U.S. West Coast Regional Unity Games Pt. 3
Michelle Peredo: Welcome back to INC News World, as we continue our special coverage of the Regional Unity Games in the US!
Richie Ferrera: Why don’t you get your hats, and sunglasses ready so we could go to the tennis courts and meet a young and ambitious woman from Arizona, who not only celebrates this year as the anniversary of the Kadiwa and Binhi organizations, but also as a milestone for education.
Allysa Mae Ong (Tennis, District of Mountain States): It’s such a rush to play with sister Hana from Northeast California, and she made me run.
Michelle Pineda: This is Allysa, an ambitious and recent graduate from Arizona, who competed in the tennis event at the Regional Unity Games in Orange County, California. Adding to another anticipated event that has taken place in her life this year.
Allysa Mae Ong (Tennis, District of Mountain States): Praise God I graduated with my doctor of Pharmacy degree back in May from the University of Arizona, college of Pharmacy.
Michelle Pineda: An academic journey that took Allysa four years to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and four more years of Pharmacy school.
And while determined to reach her goal, Allysa had priorities that came before anything else, even her own ambitions.
Allysa Mae Ong (Tennis, District of Mountain States): I am an organist, and November of this year, will be my ten year anniversary.
Michelle Pineda: In addition to her academic pursuits and her duty as an organist, Allysa is also a chairperson in the Children’s Worship Service in the local of Gilbert. And part of the Multimedia Bureau in her district. Making numerous sacrifices not only to obtain her degree, but also willing to fulfill her various duties.
Allysa Mae Ong (Tennis, District of Mountain States): It really is so easy that when you face challenges, to just be like, “It’s okay. I won’t do that. I want to give up a duty. You know, maybe I’ll drop this”. No, all the more cling to your duties, because that is the foundation to your success.
Michelle Pineda: And it was during a special gathering that recently took place, where she joined others who not only shared the same drive for academic success, but also the same belief, reliance, and trust in God.
Allysa Mae Ong (Tennis, District of Mountain States): There’s so much going on. There’s so much distractions right? So it’s always good to come together and be like, “Hey, we’re still like,… Look at us!” We’re doing events like this where we get to be together, take advantage of that and be involved.
Michelle Pineda: A sacrifice God did not overlook as Alyssa took the opportunity to compete in tennis once more at the Regional Unity Games: West Coast, alongside other youth members in the Church Of Christ in the Ecclesiastical District of Orange County, California.
Fragile Valerio (Archery, District of Los Angeles County): I’ve seen so many people from so many districts that I never would have met before Unity Games.
Brexton Mansfield (Swimming, District of Northeast California): I’ve participated in swimming. It was so much fun. So many different people, brethren from across many different districts and states. Not really competing with each other, just having a great time. Motivating one another to do better, it’s honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had in thirteen years of swimming.
Peacabo Velgado (Archery, District of Northwest California): It’s not really competition, it’s more… Unity Games!
Allysa Mae Ong (Tennis, District of Mountain States): As the youth in the Church, it’s so important to just be active and most importantly to just love the brotherhood, to you know, take part in friendly competition just like this. But it’s also at the end of the day, you’re my brother, you’re my sister in the faith, and I’m so glad to have met you and I felt that with all of my teammates that I played with today.
Michelle Pineda: Continuing her winning streak, Allysa also secured the win in the women’s singles final.
Allysa Mae Ong (Tennis, District of Mountain States): It was a good game, and praise God, praise God for a good game.
The Church Administration cares so much for the youth in the Church, cause it really is in events like this where I feel like our faith gets to be even more strengthened. In addition to all the works of the Church, worship service, Bible studies, it’s cool that once in a while we have huge events like this to come together. I’m definitely thankful to Brother Eduardo Manalo and the Church Administration.
Michelle Pineda: Marking a milestone anniversary, moments and events like this, continue to celebrate many victories, but more importantly the significant role of God in the lives of the youth in the Church Of Christ.
Allysa Mae Ong (Tennis, District of Mountain States): I’m not the smartest, I’m not the most talented. I really don’t see it that way. I just see it as, “God, I’m doing this for you.” I really owe all my success to our Lord God.
Michelle Pineda: Michelle Pineda for the Iglesia Ni Cristo News Network.
Michelle Peredo: As children grow up, there may be a time where siblings separate from growing up in the same home, to being thousands of miles apart because of life’s pursuits and events. But as we head into our next story, we learn how volleyball became an avenue for a pair of sisters to be reunited. Janina Rufino has that report.
Kayla Vuong (Northwest California): So for the longest time, Amanda actually has been the youngest of the family. But when she left for college, it was a real shocker to me because there was so much quietness in the house.
Janina Rufino: Kayla Vuong, from Northwest California and the eldest of siblings, recalls what it was like being separated from her youngest sister Amanda for the first time.
