Ivy Carissa Dela Cruz Sepe, 29, married, holds a Bachelor of Science degree, major in Computer Engineering.
She is an entrepreneur— an independent distributor of health supplements. And she serves as coach, mentor, and trainor for her company’s new distributors.
She lives in Taguig City.
Ivy tried out different religions. A financial literacy seminar eventually brought her back to her Catholic Faith.
Going From Emptiness to Truly Rich
I GREW UP in the slums. I worked as a student assistant and sales lady at SM Department store, and I finished college, thanks to a scholarship grant from the SM Foundation.
When I turned 21, I became restless about my purpose in life. Like, I strived to be a good person not because I believed that was what God purposed me to be. I tried to be a good girl to please people, lest they get mad at me.
I went to church because Catholicism was the faith I had grown up with. My dad was a Nazarene devotee. My parents also used to be active in the Couples for Christ (CFC)— I think for a year.
I was involved in the Legion of Mary. I joined it because there was free food during its activities. The Legion taught me to pray the Rosary. But I prayed it without really understanding it.
I was told I would go to Heaven if I attended Mass and that I would receive blessings. I can’t remember how I got this— maybe the way I was brought up, or from school or television. I was like, God was a Boss checking my attendance at Mass. I feared that if I did not go to church regularly, God would not bless me or He would take away all the things He had already given me.
So I went to church but I was not really present there. My mind often wandered off, or I was always sleepy during the Mass. I just wanted to get it over with.
I soon went to college. I stayed in my grandmother’s house to be near my school.
In college, I started to seek for what’s the true faith.
I started trying out various non-Catholic services— which so stirred my emotions, I wanted to connect with God, to bond with Him.
But my grandmot
her frowned upon it all. My Lola scolded me when she learned that I was attending the services.
“Stop trying out other religions,” she reprimanded. “Just stay Catholic.”
I obeyed her— for some time. I soon graduated from college. I had to leave Grandma’s house to stay in a dorm apartment to be near my workplace. So I was free from Grandma’s watch.
At the time, I was always invited to attend services of other denominations. I attended because I was lonely, and I had no direction in life. I still continued attending Mass but I seemed disconnected from God.
Finding The Feast
Yes, I didn’t feel complete. There was some emptiness, a sadness in me I didn’t know how to deal with.
Then, one day, a workmate invited me to attend a seminar about career management. I was not keen on going but she was insistent. So I attended.
It turned out, the seminar was about financial literacy with Bro. Bo Sanchez as main speaker.
Bro. Bo opened my mind to two key ideas: First, God loves you so much, He wants you to live a complete, joyful life.
This struck a chord in me. When I understood that I could become successful and God would still love me, I was like, “Why not?”
Impressed by Bro. Bo’s teaching, I bought two of his books: How To Be Really, Really, Really Happy and How You Can Make Your Life Beautiful.
Second, Bro. Bo talked about this Truly Rich idea. He said many don’t endeavour to be rich because of the belief that money is the root of evil. But, he pointed out, the Bible said what is evil is not money, but the love of money.
He pointed out it is okay to be wealthy as long as your motivation to be so is to be able to help others, especially the poor. He called this mission as being Truly Rich.
After the seminar, I read more of Bro. Bo’s books, especially those about financial literacy. I also joined his Truly Rich Club and attended his Truly Rich Seminar and Financial Coaching Seminar in 2010.
That was the time I started noticing Bro. Bo’s faith community, the Light of Jesus Family, and his invitation to attend the community’s prayer gathering, The Feast, then being held at the Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City.
By this time, I already have a boyfriend, Sheldon. He understood I was looking for directions in life and he was supportive as he saw how I invested my hard earned money from my corporate job for seminar fees and books. He also attended the seminars even though at first, he was not really interested.
Then, I brought him along the first time I attended Feast Valle Verde and, would you believe, this was the time Bro. Bo started his Prosper series— just what we needed!
Sheldon and I eventually attended The Feast regularly.
What I like most about The Feast are the practical, edifying talks. I learned at The Feast that God is actually the One running towards me. He loves me. He wants me in His circle of love. Jesus Christ is pouring down all the blessings that I can ever receive.
I also like the warmth and sincerity of the servants. I like The Feast because there, the unchurched are welcome— no judgment, just pure love.
Sheldon and I soon got married, and we continue to attend The Feast to this day.
At The Feast, we learned about the Jesus Encounter Seminar conducted by the Light of Jesus. Sheldon and I attended, and there, we really felt God in a personal way, and experienced an intense spiritual awakening.
Since then, I’d seen that the Light of Jesus is a growing organization and so I also wanted to grow with it as a person and as a leader. If my faith community is growing then I am also growing.
Sheldon and I actually became entrepreneurs because of The Feast. We became confident about going into business because listening to Bro. Bo’s talks, we realized that God will open opportunities for us. We were also inspired by some of the servants who were successful in their respective careers.
We then became distributors of UHS Essential Health Philippines Inc., which distributes health supplements.
Following Bro. Bo’s Truly Rich teachings, we have been fairly successful in this business. We were able to acquire some material things like car, condo, and house. We’re happy because we were taught how to take care of all of these.
At The Feast, we were taught about the fine line between greed and achieving God’s dreams for us.
The Feast taught us to fulfill our dreams! We can live life and be the best in our respective fields and still be spiritual!
We also attended the Kerygma Conference, and we patterned our team’s annual retreat with the Kerygma Conference format— from the stage production to the program featuring wonderful speakers.
Back to the Church
Even as I was actively attending The Feast,
I was still seeking wisdom outside the Church. I was exposed to eastern religions.
Anyway, thank God for The Feast, for it just keeps on pulling me back to what is true about my Catholic faith.
I understand my faith more now because of some Feast talk series explaining the Catholic Faith. The teachings jumpstarted my desire to read books, articles, and watch videos to understand more my faith.
I like the Catholic Faith because it is founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.
I like its core – The Mass. It’s timeless. It’s traditional. And, it is passed on. Cultures had evolved but the Mass remains intact.
I also love the Magisterium of the Catholic Church which gives us definite teachings from the Scriptures, unlike in other denominations which have various — and thus sometimes confusing— interpretations of God’s Word.
I also love that we have a Pope – the Vicar of Christ. It is very important to have just one leader that we can look up to and follow.
I thank The Feast for inspiring me to commit to be a Catholic and a regular parish churchgoer.