Friday, November 26, 2010

Trail of Tears

Hard realities in life strike at those unwary and unsuspecting hours 

In one month's time or so, I came face to face with three couples whose son's life ended differently but all tragic in human terminology.  They were all in their twenties envisioning to get a good life and augment their respective family needs. They all wanted to bring ease and quality life to their loved ones especially their parents.

A stone's throw from my church is the house of  Tony.  He was senior in high school at twenty years old. He was joggling janitorial job and school at the same time.  One rainy night he came home and heard the voice of his little puppy wrenching in pain.  He found the puppy groping for breath stack in a hole full of mud at their backyard.  Without any hesitations, Tony reached out for the poor puppy.  He forgot about his bruised hands due too much scratching from mosquito bites.  The puppy was very happy.  She crept lovingly at Tony's and kept licking his hands as the pet's way of gratitude that she was rescued from real suffocation by her master.  Tony spent quite sometime to pet the soft wool of his puppy until she kept still, forgot the trauma from the dark hole and slept soundly. 

A week later Tony had an on and off fever, sometimes trembling uncontrollably, feeling cold and very thirsty.  His jaw locked and hated to drink water.  He was rushed to the hospital but it was too late.  He was positive for rabies that caused his untimely demise.  The anti rabies vaccine and other medicines did not work after the diagnosis.  His younger brother who shared Tony's meal  also was found rabid but fortunately survived. This brought too much weight of grief  to his parents until today.

Ferdinand was the 23 year old gentleman, an only child and no doubt very talented.  As to physical features, he was tall and handsome.  He was the image of a son that every parent  wishes to grow being responsible and sensible.  At his young age, Ferdinand was already reaping the fruit of his labors and a family provider which is very rare who hailed from the province.  He was an industrial engineer.  He was top 2 during the national board exams and in a short time became a regular employee of the regional government with his own office and staff.  Ferdinand was on his way to realizing his many dreams especially for his future. He was desirous to build a comfortable house for his parents but was cut short .  He was found dead lying under the durian tree almost unrecognizable.  Every part of his visible body was bloated because of bees sting.  Being a very hard working man, even during holiday he reported to his office for some research assignment.  On his way home there was the tree where a hive of biting wild bees settled.  There was no more time to take him to the hospital, his body was ice cold and  stiff as hard as a log although wet. He was black and blue all over. The only thing that the officemates recognized, who found him the day after was the native necklace he always wore and the shirt identified as of Ferdinand.  The autopsy result however disclosed that the cause of his death was allergy from insects sting.  Friends pushed each other as to who will reveal this fearful news to his parents.  Unbelievable and they tried to ignore their story but true.  It shattered their world and the pain brought about by his death is beyond words they can relate.

Still another young man who is more closer is Billy.  For several times and occasions visited our church because some youth members were his college classmates.  Billy is junior in college taking up elementary education.  It's obvious he loved small children.  He was a magnet to kids and he always had an exciting story to tell.  Billy was particularly a silent person,  he was a little bit shy which he overcame by his kindness and helpful built-in character. He was studying on a night school. During the day he helped his mother bake and delivered food stuffs to small stores.  At that particular Saturday, he went to the beach store riding on his motorbike.  When he went home at 5:00 in the afternoon, an 18-wheeler truck collided, throwing him and his motor bike on opposite directions, 1-meter apart from the road.  Nobody was around to witness that was why he was found 4 hours later when it was already dark all around  The truck driver escaped but fortunately a man nearby heard a loud sound which he told was like a shot of a magnum caliber.  The man got so nervous, he went to another house and invited a neighbor. They went and investigated what he heard about 4 hours ago.  There, poor Billy was alive but was so mangled,  his ribs were all broken, both legs were gone, face was crashed and tongue was cut, lying on his own blood.  What a pity to describe.  Worst was the small clinics in several towns refused to admit him. It took two hours to finally reached the hospital where an hour later he was pronounced dead.  His family and friends were so shocked at the sudden death of  Billy. Life in their house will be different for as long as Billy's presence is gone.

