The writer, Josefa "Patching" R. D. A. Puentevella, is a member of Bukas Loob sa Diyos Covenant Community and Peace Fellowship in Bacolod City. She is the Managing Director of JosMon Management Co. which manages Bacolod and Cebu Rolling Hills Memorial Chapels, Rolling Hills Memorial Park, Jesusa Heights and Sunshine Valley Subdivisions in Bacolod City.

The articles in this webpage are taken from a collection of articles published in the Freeman Sunday Magazine (Cebu) as contributed by the author under the section on matters of "Touching Faith." If you would like to make comments, have questions or give your feedback, please feel free to send your e-mail.
 

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Title
Excerpts
GOD IS WAITING FOR OUR CALL
“Tita, why don’t you come with us to Manila so we can all be with Pinky when she undergoes her breast cancer operation tomorrow?  Can you imagine us young people gathered together waiting for a major operation to finish?  What if any major decisions have to be made during operation?” .....
DON MOEN
“Mom, why are you doing all this? Why go through all this trouble and work for people you don’t even know? What can you get out of this anyway? .....
MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH OUR FAMILIES WE CAN DUPLICATE
Memories are the greatest legacy to leave  our children.  We want to live out pleasant memories and duplicate them.  “What made me happy will  make my children happy”......
FOREVER FRIENDS
It was graduation time for this High School Class and one could see the parents of the graduates beaming with smiles in their faces as they watched their sons march to receive their diplomas and pin medals of achievements on their sons.  What is special about this? ......
MOTHERS -  THE GUIDING LIGHTS AND WARRIORS FOR RIGHTS 
“We have nothing to give you but a good education.  We want you to cover whatever holes you see in the walls of this house with your diplomas and certificates.”  These were the words spoken by a mother to her 10 children as they grew up.... 
THE LORD USED HER FRIENDS
“I have no more friends.  I thought I was helping them by giving them advice at times when they were feeling  low but it turns out those who  I thought  considered me a friend are talking against me." ....... 
BLESSED ARE THE ORDINARY PEOPLE
They call her Sister Emma.   She was an ordinary woman in her late 30’s who hardly finished Grade 4 and  lived in one of the depressed  areas in the city.  I first met her after the first visit of Fr. Corrie Legaspi to Bacolod  some 10 years ago....
 
 
 

GOD IS WAITING FOR OUR CALL

By:  Patching R.D.A. Puentevella
 “Tita, why don’t you come with us to Manila so we can all be with Pinky when she undergoes her breast cancer operation tomorrow?  Can you imagine us young people gathered together waiting for a major operation to finish?  What if any major decisions have to be made during operation?”  This remark from one of my nieces shook me up and somehow made me decide to join my nieces on their trip to Manila. I was finishing a seminar I was conducting when I mentioned  my plan to my cousins who were surprised of my decision, “Why do you have to go?”

 Something deep inside moved me to share with them my reason.  Pinky’s mother was my ob-gynecologist for all my children, When I was due to deliver my babies I would call her at 1:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m. or midnight and I would find her in the hospital before I get there.  Everytime she would stay with me until my babies came.  My doctor, Pinky’s mother, was a breast cancer patient herself, perhaps the longest cancer patient known in the city who lived with her cancer for over 20 years and took care of other dying relatives and friends, young and old and outlived them before she was finally called to her final rest.  Now that my doctor is gone, couldn’t I give her only child my moral support in her time of need?

 I had no regrets about my decision as I personally witnessed my other nieces in their 30’s giving Pinky all the love, care and moral support  they could give.  They stood by her at all times for the week praying with her, serving her, entertaining, assuring and encouraging her and attending to all her needs.  Other relatives came to spend time with her.  I couldn’t  help but shed some tears as I watched the children of my late brother  and my late sister taking care of a cousin who was orphaned of a parent like them.

 God had prepared  all of us for something like this.  We belong to different Prayer Communities – Bukas-Loob sa Diyos Covenant Community and Lingkod ng Panginoon.  My late brother’s daughters would recalled how it was when their mother a heart cancer patient herself suffered and how difficult it was for them to take care of her.  They did not know what to do then.  After their mother’s death, when their dad suffered from cirrhosis of the liver they had joined BLD and learned how to pray over and with the patient.  Members of the family also belonging to the community came together  to pray and were there pray and sing Praise songs for the patient until his last breath.

