Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Finding a friend

Every person on this planet needs a friend. You need a friend. I need a friend. Not just some acquaintances or some fellows in our virtual social networks. But an authentic one. A wellspring of love. Someone whom we can call at past midnight especially when our car breaks down—or when we are on the verge of breaking down! Someone whom we can watch feel-good movies with after a delightful dinner. Someone whom we can travel and take photos with, and discover the world together. Someone who knows and shares our stories, our thoughts, our dreams, our victories, our joys, even our frustrations—and especially our pains.

A friend is an essential ingredient to a good quality life. A friend brings color to a person’s existence. Without one, life becomes simply black and white. But if a person is fortunate enough, he or she may enjoy having a company of great souls painting his or her life with vibrant colors. Blue. Red. Pink. Orange. Green. Purple. Yellow.

To cherish a friend is to value a rare jewel. A Jewish proverb says that whoever finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure. So one has to voyage, to search further, to invest time, to make efforts, to give beyond measure, and to hope until he or she discovers that treasure in the heart of another being. But the secret to finding one is to be one. Therefore, we start by becoming the very person we want our friend to be, because the best part of this journey is to know that we are also a treasure of our faithful friend.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Turned 28


June 3, 2009. The day I turned twenty-eight.

I always look forward to this day every single year. Who does not?

This is a special time where everyone seems to be nicest to you. You get to have birthday greetings at the stroke of 12 midnight, phone calls from all over the world, text messages from family and friends, birthday wishes posted on your facebook and friendster, emails and e-cards, hugs and kisses, gifts and encouragement, and of course a great deal of favors that you get to ask from people. Ha!

Aside from the benefits mentioned above, I also have the privilege to go on a birthday leave. But this year, I decided to postpone it until next week in time for my Bacolod trip.

For the first time, I actually did not plan for any celebration in Makati this year. Traditionally, I spend my birthday with my family in Bacolod and the week after I celebrate with my friends in Makati. But not this time.

So how did I exactly spend my day?


June 2, after my MBA evening class, I hung out with Richlyn in her condo unit. She ordered dinner for me and I stayed there until past midnight--June 3.

I went home (just a floor away from Rich's) about 12:15 in the morning and spent time reading my bible until 1am. I went to bed, said a short prayer and was off to dreamland.

I was sound asleep until I heard a strange noise coming from a cellphone. It was singing happy birthday to me. Next to me was Pia singing happy birthday. I could hardly open my eyes but in a glimpse I saw Len, Tin and Klaire standing beside the bed wearing party hats and holding the cake and balloon. Then I asked, "What time is it?" They replied, " 5 am!" WHAT?!!!!! 5 in the morning?! Come on! But I had no choice. I had to get up, get my camera and blow the birthday candle. Guess what, they made breakfast, too. It was indeed a pleasant surprise. Thanks Morning Girls!


When everyone was off to work, I stayed behind and prayed. I told the Lord, "This is the day that you have made for me, I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it!" then I went back to sleep.

Just before lunch, I went to Amici and bought food for my officemates. Technically, I did not apply for a birthday leave. Like I said, I intend to avail it next week. So I went to work. Again, for the first time.

I checked some emails and was blessed beyond words to have received my friends' greetings...with matching pictures!

Here are some of their prayers and encouragement:

From Shai: As you stretch to the next level, I pray for more of God's wisdom and presence in your life and I trust that you will give birth to more in the future. I knew that our Father is elevating you to a higher calling and as your heart joyfully obey His principles, He will certainly enable you to experience more of His overflowing blessings.

From Sean and Apra: God bless you always. He will always have the pleasure to look a
fter you.

From Roche: It is my prayer that God will reveal more of Himself to you and that you
will embrace His calling for you. I pray for wisdom, strength and courage as you go on this journey of life with JESUS. May His light shine upon you wherever you go.

