March 20-22, 2019 – NAGCARLAN, LAGUNA
The Messiah College Family – the students, the staff and the faculty members altogether – spent 3 days at Woodland Villa, Nagcarlan, Laguna for the annual Spiritual Retreat entitled “Gotchu” last March 20 – 22, 2019.
“Gotchu”, or ‘Got you!’, focused on encouraging and building each other up, taken from the theme verse 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” But while it is saying “I’m here for you: I will walk with you, I will rejoice with you, I will cry with you, I will lift you up when you fall,” it is also “I’m watching you: I will correct you, I will rebuke you, I will reprove you, I will not tolerate sin in your life,” and for the duration of the retreat, this was what was practiced.
March 20, once there, started with a plenary entitled “Be Like Abraham”, led by Pastor Manric Tan-Pascual, or PMans as he is addressed. PMans left everybody with the point that “the most tangible expressions of lifting others up are through intercession and involvement” – encouraging others, being like Abraham.
After some time, students, and even the staff were given the chance to showcase their talents through the Messiah Got Talent night. The teams presented song numbers and skits depicting the theme. There was also an open mic where everybody was encouraged to perform.
The following day, March 21, was filled with activities: Plenary 2, Hour of Silence, Gotchu Time and the Red Letter Night.
The second plenary session led again by PMans, was about Judging Judgmentalism. He focused on Matthew 7:16 and on 4 keywords: Relationship, Reflection, Restore and Respect. This was followed by an Hour of Silence.
Gotchu Time was a time of fun. The students were grouped into five (5) teams and they were given tasks to practice building others up.
The staff and faculty members, on the other hand, also had their own Gotchu Time – a game of Paintball for some and sharing time for the others.
The highlight of the night, if not the whole retreat, was the Red Letter Night. It was a dress-up night for the students, the staff and the faculty members alike; but more than that was a recommitment of the covenant – with Messiah College, with the people, and with God. PMans reiterated that our Lord is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God.
Mr. Manny Valencia, the owner of Woodland Villa also shared his testimony, during this time.
To cap off the night, the students prepared a program for this year’s graduating students, while the staff and the faculty members spent time around a bonfire.
The President of Messiah College, Dr. Marlyn Del Rosario wrapped up the retreat with her message of changing our minds because: “belief leads to action; our thoughts affect our words; our spoken words have a powerful impact on others and; we ourselves are not perfect,” during the President’s Hour on March 22, the last day.
Praises be to our good God for the 3 days of rest and retreat, but more than those is the knowledge that He continually blesses with people who can encourage and rebuke us and people we can encourage and rebuke the same way – molding us into becoming the people He wants us to be.