 We prepared Pinky well for her operation.  She went to confession and one of the elders in community helped her to reconcile with her father as we all prayed for healing of relationship for them outside the room.

 After her operation she shared with us how she gathered enough strength from all our prayers.  She trusted that the Lord would heal her.  Her recovery and healing was fast.  She still has to undergo chemotherapy but we can see her determination and fighting spirit.  I could feel the inner strength within her.

 She would stay in the office till 9:00 every evening and sometimes  even forget  to go to mass on Sundays because of pressures at work.  She comes from a broken home and would have wanted to take up  medicine like her mother but had to stop after Pre-Med as her mother was feeling the effects of cancer and had to live in pain killers.  Her mother used to be one of the best doctors in her field but in her later years  her drug dependency affected her practice.  Pinky knew she had to succeed on her own.  It took her years before she got to be where she is now.  We her relatives wish her mom could see her now.  She never got to be a doctor like her mom but she is trusted by her boss and loved and respected by her associates.

 In thanksgiving to the Lord for all the good things He has done for her she gathers together her staff once a week in her office for Bible Sharing.  On Christmas I received a card from Pinky.  In it she wrote “I didn’t realize I have cousins and relatives who love me so much.  Truly I am blessed!”

 Sometimes in our life we may feel alone or being abandoned by God.  God our Father is waiting for us to call on Him as Jesus called on Him in Calvary.  God answers our needs and helps us through people He sends us.  He cannot help us if we don’t ask Him.  Why not call on Him now?

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DON MOEN

By Patching R.D.A. Puentevella

 
 “Mom, why are you doing all this?   Why go through all this trouble and work for people you don’t even know?  What can you get out of this anyway?  After all, you are no longer the Executive Producer of  this concert.”  This is the constant reminder of my children to me as they see me slowly getting involved with preparations for Don Moen’s Concert in Bacolod.  I would reply, “ I may not be the producer this time but I am a member of Ladies of Charity and  our main Project  which is St. Vincent’s Home for the Elderly and the Orphans happen to be  the beneficiary of this concert so I will help in any way I can to make the  concert a success.   Don Moen is a good friend.  I’m doing this for Don and for St. Vincent’s.”  Sr. Marcelina who is responsible for having the various homes of the Daughters of Charity as beneficiaries of all the concerts corrected me,  “No, you are doing all this for God”,  and she is right.

 Three years ago, my husband and I were blessed to have been given a chance to produce Don   Moen’s concerts in Bacolod and in Cebu.  We knew very little about Don  then.  We were already singing some of his praise songs such as “God Will Make a Way”, “Give Thanks”, “I am the God That Healeth Thee”  among others that we sing at the Prayer Meetings.  His concert was offered to some of our friends in community who referred it to us knowing  that my husband’s Musical Variety Show on RPN TV8 had  been running for about 20 years by then.  This was our first exposure to an International Gospel  singer.   When God wants you to do something for Him He sends you people who will help you to get it done.  With the help of our brothers and sisters in the Bukas-Loob sa Diyos Covenant Community and Peace Fellowship, we prayed for discernment on whether to accept the  offer or not and how we should go about it.  He sent us people who would help us with production as well as marketing.  Bacolod was easy to organize since we knew people who could help us but we were then new in Cebu and had a limited circle of friends.  Don Moen was a gospel singer.  This led us to approach brothers and sisters in BLD to help us.  We invited individual members in community to be in our committees.   Don  needed a 30-member choir to back him up.  We organized members of the Praise and Music Ministry of BLD, BCBP and Couples for Christ to be trained by a common trainor who trained  the Music  Ministry of these  Prayer Communities in Bacolod.  Members of the Praise and Singles Praise Ministries of BLD Cebu were just too happy to be part of Don’s Concert.   I believe it was only by the grace of God  that we were chosen as Executive Producers of the concerts.

 As Executive Producers of a religious concert we had to take so many  things into consideration.  Profit was not our main concern then but more of evangelization through songs and be able to share proceeds to the various Prayer Communities and individuals who helped us and to our beneficiaries -  YLAC and the Task Force for Street Children of Cebu and Bacolod Boys Home and St. Vincent’s Home for the Elderly and Orphans in Bacolod.