From Sasah: I pray that you will enjoy your special day, that your heart and spirit may be quieted by God's peace that transcends all understanding.. May He continue to equip you, mold you and prepare you for everything He has so carefully planned out for you.. And may you continue to have that courageous spirit to steadfastly obey His commands.. And with everything that you are going through right now, wherever you are in your walk with God, whatever things you are working at right now, may they always be with a sense of adventure and may it be brimming full of life... An overflow of His blessings and goodness and faithfulness and grace and wisdom is my prayer for you...

From Chona: I'm so thankful to our Lord for sharing your life to me most especially in bringing my Christian life to a more mature one.

From Richel: I know that each one of us has this call to honor God in every aspect of our life and to be fruitful in displaying God's character and in disciple reproductio
n. What makes you different is that you serve your purpose with passion, no wonder why inspiteof many adversities I can still see you enduring and so consisitent in doing what God has called you to do. Roche is right when she said you are a blessing to us bcoz you really are, in fact, just by looking at you and at your fruits, it gives me strength and encourage me to carry on.

Now allow me to return to you the God's favor by speaking blessings unto your life.
Father, thank you for the life of Jaja and thank you for we are now reaping the
works of her labor. It is you who gave her the wisdom, strength and authority
to fish for people and lay other poeple's lives at your feet. Now Lord, by the same
authority you have given me to speak blessings, im calling on to all the angels
and all the mighty people of God to agree that Jaja will continue to have
wisdom just as the kind of wisdom Solomon had in order to better administer
God's love for His people. That Jaja will also have the strength and the heart
the same as those you have given to David all the days of her life. You will give her the
authority like the authority of Timothy that even in his young age he has become
a mighty man of God. And also Lord, the humility of Moses, the faith of Abraham,
the experience of Enoch, the long years of Methuselah be upon this woman.
In Jesus' Mighty Name. Amen.
From Uncle Paul: May you day be full of God's blessings. Hope you have friends and family to celebrate this special day with you. I wish I was there, we would have a great birthday party for you.

From Harry: I am glad to be found with you in THYMarketplace. As I am enriched by your Faith and Love for the Lord in the ministry, may He shower you further with blessings upon blessings and grace upon grace as you seek Him and His will more and more in your life. Your faith in Him is a shining example to emulate because you try to live your life ever pleasing to His eyes. Praise be to the Most Loving God, who anointed this day to be your Birthday!

From Logen: We really are so blessed to have you. Thank you for allowing yourself to be used by God. I believe God has prepared greater things for you and your family. Continue to shine for Jesus!

From Marita and Elijah:
We bless you with all the abundance of heaven's bounty made available for you by our Great God. Enjoy life!

There! More than anything else, my prayer was for my family and friends to know and experience how good and awesome the Lord is. I pray that they will experience the sweetness of His love every single day of their lives.


My friends wanted to celebrate my birthday so due to insistent public demand, I was forced to have dinner with them (I just wanted to book myself in a hotel and rest but I know they will hunt me down). So I got ready for the evening celebration and we chose to hold it at Shakey's. Actually, I was just invited. So I came.

Roche hosted the informal party. With the acoustic guitar and beatbox ready by Mark and Jun, respectively, MyGirls (Pia, Roche and Dhet) hit the note singing On My Knees.

I knew they didn't have the time to practice but they gave their best anyway and it blessed my heart. Dhet's prayer was really heartfelt and powerful. I didn't realize that I really made an impact in her life. Thank you Lord for using me to bless then in many ways.

It was a blessed night. My friends' encouragement and prayers captured my heart and reminded me of God's love and faithfulness. I pray that whatever God is doing in my life, I would be able to incrementally increase my contribution in their faith-journey.

I'm glad that simple birthday celebration happened. I pray that I will always find reasons to celebrate life... to celebrate Christ in my life. After all, it is about Jesus...and Jesus alone.

Oh, there is one thing that I always always get excited to have for my birthday--a verse that will guide me throughout the year. So I'm letting His Word be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path this year...

