Tag Archives: Faith Journey

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.

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From therapy to ministry: The wonders of blogging

Almost two years ago, I started my first blog, courtesy of a  pastor friend, Jonan Castillon.  He encouraged me to blog as part of my healing process. I was at the peak of leadership and  service  when attacked by chronic heart ailment, compounded by unusual nerve disorder. Such condition had constrained my active life of service. Most of my time was spent at home due to limited mobility, making me vulnerable to discouragement and depression.

Pastor Jonan’s  successful journey in on line niche was contagious that despite my skepticism, I  entertained the idea. However, I did not know how to start. Thus, despite his hectic schedule, Pastor Jonan took time to tutor me hands on blogging. Thereafter, I  experienced the gradual process of growth comparable to my healing process.

PadayonDubbed PADAYON: Our Life Journey, my first journal blog was an attempt  to inspire readers to continue the commitment in service, no matter what. PADAYON is an Ilonggo term which means continue. In deeper sense, it connotes moving/going on (or never give up) despite adversaries or adversities.

Social WorkMy friend’s advice worked. I found  joy in blogging. My interest in writing was revived. Rather than fretting over my limited mobility, I made use of my time in blogging. I poured out my thoughts and emotion into the blog and found relief.  Hence, I opened another blog to ventilate my suppressed commitment to the service of the people towards development. Its first name was  Networking-for-holistic-development. Later,  I changed the name to Development concepts, issues and concerns to broaden its coverage. Recently, however, it was renamed  Social Work and Development to give it a focus.

The inspiration continued. Hence, I created a sharing blog, Faith Journey,  serving  as forum for life and faith experiences of people who have survived the test of times and circumstances. Likewise, a venue for sharing and learning from one another  so that others would also find inspiration in their faith journey.

Faith Journey

Learning and enjoying the blogging world, I decided to maximize the beauty of web linkages and networking. Hence, another blog to provide an opportunity for others to share their resources. Dubbed Resource Sharing for Development, this blog is an attempt to widen my services to humanity through linkages and networking of developmental and service-oriented blogs and bloggers.

LarizaWith four blogs to maintain, my mind had been busy. Slowly, my focus was diverted. Instead of spending most of my time observing my seemingly deteriorating condition, I was obliged to give time to my blogs. My vulnerability to depression caused by the delay in healing process started to diminish. There was a paradigm shift in my mind and heart. The delay of complete healing became an opportunity to evaluate my life and faith. I have more time for self and family. More time to read the bible, pray, meditate, reflect, put faith into action in almost all aspects of life. All the wonderful things previously deprived of me due to very hectic schedule prior to ailment.

By  creating  a family blog i.e. Lariza. Website,  I tried to consolidate all my other blogs to continue my service and ministry. Hopefully,  to give  inspiration and restoration of self-confidence for those who are devastated by harsh realities of life in various forms.

NETS

But my blogging exodus did not end there. Before the resumption of my hectic schedule, I succeeded to create three more blogs.

Both are official web sites of the organizations my ICONwife and I helped put up. NETSnews  for   an independent inter-denominational  seminary based in Escalante City, Negros Occidental.   ICON Network, official website of the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs- a network of non-government Catalyzerorganizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) in Iloilo. And CPU Catalyzer, publication of the Department of Social Work, Central Philippine University.

The development in blogging and subsequent inspiration to me has been reflective in my health condition. While I have not mastered yet all the blogging technology, I feel contented to see the progress. Likewise, although I have not fully recovered  as far as my health condition is concerned, I appreciate any progress big or small.

Padayon KatipanHowever, my hectic schedule, especially when I resumed my work,  constrained me to update all my blogs. It’s good that  Christmas break has given me time to visit my blogs, review and evaluate them. Subsequently, I have decided to give each blog a  focus or niche and transfer respective posts to where they belong.  More so, that the alarming trend in our religious organizations has inspired me to create another blog that will focus on the Convention Baptist Ministers Association and Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.  PADAYON KATIPAN  serves as reminder to  keep up the covenant, to continue the good things we have started, especially for the development of our pastors.