Kayla Vuong (Northwest California): Growing up, the house was always full that when somebody left, it left a really big hole. And being the oldest sister, you always get that feeling of like, watching over your younger siblings.
Amanda Vuong (San Diego County): Definitely she’s like my second mom, I trust her a lot to tell me what to do, to make sure I’m okay. She’s really great as a sister.
Janina Rufino: Moving all the way to San Diego, hundreds of miles away from her family, Amanda’s decision to relocate to a distant city far away from her family was bittersweet.
Amanda Vuong (San Diego County): I felt alone just because I didn’t have my family close by. I can’t just drive really quickly to see my mom or my sisters or my brother.
Janina Rufino: Though separated by distance, their family was determined to maintain their connection, actively seeking out ways to stay connected and involved in each others lives.
Amanda Vuong (San Diego County):We still make time to Facetime, go visit each other when it’s big holidays.
Kayla Vuong (northwest California): I’m just so thankful when they send their little messages to us about what they’re doing.
Janina Rufino: And through an event filled with anticipation, Church Of Christ members gathered here in Orange County, California for a three-day event: the 2023 Regional Unity Games in the West Coast. Where nine districts, across the West Coast competed in various sports events. Where the Vuong sisters looked forward to standing on opposite sides of the volleyball court, reuniting once more.
With Kayla playing for the ecclesiastical district of Northwest California, and Amanda playing for the ecclesiastical district of San Diego County.
Amanda Vuong (Volleyball, San Diego County): When I found out I was just excited to be on the court against her and see her play, because I haven’t seen her play in a while. It’s always fun to play against her and then my older sister, I know Alana could come watch, and my brother, too.
Kayla Vuong (Volleyball, Northwest California): It’s such a nice feeling when you look over on the other side of the court that it’s somebody that you know, especially my own sister, that we’re able to play against one another and just have fun.
Janina Rufino: Although the competition was high, Kayla Amanda were not only opponents on court, but also each other’s biggest fans.
Amanda Vuong (Volleyball, San Diego County): Oh it was super fun, like high-fiving each other across the net, just like smiling and laughing at each other.
Kayla Vuong (Volleyball, Northwest California): It wasn’t really about who’s gonna win, it’s really just let ourselves play and enjoy the day.
Janina Rufino: And just like the Vuong sisters, Kayla’s teammate Kat was also reunited with her younger sister from Los Angeles County on the volleyball courts, mirroring their excitement.
Kathryne Fiesta (Volleyball, Northwest California): It was a very close game. That one was so fun. I mean playing with my sister and kind of knowing each other’s quirks when it comes to volleyball, so my sister was looking forward to kind of like blocking and all that stuff but it’s all in the name of love honestly. We have fun playing against each other. It’s just nice to know, that, we can, all of us, not just my family, but all of us kind of reunite and see each other again.
Janina Rufino: And watching from the sidelines cheering for both sisters are their parents.
Imelda Fiesta (Kat and Mia’s Mom): I’m torn, I’m going to be torn between them later.
Serrano Fiesta (Kat and Mia’s Dad): Really exciting, with my two daughters competing against each other.
Janina Rufino: And for the Vuong siblings, this event was even more memorable, knowing that their lives are about to take separate paths once again.
Kayla Vuong (Volleyball, Northwest California): I’m so happy for her, seeing that you know, especially this being the last year as Amanda being a Kadiwa. And especially with her fiance, it is just such a great feeling to come together and to see one another in activities, even outside of our own districts. It’s just really keeping in touch with them and also leading them as a good example.
Showing them how important these duties that I hold are to me, even though I’m so tired that I don’t even have, you know, time to rest sometimes. I know that it’s because I love my duties that I’m able to continue on in serving Him. It’s like the best way to show to my younger siblings that, you know, this is where we should be and this is what we should put our life and strength in, is our duties.
Janina Rufino: As families and loved ones were able to reunite through this event, a greater message as the Church of Christ Member resonated with Kayla Vuong.
Kayla Vuong (Choir Member and Multimedia Director, Northwest California): Seeing where they are now and seeing how mature they’ve become, you know their present and happy, and you know, strong in their faith. That’s what really gives me peace in my life, knowing that I don’t need to worry about them. It’s such a great feeling.
Janina Rufino: Janina Dela Paz Rufino for the Iglesia Ni Cristo News Network.
Richie Ferrera: With the activities held here this week, youth members of the Christian Family organizations and their families have felt the love of the Church Administration.
Richie Ferrera: Well that does it for our special coverage of the Regional Unity Games on the West Coast…
Michelle Peredo: But we’re far from done, right Richie?
Richie Ferrera: That’s right we still have our special coverage of the Regional Unity Games in the East Coast, to be featured in part two.
Michelle Peredo: We’ll see you there!