11th International Camp: Part 3: Creative Fruit


mansanitas-filipino-fruitsShort “saba” bananas, sweeter than sweet mangoes, tart and tasty mansanitas (gooseberries); these were just some of the wide array of fresh fruit we were served by our most gracious hosts in the Philippines. For some of us, the offerings were like nothing we’d tasted at home. The bountiful spread was also a reminder that our gathering was not only a time of “tasting” the fruit of seeds planted five years ago but a time of planting new seeds, the fruit of which many of us may never see.

As CFOI Coordinator, it was occasionally necessary for me to observe our retreat from the sidelines. Each day, CFOers from different regions led the parts of the CFO Daily Program. During one of our creative sessions, as I looked out over the crowd of about 200 people, it was as if the Holy Spirit had come down, and like a gardener, was tilling the soul soil of a group totally available to the Spirit’s leading through pen, paper, and color. If you’ve been to a CFO gathering, I think you know what I’m talking about.

Creatives is a time of listening prayer. Toward the end of the week, we were treated to a special harvest of soul fruit from one who listened deeply.

Rudolfo “Rudy” Mendoza Maravillas (March 24, 1939 – February 11, 2017), was a long time CFOer from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. Upon his death, his family discovered over twenty journals kept by Rudy. Many of the writings were from creatives at CFO. His wife, PIMG_6226earl, and daughter, Pemmy  Calumpang collected a sampling of Rudy’s writings and made them available in a small volume. I had a chance to visit with Pearl, Pemmy, and Pemmy’s husband Edward Calumpang. Here is some of what they shared.

Rudy’s faith and spirituality was deeply informed by CFO and the CFO Daily Program. He understood the wholeness of the abundant life for which The Camp Farthest Out stands. Rudy was very active in Aaron Camp. He also served as National Council Ring Chair from 1997-2001. During his time as Director of the Laubach Literacy Program of Dansalan Foundation College, Rudy and his family were honored to meet and host fellow CFOer, Bob Laubach, son of Frank Laubach.

There are four important essences we have to acquire, learn, and learn again in a CFO camp. 1.) How to pray in various ways – like singing, speaking, dancing, and more. 2.) How to acquire humility in our speech, our thoughts, and our actions in dealing with other campers. 3.) How to learn to be silent and learn to pray silently. 4.) How to live harmoniously with other campers from different denominations. A CFO camp is not a CFO camp if there is only one denomination or faith represented therein. How can harmonious living be achieved when the essence of harmonious living cannot be tested or exercised? – from “The Essence of CFO“, by Rudy Maravillas

Family and friends recall Rudy’s love for reading and writing, his strong abilities as a teacher, and the many grateful children he taught how to read and write. He was beloved by many, not only for these skills but his most excellent baking and cooking. Native foods and dishes were in abundance when visiting Rudy’s home. When children gathered with Pearl for Sunday school lessons, Rudy made sure everyone was well fed. Though a homebody, Rudy lived creatively through his writing, cooking, parenting, gardening, and his willingness to challenge opinions. His life was crowned with the deep joy of being a grandfather to his dear Khariz, the apple of his eye… and the next generation of CFO.

Truth be told, the planning of 11th International Camp was not always smooth. There were real challenges along the way and at one point, cancellation was considered. When we first arrived in Cagayan de Oro, one of the first things that was handed to me was “The Essence of CFO” by Rudy Maravillas. The last paragraph stood out…

One important camp rule that should not be missed is based on Christ’s words, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst.” Thus, scheduled meetings of CFO should not be postponed or cancelled for the Holy Spirit is waiting at the venue. Do not let the Holy Spirit wait. – R.M.

CFO is about showing up. What will the Holy Spirit do? It is our job to Come together and Find Out what God has for us individually and as a group.

To close 11th International Camp we held a sharing service. This sacred time of sharing that went on well past the appointed time was a feast of soul fruit with so much to be thankful for. As we shared I could not help but think of Rudy and all those CFO Eternal; CFOers who stepped up and helped us all “Learn to Live Love”.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our ’11th Installments’. A special thank you and CFO hug go out to the members of the 11th International Team and Philippine Delegation!!!

Please join us as we pray into being the 12th International Camp to be held somewhere in North America in 2022!!!

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