by NOEL DESCALZO

Live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8) and be a light to others as we overcome darkness in our homes, community and the world. We are asked to awake, arise and fulfill our ministry by radiating the fragrant aroma of Jesus in the way we live our life and give service to him.

This was the main message of the CFC (Couples for Christ) Oceania Conference held from April 26-28 in Auckland, attended by more than 600 delegates from New Zealand, Australia and American Samoa. The occasion was officially opened by CFC-NZ national director Allan Sadsad.

All at the conference were looking forward to a spirit-filled weekend and stimulating fellowship. Some of them came with their families. Although it was a big sacrifice for most to come, time- and resource-wise, when they finally arrived at the venue, there was an overflowing display of joy and fulfilment. The auditorium was filled with laughter, jubilant singing and powerful praise and worship. The weekend commenced with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and culminated on the Sunday with the Divine Mercy Prayer.

CFC Mission Head for Asia and Oceania, Bong Arjonillo, delivered the first talk, highlighting the importance of the home as the primary place where we experience fully the love of God and find our true identity as children of God. As the realities of life are recognised and challenges faced, it should be remembered that God is love and is the answer to the challenges of families and in lives. The next two talks were given by Global International Council member Joe Yamamoto and by Australia country coordinator Alan Baino, which reminded delegates of their true calling —to live as children of light to fulfil their ministry and shine brightly as examples of “goodness, righteousness and truth”. Lives should be lived sin-free and serve as beacons of light to others, with Jesus as the true source of light and fragrant aroma.

“Be the Light” was the title of the last talk by New Zealand country coordinator Steve Maningat. Gifts should be rekindled and delegates should be active evangelisers of the Good News and fulfil their ministry with Jesus’ light shining through them.

The speakers laid the foundations for how best delegates can manifest in their lives the light of Jesus and radiate this light to others through their respective ministry or services in the community.

This occasion also marked the 25th anniversary of CFC in Auckland. CFC New Zealand has come a long way from a mere gathering of a few couples in Auckland to the establishment of five chapters in Auckland alone and a solid presence in parts of both the North and South Islands. It is present in all six dioceses in New Zealand, with mission areas in Samoa, American Samoa, the Cook Islands and Tonga.

The festivities at the conference were marked by interpretative dance performances of the CFC-NZ National Council, Family Ministries and five Auckland chapters. All the areas were well represented and shared their talents, either by singing or dancing. Thanks go to the Auckland service team for their untiring service and commitment from the planning stage to the successful completion of the event. CFC-New Zealand is grateful for the presence and invaluable participation of members from all over Oceania. The presence of the Lord was truly there as delegates stood witness to a victorious conference. Indeed, it was a blessed, inspiring and powerful weekend.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” Isaiah 60:1-2.

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