But let those who love Him be like the rising sun in its might. Judges 5:31b

Celebrating Life!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Remembering my 26th Birthday

It's Monday and I am puzzled what to write. Thoughts are coming in from all over but some topics would take so much time to write down.

As I was cleaning up my mailbox I stumbled upon some old emails from JAG (Jaja's Accountability Group). It was a trail of email that Cristine, one of our members, sent me after the celebration of my 26th Birthday. Well I'm turning 28 this year and I thought it would be nice to remember what they said about me almost two years ago.

JAG meets every Tuesday. Yeah, we're back to our Tuesday Sessions. It's hard to keep up but God has been faithful and patient through the years.

So, the topic was "WHO IS ATE JAJA FOR YOU?" Let's hear what the girls said about me...buckle up!

Ate Jaja for me is someone who helped me fan myself into flame (kahit hindi man blue flame). You have been one of the few people who have shown me how much better my life is right now when I sought the Lord. That amidst all the things happening around me, if I just put the Lord beside all the trials and pains, they are all nothing. For my God is an almighty, infinite and all-sufficient God. You have inspired me to seek the Lord more and more, and to learn to offer my life for Him wholeheartedly. When I saw the line “Acts20:24” below your name in your email signature, I looked it up, and then I said to the Lord, Lord, I pray that I can learn to say that also, with all my heart, and all my soul. Alam kong malayo pa ako dito. Marami pa akong trials na pagdadaanan in order for this to take root in my heart. Mahirap man tanggapin, pero weak pa din ako. But I continually pray for it. And with people like you around me to inspire me, and the Lord to bless me, I know makakarating din ako, not because of my efforts, but because of the Lord’s goodness…

You are one of God’s significant instruments in the renewal of my faith and relationship with Him. hulog ka ng langit, ate ja. Pero, minsan naiisip ko, bakit ka kaya hinulog? Hehehe… joke lang. peace tayo…

Thank you, Lord, for Ate Jaja’s life…

Ate Jaja is more than a friend and a mentor.... she unfolds my spiritual eyes in discovering the significance and the real meaning of Christian life. Her passionate love and concern for the perishing souls continuously mold my charcter in serving others.

Shining God’s light, in shades of yellow, a person who loves life and lives her life loving the giver of that life. My manang, my ate, my dear sister, my travel companion, my dream witness, my taga-batok when need be, my text-mate at odd hours of the night, my booster and my trail-blazer. The person God has brought in my life as an answer to one of my prayers. J This is Jaja for me!

ATE JAJA... "MOMSY" this is how I used to call her kc mukha ciang nanay =) hehehe joke... nde... kaya cia ang momsy ng buhay ko kc she's like a real mother to me.. my spiritual mother!!! tulad ng isang ina.. wla ciang sawa ng kakasaway sa mga pasaway niang mga anak ( isa na ko dun pero pumapangalawa lng kay bes )... Pero I really appreciate lahat ng mga pag-aaruga, pagkalinga at pagmamahal nia bilang MOMSY ko sa akin. Especially nung mga panahon na inaatake ako ng katigasan ng ulo.. nde cia nagsawa sa akin kahit sobrang kulit at tigas ng ulo ko. Tulad ng isang ina.. ang lakas niang makaramdam pag nanghihina ang kanyang mga anak.. at ciempre to the rescue cia agad at pinapakain kmi ng Word of God!!! And pagnagshare cia ng word sa amin..it's like God speaking thru her, sobrang tamang tama at bullseye tlaga. Actually, words are not enough to describe who she really is in my life at alam nia un. Nagkakaintindihan na kmi.. mga kilos pa lng..mga tingin at ngiti pa lang alam na nmin ang ibig sabihin. Basta ate ja kahit milya milya pa ang layo ko sa inyong lahat.. nde un magiging hindrance sa God-given relationship natin...TANDAAN MO YAN>> Nde na ako mabubura sa buhay mo..at d ka na mabubura sa buhay ko.... I LOVE U SO MUCH =) alam kong alam mo yan. (tma na bumabaha na ng luha d2 sa UAE...natabunan na ng luha ko ung mga buhangin d2)

Well, I must admit she has been one great influence in my life.. A mentor..a friend..a mom..sometimes enemy na rin ( pag parehas kaming sinumpong nang pagiging maldita.)

