Thank You for your Legacy, Christian. :)

I want to leave a legacy of a person who believes that the world could still be changed by just one life. I want to leave a legacy that years from now they'll see that I lived only for the cause of Christ.

This has been my shoutout since the first time I've heard of this song way back in 2000. Recently, God has showed me the real depth and meaning of this song.

It was minutes after 5AM. My phone was ringing. I thought it was just the usual call from Arian to wake me up. But it's too early. My phone tells me it's Ann who's calling and I have 4 missed calls from Kuya Alwyn and two messages. My heart almost stopped. I knew something's wrong. I cancelled Ann's call and read the messages first. One from Red and one from Kuya Ernan. Both message said the same thing. Christian's gone.

Raphael Christian Mari Briones Marasigan. I've known him as Christian since he was a kid. He's one of the bright kids from Sunday school my sister teaches. I think he's only seven then. He's one of the few who could easily find the verses in the Bible and memorize them. As a kid, he really knows how to use the Bible. One night, my parents dragged me into one of their home bible studies. It was in Vermont Royale, Antipolo, Christian's home. I remember him eagerly joining the group of elders as they went on with their Bible study. Pastor Christian, basa., Pastor Benny joked as he allowed Christian to read the verses for the night's study.

Vennie (in black stripes), Alexis (in red stripes), Jam (in blue long dress) and Christian (in white shirt and black belt) during DVBS 1998

Years passed. Pre-occupied with my own little world, I didn't even notice that Christian stopped attending Sunday School and church already. (I've learned later that he studied in the province.) Honestly, I forgot about him. Until May this year.

In our yearly church outing / baptism, Christian showed up again. They introduced me to him, and I casually said hello and began being friendly. He was so quiet and reserved but he smiles and talks back when we talk to him. He bought with him his battered and overused guitar with a huge Winnie the Pooh sticker. I remember teasing him about it. We encouraged him to attend the music ministry practice that afternoon. He said that's the reason why he came.

Christian, not knowing anymore from the group, still came. Armed with my then new camera, I took pictures of them while practicing. He's actually good. :) Ann and the rest of the team was very happy to have found their new guitarist.

I can't remember if Ann allowed him to join the worship team the next Sunday but after the service, I remember asking him polite questions. His age, his school, previous churches. He said he's been attending Faithful Flock since he's a kid. It was only then that it hit me! This is Christian! That Christian from Sunday School who rans around the church with his brother Lace! I was honestly shocked to see him taller than me. He let out a shy laugh as I look at him in disbelief. He became a regular in our church since then. He never misses a practice.

A month later, Alexis visited the church to meet up with his old buddy Vennie. But instead of Vennie, he found Christian. They were inseparable since. Alexis, who's been away from church lately, began attending the music ministry practices too. BJ, knowing that he could now be comfortable in joining the music team and youth group finally left kids church. Since then, Christian and Alexis has become a usual sight for me during Sundays. When I visit their practice on Saturdays, I usually see them at the door of the church. Chuckling and playing their guitars.

July was our church's 11th anniversary. They've been practicing for it for weeks already. I'm also told that Christian's going to sing solo. Alexis and BJ will back him up with the guitars. I specifically told them that they can't do a presentation if they're not going to do a short exhortation of what they are are doing. After a few argument with Alexis, Christian finally agreed to do the exhortation.

Anniversary came and I would never forget what he said. This song tells us to love God, from the inside out. That's it. But it hit me. They began strumming their guitars. I was so happy to see the little kids of Sunday School are now serving God. I even posted an entry about it.

I also remember Christian excitedly approaching me and telling me he was able to share the word of God and pray for a kid in the basketball court near our church. All I said was, "Wow. Tuloy mo lang yan. Pag pray nten yun." but inside me was deep respect and awe. I remember telling Ann, "Ann, grabe sila. Di ko pa nagagawa yun."

When Red told me that Christian had an accident, we went immediately to the hospital expecting to see a worn-out Christian. What we found instead was the usual Christian -- chatting happily with Alexis and Pastor Erick only he is in bed. I expected to hear anger for the taxi driver that hit him, but there wasn't even a trace of it. We prayed for him. I remember his loud AMEN! when we mentioned his calling for being a pastor. I remember the determination and faith that he had when I read to him a verse from the Bible. I remember him smiling and hiding the pain he felt when he tried to move before we left.

Christian's only 16. In fact, he just turned 16 last September. I remember going to Mega Mall just to buy him a new shirt and perfume for his birthday. I even remember his irritated face because I interrupted their practice to give the gift. Haha. He kept saying thank you but his eyes also kept on glancing at the chords. Now, when I see people living their lives for their own, I can't help but think of him and his dreams. He wanted to go to UP and take Economics. He later changed his mind. He wanted to go to PUP because JIL Church was there. That way, he would still be able to go to church. He wanted to go desperately to the Master's Commission convergence. But there are some who are forced to go. Some are half-hearted in worshipping God. I just pray that I and everybody else would have the same faith, fire and warrior-like spirit.

Christian's only been back at church for 6 months but he's done more than I did. His dedication to serve God. His faith. His genuine worship. He's just being himself. He's not a man of words but he left a huge message for me and for all of us. He glorified God with his life. His classmates would testify how Christian would excitedly count the days until Friday comes, until he would be in church for worship practice.

Thank you for your Legacy, Christian. I will miss you so much but I know you're now in your rightful place. You are now beside our Savior, singing and playing the guitars for Him.

Your legacy will always be in our heart. Your life will be one of our tools in spreading the love of God. Thank you. Many lives are now being blessed and will be blessed. Thank you for letting God use you to be a blessing for all of us.

As his Lace, his brother said, "Naiinggit ako sayo, Kuya, kasi natapos mo na yung race mo kay God."

Rock the heavens, Bro!!! We'll miss you.

My heart and my soul, I give you control. Consume me From the Inside Out, Lord. ~ Christian

Read about Pastor Jesse's blog on Christian here.

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