WAY OF THE LORD
WAY OF THE LORD
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
In the recent turn of events involving the murder of YFC Ray Bernard Penaranda of UPLB Campus-based, I could not help but ask God why this may have happened. Together with two other companions, they came from a dance practice in preparation for the Central 2 YFC Sector Conference last March 4, 2012. On their way to their dormitory at about 1:30am that early morning, they were held up that resulted to his death.
The young man is known to his YFC brethrens in UPLB as “Papa Ray.” He came from a family whose parents are members of Couples for Christ. Ray was an active member of CFC Kids for Christ in Tanay, Rizal during his childhood. When he enrolled in UPLB under the degree of BS Agriculture, he joined CFC Youth for Christ Campus Based and later on became part of its executive committee. Back in his place, he used to be with local YFCs. He likewise joined other organizations, thus completing his academic, sports and spiritual sources. Her mom shared that Fr. Thor Villacorta, parish priest of St. Therese Parish in UPLB described Ray as a loving student and worker of God. He used to request Fr. Villacorta to allow UPLB YFC to use Room 1 in the parish for their worship for free to which he always accede to.
From the various testimonies we heard, I came to know him to be a God-fearing young man, an inspiration to his parents and sister, and a faithful servant willing to give his life for others. And true enough, after his death, the Los Banos community step up the call for greater security not only before the local authorities but to the whole community as well. This is how his mom would figure out the purpose of his death so that the whole community will wake up to hand-in-hand work together to ensure safety and security in the area.
While we are on our way to his wake in Tanay, I am bothered thinking at how his family may have dealt with the tragedy considering that the very reason why they went home so late is the practice session for YFC sector conference. We have just had some instances dealing with concerns about the late night activities of YFC across the province. The truth is there is no official and regular late night activities of YFC but sometimes the preparation for conferences, retreats and similar activities may lead to that with the assistance of couple coordinators. Perhaps, am just being so paranoid to anticipate negative reactions on this recent tragedy from his parents, and even our community.
When we arrived to the wake, Ray’s mom met us inquiring who we are. And when we identified ourselves as YFC Provincial Couple Coordinator from Laguna, she readily held our hands with much enthusiasm telling us that other couple coordinators came the night before. We sat together and later joined by the former program couple coordinator for campus-based. We told her that we are part of Ray’s greater family in Laguna. She realized that Ray had so many families loving him in Laguna and for that she is indeed so thankful. When we said we are so sorry for what happened to him, his mom readily replied that they are dealing with it so positively without having to pinpoint responsibilities aside from the perpetrators.. In fact, she emphasized that God has a purpose with what happened.
That was indeed so assuring on our part knowing that Ray’s parents have so much to treasure about the community that Ray had shown them. Ray had effectively testified before his family about Youth for Christ and its greater community, Couples for Christ. He manifested before them the true identities of a YFC.
Ray is indeed a missionary not only as a YFC but also as a servant in the Church. He is indeed single-minded for God that he never forgot his own spiritual source while studying in UPLB. He is indeed a model of excellence being a College Scholar. A champion for the poor, patriotic and 100% free. Just as he was the source of unity in the family, still he is, despite the tragedy.
At first, we thought the tragedy will push our backs against the wall but lo and behold, right after seeing his wake, right at the time we shared a lot about him with his mother, we came to realize that his death will not forsake YFC. Instead, it will all the more raise YFC for the youth. After all Youth for Christ is God’s gift to the young generation preparing and equipping them to take on the world. Efforts shall continue to be unrelenting in order to bring Christ to the youth.
By now, God has prepared a place for Ray, he is at peace there. “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” (Psalm 62:1)
Indeed, the Lord determines our foot steps ahead in his own the way. We are to continue proclaiming His greatness. God be praised. (Butsch Borja, PCC, CFC YFC Laguna)