Super higpit mang embrace- parang ayaw ka nang pakawalan..kumusta nman un?

But despite our conflicts especially with the decisions that I made, we were able to settle them (salamat sa Bonfire ng Caliraya! )at minsan naman kindatan lang, okay na kami..at lagot kami kay God- palo at bogbog ang aabutin namin! Tsk.tskk!

Padangat ako niyan kahit pasaway ako..palangga ko rin sya kahit mas pasaway sya! Peace Ore! =P


There! My apologies to some Tagalog words but they meant so much to me because they were heart-felt.

As I close, I am reminded of the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 that says "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Looking forward to my birthday celebration this year!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Hands That Carried Me

Lying on my filthy mat

Thinking if I’d ever get up

But when I was losing hope

They came and told me about You

Eyes filled with faith

Words full of love

They said You could heal me,

Save me, give me life and more


Thank You Lord for the hands that carried me

Thank You for the hearts that never gave up

Thank You for their faith that made me believe

Jesus, Thank You for the friends

who brought me to You

My burden-bearers endured

The long journey for me

It tried their faith (in You)

but they prayed and believed

Though I was heavy,

they remained strong

Bringing me to my Savior

Who was waiting all along


Oh, I never knew love

Until You sent them to pick me up

Now I’m able to stand up and walk

Send me to do the same for You

Note: This is a song I wrote based on the Story of Four Friends who brought their Paralytic Friend to Jesus.

Copyright 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Partnership in helping strategies
by Charles Ringma

Seeing that we have limitations, it is at time appropriate to refer someone elsewhere whom we are seeking to help. But this referring people on occurs so frequently that it is a matter of concern and could reflect something of the fragmentation that exists in the human services.

But there may also be some deeper reasons why this occurs. Henri Nouwen probes one such reason. He notes that 'sometimes our referral to others is more a sign of fear to face the pain than a signe of care'. Fear may take many forms. We may also affected by the fear of our own inadequacies. We may readily think that a particular problem is too much for us.

To overcome these hindrances in us, we can adopt several important strategies. The first is that the step of referral can be changed to joining with others. In other words, we don't pass the person on to someone else: we simply invite others to join us in those areas where we clearly lack expertise.

Secondly, we should convert the role of expert and helper to 'companion in the journey'. The role of expert readily contains the expectation of a quick fix and such an expectation should rightly overwhelm us. The role of 'companion in the journey', while it offers help, also offers friendship and stresses mutuality rather than that everything should come from the helper.


In our faith-journey, we should ways be open to what God wants us to do...and be ready for the people He faithfully brings into our lives.

The above expression of the author speaks strongly to us and our leadership role in the lives of others. While at times we don't know what to do with certain situations, we tend to just pass on the problem to others instead of facing it on our own. At times we think that others can speak better, counsel better, convinced better, even in our behalf... but as we reflect on, we should just see them as our guides...and yes, "our journey companions" for they take a different role given by the Lord. We have to be responsible with our own turf.

I thank God that in my years of ministry, He is always teaching me a better way to handle things and a better view of looking at things... thus widens my understanding of His works.

I thank God for those people who helped me through as I commit myself in serving others. They provided God's wisdom and understanding on how I should manage things and events that happened, even in my personal life.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Challenge of a Friend

by Charles Ringma

The rhythm of the inner life is the movement from where we are, with our fears, needs and busyness, to the place of quietness, unburdening and renewal. And from this place of transformation we can begin to move to re-engage our world with new-found hope and courage.

