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Archive for the ‘prayers’ Category

In 2009, when typhoon Ondoy devastated cities and towns (including mine) with unprecedented number of deaths in Metro Manila, I thought I already saw the worst—and then came typhoon Yolanda.

Super typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) was declared as an “Extremely Catastrophic Super Typhoon” by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) a few days before it made its landfall in Central Philippines on November 8, 2013. At its peak wind gusting up to 380kph (235mph), it registered as a Category 5 Hurricane in the Saffir-Simpson Scale and was declared the fourth most intense tropical storm ever recorded and the strongest to ever hit land.

As we watched from a distance here in Manila how the affected families rose above the situation—with an estimated death toll of 5,632 (as of this writing and climbing), damage to properties and agriculture amounting to PHP 30.8 billion, many missing members of families, children’s education standing at a halt, people sleeping on the streets after losing their homes with no food and water for many days—we cannot help but reach out to find ways on where we can extend assistance and provide support and comfort, even from afar.

I had the privilege of volunteering for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their effort to donate 10,000 personal hygiene kits and 10,000 food kits from Manila to the survivors of the calamity a couple of days after the typhoon hit.  A total of 1,500 volunteers from different ages, races, and backgrounds came to the Aurora and Quirino meetinghouses to repack goods which were afterward picked up by Alagang Kapatid Foundation and the Philippine Navy for distribution to different parts of Leyte.

I also had the opportunity to assist in the interview of the first batch of missionary survivors who were evacuated from Tacloban to Manila and to listen in as they shared their individual stories that helped increase my faith in God and in the goodness of the human race.

Despite the bitter pain and trauma that most of the survivors experienced, they were extremely grateful that they survived the ordeal and that their lives were miraculously spared. Most of them lost all of their material possessions, but they were still very thankful that the most important of all their possessions were still with them—their families.

In this season of Thanksgiving, may we remember the things that matter most in our lives and have the heart to share some of ourselves—be it our time or material possessions—to those who are in need. Many lives have been lost and even more lives have been changed by this recent calamity. We are in a position to help lift heads that hang down and provide comfort to those who are in need of comfort. May we find time to reach out and offer a helping hand. As we do so, I know we will find joy in our hearts that no amount of money can buy and appropriately express our thanksgiving for all the blessings that we have.

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My daughter is graduating from college today and I think I’m feeling a little nostalgic. 🙂

It’s a wonderful privilege to be a parent and to be given responsibility to help shape the life of a human being on this earth. I have witnessed many unforgettable miracles in the course of this amazing experience. I remember the day she was born as if it happened only yesterday—and now she is about to embark on her adult role in the society. This tells me that I am now really getting old, but more importantly, it shows me how much Divine support I have received from our Heavenly Father all these years. 


I have a testimony that, as parents, we are given the task to watch over His children here on earth and in a lot of instances we are entitled to receive various promptings for the sake of their well-being.  Our Father loved these children even before we even had them and He cares for their success and happiness as much as we do.


I am extremely grateful for the chance given me to be a mother of two wonderful souls. They have taught me so much and the best moments I’ve spent in my life were those I spent with them.  Each phase of their individual lives gave me an opportunity to live them as well, and because of that I consider mine as such an abundant life with numerous colorful and exciting experiences! I am, indeed, blessed!!


Here’s to the graduating students out there, most especially my daughter.  I wish you all the best in life and I pray that in time you would find your special place under the sun. I hope that in all your endeavors you would remember to look up for support, and to get down on your knees as often as you can. Remember to give thanks for everything you will be blessed with and to share those blessings with the rest of our Father’s children in any way you can. Keep in mind to always be meek no matter how much success you will one day achieve. Life will be harsh at times, but try not to lose track of your eternal perspective. Enjoy life and remember to always make time for those things that matter most. Congratulations on your graduation!!!


I’d also like to extend my congratulations to all the parents who continually support and now so proudly walk behind their graduates. Cheers!! 🙂


To Jessica, my daughter: I love you and I am so very proud of you!!! Here’s lots of tight hugs and my warmest kisses. 🙂

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(Photograph by Franco Advincula)

A great country is now in turmoil. As the whole world watches the chaos unfold in Egypt, I cannot help sharing my thoughts about it.


