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KOTA KINABALU – The Couples for Christ – Handmaids of the Lord (CFC-HOLD)’s 8th echo conference focused on faith journey was held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre on 23 Sept 2017.
An Echo Conference is a local duplication of the annual HOLD International Conference (ICON) held in April in Manila attended by some of the key members. These members then return to their respective countries and organise similar conferences.
This year’s theme was My Heart in Your Hands (1 Cor 16:13-14). The conference began with rosary recitation and Holy Mass at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel presided by Father Paul Lo, CFC Spiritual Adviser.
In the conference, divided into five sessions comprising talks, testimonies and creative expressions, the 160-strong participants were brought to awareness the different stages in the faith journey.
In Session 1: Journey of Faith, Teresa Michael-Majanil presented the different stages in the journey of faith using Thomas Cole’s four paintings entitled The Voyage of Life.
In the second session, Crisis in Faith, Wendy Chin elaborated on the many challenges faced by the Church in Corinth and in society today such as division, lax morality, power struggle, desire for self-aggrandisement, secularism, moral relativism, materialism, and rationalisation as well the reality of the culture of death and killing.
The third session, Staying the Course, Ivy Henry Majanil touched on spiritual warfare and the tactics used by Satan: deception, division, diversion, and discouragement. She said the CFC theme of standing firm in faith points out the ways to counter the devilish tactics through understanding well the catechism lived and learnt through the basic prayers, sacraments, church and family traditions.
In the fourth session, Warriors on Our Knees, Karen Sigawal spelt out the vocation of the laity to holiness lived out in daily life. She pointed out that courage/endurance is needed to do God’s will and to receive what He has promised. The obstacles to courage are excessive fear, sloth or laziness, fatigue and loneliness and their antidotes are magnanimity, patience, humility and determination.
In the fifth and final session, My Heart in Your Hands, Anne Labadin-Majanil showed the participants how love is the weapon in God’s plan of attack in spiritual warfare – love for God and for others in concrete actions – as depicted in Joshua 6. It was Joshua’s love for God that won the battle of Jericho – a love that trusted, did not question but simply obeyed. She led the participants to place their hearts in God’s loving hands – wounded hands that will hold their hearts close to His own heart, entailing a deep prayer life, total obedience to Him, union with Him in Holy Communion, and a life of service to Him and others.
The one-day conference ended with a praise fest.
The Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) target mature women, regardless of status, or situation, from ages forty-one (41) and above. The ministry has a three-fold mission: personal transformation, evangelisation to bring her family and others especially women to a renewed life in the Lord, and wholehearted service to bring glad tidings to the poor. It provides a strong teaching track, special teachings for women in different states of life, and a leadership programme to equip leaders to be more effective and better servants. The mission promotes the missionary spirit among leaders to realise its vision.