A True Shepherd

This is an attempt to write an article for my spiritual father, Ptr Dick Carumba. I was thinking on how I will greet him for his birthday and I thought writing down my three favorite memories with him will be a nice way to remember this very special day.

It was the morning of Christmas, my birthday, and I was planning to have my “me time”. Ptr. Dick called and said to come to church because we will be preparing some grocery bags for the brethren. I quickly prepared and went to the church. We went to the grocery, packed and off we went to the community. We distributed the grocery bags to the families, who were very surprised for the blessing. On our way home, Ptr. Dick told me to always remember to think of the brethren’s needs. “How can you enjoy eating your noche Buena if there are people who have nothing to eat for dinner?”

That day I was changed. I was only thinking of my birthday and Christmas, and yet the Lord opened my eyes to this reality, through Ptr Dick. He is a true shepherd. He thought me real love for the flock.

Another memory was in Camotes Island in Cebu. Ate Amber and I asked Ptr Dick if we can have some talk time with him. I was actually praying to have this time to submit something. Ptr Dick is very generous with his time. I think he has more than 24 hours in a day. He never rush, especially when you are sharing your heart and life. Anyway, back to Camotes. That night, I submitted to Ptr Dick that I was praying for this brother but I was afraid because it may mean that I will leave the church (then I cried…thanks Ptr Dick for being patient with all my drama 😊 ).

I did not expect his reply. “Jam, our fullness of joy is Jesus, not the church, not the leaders or the members. Our joy is to be with Jesus, to follow Him where He wants us to go.” That night, I received the faith to follow my call for missions. I also learned that true shepherds will never hold their members in the church, but will always guide the flock to seek their calling in the Lord, whether in the church or in another place.

 

Next memory is not mine, but still somehow connected to me. A brother also had a “talk time” with Ptr Dick and also submitted something. According to the brother, he fasted and prayed before this talk, he knew it will be the most difficult talk. And he was right. They talked until 1 am, before he got Ptr. Dick’s approval for him to propose to the sister. It was really like entering a needle’s eye.  That brother, is my husband, Ptr. Fegie. Haha. (Thank you Itay for giving your YES!) We are really grateful for his guidance and love all throughout the season of waiting, engagement, wedding and until our marriage life. We really felt his fathering to us, he makes sure that we will hit our call. I think, all my sisters in the Lord will agree that we are so thankful to have our husbands go through this “talk” with Itay. 😊

I have more stories in my bag, it has been a decade of adventures, battles, seasons and victories with Pastor. 😊

This is Ptr. Dick, a man of God, visionary, a heart like David, a true shepherd. The message of Zion and the cross is written all over his life. What a blessing to have him as a spiritual father. My husband and I  can only pray that we can also do whatever he has thought us and has shown us through his example.

I don’t know how to end this, it’s hard to encompass the grand picture of Ptr Dick’s life and ministry. So let me just say these:

Thank you Itay for giving your life to the Lord, I have a life that was changed. I and my family is forever grateful.

We really miss you Itay. But it is our joy to continue working with you in advancing the Kingdom of God, preparing His bride and bringing the people to maturity, all by God’s grace.

Happy Birthday po Ptr Dick! We love you!

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Turning Of The Pages

I can’t believe that this blog more than 10 years.  And I can’t believe how the Lord has answered a lot of my prayers, cries and surrendered desires shared here, specifically on marriage and missions. Almost 10 years of preparation, with so many altar calls, prayers and death to self-will of which you can read from my previous posts. All I can say is, Lord, thank You for not answering all my prayers (which turned out to be just kadramahan), and THANK YOU for patiently waiting for me to be ready for Your perfect will.

And now, that I am now married, a mother and is now living her dream of being in the mission field, I am thinking of reviving my blog, to at least have an outlet to share my experiences, on what it is and how it is to be sent out. What do you think? 😀

Anyway, just to keep my tradition of posting at least once a year (haha!), let me share to you some of my 2017 highlights.

April 22, 2017 – I became a mother. My son was born through Caesarean section. Conceiving and birthing are just two miracles that still gives me that awe and wonder of God’s power.

August 24, 2017 – My last day in Emerson, after nine years. Heart crushed, yet rejoicing. There is a sacrifice to pay when we choose to obey and follow God’s will.

