A Love Story Made In CCF

Monday, July 11, 2011

This is another love story where in our almighty God is the author. I was browsing the internet when this story caught my attention. While I'm reading the story I can't myself pero kinikilig talaga ako.

 

 

 

 

MARTY:
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 13, and it was then that I started serving in the youth ministry and choir of the church where I grew up. But as I enjoyed ministry, I forgot my family. Preparing for band practices and ministry events ate up so much of my time that I spent less and less time with my family. Aside from not spending quality time with them, I had a girlfriend without my parents’ blessing. In His sovereignty, God intervened. He taught me that it’s really important to Him that I honor my parents and spend quality time with them.

As a result of my disobedience, God humbled me by removing me from ministry for almost 2 years. I felt useless to God. However, He assured me that He still had a plan for me. I just needed to let go of everything I held on to, and have Him rearrange my priorities. By God’s grace, I let go of the things God wanted me to: my ex-girlfriend and the ministry.

God compelled me to move to CCF so that I could spend more time with my family. By then, they were already going to CCF regularly. Since I was new in CCF, I had to go to all the basic Bible classes once again. It was such a humbling experience, but God was faithful. This humbling restoration process went on for almost two years. By His grace, I experienced improvement in my relationship with my family and learned to enjoy quality time with them. I also learned to prioritize my walk with God more than my service to Him; my family more than church activities.

 

ATID:
My parents came to know Christ through CCF in 1986, and so I practically grew up in this church family. I made a personal decision to make Jesus my Lord and Savior when I was 13 years old. Early on, my parents taught me to honor and obey them. So this is what we tried our best to practice every day. It was easy at first but it became more and more challenging as my siblings and I grew up.

After college, I had the desire to serve the Lord full-time in ministry. However, my dad said “no,” because he wanted me to experience what the secular world was like. This broke my heart but God told me to trust Him, so I obeyed my father’s advice to work in an international bank. Honestly, it was a great work experience, but after 5 months, God clearly revealed to me that I can start serving Him as a CCF campus missionary in JZONE, CCF’s youth ministry. This time, my parents gave me their blessing. It’s been more than 6 years now, and I can honestly say that I have never regretted my decision to answer God’s call. I have also not regretted obeying my dad’s advice to work in the secular world because I was able to share Christ to my bosses and officemates. It has also taught me valuable things that I have carried on to my ministry work. Truly God gives wisdom to our parents, especially as we make major life decisions.

Being a campus missionary has been exciting, but it was not without trials and struggles. My barkada in CCF started getting married one by one, until I was the only one left. I started to panic, because I felt like my life just revolved around JZONE and my family. I didn’t really make time for socializing since I was too tired to go out after work. I wasn’t even able to go to the CCF Singles’ Retreats because there would also be JZONE retreats on the same dates. I wasn’t complaining, really. I was actually very happy with my life. But I also longed for a romantic story to tell. It was then that God reminded me of 2 stories from the Bible — Rebecca’s and Ruth’s love stories. I found a few things in common with them: they were both faithful to God, they were both hardworking, obedient to their parents, and God granted them the desires of their hearts at just the right time. They didn’t worry or fret or take things into their own hands. They were just faithful where they were, and they let God work in their lives. So I chose to give up worrying. Instead, I did my best to be faithful where God put me. And just when I would worry again, God would lovingly reassure me with these words: “Just be faithful where you are, Atid. Don’t worry about him. I will bring him to you.” And one day, God did — literally! I first saw Marty while I was training JZONE leaders for a summer retreat. I thought to myself, “Oooh, Marty the song leader. What is he doing here?” I soon found out that he was going to be more involved in JZONE. It didn’t really occur to me to start considering him. I just felt like he was one of the “celebrities” in CCF who was just too hard to reach. But God had other plans. He provided opportunities for Marty and me to get to know one another, in what I fondly call, “A love story made in CCF.”

 

MARTY:
After God disciplined me, He picked me up and started using me in CCF as a worship leader and discipleship group leader in JZONE. God also graciously expanded my borders by allowing me to be part of the JZONE full-time team as one of their youth directors. Surprisingly, even though the ministry opportunity that God gave me expanded, I now have much better bonding with my family.

Then an AMAZING GIFT came after a year of serving God in CCF. He allowed me to meet Astrid, an extremely beautiful young woman whom I fell in love with. God faithfully provided opportunities for us to get to know one another. Astrid and I were classmates in GLC, CCF’s training program, so I made it a point to sit beside her every week to get to know her. And since we both work full-time in JZONE, we also got to know one another in a ministry setting. After 4 months of getting to know her, I asked permission from her father if I can court her. He gave me his blessing and advised us to get to know one another more. He also told me about his golden rule for those who will court his daughters: IF after the courtship process he gives his blessing for marriage, we should get engaged right away and get married after 6 months. I courted Astrid for 2 and half years. This time, I involved my parents in the courtship process and by God’s grace they gave me their blessing. We waited on the Lord. We waited when our parents told us to wait. Finally, on December 13, 2010, with our parents’ blessings, Astrid and I got engaged. And by God’s grace, we got married last Friday, June 17, 2011.

Ephesians 6:2 says, “Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise.” We are humbled to say that God has made this very true in our lives. I am learning that the more we honor and obey our parents, the more God will bless us. The more we spend quality time with them, the more we will learn to love them. We are so grateful to God for the tremendous blessings we received from Him — before, during, and even after our wedding. One big lesson came from my wilderness experience: God wanted me to practice loving, honoring, and spending time with my family while I was still single — to prepare me for my future family. Please pray for me and Astrid that we will have a Christ-Centered Family and impact more families for Jesus. My name is Marty Ocaya and this is my lovely wife, Astrid Ocaya. To God be all the glory!

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