Friday, April 25, 2008

The Invisible Woman

I got this article from one of the sites that I've been subscribing to. It's an excerpt from a book by Nicole Johnson, it's for all the mothers out there especially the Stay at Home Moms it's so much an encouragement to read this especially at the low and tiring times that we have. It's a great reminder for God's purposes for us. It's quite a lenghty read but it's worth it so, read on...
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"
Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, going ...she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hardnot to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say for certain who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gavetheir whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered bythe roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."
I closed the book , feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That wouldmean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Prayerful Child

This is a delayed post... this is an event that happened last Decemeber 2007


The stage mother in me has surfaced again..heheh! So, if you're tired of moms continually babbling about their children, then you know what to expect from this entry. :) better make a slow move and hop to another blog.

Seriously, I'm just so blessed with my little girl. Here are her stories for today:

This morning, we went to the Center to send Annie, who's been a volunteer at the Center (for 5 months) to the train station. Before we left for the station, all of us ( 9 of us) gathered together to pray for Annie. My Hubby asked one of the staff to pray. And while he was praying for her, my daughter whispered in my ear, "Amma, I want to pray for Aunty Annie too." So, after our friend's prayer, I told Annie that Tricia wants to pray for her too. " Sure, Trish, thank you!" was Annie's reply. Here was Tricia's prayer. " Lord, I pray for Aunty Annie, Lord. Bless her Lord. SHe miss her Amma and Appa so much. Her home is far far away. I pray that as she rides the bus , she will be fine. In Jesus' name, Amen!" Wow, it was just so sweet of her that Annie ended up with tears in her eyes. As Tricia's mom, I'm just so blessed with her that as young as she is, she already knows how to pray publicly. I think prayer has already been ingrained in her because there are times too that I overhear her praying aloud by herself. Like the time I was at the kitchen washing dishes and she was bathing inside the toilet and I heard her pray aloud, "Lord, let me not have bad dreams anymore..."

The team with Annie (the one with the yellow bag)

Then this afternoon, I told Tricia that our activity for the day will be to sort out her toys. I asked her if it'll be okay for her to give away some of her toys to the kids in the village. She thought long and hard and said, "Okay". So, I told her that I will go through her toys and she decides what toy to give or not. While I was saying this, I was thinking, " Oh uh, maybe this is a bad idea because she might end up keeping everything I show her". But anyways, I gave it a try. I took her basketful of toys and went through her soft toys first. She has lots of soft toys mostly given as gifts to her and most of them are her favorites. So, I put out her toys (oh and bags too) one by one and asked, "Do you want to give this away?". Surprisingly, she said "yes" to many of the toys including her favorite Barney which sings everytime you press the tummy. Well, maybe she has outgrown Barney by this time. She only kept her very favorite ones like Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga and etc. She even helped me rummaged through her basket and offered to give away some of the other toys and bags. She actually gave quite a lot! One big plastic bag full of toys. Her basket is not overflowing anymore. She also asked me at one point, " Are we giving this to the T---- children, because they don't have toys?" I'm just blessed again because material things don't have much hold on her and she has a heart to give to other children. I expected that as a child, she would want to keep all her toys because in the first place it's hers, but not my little girl and it's a great blessing for her to have such generous heart.

Okay, I think it's enough babbling for now about my li'l girl, if not I could just go on and on and on until no one would want to read my blogs anymore because it's already boring. :)

I'm just blessed and I thank God for my li'l girl. He has given me the privilege to take care of such beautiful children.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Thanking God!

I thank God for the morning sun..I thank God for the sweet kids by my side.. I thank God for all the things big and small that He has given us. We are truly blessed by God. My heart can't fathom His Love for us.

Thank You Lord!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Family Time

Our family really finds the importance of spending time out. I think it has something to do with us being in a foreign country that we find it refreshing to just get away and spend quality time with each other.

Depending on time and budget, we try to creatively find a way to spend time. If we have a good budget we go in a nearby hotel near a beach and spend a night or two and just be by ourselves. If we're our budget is not so good but we badly need to to be by ourselves, we just go to a nearby park lay a mat , chit chat or play with the kids and spend the whole afternoon there.

It is truly refreshing as it is a 'break' from our routine.

I thank God for these special moments that we spend together as it is a gift from God. There are times that our li'l girl remember all these and we're so happy that it truly left an print in her heart.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Do You Want Me?

Do You Want Me by Park York

I rise early this Friday, as I do every day, to prepare coffee and mix a protein shake. The television news plays quietly in the corner. Flossie, my wife, is still asleep.

Sometime after eight, she begins floating out of slumber. I bring the shake to her bedside, put straw in her mouth, and she and she gives her cheek a little pat as she begins to drink. Slowly the liquid recedes.

I sit there holding the glass, thinking about the past eight years. At first she asked only an occasional incoherent or irrelevant question: otherwise she was normal. I tried for two years to find out what was wrong. She grew agitated, restless, defensive, as she was consistently tired and unable to hold a conversation.

