By Hazel Angwani
Hazel is from Bontoc, Mountain Province and is currently undergoing the Columban lay missionary Orientation program with Ma. Fe Corazon Arienza.
I have always believed that life is full of choices, and that the circumstances that surround us in life are not for us to suffer in agony but to learn about ourselves and God. I had a very beautiful and enjoyable childhood, and I can still vividly remember some of it. But there comes a point in life when in a blink of an eye, we are forced to grow up, consciously or unconsciously, not entirely forgetting how to be childlike but we begin again to learn how to adapt to life’s circumstances.
My mother used to work in another municipality, so my father had to be with her to take care of my two younger siblings. My older siblings were attending school in yet another municipality, so I was left on my own in our village. As a result, we had to live apart from each other to be able to keep the finances coming and our future, through education, going. Living alone was very lonely. But one way or the other, I was able to learn many things on my own and from others as well.
Hazel, standing at the back third from left, with some members of the Talubin Catholic Youth Organization after the Christmas recollection mass, 2016
One of the greatest helps that kept me going during those times I was apart from my family was my involvement in the Church. I always looked forward to the catechism class every Saturday. After the classes we were encouraged by the catechists and seminarians, who were working on the improvement of our chapel at that time, to join the practice of songs for the Mass the next day. It was then that I grew fond of the guitar which later on I learned to play on my own. I enjoyed every moment in singing during the Mass. I also loved to listen to the homilies as the priest made sure that the community understood what the gospel was all about and its connection to everyday life. I learned how to pray fervently and with passion. Slowly, I found joy in being with and working with others for the sake of building the kingdom of God on earth. After elementary school, until the time I decided to join the Orientation Program of the Columban Lay Missionaries, I was an active youth member in our Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC). Together with other young people, we went to other BECs to sing at masses and weddings.
Hazel in her hometown Bontoc
Through my family, I came to know of “Someone Above All Things” and through the circumstances He gave me, my faith in Him grew clearer and stronger. Truly, I know that if I fall down, I also have a thousand reasons more to get up. I know that all things are possible because of our faith in the “One Who Made All and Sees All”, and that is God.