Category Archives: God’s faithfulness

Out of the abundance of the heart…

I have been tempted to blog on the kindness and generosity of people towards me in times like these. But I kept on resisting it, for some time, mainly because they don’t want publicity. Secondly, I don’t want to be misconstrued as encouraging others to give. But the latest overwhelming spontaneous and unexpected support from these kind-hearted people touched me so deeply that I succumbed to temptation.

One of my weaknesses is being poor in asking favour from others. Considerably, I am good in fund raising for a cause or for others as proven by successful fund raising projects undertaken by the organizations I have led or involved in. Not only because of our academic training as social workers to link the needs and resources to serve others. I have also attended various resource mobilization seminars, one of which was sponsored by Ventures for Fund Raising. Admittedly, I miserably failed in applying this for my self and my family. The most that I can do is look for loan or sign promissory note, when applicable.

Fund raising

I cannot forget the comment of a topnotch lawyer when I texted him after receiving the cheque of a requested loan in 2011. By circumstance, I was forced to approach him, overcoming my pride, thru text for some expensive laboratories: “That’s not a loan. Consider it a small token of appreciation for your support to Nanay and myself when I had nothing…. I have always wanted to help you, Nong. But I was also very careful knowing you. I did not also want to hurt your pride. But it’s good that you opened up to me. It liberates us both.”

Yes, I have difficulty in asking favour so much so that in my recent hospitalization much of the financial assistance coming from PCSO and Congressman’s Office thru the DSWD which helped settle my bills were done by the initiatives of my masteral students and co teacher. Had it not been for them, my wife and I could have sought for additional loans from respective employment and elsewhere. Few days after my confinement, I was surprised to receive a call from my co teacher informing me that she was also hospitalized with an instruction that a masteral student would facilitate the requirements for she has requested assistance from a congressman for both of us. Indeed, the assistance came after some days. They supplemented  our resources augmented by the contribution of our respective siblings.

Talha

In not a few instances during confinement , either my wife or I received cash from colleagues in the academe and ministry who paid a visit. Few days after my discharge, a pastor friend paid me a visit at home. After a hearty conversation, he gave me a P500 bill telling me it’s all that he could share at that moment because of other necessities too. The amount appeared to multiply when I learned from him that he decided to forego a privileged trip abroad for spiritual enrichment as he felt uncomfortable to enjoy while others suffer including me. He then decided to use the funds he raised as counterpart for other purposes that would benefit others also. I was touched by his gesture, although I did not expect him to give because his companionship, moral and spiritual support during my sickness and prior to that, in many instances, are more than enough.

Blessings continued to flow when my brother paid me a visit at home coming from Bacolod City. He brought with him some envelopes containing cash gifts from a high school classmate and some town mates. Days later, some masteral students also came with fruits and some amount, followed by our retired maninay who still teach part time in the University.

inspiring words

When I resumed my work in the Department, cash gifts have been minimal as I return to the mainstream. But gifts continue to come in various form. The touching messages thru social media from former students, friends, colleagues and superiors including esteemed national figure in Social Work lift up my spirit. The gestures of students to express their concerns have been inspiring, as well. Some shared with me printed materials on health and healing, detoxification and use of natural healing process, herbs, fruits and vegetables coming from respective churches . Friends both here and abroad sent me related web links and stories of cancer survivors. Others came to my office after class asking me if they could pray for me. Some masteral students and colleagues gave me food supplement believed to be good for my particular illness. In another instance, my wife brought from Negros fresh honey given by a pastor in mountain churches.

round table

Most of the gifts were in kinds until last January 8 when I attended a consultation at the national office of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches that I was given a cheque and cash as gifts. Few days after, I received a text from a high school classmate informing me he was at home but intended to proceed to the office to see me before his trip to our hometown in Negros. When we met at the office, he gave me grapes and some amount. When I opened my FB account on same day I got a private message from former Social Work student who is now successful in her career, asking for my bank account so that she can send an amount with an inspiring message.

Then on Friday afternoon, a pastor friend came to our house with a white box and started counting the amount as love gift from the faculty of the Department of Religion and Ethics. I was elated. Yesterday morning when I opened my FB account, I got a private message from a US based pastor friend asking me to whom he would address the amount he intends to send thru West Union. In his follow up message, he promised to reveal the name of the giver* once I get hold of the amount.

I have been so overwhelmed with these goodness shown that I succumbed to the temptation of publishing a post on human kindness as expression of my thanks to all who shared their resources, love, concern and prayers. I look at this outpouring of support both in its immediate material benefit and beyond. For me, it’s another indication that I would still survive. An answered prayer for God’s provision and support from the community of faith.

Out of the abundance of the heart, my mouth, my mind, my blog speak. To thank all those who, out of the abundance of the heart, generously give. Thank you very much for your kindness. You know who you are. Your prayers, encouraging words, gifts, be it in cash or kinds- all  contribute to my inspiring journey towards healing. I pray that God bless you more.