August 27, 2017 – Sent out. Hills of Zion gave the blessing to our family as we go to Cebu. So many many many tears and prayers.

August 28, 2017 – My husband’s 30th birthday and our first day in Cebu. Indeed, God’s plan is precise and always in perfect timing. We have entered our promise Land! (Now, it’s time to conquer it!)

September 3, 2017 – My husband was presented in the church as the new associate pastor. Thank you Lord for the opportunity to serve you. Lord give us grace to be faithful.

September 11, 2017 – Day one in my new work. An entirely different industry, but I trust that God will see me through, by His grace. 🙂

December 25, 3017 – First Christmas in Cebu.

A lot of emotions and memories are filling up my heart as I write down the high lights of my year. It’s difficult to be separated from the people I love and treasure, but it is more difficult not to be in center of God’s will. And so as we walk on the next days, months and years, we rely on God’s grace to keep us steady in pressing on towards the goal in winning Christ in our lives.

God has turned our pages and we are now ready for new stories and adventures as we faithfully heed our call and do what pleases Him.

May the foundations of Zion be firmly established, may His church be prepared to be a spotless bride and may His people be ready and prepared for His coming.

Psalms 45:10-12

Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear [to my instruction]:
Forget your people and your father’s house;
Then the King will desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, bow down and honor Him.

More grace to surrender. Good bye 2017 and hello 2018!:)

 

 

Almost One Year

Yes. Almost one year of silence in my blog. It’s actually becoming an annual reflection page for me, since I only remember to blog usually at the end of the year. But well, I was bitten again by the blog bug, so I guess I’m back (again). Nawawala, bumabalik…heto na naman. Hehe.

So let me begin by saying, a lot has happened ten days after my last blog post.

The Lord has turned my mourning into dancing. That verse has come to life, the word indeed became flesh.

A few weeks after the death of my father, I received the surprise of my life during the eve of my birthday, a marriage proposal!

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Imagine attending a Christmas dinner with a single status (for 33 years!) and going home engaged.

Of course the proposal did not come from nowhere. The Lord has already speaking to me as early as 2014 about a new season coming, specifically, marriage. But I was not in a relationship, and there were no guys courting me. How Lord?

Around July 2014, I started noticing this young pastor from Cebu. My best friend actually “suggested” him on one of our mission trips. The fondness grew every weekend as I see him in church. I started praying for him without a clue if he’s noticing me in return. And long story short, the Lord also spoke to him about me, started praying for me, gained all the strength and grace to went straight to proposal. 🙂

We were engaged on December 24, 2015 and just after 3.5 months. We got married!

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This picture concludes all the years of holding on to True Love Waits, Passion and Purity, When God Writes Your Love Story and many other books, seminars, counsellings, discipleship and talks about waiting on the Lord’s perfect will.

And that is my first kiss, ever.

One year. So many twists, turns and changes. It felt like you waited in the line for so long, and when it was your turn, you can’t help but shout your heart out for that one exciting roller coaster ride!

It was all handwritten by the Author and Finisher of my faith. He is faithful. He’s promises are indeed, Yes and Amen!

 

 

 

Death Of My Father

It’s been two weeks since Tatay passed away.

Every day I feel a little stronger, because I choose to live with the dent in my heart that he left. I miss him so much. I especially miss his presence at home. I feel incomplete whenever I go home because nobody is sitting on the right most portion of the couch. The TV is not turned ON. And no one is checking if my shoes or sandals are already in before midnight.

I thought that moment when he stopped breathing at the hospital was the hardest part. It was the time when I actually felt the strongest emotion of mourning. I cried, I wept, I wept so hard I had to scream and shout or my heart will literally burst. But no, the day of the interment was even harder. I didn’t want to go out of the room, I felt powerless to move. If only I can slow down the time for it was the last day I will see him. Oh, the excruciating pain of acceptance and letting go was so deep. But God’s grace was even deeper to hold me steady. I cannot explain the feeling when we had to walk him from the chapel to the crematorium. It was the superlative of the most painful emotion I had felt for years.

And God was there to comfort. He said in His beatitude that “blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted”. Indeed His comfort has come when we started worshipping Him. When the worship song started to play, it was as if I was stripped off of all the concerns and just laid bare my heart unto the Lord. Again, I cried and I wept. With all my heart I cried to the Lord, but this time I have a different reason. Through my brokenness, God gave me the grace to offer a sacrifice of praise, to declare His praise and glory in my time of mourning. His presence filled the place and comforted us, as we viewed Tatay for the last time.