Their deaths, the separation and emotional distress dominated these three homes  

I felt my words were of little significance for them but not God's word.  The hugs, the touch, the care, the tears and throngs of people carrying comfort brought great reliefs to their troubled souls.  God's word brings salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Stability and lost joy are restored.   Up until this writing, I still pray hard how to act when I have the chance to visit or meet any of these 3 couples.  The process of recovery from their deepest emotional wounds might be long, or might be underway depending on their faith and acceptance.  However, each can contribute to emotional healing when we know how to pray and when our loving presence is felt when they needed most.  Gripping cold empty hands because of loneliness means a lot for the bereaved especially cases like those of Tony, Ferdinand and Billy.  Your presence will do encourage people experiencing the same,  to keep living and move on.  Be very sure to give the Gospel about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If they listen and believe, it will give assurance that in the next life there will be never ending reunions with our loved ones for all eternity.  Let us give out that sure hope!

* I have changed the names of the 3 young people,  now in the beyond.  I am blogging real life stories

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Will and Determination

I had the privileged of seeing thirteen active junior boys in our small community beside the sea.  They were in various ages between 8 and 11 but their bonding was extra unique for those elementary years. Their families belong to the really economically poor people.  Their favorite hangout was the seashore and most of the time crab hunting after bouts of swimming, cycling and basketball.  They wrote their dreams on the sand and laughed their hearts out while waiting for those crabs to go get inside their bamboo cisterns. Most of the time there were very few catch but they made sure they brought home for food.  Except Neon, the 8 year old boy and youngest of them.  He stood out being a smart kid with decisive spirit and respectful attitude.  It was obvious he was the leader of the group however he always parted his crabs to the other boys because of his allergy he inherited from his father. He was always in white shirts, short pants and boots that was rare with the other boys. At their home, he had pets he dearly loved and really cared for his goats and a dog.  Neon would be seen riding on goats on those playful times at their yard together with his older sister and little brother.

Neon and the 1 dozen boys

One summer day Neon broke his piggy bank because all thirteen agreed to visit the health center. Purpose is to get 'the rite for the true manhood'.  Neon paid for the anesthesia which was P20.00 pesos for each one.  In our country, it is a big deal for the boys to be circumcised or the cutting of the foreskin from theirs.  All of them were present beside others which were around forty.  There in one big room in the clinic they laid exposed.  Neon saw the different expressions of his friends faces and emotions.  Some very pale because of fear, others were looking at a blank wall and many started to cry. When he saw the doctor approaching his bed, Neon immediately pulled up his underclothes and requested the doctor to spare him.  He was not ready he said but asked permission to observe how they performed those little incisions. He was very thankful that he was allowed to be the onlooker.  He noticed that some bled more and others didn't.

After each was done, they rose and all walk away unsteadily. Each boy was pulling up the shirt so it will not touch their open wound.  Several of Neon's friend ignored calling him a coward.  To this Neon promised that he will bring his father to watch the doctor perform on him those small instruments which bogged his mind. The following day,  he helped his friends looked for some guava leaves to wash up their fresh wound.  Two days later, he was accompanied to the local clinic by his dad, that time he was the only patient in which Neon was comfortable that way.  He had the opportunity to ask the doctor many things concerning anatomy and life by whom the good doctor gladly gave the explanations. When they all were healed a week later, they had the bicycle racing.  It was Neon's 9th birthday on April, and he asked his mother to give a humble prize of 1-kilo rice to the winner.

During Sunday, all thirteen boys attended the church Sunday School taught by his father.  After their class they would discuss any topics under the sun those with interests to their young minds.  One time they talked about their ambitions when they grow big.  Neon, without any hesitations told everyone that one day he will be a medical doctor.  Many had not agreed, all they could see were obstacles and financial crisis.  One boy said 'well, nobody can tell, perhaps even elementary is hard to finish.', two or three others seconded.  Neon, repeated his desire of becoming a doctor and said further, "if you are not studying hard and you are contended of 50 pesos for a days labor, twenty years from now I will be a doctor and will be earning much and you will remain receiving the same wages."  He said they can be cleaning together the church building during weekends and study during weekdays if their parents are not supportive rather than working as baggage carrier in stores each day.  After this 4 wonderful years of boys exciting adventures, they each parted ways during high school.  They agreed though that they will meet every year during vacation at their favorite hangout beach.

