Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 17, 2008
Youth evangelist electrifies teens
Manibusan keeps his audience singing, shouting
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"Don't hesitate because you don't think you have the right stuff. Jesus will fill in the gaps."
- Jesse Manibusan
"Stand up if you are an athlete," Patin said, and the majority of the audience stood up. "Remain standing if you have athlete's feet," he said next, surprising and confusing the teens. Laughter filled the trade centre throughout his talk.
Patin urged the teens to stop rushing through life and to slow down and take a second look. "God is everywhere."
Just over two decades ago when Patin was a schoolteacher and was dating his wife, he had a conflict with her because of his love of basketball. He was in charge of the basketball team and spent much of his time in practice.
His girlfriend complained and Patin said, "Don't you dare make me choose between you and basketball because if you do, you are going to lose."
She looked him straight in the face and said, "I'm not asking you to choose. I'm asking you to include me and not shut me out." The maturity of her response still amazes him.
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Teens respond with excitement to Jesse Manibusan's message of God's love for them presented with humour, songs and stories.
"It's a true story and I think that's what God is trying to say to you," he told his audience. "He is saying 'Don't shut me out. Open up, give me a little bit of room, let me touch you.'"
Grade 9-12 students from across Alberta attended the conference, which was put together by the Alberta Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Alberta Catholic Schools' Trustees Association.
The youth event was part of the weekend-long Catholic Conference 2008, which included a day full of workshops and lectures by speakers from across North America. Living Loud, Living Holy was the theme for the youth portion of the March 7-8 conference.
Playing his guitar, Manibusan, who lives in Grapevine, Texas, with his wife and three children, incorporated song and stories throughout his presentations, chanting most of his messages.
"When I see young people connecting and engaging, I see God's presence and that is what we call holiness. When I see young people celebrate together in solidarity I feel God's presence and we call that holiness."
"It was a very exciting, very energizing event."
- Mitchell Bouwseme
Holiness is not an absence of sin, Manibusan stressed. "Holiness is knowing that in our sinfulness God breaks in anyway and says, 'I believe in you still.' So when I say 'God is good' and you respond 'all the time' I hope you believe it is not just a saying and that holiness is not just a concept.
"Holiness is living your faith now. We are alive in Christ right here. He dwells in us."
As a young boy, Manibusan wanted to be a Beetle, not a youth evangelist. To prove it, he sang a couple of The Beetles' songs. He only agreed to play for the church when his mother threatened to take away the cookies.
He urged his audience to live loud and to give and sacrifice. "Be. Live your dream. Jesus has a bigger one," he said. "Don't hesitate because you don't think you have the right stuff. Jesus will fill in the gaps. You don't think you are holy enough? It isn't about you and it isn't about me.
"It is about how you touch the lives of other human beings; it is about how you can bring our voice, our values (to others). Give yourself to another human being."
Mitchell Bouwseme, a Grade 12 student at Archbishop Jordan School in Sherwood Park, was invited to the conference by the school's chaplain and was happy he attended.
"Jesse definitely inspired me," he said. "It was a very exciting, very energizing event."
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