MESSENGERS OF HOPE – Values Formation and Spiritual Transformation Council Visits Bukidnon

It’s not everyday that we hear good news, especially not in this part of the country. Right now when one turns on the radio or the television, it’s all about Typhoon Ruby that’s currently beating the Visayas and the southern part of Luzon in the Philippine archipelago; the issues of graft and corruption in the government, and many other crimes. Approximately 90% of the content is bad news, only about 10% is positive and uplifting.

Due to this, most people have become disillusioned and this I guess is the sad part because when people are disillusioned, they start giving up on their dreams. I know so because I almost gave up on mine. I almost stopped reaching out because I felt that no matter how hard I tried I was never getting anywhere anyway; my efforts created little impact and it’s still the same world I wake up to everyday — bad news on TV.

This has gone for quite some time until I almost fell into some serious depression and I thought, this can’t be right. Just because it’s all bad news on TV doesn’t mean my life has to end here; that I stop working towards my goals and stop doing what’s good for my community. It’s true that my family is my first priority but just being able to feed the children and send them to school doesn’t feel quite enough. I realized I needed to put more value in what I normally do everyday. This seemed difficult at first, but after years (yes, years) of groping in the dark, I found the answer when I listened to the least likely of people who would give me this advice: turn to your faith.

There is Hope

Of course it didn’t work like magic. Things did not turn around completely at once, but with a positive attitude, I feel in the deepest core of my being that I am guided towards the right direction and the future is always brighter than the past. With mindset, the present becomes easier to deal with and I never run out of people who show up with either the same ideals as mine or are willing to work with me towards reaching those ideals.

Recently, for instance, a group of concerned citizens came to our school offering to conduct a free seminar to our students, their parents, and the teachers in our school. They call themselves the Values Formation and Spiritual Transformation Council, Inc., an organization whose dream is to have a Philippines with Filipinos who are Maka-Dios, Maka-Bayan, Maka-Tao and Maka-Kalikasan (God-centered, Nationalistic, Pro-people and Pro-environment). To achieve this, they believe “there is a need for moral renewal in order to eradicate the social ills that have plagued us for the past several decades, such as graft and corruption, patronage politics, apathy, passivity… and lack of patriotism.” They have been on this mission for years now and they have gone to different provinces conducting seminars to private and public servants, students, teachers and parents.

Sounds like a pretty grand dream to me and I’m sure you might think so too. Most people I talked to when I conveyed my enthusiasm about supporting the team and making the event possible in our school met me with cynical comments if not downright scorn, especially upon hearing where these guys are coming from — the National Head Quarters of the Philippine National Police.

We Have a Choice

If remained to be so negative and easily swayed by other people’s negativity, I would have given up at the first sign of complications but this new knowledge that has sustained my faith these days gave me the strength to persevere. Yes, the agency where these guys are coming from is facing some serious issues nowadays, but these guys made a choice to never give up in doing what they believe is right. These guys from the Values Formation and Spiritual Transformation Council are doing what they believe is right in the best way they possibly can. Our local governments are currently facing problems, but there are people who never give up in pursuing what is good. Even our families, the smallest unit of society, are not immune — mother and father are facing all sorts of problems at home but that doesn’t mean they have to stop working in pursuing what is best for the family. Teachers, especially Values Education teachers, are not perfect; they have their flaws, they have weaknesses. But this doesn’t stop us from teaching Values Education in our schools. It is an ongoing journey and the only way we know whether or not we are getting to our destination is to keep going. We have a choice, and we can choose to continue fighting the good fight, or succumb to disillusionment and defeat.

This reminds me of what the great political leader Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” This message keeps me going, but I think there is a more powerful source of inspiration and motivation for those in need — the Holy Bible. When somebody told me to turn to my faith during those dark, depresing days of my life, I found refuge in the gospels and in the apostle Paul’s letters to both the Jews and Gentiles, encouraging us always to persevere in doing what is right in the face of trials and injustice.

It is the season of Advent, once again. May we all keep the fire of hope that Jesus brings with Him burning in our hearts as we wait for the Lord.

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