Neon finished high school in a public school with flying colors.  He received the fourth honors among 200 graduates.  During the thanksgiving dinner, only 5 of the 13 friends showed up.  Neon was very concerned and missed his other friends.  They checked their whereabouts, 7 were working as baggage boys, 3 were trying to finish elementary, 1 high school and 1 is going straight in college. He knew those absent were a little embarrassed that they stopped going to school. Neon was optimistic he too will go to college. After dinner all five again expressed their covenant to meet every vacation in their favorite seashore  then bade each goodbye.  Neon took the examinations in a university then passed, and by God's blessings, received a full academic scholarship with monthly cash allowance and book supplies. His family was very thankful and was always very supportive for his decisions.

Neon's third year college was the most challenging for him.  His most beloved father who was his encourager and example, died due to cancer.  He was in such agony for months in fact his grades all went down at that semester. With the help of a Bible teacher and many prayers, Neon was able to recover and moved on.  He graduated as a cum laude from the university majored in BS biology.  His academic scholarship continued even for his post graduate study in proper medicine.  Every year he sees to it that he can go by the seashore expecting to be with the original 13 nevertheless there was never a time that all were present.  Last year's reunion, there was the usual checking of whereabouts; 8 are married (some not legally) with children and no stable jobs, 2 were in high school as work students, 1 stopped going to school but no work, 1 finished now a teacher and Neon is in the medical school at present as a junior student.  He is very optimistic he will graduate by 2012 the Lord willing and be a good village doctor to build his clinic after passing the doctor's board examinations.  He wants to be a good surgeon or Internal Medicine someday in the future.

It started with a dream by a young boy Neon and who knows it grew from God.  Build your dreams, be an encourager!

Monday, November 15, 2010


In this remote island of Pulong, lies the Radio Station DWDR. People here are far from the city's hustle and bustling of the modern computer technology. They are simply contented listening to current news, trivial happenings around the world, news in their surroundings and various interesting issues. During the day, different personalities run the programs. At night, the station manager, Mr. Pons, as he is customarily called by people, handles the schedules.

At one time, Mr. Pons showed at the door of preacher Matt's house. Being an uninvited guest, Mr. Pons appeared very nicely, he introduced himself and spoke gently in which the preacher welcomed him without hesitations. The radio station manager explained that the main purpose of his coming was to invite the preacher to join the roll of radio broadcasters over DWDR. He said, he can preach and teach during three evenings for one and a half hours every week. Mr. Pons also cited the advantage of its frequency over the other radio stations because the area of coverage is much larger and can be heard all over the region. This made the preacher's eyes lit of an excitement! What a blessing indeed! He told Mr. Pons that he will pray and ask God to supply the need before he starts his radio program. The station manager quickly replied that God has already answered even before he prayed because his heart was touched to offer him the lowest monthly airtime fee and in addition, he will shoulder half of the amount if he will commit to join right away. He praised the preacher's honesty and his prayerful attitude. Flattered by the recognition and the deal, the preacher could not refuse but signed the contract the station manager brought along. They exchanged more pleasant ideas then Mr. Pons bade goodbye assuring preacher Matt of a slot at DWDR for three times weekly in the evening. However, before he got out of the house, Mr. Pons commented that there are still other preachers who were not able to pay him their monthly obligations. This made preacher Matt quite uneasy but he brushed aside this comment from his mind. He was very optimistic he can pay his time slot.

