends house,,while doing my minstry as a full time and assistant pastor in our church…even our situation is this..my fatherwalang paki alam sa kanila… im always prayed to God before nya akong kunin sana makatulong ako sa family ko…
    .. .. ,.. .. ..kuya email mo naman po ako.. thanks God Bless..

  22. Hi! I found your site on a google image search for a picture of Confucius. I’d like to use your pic on my site. Of course, I’ll link to your page through the picture. Please let me know if that’s not okay.

    Thanks,

    Mark

  23. haba naman!!haha ngaun lng nmin ntpos ng bonggang bongga!!!were so blessed in your testimony .. ..kakatouch ng bongga . . gling ni GOD .. ..!!always still stand in the center of the circle of GOD’S will for you!!!GODBLESS!!!

  24. very inspiring brother jun G. hope to meet you soon. im teaching right now in SLU baguio and this call was stirred somehow. thanks for sharing. bro. ro is my spiritual director.

    • Kaybee… Tagal na nitong message mo… Ngayon ko lang ulit binalikan ang account na ito…

  25. Anang ganda po ng pagkakahabi ng kuwento
    . Puede ko po bang gamiting material sa mga out of school learners q sa pagsulat ng sanaysay “Ang Pasko Para Sa Akin”


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