At last a neurologist diagnose Alzheimers's disease. He said he wasn't sure - a firm diagnosis could come only from examining brain tissue after death. There is no known cause for this malady. And no known cure.

I enrolled Flossie in a day care center for adults. But she kept wandering off the property. We medicated her to keep her clam. Perhaps from receiving too much of one drug, she suffered a violent seizure that left her immeasurably worse, lethargic, incontinent, and unable to speak clearly or care for herself. My anguish gradually became resignation. I gave up all plans of retirement travel, recreation, visits to see grandchildren - the golden era older people dream about.

The years have passed, and my days have become a routine, demanding, lonely, seemingly without accomplishment to measure. Flossie has gradually dropped in strength and weight, from 125 pounds to 86. I take some time to work with a support group and to attend church, but the daily needs keep me feeding, bathing, diapering, changing beds, cleaning house, fixing meals, dressing and undressing her, and doing whatever else a nurse and homemaker does, morning to night.

Occasionally, a word bubbles up from the muddled processes of FLossie's diseased brain. Sometimes relevant, sometimes the name of a family member, or the name of an object. Just a single word.

On this Friday morning, after she finishes her shake., I give her some apple juice, then massage her arms, and caress her forehead and cheeks. Most of the time her eyes are closed, but today she looks up at me , and suddenly her mouth forms four words in a row.

" Do you want me?"
Perfect enunciation, softly spoken. I want to jump for joy.
"Of course I want you, Flossie!" I say, hugging and kissing her.

And so, after months of total silence, she has put together the most sincere question a human being can ask. She speaks, in a way, for people everywhere those shackled by sin, addiction, hunger, thirst, mental illness, physical pain- frightened, enervated people afraid of the answer, but desperate enough to frame the question anyway.

And, FLossie, I can answer you even more specifically. It may be difficult for you to understand what's happening. That's why I'm here, to minister God's love to you, to bring you wholeness, comfort and release. Mine are the hands God uses to do His work, just as He uses others' hands in other places. In spite of our shortcomings, we strive to make people free, well, and happy, blessing them with hope for the future while bringin protein shakes every morning.

____Looking Ahead----------

Unlike so many people today, this gentleman who so gently cared for his wife clearly understood the meaning of COMMITMENT. As her mind and body deteriorated with no hope for a cure, he willingly abandoned the hope and dreams he had worked to achieve. She needed him desperately, and he would be there for her, even though she could give nothing.

Taken from Night Light by Dr, James and Shirley Dobson


Saturday, April 12, 2008

The New Van

I'm so excited now. I'm waiting for my Husband to come with the new van!! Well it's not exactly's a second hand van. But we're rejoicing because it's another answered prayer for us and our little girl.
We've been desiring and praying for a van to be used in the work here. And to be exact, it has only been less than 7 months since we ( including our little girl) prayed about it.. Below is the post that I wrote last year about the prayer for this van. Isn't God amazing? God answers our prayers, even our children's prayers.
----------October 2 , 2007
We are fickle minded parents, that's what I realized today. :)
Just a few days ago, we saw this 15 seater commuter van and my Hubby told our 3 1/2 old daughter, to pray that God will give us a van like that. We have been really desiring..(or maybe dreaming?) to have a van for the 'work' since a lot of people and visitors come over and it's quite difficult to transport them, aside from the fact that we always cross the neighboring country bringng a lot of things.

So, back to the day when they saw the Commuter Van parked at the basement of the mall. The van was left opened, so they saw how spacious it was and it also had a TV inside. Our daughter just loved the TV and so when my hubby asked her if she like to have a van like that..she immediately said "Yes" and prayed.

Then just this evening, we went to Tesco to buy some breakfast and other stuff for our coming visitors who'll be staying for 3 days. We bought quite a lot of stuff since we have 21 visitors coming ( yes, that's why we'll really need a van!) and as a result we got more than 10 raffle coupons for a Nissan Triton Pick- up truck as the first prize! So, while my hubby was filling up the raffle coupons, he was becoming lazy and I had to urge him to go on writing because, what if we might win the 1st prize?hehehehe!!..So, that made us thinking that having a Pick-up truck ( instead of a Van) won't be so bad at all.

So, after the coupons was placed inside the box, My Hubby and our daughter made a trip again to see the Pick up truck that's to be given away as the 1st, he asked her to pray for the pick up truck...but surprisingly, our little girl, retorted, "No, I don't want that because I already prayed for a Van!"....hahahah!! See this, children can be more consistent with what they want and be so sure of their prayers...but we can be fickled minded sometimes..hehehehe!