Excitedly, preacher Matt did not waste any precious time. He did research, write and rewrite his messages for his radio preaching. He called friends, texted others and told everyone he knew, to listen to his program. A day before his maiden broadcast, he brought the payment money to the station manager, equivalent for three-months run, 1 month deposit and 2-months advanced. He thanked him for the favor of 50% discount which he promised to partner with. "Don't mention", was the manager's usual reply. Tuesday night came, and preacher Matt spoke his well-prepared message with an equally well-prepared punch lines and powerful illustrations, desiring to keep his listeners awake. He was quite satisfied with his first broadcast. When it ended, he waited for responses but not one called to congratulate him. Disappointed though, he headed home but was the most startled to learn that even his family was not able to hear his first broadcast. Preacher Matt blamed himself and thought, perhaps the technician assigned to assist him did not push the right button and he failed to check either. He then continued to busy himself and prepare the more for the next scheduled broadcast. Friday evening was his second night, and before the main topic, he spent half the airtime greeting his listeners. Pastor Matt knew many people are excited to hear him speak on the air and they've been praying hard lately. He preached about the power of encouragement and advise his listeners to express some good words to the people who have one way or the other brought positive influences in their lives. After the preaching he again waited for some calls but this time his mobile phone would not ring. The inbox was filled with messages and fear started to grip his mood. Everyone was asking what time is his radio schedule or what station they were about to tune in? Perplexed, he went straight to the office of the station manager.

Preacher Matt shared about the problem that is baffling his broadcast why he could not be heard contrary to what he believed the whole region would be reached. Mr Pons, in his most surprised expression told him, "haven't I told you preacher that I am still waiting for the others to settle their financial obligations then we can pay for the electric bills so that our station's power can be reinstalled back? I needed to instruct you when to start and did not know you were reporting already. Please wait till I give the go signal and I promise, it will be soon." Preacher Matt, did not finish the station manager's explanation. He was so mad, unknowingly turned his back and went running home. He was still outrageous when he started to call and talk. According to preacher Matt, he felt all of his blood rushed up to his cheeks. When he became calm, he started to understand that he was stupidly and out wittingly deceived however he can now allow his mind to work. He understood that this situation made him realize that success does not depend upon the completion of that radio sharing opportunity. Circumstances reveal that it is not even advantageous to his ministry. There are still other radio stations that he can honestly work with. He might have been deceived once, he must be thankful he is not the deceiver. Shame on the deceitful person! However if he will allow to be fooled again by the same man, shame on him too. Preacher Matt must never vent his anger on anybody because that would give him an unhealthy self, unhealthy relationship and unhealthy mentality. He must address the issue objectively with the person concerned in a clam spirit. He must also realize that Mr. Pons, must be somewhere enjoying under the blue sky unaffected especially if he believes he is only performing his job to keep the radio station going. If it will not be settled the way preacher Matt expects it to be, he can then charge it to his own unique experience and then move on. Experience, whether good or bad is the best school of learning for our life. You see, our attitudes will always determine our success or failure. Every person needs to understand that there is always the right solution to any problem no matter how humbling this may be. When we learn to apply this principle in our own selves, our character is refined and we become better persons.

(Again, the names of the characters, the place and radio station name were changed to protect the dignity of the real ones). Hope you will get something from my blog. Choose your company!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I woke up very early today and when I opened my front door Ogram was there waiting. I can tell on her bearing that things are not well with her. She could not contain her trembling hands and kept biting her nails. I reached out and touched her shoulders then she finally said, "aunt, my school's closed". Her voice was cracling as if the whole world crumbled upon her. I waited until her composure returned and when she sensed that I was interested to listen she continued her story. She and her classmates went to their school to enroll but instead they were told by the president that there is no more school.

Ogram is a beautiful and very determined young lady. She is 20 year old fourth year college taking up Early Childhood Education. She managed to study while working, motivated by her excitement that one day she can teach children and serve our beloved country and family. The news came as a mighty surprise and struck horror to her whole being. Tears kept rolling her face and I shared in her moments of grief. Deep inside I was praying and God reminded me of Victor Hugo's motto: "Open a school and closed the mind of ignorance". 

