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Archive for August, 2008

(Photo by Edwin Redrino)

The Beijing Olympics is over. Being a person who doesn’t watch TV that much, I only watched the news and video clips on the internet about certain events and updates that I was particularly interested in. One thing that always amazed me was the cheering of the crowd and how it affected the adrenalin rush of the athletes.

 

While living in Germany in high school, my younger brother and I used to watch the Borussia Mönchengladbach football games in the stadium with my best friend and her brother. I must admit that at first I thought the game itself was a bit boring, but the excitement that the energetic audience brought to my spines and the thought of supporting our home team’s spirits while battling the opponent kept me coming back. I rejoiced with them as if I were part of the team whenever they won, and felt sad for them whenever they lost. L

 

Whether through the recent Olympics or a local football event in high school, I realized that people are the same everywhere. We have more similarities than differences. We have an innate characteristic to be supportive of other people in their battles in sports—and in life.

 

We don’t have to be athletes to be part of this kind of battle. Everyday we go through an invisible battle for the soul that started way before we even came here on earth. In our time and age when “even the very elect will be deceived,” I am most grateful for family and true friends who cheer us on as we fight for the good and resist the evil.

 

Like the Olympians during the games, may we also display grace under pressure when faced with the challenges of life, until the day will come that this world will achieve its paradisiacal glory. J

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Our family and some friends took advantage of the long weekend to frolic and spend a day in one of the Hundred Islands of the Philippines.  As soon as our boat docked on shore, we made preparations to grill our food using natural resources while basking at the soothing beauty of nature displayed in front of us.

 

Being the only people on the island, we swam with reckless abandon in the clear, cool water alongside schools of fish that were probably terrified at our presence. I marvelled at the magnificence of the islands and the serene, tranquil feeling of being in the middle of it all. It was a fascinating experience.

 

While travelling back from the trip, we decided to hold our Family Home Evening while inside the vehicle because it was a Monday night. I was moved by the impromptu lesson given by our friend about a boy who, because of tradition and customs in his country, was left by his father blindfolded overnight in the forest to prove his manhood. In spite of the different jungle sounds that he heard and fearing that his life was in danger, he left the blindfold on until the sun was up—the appointed time that he was allowed to take the blindfold off.

 

When the boy felt the warmth of the sunlight on his skin, he took the blindfold off and was surprised at the first thing he saw—it was his father sitting right across from him. His father was always there throughout the night and never really left him.

 

Just as I’m ecstatic to see those hundred islands next to each other and those schools of fish swimming as a team, I am most grateful that like that little boy blindfolded in the forest we are never really ever alone. That although we don’t see Him, our Heavenly Father is always there watching over us and is only a prayer away. Hence, as human nature truly dictates: “No man is an island!” J

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

 

While sitting on the pew behind them, I watched how a loving, young mother tried to gently keep her toddler from fussing during one reverent sacrament meeting. After attempting several different techniques that worked only a few minutes, she reached into her bag to offer her daughter a lollipop. It seemed to work instantly as the charming little girl climbed up to her and placed her head on her mother’s shoulder while enjoying her candy.

 

A little boy sitting right next to them watched intently as the girl relished her sweet treat. He gazed at her without flinching for about five minutes. When the little girl noticed his stare, she took the lollipop from her mouth and without any hesitation offered it to him. The little boy paused, looked at the lollipop, and then gladly took it. They both smiled and kept silent for the rest of the meeting.

 

I sat there in awe after what I witnessed. Adults surely will think it’s an unhygienic practice but it was the principle behind that blew my mind away. What a pure example of selflessness!!! I didn’t sense any regret from the little girl when she offered the one thing that she enjoyed most to someone that she thought would enjoy it more.

 

How light and wonderful life would be if adults could practice that principle as well—unselfishness. Let us keep in mind that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Life is too short to keep it all to ourselves. We have not enough time to hoard it all. Be it our time, our talents, our affection, our resources, let us choose a better way.   

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 (Photograph courtesy of Edwin Redrino)

 

The rain was pouring hard last night on our way home from visiting my dad’s place. Under normal circumstances I would’ve enjoyed the ride, but the downpour was so heavy that I couldn’t see clearly through my windshield anymore and the road that we were on was already flooded.

 

Afraid of getting stranded while we were driving along one dark, flooded street, I said a silent prayer in my heart and prodded my son to offer another one in our behalf:

 

“Justin, would you please say a prayer to ask Heavenly Father to help us safely get home?” He nodded, closed his eyes and said a quiet prayer.

 

After a little while, when the rain settled down and we could already hear the hymn from our car stereo, I asked him again to say a prayer of thanksgiving. When he opened his eyes, I said:

 

“Did you thank Heavenly Father?”

 

“Uh-huh,” he replied.

 

“What did He say?”

 

He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders.

  

Prayer is our means of communication with our Father in Heaven. It is a divine instrument that we can use anywhere, anytime. We don’t need any power lines, batteries, or gadgets in order to connect. Just as I am excited to hear from my children about their daily activities, our Heavenly Father loves to hear from us on how our day goes, what our plans are, what challenges we are facing. He is never too busy or too tired for anyone. We are literally His sons and daughters and it would please Him to hear from us each day.

 

And just as I love talking to my children, our Father would also love to speak with us—if we would but let Him. His voice may not come as a boisterous thunder or with a strike of lightning, but it will oftentimes come as a still, small voice accompanied by a warm, peaceful feeling inside our chest.

 

How grateful I am for this means of reaching out to Him whose presence I may not be worthy to withstand. When the world is busy and no one else is available for me to talk to, I am grateful to know that I could always get down on my knees and pour out my heart to Him who listens anytime, anywhere, and to anybody—saints and sinners alike.    

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