In ancient times we read in the Old Testament of the many events that transpired in this great land—both wonderful and challenging. Even if you have never read the scriptures and have only watched the movie “The Prince of Egypt,” you will still have an idea of how prosperous this land was under the reign of the Pharaohs. We also learn that it was where Moses (that great prophet of old who parted the Red Sea and was helped by God to lead his people out of bondage) was raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter.


I met an Egyptian woman in Canada and I remember how fascinated I was by the stories that she told. She spoke of frequently visiting historical places that I’ve only read in the scriptures, such as Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. I listened intently as she related many stories depicting how rich the culture of her homeland was.


Today, it is heartbreaking to see the violence that is going on in that land. There is so much hatred and anger on the streets. Constant disrespect for the lives and rights of many people is displayed day after day. One thing is certain though; human beings cannot tolerate oppression for long. It is inherent for them to seek freedom wherever they are, whatever they believe in.


As street demonstrations and demands of the Egyptian people for change continue, I pray that violence may finally be brought to an end; that peaceful negotiations may prevail; that those who are oppressed may once again reach out to Him who once did and still has the capacity to help His people escape all kinds of bondage—be it physical, spiritual and even political. For He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and in my mind is the rightful owner of the title “Prince of Egypt.”

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Listen and watch as Stephanie Nielson, a survivor of a near-fatal plane crash that left most of her skin burnt, shares her story of hope and triumph despite her great trial and how she describes her beautiful life centered on faith in Jesus Christ and love of family.

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Someone once said: “I don’t believe in miracles, I depend on them.” I thought that was an interesting line and it applies to me as well.


My whole life is full of miracles, great and small. Beginning from the circumstances under which I was born and raised, to surviving many life-threatening situations and challenges. Through it all and until this very moment, I have seen how the hands of God have delivered me in many, many instances and for that my heart is overflowing with gratitude.


Last night during dinner with some of my colleagues, I wasn’t surprised when someone exclaimed, “It’s a good thing you’re still here.” And I feel the same way! 🙂 It’s good to still be here, alive and facing all the challenges and enjoying all the wonderful blessings of this experience called life.


And despite the unending battles we are all facing; it is good to know that we are not alone. That as children of a divine nature, we are entitled to divine assistance if we only look up, reach out and ask.  


I know that faith precedes miracles. Even faith as small as a tiny seed of mustard can make the Red Sea part, raise a person from the dead, free an entire nation from bondage, or make all of our heavy burdens seem light. These things have happened before and they can happen again—even in a very personal way for each of us.


The promise was once given: “And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs…; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions” (Mosiah 24:14).


As I sat on the shore of a beach listening to the sound of the rushing waves this past weekend, I couldn’t help but admire the beauty and magnificence of God’s creations and I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the miracle of it all! But I am definitely most grateful to be in and part of it because I don’t just believe in miracles, I depend on them every single day. 🙂

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

Yesterday I watched while the hospital aides wheeled and transferred a very good friend of mine onto her hospital bed as she lay unconscious from the recovery room. I stood in awe thinking how things can change in a snap of a finger in this, our temporary earthly existence.

Not too long ago, this friend supported me in a crucial way during one of my lowest moments and had figuratively become my crutches until I was able to get back up on my feet again. Now, she was lying helpless and numb fighting her own earthly battle, while I quietly stared feeling powerless and completely dependent on the only Being who could bless her with the healing that she needs.


We exchanged text messages the previous day and she expressed how hopeful she was until she found out more about her illness. I told her to have faith in Him and reminded her that everyone will be called “home” at some point and that if she is ever called home now, then I think she is in the best position as she has tried to live up to her potential and is serving Him the best way she can. 


As I waited for her to regain consciousness, I recalled many fond memories of our friendship as well as instances when we overcame misunderstandings that made our friendship even stronger. In most cases, we tried to follow the counsel given in the scriptures to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). Being the more mature and sensible individual, perhaps (okay fine, I am sure) she did a lot more of the understanding and loving while I worked on my idiosyncrasies—which, by the way, is still a work in progress. 🙂


I guess the point I’m driving at is that we have a whole lifetime to perform wondrous things and improve ourselves in many ways; and although we don’t start out as shining, polished gems that we were meant to be, we can do all we can so that when the time comes that we are lying helpless and numb, or when we are called to return back home, then we could look back and declare to the Master as Paul did: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). 


Have a wonderful day everybody! 🙂 Let us all try to do something good in the world today! 🙂
 

 

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