IN A Facebook photo album, I shared pictures of Feasters whose stories on Christian conversion serve to inspire attendees of the weekly The Feast prayer meetings.
Ever week, the community distribute The Feast Bacolod Bulletin (TFBB) among the Feasters, those who serve and attend the prayer meetings.
Included in the publication are the heroic stories who, through the grace of God, repented their sins of hatred, vices, and selfishness.
As we often sing contemporary Christian worship songs, “The cross before us, the world behind us.”
In the Facebook album, I featured Bro. Heralf Deloso, former street child and atheist who grew up hating his mother but found the love of Christ in charismatic communities. He’s now a lay Eucharist minister.
Or Si Garlyn Balo Lobaton, who shared how she felt robbed of her childhood years when she became a second Mom to her younger sibs. But on hindsight, she felt blessed because in her young adult life, she learned to be independent, accountable, and responsible.
Then there’s a Feaster who turned his back on drug abuse. Another atheist and drug user, his mother prayed for his conversion. During a Love Life Retreat, he met other singles who showered him with their love, accepted without judging him. Says Jesus Christ, “A new command I give you: Love one another.” (John 13:34)
When I captioned his photo with a brief blurb on his former life, I received a frantic message from a fellow Feaster of the Light of Jesus Family: “Anu na ya karun matabo kay Toy (not his real name)? Matiruhan xa da b karun kay isa sya sa mga addict? Concern lang ko ya sa welfare ni Toy... basi mapareho na xa sa kanday Kian de los Santos karun?”
Even charismatics are alarmed over what’s happening in the country. No wonder.
They join their four Negrense bishops who wrote in their pastoral statement that they “sense the grief, the anguish, the fear, the confusion, even the outrage and the many troubling questions of family members, colleagues, classmates, friends, and communities of those who were killed without due process, either as part of our government’s war on drugs or counter-insurgency measures or as plain civilian banditry.”
Then they acknowledged the “enormity and gravity of (the) drug problem” as well as the peace and order situation.
They added that “these social problems are deeply felt in areas where there is defective governance and great socio-economic-political-cultural and ecological imbalances.”
The war against drugs need not be brutal as it is in other parts of the country. Recently, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office scored with the arrest of Joey Nillosan, a suspected Level 2 high value target drug personality.
It was a textbook case of proper police procedure. The suspect was entrapped with a buy-bust operation and arrested but very much alive – unlike Kian de los Santos who was summarily executed. Nillosan will be charged with violations of RA 9165 and will live to see his day in court.
Over and above their victories against illegal drugs, they have proven that due process is a potent weapon against criminal activities. The long arm of the law does extend far.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on September 13, 2017.
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