The Miracle of Life

Backtrack 2003

We were just newly weds - a cross cultural marriage in a foreign land. So we thought we were not yet ready to have a baby. We had so many concerns in mind if we were going to have a baby, "Are we ready for the new challenge?' Are we ready financially? Are we capable to be parents?" Those were our questions but we always shrug off the thought and concluded, if it's God's will then we just have to accept it. BUt deep in our hearts, we were not that willing.
Then on the morning of Sept. 2nd, a few days before our 1st wedding anniversary, I was doing my devotions and I read, ' there is a time to die and a time to be born'...further on... ' who can form the baby's bones inside the mother's womb ?'... I got scared. I knew God was trying to tell me something. Even a few days before that..the words ' He makes everything beautiful in HIs time' was screaming from my Bible. "Are you trying to tell me something, Lord?" I asked with my heart pounding because I was already few days delayed from my period.
Then the next morning, I did a pregnancy test. True enough, I was pregnant! I was overwhelmed with emotions. I was first worried because I thought we were not ready for a baby but then I was reminded of God's word the previous days. I was already crying and was thanking God for the miracle of life inside my womb. Indeed, it was not a mistake and truly God has a plan for our lives and especially for the baby inside my womb
Fast forward 2008 (Present)
The baby that was inside my womb is now turning four years old. She's a beautiful girl, smart and is indeed a great JOY to us. We thank God for giving us this GIFT. Even at this age, she already knows how to pray and intercede in behalf of others. She already wants to tell her friends about God. We know that God has a great plan for her in His Kingdom. Indeed, God has brought her into our lives in such a perfect timing. We can truly attestthat God makes all things beautiful in His time, We thought that we were not yet ready to have a child. But in God's mind, He is ready and He's always there to enable us and He did. It is just our earnest prayer that we indeed be able to nurture her and train her in the way she should go.

The Miracle of Love

I'm not so much of a writer (so please forgive me for any grammatical errors and etc)but I just want to share with you my version of our lovestory. What motivates us to write our story is the encouragement from our friends who told us that they have been blessed as to how God has brought me and my husband together. So, we want to share this with all of you. This is to testify God's goodness in our lives and to prove that indeed God has ordained someone special for each one of us and if we just wait and seek His perfect will, He will surely reveal it to us and direct our paths.
Chapter 1

No To Foreigners

“ I will never marry a foreigner!”, I exclaimed. “ But, what if it’s God’s will for you to marry a foreigner?”, my foreigner classmate insistently asked while we were walking at the side walk to our training center with our other classmates at the back of us. “But God would never allow that to happen since He knows that I don’t like to marry foreigners," I answered so confidently with a smile on my face.

Little did I know that the same foreigner guy who asked me that question was God’s perfect match for me. Whenever I remember this scene, I always cannot help but smile and just be amazed at how God orchestrated events in our lives and even changed my heart to fit into His most wonderful plan.

I was one of the NBSB Club bonafide member. The NO Boyfriend Since Birth Club. Teenage years came until the mid twenties had passed and I never fell in love. “ Oh, why you still don’t have a boyfriend ?, seemingly millions of people would ask me. “ Because I wanted my first boyfriend to be my last ,“ I would suffice to answer. Some would say, “that’s good” but I think from the back of their minds they thought that to be too idealistic or maybe impossible. But God has preserved me and my heart for His man for me.

I could still vividly remember the prayer I prayed when I was still 14 years old. “ Lord, allow me to fall in love ONLY to the man that you have prepared for me. Preserve my heart and I allow you to only open my heart for that MAN alone and according to your perfect time.” Then years had gone by, until a decade has passed and true indeed I have never fallen in love to anyone. Friends have jokingly teased me that I maybe I have a heart of stone. Until there were times, I thought that maybe it's true that I do have a heart of stone or worst, maybe I’m meant to be single all my life! Oh no! But God had a plan. It's funny how God works unexpectedly at times.

Chapter 2

Love At First Sight?

It was not love at first sight. In fact, maybe it was love after a thousand sights. He was my classmate in a missions training center. I can still remember the first time I saw him since he was the one who opened the gate for me during our orientation at that training. He was wearing a blue checkered shirt, a small sized man with a meek countenance. “ Oh, this must be the Malaysian classmate they were talking about, but why does he look Indian?’ I wondered. I always thought that all Malaysians were of Chinese ethnicity. Oh how ignorant of me! The first time I saw him there were no sparks, no goose bumps nor lightning from the sky.

It was just a very ordinary meeting. I even thought that this Malaysian guy must be 33 years old and married with children but it turned out he was only 25 years old, very single and available. It was during the early days of our training when he asked my opinion on the possibility of marrying a foreigner. I thought it was an innocent question out of curiosity. Little did I know something was already happening in his heart that time. Little did I know he was already praying for me. But my answer was consistent, “No to foreigners”. I was like a walking slogan with this sign written all over my face. I was too patriotic I guess.

Weeks and months went by, I started to notice something different from the foreigner guy. He gave me special attention and worst of all our classmates began teasing us. “He said that God spoke to him and you are the girl for him ”, my classmate once said. “Yeah sure, if it’s God’s will then surely He will also speak to me too. But I did not hear anything from HIM”, I logically (?) answered. We were teased a lot to the point of my annoyance. Because of such teasing, I even dared not talk to this foreigner guy much. Being teased is one of the things I dislike most. ‘I was teased to my classmates from elementary to high school and now even I’m in a mission’s training?’, I thought in disbelief. But there was once I thought that, what if it’s God’s will for us to be together? I would just end up shaking my head and said to myself, ‘No,God would not allow that because He knows cross cultural marriage would be very difficult for me.’

