The Souvenir

           “It’s just made of cornstarch and glue,” I said. Then my best friend remarked, “But it’s made
of hard work, too.”

The
“it” here refers to one of the blue star-shaped souvenirs we, the Kalayaan
Christian Fellowship or KalCF, handed to the graduating UP Dormitories
Christian Fellowship (DCF) members.

It
is a tradition of the UP DCF to let the KalCF handle the Kick-off General
Assembly. We organized everything from
the registration and nametags, to the program and souvenirs.

One
Friday night, when “it” was really nothing but cornstarch and glue separately,
I gathered the members of the fellowship, as I am one of the core leaders. We settled the materials on the floor, and
spread out sheets of plastic. We poured
cornstarch onto the sheets and poured glue over the cornstarch. We then mixed the substances together until
they achieved the consistency of clay. The process could be likened to the preparation of dough. The original plan was for bits of the sticky
mass to take the form of a cross, but we somehow ended up painstakingly shaping
them into stars. I was so hungry at the
time and kept imagining the stars were cookies, wishing so hard that I could
eat them. We also sang songs in order to
entertain ourselves. My roommate came up
with the idea to perform the song entitled “Paglisan,” which we were
singing at the moment, at the Kick-off General Assembly. On that night, a bond other than that of
cornstarch and glue was made, a bond of friendship among us who already had
fellowship.

The
next few days were spent waiting for the mixture to dry, painting the stars
blue and sprinkling them with glitter and colored sand, and creating boxes to
put them in.

On
the day of the DCF General Assembly, the packaging was not yet finished. In fact, we lacked about 20 boxes. Much effort was poured into the production of
the boxes and finalizing everything, including the emcees’ script. We were thirty minutes late in going to Balay
Kalinaw, where the Kick-off Assembly was held. We found out that we actually forgot to ask the people assigned to lead
the opening and closing prayer. So much
was left undone, but the event turned out to be a success. The graduating students enjoyed the game
prepared for them. They actually had to
stuff marshmallows into their mouths and shout “Gagradweyt na ako.” The song we dedicated to them also touched
their hearts. Everyone appreciated the
souvenirs. Most of them asked how we
made the stars while some likened these to starfishes.

The
stars by themselves would not indicate that they are souvenirs if not for the
pieces of paper that come with each that says “Dormitories Christian Fellowship
Kick-off General Assembly March 11, 2003 Balay Kalinaw.”

Souvenirs
in general don’t have a prescribed appearance. The Webster’s New Pocket Collegiate Dictionary simply defines a souvenir
as a keepsake (“Souvenir”). This means
that a souvenir can be anything kept or given that can serve as a reminder,
usually of an event or a place.

Psychologists
of the modern era, from their earliest speculation about remembering to the
foundation of most of their latest experimentally based views, commonly have
assumed that the critical problems are concerned with the physiological
mechanisms by which events and experiences can be retained so that they can be
mentally reproduced, either in their original mode or with the assistance of
signs and symbols that are regarded as equivalent to that mode. (“Memory”).

These signs and symbols that aid the memory in remembering can
take the form of tangible objects such as keepsakes. However, in our case, we chose to create
souvenirs that are fashioned like stars. Not the shining celestial bodies seen as twinkling points of light, but
rather as the conventional illustrations of stars with only five rays. These could be geometrically defined as
polygons with ten sides. Due to the fact
that these souvenirs were shaped to represent stars, the term ‘star’ has been
used as a synonym of ‘souvenir’ in this essay.

Why
make stars? What message do they impart? The answer can be found in Matthew 5:
14-16…

You
are the light of the world. A city set
on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a
basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all those who are in the
house. Let your light shine before men
in such a way that they may see good works, and glorify your Father who is in
heaven. (NASB).

The Scripture explains that the purpose of my existence is to
bring glory to God. It further instructs
in 1 Corinthians 10: 31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God” (NASB).

In his book, Truth for Today, John MacArthur writes, “The
joy of a Christian is to be a living example of God’s truth—to be a living
verification of what is pleasing to Him”. As the term ‘Christian’ indicates, we, believers, must be imitators of
Christ.

Spiritual
growth is the result of matching practice with position. MacArthur states,

As
believers, our position in Christ is perfect… We need to progress in our lives
in a way that is commensurate with our exalted position… Giving glory to God is
directly related to spiritual growth.

This translates to not compromising what we believe
in. As the print on the UP Christian
Community shirt says, “No more compromise. A campaign for personal holiness.”

“We
ought to be willing to expose our lives to light so that it will prove that we
are light,” MacArthur adds (). Our lives
as Christians should serve as a testimony of the goodness and glory of God. We should manifest the values of a true
Christian by following the standards set in the Bible. In other words, we should have works on the
outside and faith on the inside, for faith without works is dead. Sometimes people do learn more from our lives
than from what we say. Action really
does speak louder than words.

“The
fruit you bear is the manifestation of your character, and the only way people
will know that you are a child of God” (MacArthur ).

The souvenir may be defined as it can be seen. A hardened mixture of cornstarch and glue
painted blue, sprinkled with glitter and colored sand, and placed in a
box. Or by what it’s made of other than
cornstarch and glue, that is hard work. It could be defined by the story of how it came to be and how it drew
the KalCF closer. Or as a reminder to us
Christians to let our light shine, since our lives serve as a testimony for the
unbelievers, and an inspiration to fellow believers.

*** written three years past so that we may not forget ^_^

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4 thoughts on “The Souvenir

  1. Ate Janna! =D I know this is long overdue, but I’m going to say it anyway: I am so happy the conflict between you and __(I don’t know who he/she is. Hehe) has been resolved. Praise God for His mercies! =D

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