And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28
I've been intending to update this blog in time for the New Year but a million and one other things came in between. Too many good things just happened in 2006 and it's a shame to let them pass without giving credit where credit is due -- to Him, the Creator of everything, my Eternal Father, the Source of all good things.
Last year was probably the worst year for our family, yet it was also the best. Let me share with you the highlights:
* Rick Warren Live in Manila, The Purpose Driven Congress - Just when I was wondering if I was on the right track, I received a call asking me to help out organize the visit of Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren. Rick has a ministry in the Philippines and wants to reach out to at least 20,000 leaders who might be able to influence this nation for God's glory. Thank God for Pastor Dong Cucio who gave me that unexpected but welcome call.
* New home, we're back in Sikatuna Village -- In 2005, we moved to Don Antonio Heights after finding what we thought was the most ideal place for home-office set-up. We gave up the condo unit we rented in Ortigas Center and the apartment in Sikatuna to move in to a bigger place in a residential village. We loved the place, 550 sqm, with a nice garden, a patio ideal for al fresco breakfast or dinner and big space for the kids to run around. But our quite life got spoiled only a year later when we were victimized by akyat-bahay gang not once but thrice. The last straw came when the robber tried to get in the house by destroying the kitchen screen and picking on the locks. Thank God for waking up my nephew Carlo just in time before the robber got in. Immediately that morning we looked for a house. Providentially, we found one just three gates away from our girls' school. So by end of July, exactly a year after we moved in to Don Antonio, we moved out and went back to Sikatuna. By God's favor, our landlady discounted our rent by 15%. What more, our new home has more amenities and is much bigger in floor area. Praise God!
* Denis Waitley and Tribute to Teachers. Another great motivator, world-renowned author Denis Waitley's word keeps on ringing in my mind: "Plant the seed of greatness!" I won't forget the story he told of the nurse who patiently took care of a little girl everybody thought was hopeless. Years later, the little girl became well enough to be a teacher. She returned the kindness shown to her by taking care of another seemingly hopeless girl. The seed of greatness planted by the unnamed nurse in the life of Anne Sullivan made a big impact on Hellen Keller, the great visually-impaired activist. Thanks to Ardy & Tingting Roberto and Carol Roa of Salt & Light Ventures for the great learning experience.
* New "baby" and a miscarriage of sorts -- In September last year, I wrote an entry about "losing a baby." It's proverbial, of course. It's actually a project I consider as one of my precious babies as a public relations consultant. But while I felt sad, I knew God had other plans for me and I knew His plans are always the best. Prior to the "miscarriage," God gave me a new baby -- a consultancy work with Unicef's HIV/AIDS Programme. Looking back, it was again divine providence. I've learned so much in my short stint with Unicef, and the best part of it, I enjoyed every day of it.
* Our healing journey -- I call it as healing journey even though up to now, Ben and Star are not yet completely well. We are still waiting for the results of Star's medical tests at Queen Mary Hospital in Hongkong, while Ben's latest xray results showed he still has some fluid in his lungs. But we believe God will completely heal both of them. It's just a matter of time. As I mentioned in my posts about Star, doctors suspect she has a rare blood disorder called Von Willebrand Disease. This kind of disorder is hereditary and it is said that hereditary illnesses are generational curses. We are believing that this curse will stop with Star and that she will be miraculously healed of this even though doctors say this is a lifetime disease. On the other hand, Ben's vulnerability to lung infection could because of his being premature. When he was born, his lungs had not yet fully developed. He always has pneumonia. But we are believing, like Star's, Ben's ailment will soon be gone, completely healed. Surely, nothing is too difficult for God.
* Another "baby" -- The Room Upstairs, that is, owned by talented couple Ari and Pinky Peralta. Thanks to good friends Ammi Armas and Benjie, Pinky's brother, who recommended me.
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Romans 8:28 had never been so real for me. We faced the greatest trial ever, yet through it, we felt much, much closer to God. I lost something, yet I gained more.
Never before had we experienced God as our Jehovah Jireh (God our Provider) as dramatic as we did in 2006. He provided us not only with the finances we needed, but also friends who walked with us and prayed for us, with strength to go on trusting even though the horizon didn't seem clear, and most of all, with precious lessons we would have otherwise not learned if everything was well.
Truly, God is good all the time!