 All throughout the preparations we could feel the movings of the Spirit.  When you work for the Lord, the evil one will do everything to test you.   Obstacles came our way.   Some Christian  communities  in Bacolod talked of boycotting the concerts.  A few days before the concert we received several phone calls asking whether it would indeed push through as news spread that the concerts would be cancelled.  On the day of Don’s arrival it was raining very hard at 5:00 in the morning  and people feared that the plane from Cebu might not be able to land at the airport.   Thirty minutes before the plane’s arrival the skies cleared and the plane landed safely.  The Bible says “If God is with you, who can be against you?”   At the concert, Don himself said “God’s word is more powerful than any situation or cancer”.  People who were not supposed to be there  as they were part of those who were asked  to boycott the concert were the first to arrive even before the start of the seminars in the morning and came with their families to the concerts.  We should not have worried as to who would come.   “It was God who called them to come”.   God made a way where there seemed to be no way.  Many of those who came   on the first day found themselves back on the second day.

 Cebu was not spared  from  oppressions.  The day before the concerts the news  was that there was a super typhoon coming towards the direction of Cebu.  This was followed by headlines in the daily newspaper the next  day that read “Don Takes Cebu by Storm” as the sky cleared on the day of the concerts.  The choir was scheduled to rehearse with Don the day before the concert.  They had to postpone the rehearsals due to brownout just as they were starting their rehearsals.  They had to wait until the day of the concert to rehearse again.  The trainor was asked to lead the prayers before  the rehearsals which  everyone including Don found  to be very spirit-filled.  “When you work for the Lord, the Lord will take care of all your needs”.   At the end of  the concerts Don revealed that the Cebu choir was the best for him!

 God’s ways are not our ways.  He has plans for us that we sometimes  cannot understand.  Looking back, the experience of working with Don  Moen in 1996 was indeed a most fulfilling and rewarding one  - a blessing  to all of us who were in the Production Staff.  I cannot imagine how He sent to us just the right people to help us.  For us producers this being a religious concert, we knew this was no ordinary concert.  We believe that singing is twice praying.   Don was  sent to evangelize all of us through his songs.   To me, each song had a personal message.    I can never thank enough the good people who helped us make the concert a success – the choir in Cebu who not only sacrificed their  time and talent but even paid for their own uniforms and offered their services for free, the committee heads and their members, the sponsors and donors.  What matters most is that each  one did her best for the glory of God.  He knows who these people are.

 After the 1996 experience, we were hoping to have a chance to be a part of Don Moen’s concert again this year, but God had other plans for us.    Being the optimist that I am, I took this as God’s way of making me experience how it is to be a Mary after always being a Martha practically all of my life.  It felt good to be with Don and Laura Moen, Leanne Albrecht and Jeff Hamlin again in Cebu.  Since I was not involved  in the production, I experienced a different high.  With our limited experience there was no way we could have handled the Philippine Concert Tour which included Iloilo, Davao and Manila.  Nevertheless, there is this inner voice in me that keeps telling me to “try to help out in any way I can to make Don’s Bacolod Concert a success”.  At one point I drafted a letter to Don and requested my son to send an E-mail to Don, “Mommy, I won’t send your letter.  You sound like a sour grape”.    He sent my e-mail after all, for Don responded.

 I am glad I was there for Don’s two concerts in Cebu.  We received mixed feedbacks about the concerts.  Some people asked what a Gospel singer was doing holding a concert in a hotel casino.  Leanne Albrecht and Jeff Hamlin had this to say,  “If Don was to sing only to those who are already renewed or spiritual, nothing much would be gained.  It is those who are still away from the Lord or those who have not yet found the Lord as their personal Lord and Savior that he is to reach out to”.  Indeed as I sat at the back for the first time at Don’s concert at Waterfront having always been seated in the front row in the past, and as I listened to Don’s words led by the Spirit “Some of you may be wondering what you are doing here and what I am doing here tonight.  God is here!  He is good all the time.  In the roadways and the wilderness He’ll lead you.  If any of you has cancer, ahlseimer’s disease or are suffering financial crisis, God’s words are more powerful than cancer or any disease.  God will make a way where there seems to be no way.”  Those of you who were there must have experienced God’s presence in a personal way that only you know.  If the Lord touched you in any way, He would want you to share your experience with others and not keep it to yourself.  Yours is to proclaim the good works that God has done to you.