Then our training was soon to end. Two days before our classes ended, he asked me if we can meet for a snack. I knew what he was up to, so I agreed because I was sure of what to answer him - a big “No to foreigners" again. Then the afternoon came, we sat in the small bakeshoppe. It was the first time that we really sat and talked for more than 5 words after the entire four months of our training. Remember, I’ve been trying to avoid him so as not to be teased. It was really an awkward time for both of us. With our untouched iced lemon tea in front of us,( I didn't bother to order anything else because I wanted this meeting to be short and concise), He started right to the point and asked me about my love life, about my idea of relationships and marriage. Then, he shared his feelings for me and asked me of the possibility of considering him for relationship. “I’m sorry but I don’t have any feelings for you,” I bluntly said. Then I reminisced and told him of my prayer to God several years back when I was only 14 years old.

Chapter 3

10 years before

(Flashback) Everything still seemed so fresh in my mind. It was a Valentines day. What’s in store for a 14 year old girl for Valentines day? I didn't have any clue about it on that innocent age except knowing that Valentines Day symbolizes hearts, roses and chocolates. But wait, we were going to have a Valentines talk from our youth leader. All of us youths 13 years old- 19 years old were gathered around our living room all giggling and very interested about our topic - Love, Courtship and Dating. Maybe somewhere at the back of our minds we thought that we were at the right age for relationships then Maybe that was what made us so interested and excited. “But am I not too young for that? Am I really supposed to be here?” I thought. As if our youth leader heard my thoughts, she pointed out that no one is too young to pray about God’s perfect husband for each one of us and so she encouraged us to start to pray that God will direct us for His perfect mate for us and our first boyfriend should also be our last.

So, that’s what I did. I prayed a prayer that will indeed lead my life to God’s perfect mate for me and I vividly remember adding something in that special prayer. I specifically asked God not to let me fall in love to anyone except the special person that He has in store for me and at the perfect time. I don’t know what made me add that specific request in my prayer but it did save me a lot confusion and maybe headache and heartache for the next 10 years. For true enough, even when some guys courted me but I never fell in love all the way from high school, to university and even when I was already earning and had a job.

Then, back to the bakeshope with my foreigner classmate. “..and since I don’t have any feelings for you, it must be a NO from God”, I concluded like a lawyer on the verge of winning a case.

“ Okay, I respect how you feel. But can we at least pray for each other?”, he calmly requested. He seemed calm and collected but I could still sense a disappointment in his eyes. ‘Was I too cruel?’, I thought. ‘But what can I do but say how I truly feel?’, I justified myself. “How can we pray for each other? What kind of prayer do you mean?”, I managed to asked. “ We’ll pray specifically for each one other, concerning God’s will.”, he answered. “ No, we can not pray for each other specifically”, I argued, “because we cannot dictate God to do what you or we want. Let's pray generally like, whoever God’s will is for you then she will be for you and whoever is God’s will for me then it will be done for me too.” I strongly said this to convince him that it’s not God’s will for us to have relationship. But he never gave up. “Okay, you pray generally but I pray specifically for you,” he confidently concluded. ‘Hmmm…’ I thought, ‘this guy is sure insistent. Well, let’s see.’ And that was the end of our so called “date”. Then we prayed and parted ways. That was the last time we talked about the possibility of a relationship then he had to go back to his home country.

Chapter 4

The Night of Realization

Several months passed by and I was faithful to my “general prayer”. As expected, nothing happened to my love life. I was still not in love with the foreigner guy nor to any other Filipino guy. Though, I admit I think of him at times and look forward to any emails or updates from him.

Finally, our Exposure trip to another Asian country began. This meant seeing the foreigner guy again since the whole class was assigned to go to the same country. The first time I saw him there, I could see the joy and excitement on his face. “Welcome to Thailand!”,he exclaimed. He was so excited with our team’s arrival that he hugged all my other classmates. When it was my turn to greet him, I quickly extended my hand, shook his icy cold hands and greeted him with a casual “Hi!”, then that’s all that has been said.

A week had passed and I was so excited for our training. We had classes in the mornings and reading assignments in the afternoons. Things had been okay, but somehow, I knew that God is doing something in my heart. First, is the country which I was supposed to serve. The land of T has not been my first choice, but I soon found out in my prayer times that it is the place that God is placing me. I was a bit unwilling because I really wanted to go to the place which I have been praying for which was different. “If I’ll be in based here , then it will also mean the possibility of seeing Mr. foreigner more often since he is sure to be based here too.”, I reflected.