While the practice of this rhythm is a highly personal and individual affair, we are not suggesting that others cannot assist us in this journey. While we need to take responsibility for our own spiritual development and for our own lives, this does not mean that we need to be without companions on the road. Henri Nouwen admits: I now realise that I need regular contact with a friend who keeps me close to Jesus and continues to call me to faithfulness.

Such a friend cannot do the journey for us. Such a friend cannot provide ready-made answers. Such a friend cannot take away the struggle and cannot take away the pain and difficulty.

There is a road which we alone must walk. Decisions that we must make. Actions that we much perform. Pain that we must bear. Transformation that we must experience. Peace that we must imbibe. But a friend who journeys with us can challenge us to faithfulness and authenticity. Such a friend can encourage us to continue to make the hard decisions. The challenge such a friend offers is the challenge to continue to choose life.

My reflection:

I would not have reached this far in my walk with God had it not been for the people who challenged me to faithfulness...and fruitfulness.

For most of us, we live our lives based on a narrow perspective, travel through a more familiar path, and make use of our resources for self-gratification. But God, in His ever loving and gracious ways, constantly brings friends who can help us see life differently and lead us closer to Him.

I am grateful that many years ago, God brought a friend into my life. Even though my dear friend Marita is fourteen years older than I, she is always fun to be with. And in the course of our friendship, I realize that we all need someone who has traveled the world ahead of us: a guiding light.

During my most critical (and difficult) situations, the Lord used M to challenge my faith, my dreams, and especially my heart. She would ask me penetrating questions that made me stay up all night thinking about my life and groping for answers. She would urge me to seek Christ and His heart for me. And many times, she would correct me and remind me God's faithful ways.

My friend invested so much in me. She helped me realize a lot of things, challenged me to build my core values, labored with me so I know how to conduct myself well, and inspired me to live my life for God and for others.

Reflecting on what the author of the article has written, I realize, too, that while my friend continues to offer help in times of need, she cannot decide for me. She can only present me options, help me see things from a different point of view, but ultimately it's I who will make those hard decisions...and eventually face the consequences.

So I pray that God will continue to bring faithful friends into my life as He patiently molds me to be a guiding light to others as well. I pray that I will always learn to appreciate the love and blessings that flow through the pathway of friendships. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Creating Space

Another reflection from Charles Ringma on Disengagement.

"Giving time for solutions to be found."

Helpers sometimes can be too anxious to help. Counselors sometimes can be too quick in problem-solving. And advice-givers are frequently giving answers when the questions have not been properly identified. Moreover, religious people are often only too willing to share their experiences of divine help with others irrespective of whether the listener has similar concerns or needs.

We therefore need be so careful that we do not push people toward solutions. Solutions need to be found. They cannot be dished out. Henri Nouwen observes, "We cannot force anyone to such a personal and intimate change of heart, but we can offer the space where such change can take place."

Creating such a space involves giving people time as well as support and encouragement. It allows people to identify their questions, experience their pain, reveal their anger and expose their dashed expectations. It does not provide neat answers, but journeys with the person at their pace in their quest for answer and renewal.

This does not mean that no direct help is given and everything is left to the person seeking help. It means that we offer space, support and help as it is requested by those with whom we are working.

This speaks so much of my situation today. I just don't know what to do anymore... and probably... just probably..."creating space" is the way for me to find His solutions to my situation. It will give me time to unload my burdens to Christ and to pour out my heart to Him. It will allow me to hear from Him and experience His comfort in my life, too.

While the consequence of being separate is unbearable, but I think I will appreciate and understand better what Paul wrote Philemon on Onesimus, "Perhaps the reason he was separated from for a little while was that you might have him back for good..." I don't really know...I just have to keep on praying...

Prayer is the key to finding the answers...for God, by His grace and mercy, will reveal to us His purpose and plans why He allows us to go through complex and strenuous encounters.

And so, I pray that God will sustain me and give me strength to overcome all necessary circumstances to bring out the best in me.