 At the Cebu Coliseum, the spirit of the Lord moved in other ways.  Members of the band who were in the Philippines for the first time were all excited as they shared with us  “Did you see how the people joined Don as he sang the first line and knew the words of all the songs he sang word for word?  It is unbelievable!”  The spirit was indeed moving in the coliseum.

 I have attended at least seven of Don Moen’s concerts since 1996 and he never sang the same repertoire twice.  He sings as he is led by the Spirit and this is what makes him different from an ordinary singer.  People experience healing taking place whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual healing.  As you have asked the Lord to be healed so must He have answered you.  It was the Lord who healed you there.

 As I write this, I have this to say to my four sons  “There is so much I have to thank the good Lord for.  I am not sorry that I am not an active part of Don Moen’s concert this time.  I have seen in the past concerts how God used Don to touch the lives of people in his concerts.  In my own simple and little ways I shall continue to bring people to his concerts.  My faith experience as I sang in praise and worship to the Lord with Don is so personal and fulfilling that I wish everyone can have the same experience I have of God’s presence  every time I attend his concert.

 For those who were not able to attend the concert this time let me share with you what some people have shared about being healed of their illness just by listening to Don’s praise tapes such as “I Am The God That Healeth Thee” and having their problems solved listening to “God Will Make A Way”  and “God Is Good”  over and over again at night before they go to sleep, when they awake in the middle of the night and early in the morning as they prepare to start a new day.  This is another form of prayer that you can apply at home at your own time.

 There will be other gospel singers to come but for me Don Moen is Don Moen and God is with his songs.  Knowing him and working with him will always be a blessing for me.

NOTE:   If there is anyone among the readers, your relatives or friends who have
               experienced healing or any miracle during or after the concert or listening to
   Don Moen’s praise tapes, please write to me so I can relay your experience to Don.
   A good friend was kind enough to suggest that I welcome any of my readers to
   give me some feedback, reaction or suggestions on any of my articles.  Have I
   through any of my articles touched you in any way?  My E-mail number is
   [email protected]  or you can Fax me at Telefax No. (032) 3462601 (Cebu)
   or (034) 4330978 (Bacolod).
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MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH OUR FAMILIES WE CAN DUPLICATE

By:  Patching R.D.A. Puentevella
 
 Memories are the greatest legacy to leave  our children.  We want to live out pleasant memories and duplicate them.  “What made me happy will  make my children happy”.  Memorable moments are often those in which there is a sense of closeness.  Memorable moments don’t always just  happen – we can make them happen.  Events in which we parents are present to our children will be memorable to them.  “When we love something, it is a value to us, and when something is of value to us we spend time with it… so it is when we have children; we spend time admiring them  and caring for them.  We give them our time.”  Scott Peck  The Road Less Traveled.

 As a child, I recall seeing my father attend a closed retreat every year before Holy Week for men while my mother would attend a retreat for women.    We children would be there to welcome them after the retreat.  So it is that as an adult now that we have our own business, we always schedule a day of recollection with our employees during Lent and Advent.  We have all been working hard during the year and it is good to spend a day with the Lord and reflect where we are now.
Together with my parents, we children would join the procession in Holy Thursday and Good Friday every year.  We would not be allowed to laugh or make jokes but were supposed to feel sad because Jesus our Lord suffered and died for us.  We would sit in the sala and watch “The Ten Commandments” on any other religious films showed on television.  We would not  turn the radio on except to listen to “The Seven Last Words”.  Nothing much was said about Easter.  The focus seemed to be on Good Friday while we looked forward to Easter so we can have  fun again.

 When I became a mother  I found myself doing many of the things my parents did to me.  My husband and I would bring our four sons to join the  procession in Holy Thursday and Good Friday.  But before they were old enough to join in the procession  in their early childhood I would bring them to the side of the procession to watch and explain what each “Caro” represented and gave them a chance to ask questions.  It was easy to bring  the kids along to join the procession when they were younger but more difficult as they grew older and became  more and more conscious of what their friends would say seeing  them in the procession.  It does not seem to  be the “in” thing for them to do now.

