God and Guns

originally posted on Friendster blog:

PMA cadets during their morning formation, under the rain.  Photo taken with Jason Rondero while we were waiting for the cadets to join our Sunday School (Bible class)

          Went up to Baguio last weekend to attend the Philippine Military Academy Christian Fellowship (PMACF) second class (3rd year) retreat.  Some of these cadets were the last batch I handled in Sunday School at the academy.  Just so thankful to God for allowing them to grow in their faith.

           They are the future officers of our Armed Forces who will be assigned all over the country — from the mountains of the north to the islands of Basilan and Jolo in the south.  These are men and women who hold guns in one hand and the Bible in the other, aware that the power of the sword that they wield comes from God and not merely from men.  Thus, in all their actions they are in the end, accountable most not to the Philippine Chief Executive nor to any other superior officer but to their One True Sovereign.

That is our dream.  That is why we wake up at 6 in the morning on Sundays despite the comfort of our warm beds in near freezing Baguio, hoping, praying and believing that they will make a difference in their official and personal lives.

           I took the first photo years ago while Jason and I were waiting for the cadets for Sunday School.  This was around 7:10 in the morning.  Cold.  Foggy. I can’t even remember now how the body longed for its bed and a cup of coffee during this morning.  They looked so stiff then.  They were still plebes (fourth class cadets), stiff as a pole, cold as steel; but in just a few more minutes some of them will be entering the rooms with us, sleepy as ever.  They have been in the academy for a few months and they’ve already developed a new talent — the talent of sleeping even while standing.  Head bangers they would call themselves, banging their heads not with the sound of rock music but with the sound of the voices of their Sunday School teachers and the preacher during the worship service.  I could do a head stand in front and still fail to get 100% attention.  Sunday after Sunday I would ask God whether they really were worth all our efforts.  Sunday after Sunday I would hear God smile and say "What do you think?"

1st class (4th year) cadets during one their retreats.  They were plebes (first years) when we took the first photo above.  

          Three years forward and some of the cadets are framed in the second photo.  Are they worth our efforts?  What do you think?:-)  A lot of them are not pictured above because they have already gone — some voluntarily left, some were turned back or discharged (kicked-out).  Military training is by far, the toughest training I have ever seen.  I pray that these cadets would, one day, be the toughest Christians on earth. 


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