[Guest post! This is an account of the Changed March, which happened last August 27, written by my disciple Danielle Isaac. Danielle is a freshmen Journalism student at the University of the Philippines Diliman.]
Seeing people gather to campaign a message – with placards, shirts, and everything – always make me feel tense. Most of the time, these people gather to advocate their cause, to let their voice be heard, to struggle for change.
People in white, black, blue, green, yellow, and red shirts were all over the steps of the famous Palma Hall, more known as AS. I sat and observed. They seemed to catch the eyes of other bystanders. I wondered if people thought we were going to rally – a common sight, especially in this venue. Some kept their eyes on us, some looked away.
I saw our number grow with people from other orgs. There were a lot of faces I didn’t know, but they all wore smiles, hope, and laughter. Still, I couldn’t help but feel tense. What would people think of this campaign? It was hard not to get nervous.
The songs, prayer requests, and schedules were given away. The placards danced in the people’s hands, and people waved to their friends. In a few moments, we descended the AS steps and formed lines on the road’s bike lane.
Then in a few minutes, God’s warriors headed off.
It was totally strange for me to do a “march”, however peaceful it would be. I could feel plenty of eyes on us, and it felt uneasy. But then I looked to the other people I was marching with. They sang their hearts out and kept their heads held high. I felt like a worm inside my cocoon, watching the rest fly free. I desperately wanted to be like the rest of them, so I prayed.
We made our first stop in front of Quezon Hall. People gathered in a semicircle around the speakers. They called on the participants from the Students of Destiny org to lead the first song and prayer. They were amazing people; I felt their love for what they were doing. They led us into a song — The Anthem. Everyone repeatedly sang the chorus with conviction:
“I am royalty
I have destiny
I have been set free
I’m gonna shape history”
Then we prayed for the university, its staff, professors, and students. Most of the people went in pairs, but I was alone. I’ve never seen students pray with so much passion. Some cried out their requests; others simply talked.
I remained silent.
We continued to Melchor Hall, singing The Anthem’s chorus once again. It took me a while to notice, but I felt myself changing, smiling and laughing in the presence of people I don’t know, but I know share the same heart for God with me.
We stopped in front of our destination. Melchor Hall, otherwise known as Eng’g, was alive with students. It was a good time for us to be seen. A few passersby smiled at us. People from my org, CCC, sang another song, and led the second set of prayer requests. We faced the Eng’g building and prayed for their students as well. People also reached out to God their cries for Him to strengthen His own ministries.
The Grand Stand at the Grandstand
Despite our small number (we were only about a hundred), I realized how God unites people from different backgrounds to forward His Kingdom. We may not know each other, but we were bound by the Holy Spirit in those moments of prayer – and the event itself.
I prayed that we not only increase in number next time, but also strengthen in bond. Nobody seemed to notice the passing of time.
People either sang, or blessed the colleges we passed through while walking. But we all had something in common, we were all happy. I was happy. It was a cloudy afternoon, hinting rain.
The Grandstand witnessed our final hymn, Mighty to Save, and the gladness I felt when everybody sang it.
I really don’t know how I’ll describe that gladness, but it was all over me. I usually worshiped quietly, but the company of God’s people encouraged me to sing out loud.
When the rain finally poured, it seemed like the rain was joining our song of praise.
We got to the last batch of prayer requests, and I was surprised at what they were about. Fueled by my passion for justice, I became excited to pray these prayers. I had two other people with me, and for the first time ever, I prayed out loud. I clenched my fists, cried to the air, and put out my whole self for God.
It’s amazing how God can change the way you do things even in just a matter of minutes. In a single place. With people you barely know. Although I cannot hear what everyone was saying individually, I knew that there was a connection between every one of us. Christians are not only Christians, they are also citizens, and in our case, also students. We, changed by God, also yearn for the change that we can make in our society.
Bright testimonies from people in the crowd closed the program. I felt inspired, realizing that God continuously changes us for the greater good. I dreamt to speak in front of people on how God has changed and will change me.
The I am Changed campaign is just the beginning.