 We still go to Holy Week services now that the children have grown up.  Visita Iglesia is something we look forward doing as a family.  We visit different churches.  If we go out of town we visit different churches in different municipalities.  Via Crucis at the memorial park at 5:00 in the morning of Good Friday is a  good time to reflect on God’s Passion and Death.  It is a great joy to see other families getting up early  on Good Friday to join the Via Crucis.  We still listen to the Seven Last Words either in Radio or watch it on television but we cannot deny the distractions that other programs on televisions are not at all related to Holy Week celebration it gives to the children.

 Easter Vigil mass is an experience we don’t want to miss as we see Jesus giving light to the world and  us bringing this light  to our lives.  This is what Easter is all about.

 My prayer for Easter is that somehow  my children will treasure the memorable times we spend together as  a family especially during this season of Lent and Holy Week and that they value this enough to continue the  good things we have shared together as a family when  they have their own families.   These are times  when families are being tested.  Memories of valued time spent together with the family by the grace of God will help us keep our focus on our priorities.

 Each family has its own memorable experiences of Holy Week and Easter.  Recall some of these experiences and see what you can duplicate or even improve on.  Let us ask God what we can make this season memorable and more meaningful to our own family.  He knows what is best for us.

 Blessed Easter to you all!
 

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FOREVER FRIENDS

By:  Patching R.D.A. Puentevella
 
 It was graduation time for this High School Class and one could see the parents of the graduates beaming with smiles in their faces as they watched their sons march to receive their diplomas and pin medals of achievements on their sons.  What is special about this
 three fathers is seeing their sons graduate together where two decades ago the three of them also graduated together from the same school.  Fathers have been the best of friends and are blessed that  their  three sons are also the best of friends.

 Mon, Manuel and Rafael met in school when they enrolled in Grade 1 way back in 1952.  They became the best of friends and grew up together till high school.  They had a combo and practices took up a lot of their free time when they were  not in school.  They were likewise active in school.   In  Senior Year, Mon became Student Council President, Manuel graduated class valedictorian with Rafael as class  salutatorian.  Three of them went to college in Manila but only Manuel stayed to finish his college there.  Rafael chose to go back to the province as he could not adjust to life in Manila while Mon had to go home after his father’s death to help support his family.

 Soon after graduation in Manila,  Manuel was hired by a big company.  Because of his outstanding performance  they lost no time in sending him  for graduate studies at the Asian Institute of  Management.  He was holding one of the top positions in the company when he was called home if he would be willing to help put the family business in place.  He was earning a  fortune in Manila then and could have chosen to stay there  but his priority was to be with his own family as the children were growing fast.  He likewise saw the chance to get away from the temptations in Manila that could destroy his own family.  He may not earn as much as he did in Manila but he could be with his children when they needed him.  Soon after he got back to the province he was offered a job as Vice-President of a company whose President was another classmate.

 In a few years he was able to build up the company.  This being a family-owned business, in one Board Meeting he was forced to resign from the company where conflict between Professional Manager and a family member heightened.    A few days after he was offered another job as Regional Manager of an insurance company but was invited back by his previous employer this time as President and Chief Executive Officer with full authority.

 Rafael sat in the Board of a milling company in the  Province until he was invited by a classmate to be his running mate in the coming election.  They won the elections and he succeeded his classmate for the next three terms.  They were no traditional politicians.  Rafael was said to be the only politician who personally visited the hinterlands in the province where people never knew what a politician looks like and what he could do.  In the last election, he ran as independent candidate and won by a landslide.  As independent candidate he did not have to campaign much.  People saw him deliver the basic needs and made sure their votes were counted in the polling place.

 Mon was a scholar from elementary through college.  Upon his return home, he worked during the day and continued schooling in the evening until he finished college.  His prize in a national singing contest was his honeymoon trip to Japan.  His singing voice brought him employment in a bank.  He later had to help in family business and  run some farms before he was able to set up their own family businesses and now helps in one of the government agencies.  After serving the world  as International President of a civic club he would like to serve his own country now.

