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Who To Reach Out To When Feeling Lonely

Loneliness can happen to anyone at any time. Who can we reach out to when we feel alone? What are the benefits of asking for help?


Vantage Point: Who To Reach Out To When Feeling Lonely

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Brother Felmar Serreno: With the lingering pandemic, there is a social epidemic that is steadily on the rise. It’s called loneliness.  

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Brother Felmar Serreno: Others claim that its long term effects are just as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

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Bro. Felmar Serreno

Brother Felmar Serreno: What causes loneliness and are there ways to get through it successfully? Stick around and let’s find out. 

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Despite so many changes
Let’s move forward together
This is

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Vantage Point 

Brother Felmar Serreno: JR and Nat, have either of you ever struggled with loneliness? 

JR Dongalen: For sure I’ve struggled with loneliness personally.

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JR Dongalen

JR Dongalen: You know I’ve encountered it from heartbreak, when I felt like I was the odd man out when it came to certain interests that I pursued, the way that I express myself, having a different cultural and religious background [from] others. You know, today I look at it like I’m unique and everyone is different. But for a really long time, I thought of myself as the odd man out, as someone who was just different and lost. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: In many ways, honestly, I can relate to JR, too. 

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Natalie Fitzpatrick

Natalie Fitzpatrick: I definitely felt lonely growing up, mostly because of the sports teams that I was associated with in high school. A lot of my coaches and my teammates never really understood why I would prioritize the worship service over our games or our practices,

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Who To Reach Out To When Feeling Lonely

Natalie Fitzpatrick: …especially when they interfered with that schedule or that worship service time, and on top of that, I also felt lonely when I’d stopped being invited out to plans that my friends were making, because they knew that my values or my beliefs didn’t align with the lifestyle that they wanted to lead.  

So, whether they were experimenting with intoxicating substances, going to parties, or just trying to live fast like they did, I couldn’t relate, and obviously got left out for that reason. 

JR Dongalen: Yeah, you know, loneliness is a really broad topic, broader than what others might think. For example, here’s a piece published by the Royal College of Nursing on their website:

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“loneliness is: having nobody to talk to, feeling disconnected to the world, feeling left out, sadness, and not feeling understood.”

Brother Felmar Serreno: It’s ironic, [isn’t it] JR,  that having nobody to talk to is on that list when we are supposedly more connected nowadays because of technology, the Internet and social media. Having said that, consider what USA TODAY published on their website in an article in 2018. 

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“Thanks to the erosion of neighborhood communities, the fracturing of many families, and the decline in church attendance, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for finding new friends or developing meaningful relationships.”

Brother Felmar Serreno: So, people are seeing a decline in in-person interactions. As a result, opportunities to develop meaningful relationships are also on the decline, and mind you, the article that we quoted was published pre-COVID, back in 2018. So those declining in-person interactions could only have dropped further in 2020 when lockdowns and restrictions really began to be enforced. 

JR Dongalen: Yeah, you know, if you’re a young person or a student who’s struggling with all the pressures of today, and you’re unhappy and you have no community to turn to, you can see how that can lead to serious loneliness. 

Natalie Fitzpatick: But even if we might feel lonely at times, there are ways that we can find comfort through the Church, and I don’t say that just to plug the Church name, I mean that. Let’s be real. When you get out of high school, when you’re entering adult life or adulting, I mean take a look around—where can you find a free program that enables you to do what you love? So I went from playing basketball and volleyball competitively in school to suddenly looking and longing for that feeling of competitiveness again, and because there was no real competitive program that I could join, or easily sign up for with a team of people I had already built chemistry with, it was difficult. 

