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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

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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Christmas is a time our hearts turn to the Savior Jesus Christ. This is a true story of one woman’s experience as she learns that the Lord loves us and knows our specific circumstances.

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Two days ago, I was requested to participate in a series of corporate training called the “Fearless Leadership Program.” At first I thought it was a waste of my time. I was already being pulled in many different directions and I thought that one more training—with many succeeding sessions—was too much for me to bear. I thought I had more important things to do, but I was wrong.


I didn’t know what to expect from the training. The title itself sparked my curiosity. Fearless Leadership. Will they be providing a lecture on how to become fierce in implementing mandates from executive management? Or teach us how to be tougher or more strict towards our team members? I couldn’t wait to attend and find out.


All my qualms were quenched after the first session. To my surprise, it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. The initial session focused on understanding our entire lives—from childhood to present—and analyzing situations that happened in the past that influence the kind of persons we are today. I was very uncomfortable at first. I didn’t want to reveal some things about the past—my childhood, my family, my experiences—that I’ve always kept hidden, even from myself. But as I saw how the other participants opened themselves up and shared their experiences freely, I allowed myself to open up and share my experiences as well. By doing so, I was able to understand myself a little bit more—why my priorities are such; what motivates me; why I react to certain situations the way I do. It was, I should say, a liberating experience.


As I listened to the stories that were shared that afternoon, I learned that people have common experiences—albeit different scenarios—that either make them or break them. In most instances, seemingly negative experiences that each participant overcame brought about success beyond what they expected or imagined. Those who thrived during the trying moments came out victorious as they looked at their previous challenges as stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks.


Some of us may be in a similar situation today. Some may be struggling to overcome certain challenges that may appear to be too negative at the moment. Let us keep in mind that these circumstances are temporary and if we gather the courage to overcome, we can look forward to that day when we could look back and stand, having a better perspective that these things will be for our own good.

Enjoy the rest of the week everybody! And remember, there’s always a rainbow after the rain! 🙂

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Happy New Year!!! This almost didn’t make the first month of the year, but I’m glad it did!!! I should renew my commitment to write more often. It’s something that I truly enjoy doing, so I need to manage my schedule a lot better and find more time for it.

As we welcome the New Year, it’s a wonderful time to reflect upon the things that we did well in the past year, and plan for what we could do better in the coming one.  In retrospect, we look back and savor the moments we spent with our loved ones, the successes we made in our individual lives, our moments of sadness and frustration, things we should’ve been doing but were not able to, the new additions in our families, our laughter, simple joys, and defining moments.

It is also a good time to evaluate significant decisions we made, important actions we need to take, changes we might have to implement, and to bring our focus back on things we might’ve neglected the entire year.

Each of us will have our own unique situation, but just the same it is good to be reminded that it is a great time for new beginnings. That we can start with a clean slate and direct our lives to the path where we want to be going. The first step is always the most difficult to make, but when we finally get the courage to lift ourselves up it will always be much easier.

I’d like to wish everyone all the best this coming year!! May we all be blessed with everything that we need—food on our tables, roof over our heads, and clothing on our backs. But above all, may we have abundance of those that are truly essential in our lives—love, peace, and harmony in our homes.

Have a wonderful year ahead!!!  🙂

 

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The way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.

I’d like to share these excerpts taken from a general conference talk of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin as he spoke of an advice given him by his mother when as a young man he came home discouraged after losing a game of football.


The complete transcript of his talk may be found in:

http://lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/come-what-may-and-love-it?lang=eng&query=come+may+love

Enjoy watching!! 🙂

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Artwork by Liz Lemon Swindle

Some people would’ve considered last week’s Friday the 13th an unlucky day. Not for me. It was one of the best I’ve ever had! 🙂 That day, my daughter and I both received answers to our prayers that came at a time that we didn’t expect. It was such a pleasant surprise and we couldn’t have been more grateful. 🙂 YayYyY!!! 🙂

Later that night, I had some company over at our place that brought fun and joy to my heart. One of the topics we discussed stayed with me over the weekend and significantly contributed to the spirit of the lesson I taught in Sunday School. I had to stay in control of my emotions as I choked up several times during the class. It was about the “lost one.”

Nobody is perfect. Each of us have missed the mark in some degree or another. It is ironic that some people feel they are in a position to judge those who have fallen astray. It’s sad to see how people change their countenance when they find out that a person once lost their path and have found their way back. Shouldn’t it be enough cause for celebration instead? Such was the example shown by the Savior Himself in His parables. He rejoiced. Yes, for the prodigal son when he returned…and for the lost sheep when he was found. I think we should also try to do the same.

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People all around the world were moved by the recent catastrophe that hit Japan. I watched in the news a rescued man speaking about his survival experience and although he spoke in Japanese, I could feel and understand the sadness and trauma that he underwent after his ordeal. An old woman clung to a tree the entire evening for dear life and was rescued the following day. Buildings and homes were destroyed beyond anything anyone has ever imagined. The wrath and power of nature was only to be endured with utmost acquiescence and without question.


Through my years of existence, I learned that no matter what race we come from, whatever language we speak, whosoever we worship, we have similar innate characteristics that prove to me that we all come from the same source and are undeniably all connected as an entire human race.


In the midst of this calamity, tensions had been set aside for a moment among countries. Nations sent all they could to support and assist Japan in their current needs. The resilience of people was remarkable and it was touching to see the overflow of human kindness during this time of grief and loss.


Yet no matter how negative this experience was for many people, a lot of us also learned numerous positive things that will remain in our hearts for a long time. This experience taught me that even strong nations and seemingly independent, affluent countries still appreciate offers of assistance coming from their neighbors in times of trials and adversity. Similarly, our fellowmen who seem strong and independent will appreciate our support and encouragement in times of trials in their lives.


It was also admirable to see how the Japanese people remained calm and focused in spite of the overwhelming devastation that gripped their country. Collectively, they had the determination to rebuild their homes and individually extended help to those who needed it. Survivors orderly lined up and waited for whatever basic relief commodities were distributed to them. A spirit of unity was prevalent across the land.


In our times of trial, we can learn from their example by being still and enduring the tribulation with patience and faith and being grateful for the moral support of our friends and family and the Divine help that is always extended to those who seek it.


It may take a few months or a few years before Japan can get its nation back to where it was before the earthquake, but the lessons we’ve learned should very well not be forgotten.

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