 Years after graduation, these three friends would still meet together and help each other.  Rafael knows he could always count on Mon and Manuel to help him in his various projects.  Manuel is a consultant and Director of some of Mon’s companies.   These three friends will be friends forever.

 The 3 sons – Anthony, Charles and Alejandro will soon be going to college in Manila.  Mon’s son Anthony graduated high school as Student  Council President like his dad; Charles and Alejandro as honor students  like their dads.  They had been in Boy Scouts, Volleyball Varsity Team, and International Camps together.  In college they will be taking up different  courses but in the same school and will be staying as roommates in the same dorm.

 “Manila life is so different from the province.  They will get homesick but will have each other.  Let them try the hardship of life in Manila where they were used to easy life in the province.  The dorm life will teach them many things and help them appreciate what they have back home.  They can experience better camaraderie and help each other in their studies.” The parents belong to different Prayer Communities where they learned to trust that “the one who began a good work in them will bring to completion.”  (Philippians 1:6).  Confident that they have given their children a strong and solid foundation in faith, they believe it is time for them to let the children go so they will learn to survive in a totally different world from what they were used to.  Let God  take care of them.

True friends are hard to find.  If you are  blessed with one, treasure him.  One special friend who will never let you down is our Lord Jesus Christ.  Why not make Him your Best Friend?
 

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MOTHERS -  THE GUIDING LIGHTS AND WARRIORS FOR RIGHTS

By:  Patching R.D.A. Puentevella
 “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him”.  Proverbs 13:24.
 
 “We have nothing to give you but good education.  We want you to cover whatever holes you see in the walls of this house with your diplomas and certificates.”  These were the words spoken by a mother to her 10 children as they grew up.    Trinidad was a school teacher married to a school principal in a small town of Antipolo, Pontevedra.  I attended their Golden Wedding Anniversary in their parish church in Antipolo in 1990.   It was touching to see each of the 10 children offering a symbol of their highest educational attainment at the Offertory Procession.  A visit to their original house shows the 4 walls covered from top to bottom with diplomas and certificates of awards and recognitions from school to their present positions.  At the reception held in the school grounds, everyone who attended admitted shedding tears throughout the occasion.

 Trinidad Gonzales, 81, was one of the 10 Outstanding Mothers of Negros Occidental awarded during the Centennial Celebration of the  Province in 1990.   The awards gave recognition to 10 Outstanding Mothers in the Province who have dedicated their lives  in raising  children to become achievers in different fields of endeavor.  They are the mothers who against all odds were the driving force and inspiration that pushed their children to  become worthy members of their community.  They serve the community in which they lived proving that poverty is not a hindrance to success.  They are the mothers who are worthy to be emulated, whose strength and determination are reflected in the lives of the children they have raised.

 Apex Negros Ladies Circle in cooperation with JRR  Dizon Foundation and Rolling Hills Memorial Park felt that this  project  will focus public attention for the outstanding mothers, as well as  give due recognition to their role as models of the Filipino mothers.   We believe, this is the time to honor mothers “for being guiding lights, calming sights, and warriors for right.”

 I have been Project Chairman of this Awards since 1990.  We have the Search for Outstanding Mothers every 2 years.  Nomination forms are sent to Municipal Mayors through the Governor’s Office, School Principals through DECS, Parish Councils, Civic Clubs and Barangays.  The qualified nominees are visited by the special committee who interview  the nominee, her children and the neighbors.  An interview form is given to the judges  for final screening.

 Among the awardees through the years, a big majority are  public school teachers, school principals, housewives, vendors.   The  awardees come from humble beginnings.  They all raised their children themselves.   Widows who had to raise their children alone early in life had advantage over the others.

 To mention a few awardees –
Concepcion was a school teacher married to a farmer with 10 children.  The children share how they used to climb fruit trees in their backyard when they came home for lunch just so they can have something to eat.  They are now professionals and businessmen.

 Eugene was a seamstress sewing school uniforms married to the school janitor later promoted  to security guard with 4  children.  The children were all  scholars  and are now working in  various companies as accountant, engineer and supervisor.

