Miss Pilipina Canada prays for love and peace

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In a world increasingly divided and desperately in need of prayer this very hour, how appropriate it was that Cochrane churches ignored historic divisions to join together last Friday for the World Day of Prayer.

And they gathered at the Anglican church whose very name suggests inclusivity: All Saints.

“Let us all be one in God’s name and His Holy power,” guest speaker Khristel “KC” Cuesta pleaded. “May solidarity keep us all in our Father’s loving hands.”

KC herself is from another part of the world, the Philippines. Indeed, the Grade 12 Bow Valley High School student was crowned Miss Pilipina Canada last fall and will be representing Canada in the Mutya ng Pilipinas (“Pearl of the Philippines”) beauty pageant in the southeast Asia island nation this June.

The World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian women joined in prayer and action for peace and justice. Held annually on the first Friday of March, its focus this year was concern for the women of the Philippines.

KC reflected on her own struggles as a young woman growing up in the island nation, struggles that led eventually to a broken family and her move to Canada a year ago to be with her mother and siblings.

“The strong confrontation with reality puts you in a trance of disbelief and dismay,” she said, “but God’s unfailing love superseded anger, frustrations and hatred. We all survived our hurts and our pains. We know in solidarity there is peace; in acceptance there is harmony. We accepted every trial that came because we know that God has better plans for us.”

She sees the hand of God even in her journey toward her lifelong dream of being a beauty queen, she said. “I take pride in what I have achieved and I offer it all back to God. I know without God’s mercy I am nothing, I will be lost, I won’t be here in front of you today, sharing the great things that God has given to me and my family.”

KC has deeply appreciated the support of the people of Cochrane during her time of adjustment.

“As I continue to venture into my journey, I thank the community that has welcomed us here in Canada,” she said. “Without your support, my paths will be rough and my plans will be failing. As I give back all these to our Almighty God, I make myself available to my community. I actively support local activities and take the opportunity to encourage the people in my generation to be instruments of change and be socially active to initiate help, love and peace.”

© 2017 Warren Harbeck

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