Like many Filipinos in the Philippines, I grew up in the Catholic Church teachings. I attended Catholic schools, sang in choirs, confessed sins to priest, prayed the rosary, and so on. Years and a bundle of questions later I became an agnostic and later atheist, partly also because I let myself believe that only science and critical thinking can explain man’s inmost questions and after all I was in UP where I felt liberated from the need of God.
I have a met a pastor of a church in Pampanga whom at that time was travelling places in Europe together with a Norwegian pastor and their wives to spread the Gospel. They pour out their time and money to reach so many souls in Europe. We met in Switzerland and I at that time had already accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. This pastor said that God has his unique ways on reaching to each person, and boy was he right.
I have seen many of our kababayan in Switzerland whom after so many suffering, loses, and even joys found God in a foreign land. They gather for bible studies and actively encourage and engage positively in each other’s lives. They sing together. They eat Pinoy food they have prepared together while laughing and even crying at their sorrows and joys in Europe from childbirth to divorce, to remarriage, to work etc.
There are masses all over Switzerland headed by the Philippine Catholic Mission Switzerland. Masses are held in the cities of Lucerne, Zürich, and other cantons. They could be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org or their Facebook page for any inquiries. Jesus Is Lord Church is also present in Zürich and St. Gallen. For those residing in the Geneva area they could fellowship at The Church of the Living Saviour, a Pentecostal church.
For some Filipinos like me, there are numerous other Christian churches in English (like the International Church of Lucerne (ICL)). Here we fellowship with other expats from around the world. Filipinos are unstoppable when it comes to their faith, Skype is also now being used to hold regular fellowship and bible studies around Europe.
I would like to quote my favorite apologetic Timothy Keller: “What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”
Sometimes it is not money, nor success nor even love which you will find abroad. Sometimes it is the only one you truly need.
Maria Kristine Fleischhacker lives in Lucerne, Switzerland. She often tinkers with the beauty in minute acts and is currently learning another language.