 Amparo, mother of 12 was a  beautician  who  would make  sure her children took their studies seriously and were always well-groomed.  When her husband was laid off from his work at the sugar mill she went around doing home service  around the mill compound to support the family.  She had to go and see the School Principal at times when she would not pay tuition fees on time and sign Promisory Notes which she paid as promised on due date.

 Virginia, a mother of 6 children was a housewife until her husband, a family driver died at 35 and she had to support her children selling homemade food or “remedio heneral”, selling anything  she could buy and sell.

 The son of a nominee who did not make it to the list of awardees  shares  what he told his mother “ You may not be  an awardee to the judges  but to us your children we know you are an outstanding mother whom we are all proud of.”
 Some of the Awardees were later to receive National Awards as Gintong Ina.
 At the Awarding Ceremony  Processional, the awardees march in escorted by their spouse or one of their sons.  As the awardee’s name is called to receive a trophy and cash award, something is  said of her children.  Children present are presented to the public  from their seats.   Some family members came from abroad to attend the awarding ceremony.  One family of 64 had a family reunion after attending  the  awarding ceremony.  It is indeed heart warming to witness this ceremony.   Some children come to thank the  organizers with tears in their eyes  “We really appreciate the recognition  you have given our mother who left no stone unturned to make us  what we are now.”   We see lawyers, government officials, accountants, engineers, show business people, businessmen, entrepreneurs in  formal wear or in jeans come from near and far to see their mother receive her award.  It doesn’t matter where they came from the overwhelming  response of their families and communities or barangays  show that people do look up to these outstanding mothers.

 In the course of the interview of the awardees,  each of them give thanks and glory to God for giving  them the courage and the wisdom that inspired them in their determination to make  their children succeed  and achieve what they themselves  never  achieved.

 It is hard to understand  but as we visit the homes of the  awardees some of them still prefer to live in their simple houses.  “My children have their own lives to live and we are happy for them.  This is where I raised them up and this is where I would rather be.”

 I’m happy that though my mother has never been an awardee for the simple reason that we are one of the sponsors, she has been nominated three times only to be disqualified.  She is the kind of mother I wish I could be and hope to be to  my children.

 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

THE LORD USED HER FRIENDS

By Patching R.D.A. Puentevella
 
 “I have no more friends.  I thought I was helping them by giving them advice at times when they were feeling  low but it turns out those who  I thought  considered me a friend are talking against me.  They want to put me down in front of other people.  From now on, I have decided not to  rely on my friends but rather learn to do things by myself and mind my own business.”  These were the opening remarks of  a young  woman to me  the first time I met her.  Her eyes were downcast and she was emphatic about her words.  I could feel the anger and hurt in her voice.  I traveled a long way to meet with her but she failed to come the first time.  I was not sure if she  would come this time and interceded for her days before  this  meeting.  I did not  have to say much after her opening remarks.  All I  asked was “ How are you this morning? I’m so happy to meet you”.   She started talking for the next two hours or so.

 She told me she did not come the first time because she was afraid she might just get hurt again.  However, after the first meeting her friends who she did not want to have anything to do with after what happened to them started calling her again asking her to make sure she would come to the next meeting.    She found herself promising that she would come.

 She went on to explain to me about her childhood.  She came from a family based in Manila where money was the first priority.  All her life since childhood she cannot recall any time when their family would go out together either on weekends or for a short vacation.  As children they were made to help out in the store after school and even on weekends.  “I cannot recall any happy childhood experience  at all.”  She got married young and settled in the province to  start a new life.  She and her husband started their own small business.  She never realized then that she was doing to her own children exactly the same things she did not like  her parents doing to her as a child.  “I hardly say a word to my children.  I’m still in bed when they leave for school and by the time I get back from the store I feel so tired the most I can do is ask  them “How was school?”  If they reply “fine”, that was it.

 “I am an angry person.  When I got up in the morning I shout at my maids and my kids.  At the store I shout at my salesgirls.  I’m lucky my husband is so good and understanding.  He loves me very much and he is my only real friend.  I have other friends but I cannot understand why I try to help them only to find out that they are talking against me.  Yet they keep calling me up to come to this meeting today.”

 I asked her why she came.  “My friends say I have to come.  I don’t know why but I got up early this morning to go to mass and here I am.”