Henceforth, blogging will  be a ministry.

The miracle of blogging

Few days after my first post on the newly created blog Lariza. Website last week, I received this inspiring comment from my blog mentor, Pastor Jonan Castillon. “So, this is the mother-of-all blogs by Edwin Lariza. You have come a long way since meeting and joining you in one of your morning walks prior to February 18. I commend you for achieving a PR 1 (Google Page Rank) on your Padayon: Our Life Journey in such a short period. Keep on blogging…”

Indeed, it does not seem so long, when he encouraged me to blog as part of my healing process. His successful journey in on line niche was contagious that despite my skepticism, I politely entertained the idea. However, I found it difficult to start. Despite his hectic schedule, Pastor Jonan took time to tutor me hands on blogging. Thereafter, I have experienced the gradual process of growth comparable to my healing process.

My first blog PADAYON: Our Life Journey serves as journal of my experiences to inspire readers to continue the commitment in service, no matter what. PADAYON is an Ilonggo term which means continue. In deeper sense, it connotes moving/going on (or never give up) despite adversaries or adversities. After a month or so, I realized his advice was making sense. My interest in writing was revived. Rather than fretting on my limited mobility, I made use of my time in blogging. I poured out my thoughts and emotion in the blog and found relief.

With such inspiration, I opened another blog to ventilate my suppressed commitment to the service of the people towards development. My health condition has become oppressive considering that I was at the peak of service and leadership when the devastating illness forced me to rest. It was difficult for me to adjust, having been very active for the past decade. The overflowing energy for serve has now found expression thru Networking-for-holistic-development. This blog focuses on networking for social development.

With two blogs to maintain, my mind has been busy. Slowly, my focus has been divided now. Instead of spending most of my time watching my seemingly deteriorating condition, I am now obliged to give time to my blogs. My vulnerability to depression caused by the delay in healing process starts to diminish. There is a paradigm shift in my mind and heart. The delay of complete healing is now taken as an opportunity to evaluate my life and faith. I have more time for self and family. More time to read the bible, pray, meditate, reflect, put faith into action in almost all aspects of life. All the beautiful things which had deprived to him due to very hectic schedule prior to ailment.

With such realization, I created another blog to focus on these experiences. Faith Journey serves as forum for life and faith experiences of people who have survived the test of times and circumstances. This is a venue for us to learn from one another and share so that others will also find inspiration in their faith journey.

Learning and enjoying the blogging world, I have decided to maximize the beauty of web linkages and networking. Hence, another blog to provide an opportunity for others to share their resources. Dubbed Resource Sharing for Development, this blog is an attempt to widen my services to humanity through linkages and networking of developmental and service-oriented blogs and bloggers. It covers areas represented by the acronym SERVES: Social work, Education, Resource sharing, Volunteerism, and Spirituality.

However, the inspiration does not end there. Overwhelmed by the progress in ranking of blogs in both Alexa and Technorati, I decided to provide a convergence of all my blogs. This is the reason I created this latest blog Lariza. Website which has received inspiring comment from my blog mentor. Much to my amazement, in a matter of less than a month, my Alexa rank has a dramatic improvement. From about 30, 000, 000, it ranks over 2,000,000 as of this writing. It has even overtaken my older blogs.

Alexa is a quick and easy way to estimate how popular your site is compared to other sites. Ratings start from 1 to 20,000,000 and even beyond. The lower the number, the better your Alexa rating is. Technorati, on the other hand, is a directory and ranking-tool for blogs. Ranking on Technorati is advantageous to blog in terms of big boost in traffic and general credibility In this ranking system, the higher the number, on a scale of 1-1000, the better. Technorati also provides a ranking of sites by authority, overall and within categories. In this system, #1 is the highest.

The development in blogging and subsequent inspiration to me has been reflective in my health condition. While I have not mastered yet all the blogging technology, I feel contented to see the progress. Likewise, although I have not fully recovered as far as my health condition is concerned, I appreciate any progress big or small. Indeed, the miracle of blogging.