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Note: Gifts continue to come in after this article was published which necessitates a sequel to this post. My US Based pastor friend revealed the *unexpected giver as we do not know each personally. She only knew me and my condition from a pastor friend. Although I know  about her principled stance, humility and magnanimity thru Positvely Centralians FB Group. A fine lady who loves to help/give in secret.

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An inspiring journey

It’s already one month since my discharge from the hospital due to intense abdominal pain. I was supposed to undergo gallbladder surgery based on the ultra sound result. Since there was a cyst in the tail end of pancreas, my doctor recommended CT scan in order  to be included  in the operation should there be a mass. However, result of the CT scan revealed no gallstones, only sludge and the mass measuring 5 x 4 cm is found in the pancreatic head not tail with nodules and cysts in liver and intestine.

sickOther findings were atherosclerotic aorta, prostatomegaly and hypertrophic degenerative osteoarthritis, lumbar spine. The doctor tried to make us understand these medical terms with the advise for exploratory laparotomy – a diagnostic surgery also to determine if the mass is malignant and the recommendation for subsequent chemotherapy. After discussing pros and cons and the possible costs, I decided to go home to rest for awhile as I already feel drained in all aspects after 5 day stay in hospital. Had it not been for social worker friends and masteral students who volunteered to facilitate with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the City Congressman’s office for some assistance, my family would have incurred again debt for my hospitalization and laboratories. Gifts from colleagues in the academe, pastors, social work masteral students,classmate in high school and townmates plus contribution from my siblings and my wife’s family have also helped us in cashing out for the bills.Some well meaning friends and colleagues continue to send gifts which we appreciate.

family

Yes, finances affected my decision. After weighing all things including the worst i.e. my case is terminal and days are already numbered. I have said to myself, if ever I die, I would no longer burden my family for the debts to be incurred for the chemotherapy. Our experience in 2009, when I was seriously ill forcing us to loan from various sources, is more than enough. I cannot bear the thought of my family especially the children to suffer deprivation again because of me. Relatively, my wife and I have already lived our lives. But our kids are just starting to live their own lives. And they have their struggles, too. I consoled myself with the thought that in 1975-1976 during my first critical condition, I bargained to God for only one year to live so that I could serve him well since I was still in the seminary and too young to die. Indeed, upon recovery right after graduation I worked full time in a church, giving my all, thinking for only one year. And God has extended it for over 30 years already.

Of course, like any other human being, I wish to live longer because I have many unfinished tasks yet. I still want to see my children finished their respective courses and establish their family. I want to put in place the distance education program of the department before my retirement. And to publish the dream book– consolidation of our life’s experiences in life highlighting God’s faithfulness, mercy and grace in transforming my life into a productive one. How God has helped me survived more than 3 serious illnesses , accidents and threats to my life and security especially when I joined the people’s struggle during the dark years of dictatorial rule in the Philippines. And probably write other inspirational books and references that can be used in the academe and ministry.

Untitled

Thus my one month journey is a mixture of ambivalence greatly affected by my health condition. When I feel good my spirit is high, contented with my decision. But when the abdominal pain/inconvenience recurs, I am tempted to reconsider my decision. More so, when I read the Discharge Summary  indicating in the Final Diagnosis: Advanced intraabdominal malignancy; Etiology undetermined. I tried to search the web on pancreatic disease, cyst, or cancer and alternative medicines and their consequences. I started using some of those herbs/vegetables that are familiar to me like the turmeric, ginger, lemon grass, babana. Until a friend, whom I helped formulated the vision-mission-goals of his Dreamers Valley some years, invited me in one thanksgiving of the success of his ministry.

dreameRS.

The place has been wonderfully developed,  according to the brochure I made for him. It can accommodate now 300 participants for seminar using organic products for food. He let me try his fermented 3 C composed of carrots, cucumber and celery which are believed to kill cancer cells. These are my natural resources in faith journey, taken daily with faith and prayers that they come from God and the power of God works through them, at times trying imagery as culled from the testimony of some survivors. Of course, with the hundreds prayer partners who signified their commitment to join me in prayers for healing. Yes, throughout the month’s journey, I internalized the acrostics I used in my sermon on THANKSgiving.

Prayer

So far, my faith journey works well and has been inspiring. Except for some days of inconveniences, especially when I consumed sea foods and weeds for my viand for consecutive days, the intensity of abdominal pain did not occur. I become cautious with my food intake. Admittedly, I do not know the real happening inside my body –whether medically the situation has minimized or worsened, whether the mass is malignant or not, whether the cancer cells were eliminated or compounded. But deep within me is a peace of mind, a healthy disposition, an undying hope and faith that I will survive, a resolve that whatever happens, I will continue to internalize THANKS: Trust God, Hope that never ends, Accept realities, Never give up, Keep the faith and Shift the focus. I discipline my self to look for good things my illness or each day brings rather than entertaining pain, suffering, fear and negative thoughts. The journey goes on. Hope you will continue to be our prayer partner in this journey towards healing.