 “It was the Lord and His Holy Spirit who used your friends to make you come.  He has been waiting for you to come to Him.  Now that you are here, you will see that He is one friend you can rely on who will never put you down.   This morning  He called you here  because He has a special plan for you that only He knows.”

 After this first meeting, in my heart I know that he Lord had  torn down all the blocks and barriers she had built around her all these years.  After two hours of unburdening the story of her life, she left the place with full smiles.  She certainly was not the same person I met  earlier that morning.  This young woman joined the Life in the Spirit Seminar  and at the end of the seminar she was hugging and kissing all her friends.  I was to learn that her mother got seriously ill in Manila and she  stayed to pray over her mother and minister to her sharing her new found  love for the Lord with the rest of her family.  She  later called to tell me she is happier now and her relationship with her family and employees have improved.

 Mathew 5:16   “Your light must shine before others, that they  may see your good deeds and glorify  your Heavenly Father.”

 Let us look around us and make ourselves available for  the Lord to use us at any given time.  He may send us a friend, a stranger, a family member or just anyone who may need someone who can give  her just a listening ear or some words of encouragement.  Look again, that someone  may be just beside you.
 

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BLESSED ARE THE ORDINARY PEOPLE

By Patching R.D.A. Puentevella
 
 “Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the priests and elders were amazed.”  Acts 4:13

 They call her Sister Emma.   She was an ordinary woman in her late 30’s who hardly finished Grade 4 and  lived in one of the depressed  areas in the city.  I first met her after the first visit of Fr. Corrie Legaspi to Bacolod  some 10 years ago.  Upon arriving in the city he asked those who met him if they heard of a woman named Emma.  In his prayer time the Lord told him to look for her and use her to help him in his healing ministry there.  Those who knew her were surprised why she was called.  Life was no longer the same for Sr. Emma since then.
 
 Sister Emma is active in the charismastic community and in her parish.  She works full time in the service of the Lord.  People come from near and far, rich and poor to be prayed over by her.  Sometimes if the patients  are too poor  she not only prays over them but shares food with them.  She even offers her house to those who have nowhere to stay for the night.  Each time God provides for her and even multiplies their food.

 In her desire to be of help to those in need God has always been with her.  She relates how someone sent her a boat ticket to Manila where she was to be met at the pier.  When she got to Manila she waited to be picked up but as it got darker she decided to take a taxi and gave the address to the taxi driver.  They passed dark alleys and were met  by drunkards and drug addicts along the way but she just prayed in tongues and trusted that the Lord would bring her to her destination, which He did and found the patient waiting for her.  On another occasion she was met by a drunkard with a bolo in his hand on her way home.  She just prayed and lifted up her Bible for him to see and was left unharmed.  Once she went to a Prayer Meeting that lasted for hours forgetting to leave food for the family until it was late in the evening.  On her way home she followed a woman carrying a basket overflowing with fish that the fish started falling to the grounds for her to pick up and bring home to her family for dinner.

 Another servant of the Lord, Victor is a fish vendor with 10 children.  His daughter relates what life was like with him in the past.  He would come home drank every night and would hit any of his children if he asked them to do anything they wouldn’t do.  He was invited to a Bible Study and life turned around and was never the same again.  He still is a fish vendor but he gives regular Bible Study to prisoners in the Provincial Jail, in some private homes and even  offices.  As he goes around buying and selling dried fish, he evangelizes people he meets along the way.  Sometimes it takes him longer to share God’s word but one buyer would come to buy everything he had for sale for the day.  At the end  of our Weekly Fellowship Meeting, he always had some experience or blessing to share with us.   “I am not a good speaker.  I can hardly read or write, yet professionals, businessmen and rich people ask me to share God’s word with them in Bible Study and I am neither ashamed nor afraid.  I know it is not me who speaks to them but God in me.”  He attends seminars with  one of his children who help him take down notes or answer discussions.  His Ilonggo Bible is worn out but has become a part of him.

 There are many more Sister Emmas and Victors around us.  God has a special place for the simple and uneducated ordinary people.  They live by faith where the educated tend to rationalize what they see.  There may be times in our lives when we wish we could be simple and ordinary and appreciate  things for what they are.  Let us pray for a humble  heart.

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