Then, the night of realization had come. It was not like any ordinary night in my stay in the country. I could still remember the quietness of that night with the soft light illuminated from the outside. Everyone was asleep in our girl’s dormitory and I was up alone praying on my bed. During my prayer, I felt that God wanted to do something in my life but something was holding it back. It was my unwillingness to let go of many things. At that time I realized that I was holding to my own will, my own ideals in life. It was like I was dictating God what to do in my life, like asking Him to put me in the place where I want and forcing myself into it. In a way I was telling God that I want my own decision when it comes to long term plans and that includes my love life. So, that night I cried and completely surrendered all my will, dreams & hopes to God. It was like I scratched, crumpled and threw all my own plans and ideals then asked God for only His will for me. I prayed that only His will be done in my life even if it means doing something that I would not want to do, going somewhere I would not choose to go and even if it means not getting married or maybe marrying a foreigner. That was complete surrender for me and it was a very difficult thing to do.

Chapter 5

Is it LOVE?

The next morning, was like a new beginning. It was a start of seeing everything in a different light. I was starting to consider the land of T to be the place where I should serve. As I went through my journal, I noticed that most of my insights was about how God talked to Moses on going to the promise land and then Joshua in claiming the Land where his feet thread upon. I got excited and expectant that maybe just maybe God wants me to serve in this country. One more change that took place a few days after, was that I notice the foreigner guy more often. His love for children, his helpfulness to every people in need and all his kind and sweet ways somehow has drawn my attention to him. I knew his kindness has been there before but it was only this time that I took to notice.

One early morning, our team which consist of a Norwegian and 3 Filipinos were going to another province. This will be the first time all of us will be setting foot in that place. We all went down from our dormitory. To my surprise, the foreigner guy was already at the ground floor waiting in his white oversize shirt and light brown pants. Since he could already speak a bit of the language he woke up early just to help us get a tuktuk (taxi) to the station. I could still vividly remember that wonderful morning, the wind was cool, and the sun hasn’t completely come out yet. We all walked to the street corner as the shop grills were making that screeching sound of being opened by the shop owners. We all crossed the street and he stopped a Tuktuk and talked to the driver in Thai and asked us to ride. Then, he said goodbye to us all and wished us a good trip. It was supposed to be just that…But then, he looked at me and I said “bye”. For a moment we looked at each other’s eyes but to me that seemed like forever and from then on I knew in my heart that I too love this man. ‘I think I’m In love!’, my heart exclaimed. But still the cool me managed to look away and luckily the tuktuk went away.

The rest of the time at that province where we stayed for a night seemed so slow and uneventful. I was too busy gathering my thoughts and my heart and checking to see if what I’m feeling is right. Something inside me still fights back. But that was the time, I admitted with myself that yes, something is happening in my heart and my slogan for “no to foreigners” is like a wall slowly crumbling down.

I think I’m in love with Jsu, the foreigner guy but I was just too proud to admit it that time.

I was now confused and thought that maybe then it’s just my emotions playing tricks on me. So, I prayed to God and asked that if Jsu is the right man for me then God will have to confirm it through his Word, through the elders, in my heart and through circumstances.

Chapter 6

The First Test

Relationships was one area in my life that I never wanted to make a mistake. Imagine, I waited for 23 years and whoever he is must be God's chosen one. So, the mission was on : Finding God’s will though His word, through the elders, through inner spirit/heart and through circumstance.

One morning our field leader announced that our team has to go to Penang, Malaysia for an extension for our visa. Since our leader knew that Jsu’s hometown is just an hour and a half away from Penang, he strictly said, “ Just stay in Penang for 2 nights and no going out of the island.” “ It won’t be safe for you to go out since your passports will be submitted to the embassy.”, he added.

“Going to Jsu’s place would be nice. Then I could see his family and really observe him how he treats his family.” I reflected. I often heard from the elders saying that a person may only be kind when he is with his friends or when he is outside, but you’ll know his real character when he’s with his family. “Yes, maybe he’s only kind with his friends and not with his family.” I suspected.

Then I made a fleece with God. I prayed, “ Lord, if Jsu is Your man for me then let me at least see his family and how he is with his family. You make a way to change the mind of our field leader and let him allow us to go outside Penang and go to Jsu’s hometown.”

Three days later, our field leader announced that he’s now allowing us to go to Jsu’s hometown and be staying there for a night. He just warned us to be extra careful since our passports will be submitted at the embassy and therefore be bringing temporary receipts. The announcement made my heart skipped a beat. “Oh, uh! I can’t believe this.” I thought. “ So , I’ll really be seeing his family! Okay, let us see how he is like with his family”, I thought. But little did I know that the night that would be spent with Jsu’s family would completely change my heart all the more.

Chapter 7

Meet the Family

The trip to Penang was fun. Imagine, there were seven of us traveling together, different nationalities , different backgrounds and personalities in a foreign land. First, we applied for our visa in Penang and then set off to Taipng ( Jsu’s hometown) to spend a night there.

The bus to his hometown was so slow and seemingly uneventful but halfway the bus broke down at the middle of the road. So, the supposedly one hour and a half journey took us ‘forever’ to reach our destination and finally we reached at night and took a taxi to Jsu's house.