But, inside the Church Of Christ we have great activities like “Unity Games” or “EVM Cup” where we get to be able to play these sports that we love, and these outlets have been amazing for boosting our mental health, our physical wellness, and being able to participate in [those activities] helps us keep that competitive spirit alive. And, not just not just playing sports but being an active officer above all of that has had the greatest impact I’d say on my life and on my mood every single day. When you’re busy with doing good work, planning activities, constantly communicating with other people, and visiting brethren especially, or even creating promotional materials for events and activities that you’re planning, you tend to forget about anything else that’s going on that worries you or that might be bothering you in the back of your mind. That stuff fades away so quickly when you’re keeping busy like that, and once you’re in the zone and you’re working with other people who are also active—you know, they want the best for you; it’s those people, these officers [whom] you’re working with, or the brethren that are always beside you, they understand where you’re coming from and that loneliness goes away. For myself, I find myself laughing all the time when I’m with my fellow officers, we always have a really good time together and they understand the sacrifices that I make and I’m also able to understand the sacrifices that they’re making too. Because of that, our bond grows stronger every single day. 

JR Dongalen: I would say also Brother Eduardo and the Church Administration has done an amazing job, a creative job in keeping us connected both in our faith and with each other. 

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Who To Reach Out To When Feeling Lonely

JR Dongalen: With the pandemic really distancing us from one another, producing challenges for in-person gatherings; we couldn’t even see each other, we couldn’t even hang out like we used to. Interacting with friends, our beloved brethren, the people that we see at worship services before and after, Brother Eduardo and the Church leadership do their best implementing vital methods from video streaming worship services, online activities, and even our Executive Minister responding and writing back to the brethren [and] church officers around the world. There are some really heartwarming stories about this on our “Blessed Moments” program. So knowing we have each other as officers and brethren in the church, an administration that cares and labors for all of us, it’s not something that a lot of people can say they have. That authentic community, based on our spirituality and faith—and God is what helps someone like me feel, even in the loneliest of times, that I’m never actually by myself, that I’ve always got someone to rely on, someone that I can reach out to, someone that I can really trust. 

Brother Felmar Serreno: And even more than our Executive Minister, who else can we rely on for help, which is why we, members of the Church Of Christ, we should not be defeated by loneliness? We can rely on our Lord Jesus Christ, and that’s based on what we can read here in the book of Philippians chapter 4 and the verse is 13: 

for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.

[Philippians 4:13 Living Bible]

Brother Felmar Serreno:

Now, in addition to our Church Administration, and our Lord Jesus Christ, Who above all can we rely on for help?  The answer is revealed here in the book of Psalms, Chapter 121, verses 1 down to 3, the Bible teaches us: 

I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let you fall; your protector is always awake.

[Psalms 121:1-3 Good News Bible]

Brother Felmar Serreno: Therefore, we can rely on God above all. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: I was just thinking to myself how we’re so blessed in the INC or the Iglesia Ni Cristo we have our Almighty Father, we have our Lord Jesus Christ. We also have our Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, who all love us, and are always trying to help us. And, we also have the leadership in our ecclesiastical districts. We have the ministers, the evangelical workers, the deacons, the deaconesses, and even the group overseers who are always looking after us in our own local congregation. 

JR Dongalen: Human as we are, we will still find ourselves experiencing some form of loneliness sometimes. There’s no shame, there’s no reason to feel embarrassed in reaching out to someone for help. It’s totally okay to reach out to a KADIWA President, for example, or our Binhi officers, and it’s totally okay for us to reach out and set an appointment with our minister—have an open discussion with him about what you’re going through, kind of like what we get to do on this show. Another avenue that’s available to us is where we can ask questions, and visit the Help Center page and we can use that to reach out to ministers in the Church Of Christ. 

Brother Felmar Serreno: Well, that’s our discussion for today. Thank you to JR and Nat, and to everyone who tuned in. Join us again next time. God bless. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: If you’re ever feeling lonely or like you’re missing that sense of community, we highly encourage you to reach out to your CFO or Christian Family Organizations’  leadership in your district or even in your local congregation.  You could reach out to your KADIWA president, your Binhi president, or your CFO overseer for more information on how you can be of help or join in on the many activities happening all around the world. And to our friends, we also encourage you to visit to learn more about the many events taking place within your community. Also don’t forget to give us a thumbs up if you liked this episode and follow us on Instagram to find out more about the show and upcoming content as it comes out. 

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Who To Reach Out To When Feeling Lonely