I comforted Ogram and cited several reasons why perhaps their school reached that decision to close:

  • Bankruptcy- is an internal cause we will never know;
  • Poverty of our country that it is very nil to augment a support to struggling private institutions and perhaps; 
  • Irresponsibility of school leaders which is a reality in this troubled sin-sick world.
Ogram finally heard the message and she understood that people and circumstances are never to be the cause of our failure and quitting. Our reaction or response is the attitude that would determine our future destiny. She stood, brushed the tears away and her usual smile returned.
Before breakfast we were able to chart her next moves- pray, take her school documents and honorable dismissal then transfer to another school. There is always a solution to every problem. This we always need to bear in mind. At the end of the school year, Ogram is hopeful that she will be in the graduation roll, optimistic for a brighter future!!! Hurray Ogram, thousands of kids are waiting for you to open their minds from ignorance unto wisdom. 

(Ogram is just a made up name to hide the true identity of this young lady and the school).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Droopy Shoulders; Smiling Eyes

What is a roller coaster experience?  It is an emotional struggle of  mixed feelings- the good and bad interwoven like an endless chain, up and down..up and down the trail. A roller coaster is an equipment with a system of locomotion that can very well hit soft and rough terrains.

So is everyone of us!  Are you happy yesterday and sad today?  You were praising then a little later swearing?  Some have self-control, some are panicky, others are paralyzed in fear, immobile wanting to work but very unproductive sad to say.  Still others end up biting their nails, twisting fingers, counting the stars, letting time go by in that estate of terrible nervous breakdown.  

Just becoming real disorganized-heading nowhere? The night life habit has turned him into a glutton, filled with wine and addictions.  Then ugly imaginations started creeping in the brain. Such void is filled with fancy laughter and loud sounds.  Life is unbearable you say then some secret crimes made you more uneasy.

  • Maybe from a little tactless comment and you tend to be very sensitive on that issue.
  • It could be a big dream you were armed to conquer the world only to find out reality was far. To dream was  easy but opportunities were bleak. This stripped you of self confidence and poise.
  • It might be lose of self-esteem that you believed when your brain sent out negative thoughts.
  • Still one of the many is when your expectations crumbled, leaving your emotions crashed and shambled.
  • Somehow probably you have been severely abused mentally, emotionally, physically or perhaps sexually, abandoned and left hurt?  These causes can go on and on and on and yet no matter how hard your life situation is, you will not be helped if you blame who. 
  • Do you desire to conquer yourself and overcome this marred self-image?
  • Would you strengthen your "frame of reference"?-which is your mind inside your brain. Don't ever think you 
    are alone! Everyone has his own share of Adam's terrible downfall.
  • Are you aware that in this world, everyone has his own share of the problems but it is the ATTITUDE that 
  • Your beliefs in life are your Driving FORCE. Know that all problems/difficulties/obstacles have solutions. Problems will end! sometimes instantly before you knew it's gone, sometimes it will undergo a quite long process or it may take a lifetime in order to develop some desirable characters in one's life. Patience, a quiet and still spirit are some characters which are priceless.
  • Have you entered this in your memory that life can be rough but God has already supplied the solutions? DON'T SOAK IN DESPAIR! We don't came from a bang, that's the laziest your mind can pursue.  Most of the solutions are not easy to apply by our human carnal mind, but in trusting daily comes the victory.
Emotions are blessings as appreciator. Go ahead, you can express your emotions tempered with character then it will shine in the midst of darkness.  However, always have that mind with you because in it are the issues of life. Get your mind right>always think objectively and not succumb to emotional myopia.

All that God has expected of man is to BE DECISIVE! If you have chosen the wrong path and companions, you surely will go astray. If you have chosen the right way, success is your partner because that is her strait path.


If you will choose God through Jesus Christ, you will end up in Heaven  If you reject Him in unbelief, you will end up in Hell. Get right with God. Take His mind, train on it and keep on..