The taxi stopped right in front of his house. There were no people on the streets. Everyone seemed to be inside their houses. All the houses in that area looked the same except for each houses were painted differently. Jsu's house had a yellow paint and it was well lighted that you could see the things inside the house. I was a bit nervous and expectant at the same time as to what's going to be the outcome for this trip but I wasn’t prepared with the scene that was going to happen next. When we were coming out from the taxi and getting our bags from the trunk, Jsu was already running towards his house and I saw his whole family coming out to meet him too. Then they were all lovingly hugging and kissing each other. Although it was dark outside, but I could tell his mom had tears of joy. Coming from a family that doesn’t express affection so much, I was amazed with the scene. It was the first time for me to see such closeness in a family. “He must really be a good man. Look at how loving his family is.” , I thought.

Everyone in his family, looked so meek, gentle and kind. When we were coming towards them, introductions were made and then we entered his house. It was then that I felt like I was in my grandmother’s house. I didn’t know why. It must have been the coolness of the air, it must be the scent or maybe the feeling of being with family. All of us really felt at home. His family welcomed us and served us hot chicken curry with white rice for dinner. It tasted so delicious even if it was our first time to eat Indian food.

The next morning, after I took a bath from Taipng icy cold water which was very nice, I went inside our room.While I was combing my hair, just reflecting and thinking that maybe this will become my future family, a knock interrupted my thoughts. “ Yes, come in”, I called out. I was surprised to see Jsu’s younger sister, Racheal. “Oh hi!”, I said and smiled, still combing my wet hair. “ I’ll be going to work now, so I won’t be seeing you anymore this afternoon when you leave to Thailand.”, Rachel said. “Oh really, ok bye”, that’s all I managed to say and waved my hand. She was on her way back to the door but then she turned around and asked, “ Can I hug you?”. Then she hugged me tight, said her last good bye and immediately went straight to the door and finally closed it. It was good she didn’t linger on after the hug because I was already teary eyed and wanted to cry. I just felt so different after that. It was like all the walls built around my heart just melted away. I myself now want to become a part of this loving family. “ Is this really going to be my future family, Lord? Is Jsu really going to be my future husband, Lord?”, I asked again and again during the next remaining hours of our stay and still couldn't believe that my heart is changing.

Finally, when it was time for all of us to say good bye to the entire family, his Mom prayed for all of us. It was a beautiful prayer from a woman of God who’s so simple yet so true and so sincere. Everyone was in tears after that prayer. I held back my tears for I knew Jsu was watching me. “I’d rather not show my feelings yet.”, I thought, but deep inside I was greatly touched by his family.

On our way home, still eyes puffy from tears our Norwegian classmate put his arm around Jsu and said, “ I love your Mom, she truly has a heart of gold!”. That was exactly how I felt towards Jsu’s mom! I wish I could have said that to him too. I wish I could just have told him that I’ve grown to love his family in just a day of knowing them. But at that time I was still too proud to admit that I’ve already fallen in love with him and his family. And besides, the test for “Finding God’s will” was not over yet.

Chapter 8

2nd test – God’s word

Few days later, my classmate told me, “our brother ( Jsu) wants to ask you out but, he’s already afraid to tell you.” ( Note: Remember the 1st date?..he already got traumatized with that. - Jsu's version of the story might be coming next) “Will it be ok if both of you could talk? JN and I could go with both of you if you feel uncomfortable.”, he added. ‘Hmmm, why does he have to send a messenger to tell me of his plans?”, I thought with discouragement. But anyways, I just agreed on the so called plan. The ‘date’ was supposed to be on a Thursday night. Suddenly, I panicked. “ Wait! Why did I agree to have a talk with him? What am I supposed to say?” I muttered. My Mission was not yet complete. I still don’t have a clear answer from God.

Days passed by..and nothing happened. No angel appeared from Heaven and told me that Jsu will be my lifetime partner. ;) Tuesday night, I prayed to God and told Him my 'dilemma', the deadline that I have to meet which will be Thursday. What should I say? I can’t use plain circumstances to prove that he’s God’s will for me? As for my heart, I suddenly wasn’t sure. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things’ , I recalled. ‘It could play tricks on me’ I justified. “So, Lord” I prayed, “I need your word. I don’t know how, but I need you to confirm through your word if Jsu is Your man for me.” That was my desperate prayer in faith. At that point, I concluded that if I don’t get any confirmation from God’s word, then I would have to let go again of my ‘feelings’ towards Jsu and maybe tell him , NO.

Wednesday morning came, I had my usual devotion. During that time, I read the Psalms in the mornings while in the evenings I was going through the book of Exodus. My heart was expectant. I started reading through Psalms 37. First few verses came and I didn’t see anything I could related to. Then suddenly the verse 37 struck me…”Mark the perfect man, for his ways are righteous and his end is peace (KJV)”… I heard an inner voice that said.. ‘He is the perfect man for you.’ I panicked for awhile, I couldn’t believe what I’ve just read! I close my small pink Bible, closed my eyes and muttered, “Really? Is this for real?” Then, again I opened my Bible and read and reread the verse several times. The more I read the more the verse was becoming real and more the words are speaking to my heart. My heart beat so fast and I still couldn’t believe that God just spoke to me through His word.

