Lessons from the 18th SFC ICON

The 18th Singles for Christ International Conference (SFC ICON) was successfully held at Cam Sur Water Sports Complex (CWC), Pili, Naga Camarines Sur, Philippines from February 18-20, 2011. I, my friends, the local chapter, and all the other 6500 Filipino and international delegates took part in this momentous event.It was a three-day festivity of worshipping and praising Christ, enriching spiritual well-being, and discussing and standing up to some social issues that affect Christian life. This year, the ICON had the theme: “I Stand”.
EVENT. The three days were full of anticipation and excitement. On the first day (or the first night actually), participants were directed to attend the opening program in military or army-like suits. It was very overwhelming to see almost everyone in fatigue, green, brown or black dresses, and an ecstatic and “tense” atmosphere was created, as if a battle would soon rage. The long night was filled with well-performed production numbers, laying out of the “SFC Battle Plan”, the first session, and songs of praises. During the following day, delegates were given option what workshop to attend to (from ten choices), and the second and third sessions were done in the evening, again by articulate, knowledgeable, and eager speakers. The third day was the end of the event. The fourth session was completed and more songs of praises and passionate worship were done during the closing program. Despite the scorching sun, everyone had that enthusiasm and will. It was even more inspiring when a helicopter from the local TV station flew over the venue to capture the celebration live on camera.

TALKS AND SESSIONS. There were several workshops during the day but I was more excited and interested with the evening sessions. The first session was entitled “Call To Arms”. Here, Singles were alerted about the battleground between evil and good, and the means that evil is spread in our culture. On the second night, the second and third sessions were done. For the second talk, “The Enemy”, the devil and its strategies and traps were discussed. I remember the speaker said that freedom does not give a right to do what we please. It can only be “right” when the thing done is good and does good. The third session, “I Stand”, was particularly crucial since ways of combating evil were discussed here. The last session during the closing program was loud and celebratory as Singles did “March to Victory”.

PEOPLE. It is really great to meet new friends and revive relationships with previous acquaintances. It creates a good feeling of belongingness when you are in a friendly, hospitable, and cheerful environment. Like they say, a picture paints a thousand words; guess I’ll let the snapshots speak for themselves.

PLACE. The conference was held at Camsur Water Sports Complex, one of the best sites in the world for wakeboarding. We naturally used the convention area, an open field under the bright sun. But during the vacant hours, we went to explore the sports area and its facilities. It was truly fun, especially when the mayor announced that wakeboarding shall be free for all Singles. Whew! It was kind of sad I never got to experience it (I’m still limping from my fracture).
Aside from CWC, we also toured Naga City and some of its churches. The city is still on the verge of development. Several foreign tourists are strolling the city streets and only few high-rise buildings can be seen. Still, life is plain and uncomplicated. I suppose the city’s population is predominantly Catholic as evident by its towering old churches. They gave me a feeling of solemnity and joy. It was somewhat historical as well. Overall, the place is a perfect mix of cherished history and simple contemporary life.

Certainly, it is a wonderful and overwhelming experience to be part of something big and fruitful. To give thanks and praise to Christ with a very large crowd is worth everything. To Christ, ISTAND!
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