Christmas Institutes and My Leadership Journey

Right before the Christmas vacation of 1993, my father, who was assigned as the Pastor of Roxas UMC at the North Central Philippines Annual Conference, told me to attend this gathering of church youth. I was 11 then, one year short of the official age of an official member of the UMYFer.

I didn’t know what the Christmas Institute was all about but right after Christmas day, I chose the nicest clothes from among the gifts I received that year. I watched as jeepneys and tricycles full of youth arrived at our church. I knew some of them—friends I met through cluster fellowship events of the church.

As the days progressed, Ates and Kuyas from Roxas UMC invited me to sit with them inside the church to participate in the activities of the CI. As a Pastor’s kid, I have had lots of practice sitting down inside the church, but the joy of the youth attending the event was so infectious that I found myself wanting to join in the fun.

For most youth in the United Methodist Church, the year is not complete without participating to the Christmas Institute. We learn more about our faith through the Bible studies, lectures, and group dynamics. We meet new friends through the small group interactions and the games we play. For young hearts, we even find childhood crushes and eventually, life partners.

a few friends from my district in Isabela (l-r Eufer, me, Kuya Fido, Pastor Randy).  This photo was taken in April 2008 in San Nicolas, Pangasinan during our National Youth Conference.

Continue reading

Kwentong CI: Soaked

This is a short documentary film on the recently held Christmas Institute 2012 (Soak in Christ) within the area of Northeast Philippines Annual Conference. Herewith, video casts are those who became members of the CI Staff, Core Group, and some are beginning delegates all within the four districts of the said conference. They have given their insights, experiences, and testimonies therein. It also includes the captured scenes through pictures and videos highlighting the run through of the four (4) CI events happened. The film aims to emphasize, highlight, and further share the witnessing of this set of young people to further reach out fellow youth by means of multimedia ministry or through a short video clip.

Kwentong CI: Christmas Institute, a Magical Experience

Una sa lahat, ang point of view ng video na ito ay mainly from us, the staffs and officers. Nakasaad ditto kung ano yung mga programs, activities na meron sa CI at bakit naming inilagay ang mga ito. Ganun pa man, yung content/kabuuan ng video na ito ay hango sa personal experiences ng mga youths na nakadalo ng Christmas Institute. Ihinahalintulad naming mga taga SMD-NELPAC ang Christmas Institue na parang isang MAGICAL EXPERIENCE kung saan dumarating sa point na ayaw pang matapos yung CI, kung puwede lang iextend pa! Parang magical na, it’s a place kung san nakakalimutan yung problema. Pinapakita din dito na ang CI 2013 ay soak in culture, soak in talent, soak in spiritual, soak in social, soak in emotional, soak in physical. In short, napaka well rounded ng saklaw ng activities. Pero at the end of the day, ang pinakamahalagang part ng CI ay yung encounter ng mga kabataan kay Lord. Yung paglalim pa ng pananampalataya at pag-alab ng desire nila to seek God. Aminado din kaming officers and staffs, na maging kami ay natuto ng sobra at lalo pa kaming nagBABAD kay Kristo! 🙂 SOAK IN CHRIST!

Kwentong CI: Luha

Ito ay kwento tungkol sa isang kabataan na kung saan ay dating babaero, umiinom, naninigarilyo, mabarkada, sumasagot sa magulang at higit sa lahat ay hindi nakakakilala sa ating Panginoon. At dahil sa taunang aktibidad na inaabangan lahat ng mga kabataan, dito ay nabago ang kanyang pananaw. Naunawaan nya ang kanyang halaga bilang isang kabataang kristiyano, naunawaan nya ang kanyang mga kasalanan, at higit sa lahat ay naunawaan nya kung sino ba talaga siya bilang isang anak ng Diyos. Sa mga pagbabagong ito ang naging dahilan ng kanyang pagLUHA na hindi pa dito nagtatapos ang kanyang buhay kundi ito palang ang kanyang simula bilang isang anak ng ating Panginoon.

Entries to the 1st Kwentong C.I. Video Contest

Submission to the 1st Kwentong C.I. Video Contest closed last February 2, 2013. Four entries were submitted.


by Jesrael Samolde; Noel Angelo Solabo; Daniel Cruz; Kurt Fernandez; Kim Fernandez; Vicky Briones of Parkhomes United Methodist Church, Metro District, RPACE.

Christmas Institute, a Magical Experience

by Rey Oliver Fabros of Burgos UMC, NelPAC


by Jeremiah Edward Bohol, VPAC


by Lemuel Sanchez, Kevin John Maddela, and Jmer Luna, NEPAC

I will be posting links to the following entries soon so you could watch them individually. Winners will be announced by March 30, 2012, and they will be awarded on the 3rd National Youth Council Meeting sometime in August 2013.

Kwentong C.I. Video Contest: Soak in Christ!

The Division on Ministries with Young People (Philippines) in partnership with the National United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines, present to you the very first Kwentong C.I. Video Contest.

This contest is open to all UMYF in the Philippines. Simple lang ang rules.

Attend! Mag-attend ka ng Christmas Institute sa inyong District or Annual Conference. Pwedeng isang tao lang ang sumali. Pwede ring isang buong grupo. O isang buong district. Basta dapat puro UMYF lang ang sasali.

Capture your experience. Kuha ka ng maraming pictures. Saka maraming videos. Dapat maipakita mo kung paano kang na-Soak in Christ! Pwedeng Reality TV ang dating. (parang Big Brother, o Survivor Philippines, o pwede ring The Biggest Loser ang dating). Pwedeng documentary. Pwede rin naming pang-short film ang dating ng video mo. Pero please lang, bawal ang slideshow ng mga pictures habang may tumutugtog na Praise and Worship song. Pwedeng madrama, pwedeng makulet! Ang mahalaga, maipakita ang experience mo sa C.I. Continue reading