All through out the day I remained calm but couldn’t help think about the confirmation I got from the Word of God. Finally, I decided that I just couldn't keep all these mixed turbulent emotions within myself. ‘ I have to tell someone about this. I need to ask for advice.’ So, that night I told one of our classmates who was like an older sister to me. “ Ate, what should I do?!”, I desperately asked her after relating to her all my conditions and prayer with God concerning Jsu. With a glow in her face she simply asked, “ Do you have peace in your heart?”. With my heart excitedly beating fast, I just managed to nod my head and I couldn’t seem to hear if I said yes. Then she held my shoulders as if to shrug me off from my dream and excitedly exclaimed, “Then, receive it ( God’s word) , Sister!" Then, we just found ourselves laughing and maybe almost jumping with joy. :)

Chapter 9

3rd Test – Change of Heart

Thursday came, I was already quite nervous about the so-called date and also maybe because of the thought that there will be two male chaperons accompanying us and maybe listening to our “talk”. ‘ Wouldn’t that be very awkward?’ I thought. Suddenly, I felt that I’m not ready to have a talk with Jsu and company. Then that same afternoon, JY, the ‘messenger’ told me, “ Lalaine, I’m sorry we’ll just have to postpone the ‘appointment’ because Jsu is not feeling well.” Surprisingly, I felt relieved. Even if I did have a confirmation from God’s word about Jsu being the ‘perfect man’ for me but my heart wasn’t that prepared yet.

Many days passed by and there was no follow-up on the ‘date’ but during these days, it was like the time when God was really opening my heart more and more. My attitude towards him has completely changed. If just a few months ago I was completely avoiding him, but this time it’s like my heart searches for him when his not around in the library or in the classroom. During this time, secretly I’ll be observing his every move and even to the point of eavesdropping when he talks with our classmates. Of course, I’ll be pretending to be so engrossed reading a book but at the corner of my eye I’ll be watching him. Then when he’s not around, I’ll be wondering where he is and be thinking about him and missing him. Little did I know I was already lovestruck!

There was this night when we treated our friends out for dinner and purposely they let us sit beside each other. I felt very nervous but I was not annoyed anymore when they started teasing us. In fact, deep inside I already enjoyed their teasing. But then on my mind, I was always wondering, “ When are we going to have a talk again? Is he still interested to “talk” to me, or maybe he has given up on me.” It was then that I started to get worried.

Chapter 10


Novemeber 1, 2000. We were having our classes. Our lecturer was a good lecturer but I couldn’t help but feel sleepy in class that particular morning. I was only awaken to my full senses when a note with a very familiar and nice handwriting was passed to me. It was a note from Jsu asking if we could have a talk that same afternoon. 'Finally, the most awaited ‘talk’ is going to take place', I thought as I wrote my response (which was of course an 'OK') on that same paper to be passed back . This time I felt very prepared to talk to him and in fact I’ve already been waiting to talk to him. It’s a good thing though he didn’t mention anything about chaperons which meant he already had great courage to face me alone.

During lunch time, I was happily chatting with my classmate when Jsu approached us and confirmed the time we were supposed to meet. I could sense the nervousness on his voice when he talked to me but as cool as I am, I didn’t give him any hint of what my response will be that afternoon. I couldn’t remember how the rest of the afternoon went, but all I could just recall was we met at the living room of the Center at 4:00 pm. Then, we walked together so far away from each other on the way to the Piano Restaurant. Good thing that the restaurant was just a block away from the Center since it was very awkward for us to walk together by ourselves.

We both went inside and ordered our chocolate sundaes. He looked so nervous but managed to start the conversation, by recalling our last ‘date’ several months before. I couldn’t remember his exact words but he asked if I expected some follow up of some sort, and told me that as for him he still feels the same way about me and ended by asking me what has God been telling me about my lifetime partner.

Then, a smile lighted on my face. He really didn’t have any idea what I was going to relate to him the next few minutes. He still looked clueless and even more nervous when it was my turn to talk. Did he expect another negative answer from me. But I went on. I started to tell him about the Night of Realization ( See Chapter 4) , my fleece with God ( Chapter 6), meeting his family ( Chapter 7) and ended with God’s confirmation through His word, Psalms 37:37. After relating everything to him, I just felt so released!

There was quite a long pause after I ended my ‘speech’. I think he was still trying to absorb everything that I just told him. Then, finally there was a sparkle in his eyes, he smiled a bit and with joy on his face, he said, “I can’t express now the joy that is in my heart but I just want you to know that …. I love you so much!” Whew!!….my heart just seemed to have exploded that moment!

Then, he proceeded and told me everything that happened to him, his feelings and how God has dealt with him after our ‘date’ in my country, his homecoming to his country and then his 2 months stay in Thailand before I came.

