Three of the women in this photograph, Jamie, Madz and Love, I just met this year. One of them, Sheila, and I have been really good friends in high school and college, but other than exchanging online messages and comments here and there, I didn’t see her all that much until this year. The other one, Karen, is part of the group I disciple in church; we would see each other every Sunday and pray and read the Bible, our interactions confined within the four corners of our church.
What I’m trying to drive at is, one year ago, I never imagined I would be journeying with these beautiful women of faith, or leading a community and doing a special ministry with them. I never pictured that we would be spending one weekend together, getting to know each other in a deeper way, putting together beautiful styled shoots for the fun of it, laughing (and shedding joyful tears) to the wee hours of the night, talking about how God has been turning our lives around.
Even more so, one year ago I never imagined I would be part of a community of talented, God-loving female creatives who are making a huge impact around the world. I can’t even grasp the right words to describe how [insert synonyms of] amazing the past 5 months have been.
Truck loads of photos after the jump. You were warned. :)
Pursuit Manila Retreat
We were planning for the April gathering when we realized that we needed to regroup, to breathe, to take a break. You see, while the past months have been lovely, it’s also been quite overwhelming, especially with the way the community has grown in just a few months.
So one April morning we opened a Facebook thread and just started throwing ideas together. There wasn’t enough time to plan for a big retreat, so we decided to keep it small, secret, and quiet. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and thought we should take one retreat for a spin to see if we can do it on a bigger scale someday. (And you know, we just might!)
With only two weeks to plan and prepare, we went on a road trip not very far from the city, to a quaint boutique hotel in Imus, Cavite called Casa Verde. It was a beautiful and cozy place, and the quiet and the cool breeze of this lovely town is just what we needed.
The agenda was simple: We wanted to take a breather, and to dream and pray and talk about where the Lord is taking Pursuit Manila moving forward. We spent the afternoon by the park, enjoyed the breeze, let the kids run around (Sheila and I tagged our daughters along with us!) and took lots of photographs. In the evening after dinner, we convened and read the Word and talked about God and shared faith stories til way past midnight.
I realized it’s not just because we’re creatives that we connect really well with each other; it’s also because we live by the same grace each day, hold onto the same promises, and share the same salvation story—from a life of doubts and confusion and heartbreaks, to a life filled with hope, and clarity, and love. Such a beautiful way to be connected with anyone, really!
In the morning, Sheila and I planned to “surprise” the ladies with a special brunch, complete with a styled tablescape. The ladies caught up with the surprise and we all ended up styling the table together! It was a fun (and relaxing, I have to add) team activity, giving us the right amount of inspiration to start our planning session.
Surrounded by the lush garden of Casa Verde, we took out our planners, manuals, and notebooks and started planning right there after brunch, taking advantage of the beauty that was (literally) right in front of us.
I shall leave the details of that planning session out of this post. Let’s just say, we poured our hearts out on that table that morning. We got into business, hearts on our sleeves, believing that God will make something beautiful out of our big dreams, restless hearts, and willing hands.
Check out some of these beautiful Instagram posts from that morning:
Also, have you seen the Breathe Edition of our Passion Cards? These were made specially for the Pursuit Manila Retreat and are now available for purchase at The Shop.
Much gratitude to Sheila Catilo for these beautiful photographs and for being such an amazing hostess. Thank you for welcoming us into your beautiful town, Sheilaaaa! And for arranging everything! The best! :)
Team Pursuit Manila (Left to Right): Jamie, Love, Sheila, Me, Karen, Stef and Madz
Lastly, much gratitude to Casa Verde for taking us in and for letting us make a mess haha; and thank you soooo much also to Kitchen Counter Manila for sponsoring some mason jars. May the Lord bless your generosity and kindness tenfolds. <3
Pursuit Conference Spring 2016
While we’re having so much fun here in Manila, the mothership has just launched a Spring Conference, in addition to the annual Fall Conference. We have been dreaming about attending one of these conferences—quite a long shot from half-way across the world, but is there anything too hard for God, yeah? :)
If you’re reading this and you’re in the US and you want to join, read about the Pursuit Conference, Spring 2016 HERE. Registrations will open on May 13.
Go for it, ladies!
Come Join the Pursuit Community!
To know more about Pursuit Community, here are some helpful links:
- The official site is HERE.
- The low down of who we are and what we believe in.
- The official Pursuit Manila page is HERE.
- The story about how Pursuit Community reached our side of the world.
- The online repository of Pursuit Manila gatherings.
Subscribe to Pursuit Community to get Updates!
To know more about the global community we’re part of, SUBSCRIBE TO PURSUIT COMMUNITY HERE. You’ll know about what’s happening, not just here at Pursuit Manila, but the local communities and gatherings happening simultaneously around the world. ;)