Again, I thought that the following day will be easier. But I was wrong again. My sister woke me up for breakfast. When I went down to the dining area, I found her crying. She missed Tatay. Then my nanay started to cry also. Our home will never be the same again. Each day, I have to learn to embrace the new normal.

I am not sure how long I will miss him. It’s like a forever dent in my heart. I’m happy because I am sure he is in heaven, but how I wish we have him longer, to feel his love and care, to hear his humor and just the security that we have by his mere presence. It’s been a blessing to have a father at home, he’s been a pillar of strength for all of us.

Nanay told me a few days ago that the Lord answered her about why He didn’t allow that they reach 50 years. The Lord said that those celebration are of the world, what they have is a complete marriage for they have attained the perfection of their relationship. They have fulfilled their vows and have proven their love for each other, in sickness and in health, till death did they part.

I don’t know how to end this post, just as I don’t know how to stop missing my father.

Life goes on. His purposes continues. And I must choose to move forward. Lord, more of your grace to carry me through this.

Vision

 Vision. Since the start of the year, the Lord has never stopped teaching me about this topic. A goal. An aim. Vision is something that will consume my heart with passion, something that will drive me to finish strong. It doesn’t just start a spark but it sustains the fire in the heart. It motivates the visionary to endure hardships and trials, trainings and failures in order to realize the vision.

 

Vision also gives direction. It is not just a bubble thought or part of a day dream. It gives specific direction. It serves as a compass to point our ‘NORTH’.

 

Flashbacks

I woke up early today for Ezra’s recognition day. He received eleven awards! Wow, I was really amazed on what the Lord has worked on his life. And what He will and can do in the coming years. God is just wonderful. 

After the program, the family went to the mall and had lunch at Yakimix. Well, i was not on turbo mode since I have limited my food choices for fasting. I must say, His grace was sufficient for controlling my appetite. God is serious in my fast. 

This partial fast has been helpful to hear from the Lord. And have my heart open on what the Spirit is saying. 

Yesterday, God brought me back to 2008. I accidentally opened  an email, which was my journal assignment to Tita Oss. 

It refreshed my memory of the beautiful times and moments I had when I was starting in the journey to Zion. The passion, the hunger, the intensity were just overflowing in the stories. 

Then today, God brought me to a 2008  blog, “The Beauty Of Waiting“. I wrote there my experience on waiting for God’s open door for a new work. 

Honestly, I can’t believe I was able to write down the experience very clearly. How I received a word at the beginning of the year, encountered open doors, waited and waited some more, until God paved the way for His chosen door, at the end of the year, I got to the company where I am still today.  This encouraged me on what I am going through and waiting these days.

This word. I received. It’s not leaving me, thus I will wait on the Lord. 

He will be faithful to fulfill what He has promised. Yes, even that first covenant He gave 10 years ago. I know He is able to do it, and even surpass all the possibilities I have ever imagined.

2008 was historical. Let’s see if it will be the same for 2015. 

What’s My Message? 

So I’m back to my dusty old blog site. I realize that I still want to keep this quiet space, amidst all the other social apps (that I have currently deleted and/or inactivated).

I still like writing and sharing my thoughts and stories through blog. It’s vintage and classy. 🙂 

So in other news, it’s been a week now since I went hiatus on Facebook. I felt the need to somehow regulate the information that I am taking in and also, the messages I am sending out. 

There’s just too many information in social media that I don’t need, spiritually speaking. If I would use Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” as my filter, then I would probably have less than 10 news on my feeds.

On the other hand, I am also checking myself, on what message I am sending to the brethren,whenever I post. Does it pass Philippians 4:8? Do I have the right motive? Is God glorified? 

My discipler once told me that a powerful message is not in eloquence of words or speech, but it is the life of the person that declares the message. 

How we live, move and have our being are powerful messages that people read from us. 

In social media, every like, every share, every comment is a brush stroke in my personal canvass, my life’s message. 

Thus, I need to step back and ponder. 

What message do I want to convey? 

(And the answer to that question, will probably on the next post.)  🙂