We talked for quite awhile until we noticed that it was getting dark so we decided to head back to the center. Jsu prayed and entrusted both our lives and our future together to God. So, we left the table with our chocolate sundaes already melted and untouched. Like a grand finale for our ‘date’, right after we stepped out of the restaurant, it began to drizzle. Jsu gently pulled my arm to be near him and put his hands over my head to shield me from the rain. I just felt butterflies fluttering around my stomach that very moment. It was quite a contrast on how we came a few hours ago, if we both came to the restaurant about a kilometer apart with serious faces but this time we were already walking close to each other and with a smile on our faces.

Chapter 11

Confirmation through the Elders

We both went inside the Center and when we went up, it was like almost all of our classmates were waiting for us and excited to hear the outcome of our date. I went inside our classroom first while outside, Jsu was met with our other classmates. Of course, he told them in summary of the ‘victory’ of the date and I could hear and see through the glass door that they were all shouting and jumping with joy.

Then, I was reminded that there was still one 'test' that was not yet fulfilled and that was confirmation through the elders. But that same evening, our Singaporean classmate whose from another team but part of our class , an elderly lady whom we called Mama Mary ( she’s like a mother to all of us) told Jsu and I that during our group prayer a couple of nights ago, she already felt that God is bringing us both together and she just wanted to confirm it to us.

Wow!! God is truly amazing! No request and prayer was left unanswered, God just answered my every prayer and every desire even to the smallest detail. If we truly surrender our will and truly seek HIS will, God will surely show us and even change us.

Glory to God!!
Chapter 12

Say IT! Say IT!

The next few days after November 1st was like a dream. Everyday was spent on endless talks, praying together and getting to know each other. As Mr. Romantic as he is, Jsu would be endlessly confessing his love for me but on my part, it took some time to utter those 'magical' phrase. Though my emotions were overflowing to the brim but I just can’t seem to utter those words yet. “ It’s ok. Don’t worry, I’ll patiently wait for you to tell me that you love me too.” Jsu used to tell me with a smile on his face. He understood that from the look on my face, I was not ready yet and maybe still felt awkward.

Then on the 3rd day of our relationship, Jsu and his team had to go to a different province for a 'survey' for that weekend. They left in the afternoon, but just a few hours after they left, I already missed him terribly. Wow! I couldn’t describe the feeling. ‘ I think I have to be more in control of my emotions. This is so silly, why am I feeling this way when I just saw him a few hours ago’, I reminded myself.

I was just all alone that night in the living room, feeling so sentimental and lonely when suddenly the phone rang. My heart skipped a beat when it rang. ‘Could it be….?’, I excitedly thought as I rushed to get the phone. Then, just like sweet rain on a summer day, I heard Jsu’s voice, “Hello?” . With my emotions that finally cannot be controlled and contained, I just couldn’t help but blurt out and say, “ I love you too!!”. I heard laughter on the other side, “ Can you say that again?’, Jsu teasingly asked. “ I said, I love you too!”, I repeated this time clearly and slowly but still he asked me to repeat several times. There was laughter and cheering again on the other side and finally, “ Yes! Wow! Wow!!…I love you so much too!!”


That was our Love story. After a month and a day after the 1st of November, our team had to leave the Land of T while Jsu was left behind to continue his long term commitment in the country. It was a painful farewell. After a dream-like month of finally having a boyfriend and knowing God’s life-time partner for me, it was just so difficult to say good-bye. But after we departed, our hearts were just full of assurance that it was indeed God who brought us together for a purpose and He will order and direct our future together. It was not easy to have a long-distance relationship but through God’s grace, we were able to overcome. Ten months later, Jsu together with his Mom and close friend came to the Philippines for our engagement. It was a beautiful Indian engagement where friends and relatives were gathered to witness that special day. Then, in less than a year, September 7, 2002, God finally made us ONE as we had our wedding in Malaysia with all my family members, close friends and relatives were present (23 of them specially came from my country to attend our wedding) . Some of the classmates from the training were also there ( JN and His wife came all the way from Norway to witness that day). Workers and friends from the Land of T came too. It was the most special and beautiful day in our lives. We had a total of 500 guests ( yes, it’s quite shocking to have this guest list in the Philippine context but considered average in the Indian context) but it was also amazing how God arranged, provided and made everything possible for that wedding. Well, that’s another story to write .

Jsu, the perfect man for me was worth waiting for. Or shall we say, God’s perfect will was indeed worth waiting and searching. Sometimes, I would wonder, what could have happened if I just insisted on my own wants and desires. I couldn’t have known and personally experienced God dealings and direction. I could have ended somewhere and not being fully used for His purposes. Ultimately, God has brought Jsu and I together for His plans and purposes. And with this, we are committed to journey together – to live for God’s Glory! And indeed, may God be glorified through our lives. -

To Jsu, as I always tell you – You are God’s precious gift to me and I will treasure you, love you and take care of you all the days of my life. This ‘story’ is especially dedicated to you with everlasting gratefulness to God for giving me YOU! I Love You.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Big Bang

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