May Pasko Pa Rin | Moms Magazine

Page 1

Volume 18 / Issue 71 / 2021


Start Your Relationship with Jesus Admit you have sinned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 Believe that Jesus is the only Savior. “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 Confess and leave your sin behind. Stop doing and thinking things that displease our Heavenly Father. “If we confess our sins ….” 1 John 1:9 Invite Jesus to be your Savior and the Lord of your life. “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 To continue growing in your relationship with Christ, have fellowship with other believers, read the Bible and pray.


Delsey Garner EDITOR

Patrick Tan COVER & LAYOUT



More and more people are reading MOMS online. We need your prayers and financial help. To help support this project, send cash or check made payable to: Asia Pacific Media Ministries FAO MOMS. To make a direct deposit, use our BPI, C/A #2431-0042-27. All contributions are used entirely for the outreach of this publication. Thank you! THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Light for the Lost Leap of Faith Christian Church, Nueva Ecija United Evangelical Church— General Santos May the Lord richly bless you!

Published quarterly by Asia Pacific Media. Unit 2608 Raffles Corporate Center, Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Philippines. Telephone: 7914-9767. E-mail: Reproduction of photos and articles is prohibited without permission.



From My Heart

On This Issue

Message from the Editor



erry Christmas!” Just uttering this greeting makes me feel high-spirited during the holiday season! I get excited about the things I get to see and do around this time. I enjoy watching multicolored lights in trees at the park and listening to melodious carols in the stores! My anticipation grows while I am shopping and I imagine the reactions of my loved ones when they receive their gifts.

From My Heart 3

Being cheerful or merry seems easy when pleasant things surround us; and so elusive when troubles and hopelessness confront us. I encourage you to read the story of Lorie Velarde and her husband who were in despair when their child was born with a rare congenital heart defect. Finding hope and a reason to be cheerful was hard for them. But, then God.


The famous verse in the book of John says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but will have eternal life.” (John 3:16) This is a passage that will surely give us the reason to be merry and cheerful. If God can give us His ONLY Son, He can give us anything that we desire that is according to His will. He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him despite of our unworthiness. Knowing this should lead us to be hopeful in whatever circumstance we’re facing and make us think of His goodness during this season.


Tuloy ang Pasko 4 WISE CHOICES

Christmas or Pandemic? Celebrate or Complain? 6

This is Us and Our Faith 8 FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING

Dealing with Grief during Christmas 12 JUST ASKING

Our income has been affected by the pandemic 14


Moms, I hope and pray that after reading the articles in this issue, you will be filled with hope and find a reason to be merry no matter what circumstance you’re in. May your heart overflow with gladness as you ponder on His goodness. Have a Merry Christmas! - Delsey G. 3


Tuloy ang Pasko! more festive! You may do this at night before bedtime with a coffee, for the adults, and cocoa or warm milk for the kids. First, learn a Christmas carol together. I suggest na namnamin ang bawat linya ng kanta, and share how the song impacted you. You may choose one song every week. Here are some of my personal favorites from timeless classics with beautifully penned words: • Angels We Have Heard on High by Tanniah Marcelino Navarro


t is quite hard and challenging to celebrate when the year has been tough. A lot of bad news flooded our Facebook accounts from the pandemic. Some say, nagmukha nang obituary ang Facebook timeline nila due to posts about death of friends or even relatives. It detached us from the joy and peace we have. It’s always helpful to look back on God’s sustaining grace and faithfulness for the entire year and ponder on why we celebrate Christmas. So, Mommies, I would like to invite you to participate in this little activity that I want to do myself with my family this December and make our holidays


• Carol of the Bells • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen • Joy to the World • Little Drummer Boy • Mary Did You Know? • O Come All Ye Faithful • O Come, O Come Emmanuel • O Holy Night • Silent Night Secondly, read the gospel of Luke every day until Christmas. You may read a chapter a day or just choose one story from that chapter and ponder. Highlight a verse that stuck with you and discuss. When December 25th comes, Christmas


Day, you should have finished the entire gospel and it is time to celebrate!

No matter how preoccupied we are and how challenging the year has been, we can never deny the loving presence of Jesus that sustained us.

Thirdly, recall significant moments that happened last year. Access your Facebook memories as you try to remember. Write them down and share reasons to celebrate. Gather pictures and stories. We cannot help but also remember things that were hurtful like losing a loved one. I encourage you to use this time to pay tribute to them. There are 24 days until Christmas so, share some significant events that happened each month last year and list down God’s faithfulness that sustained you. This coming December 1 and 2, recall what happened in January 2021. December 3 and 4, February 2021; December 5 and 6 remember what happened in March 2021 and so on. By December 25th, you have reflected on the entire past year as a family. Fourthly, documentation. Mommies, it is not too late to finally purchase a photo book/album and have it printed as a hardcopy. There are lots of suppliers online so you wouldn’t need to go out to do this. Mark it as “2021: the ‘Best Year Yet!’” or any other title you can think of. And lastly, as the new year approaches, ask the Lord for the promise for the year 2022. Ask Him for His vision for you and your family. You may want to write it down and perhaps even make a board to emphasize the vision and mission He gives you for 2022, or you may highlight 10 goals you have for the year.

I hope that you find these suggestions worth your time. No matter how preoccupied we are and how challenging the year has been, we can never deny the loving presence of Jesus that sustained us. Let us fix our eyes on Him and what He has done and intentionally commemorate the real reason of Christmas.



Christmas or Pandemic? Celebrate or Complain? around us - pandemic, natural disasters, wars - I have often asked God, “What is the purpose of all this? Puede awat na, Lord? There’s so much suffering, I don’t know how much more of this we can take.”

by Faith Nacarato


or the second year in a row, we are celebrating Christmas season during the COVID-19 pandemic. By now everyone is feeling fatigued from the last 18 months (as of this writing it’s been 535 days of lockdown for us here in Manila). We have all experienced losses – jobs/ livelihoods, loved ones, health, time, relationships, opportunities, the “old normal”. Some may be feeling like they’re at the breaking point and can’t bring themselves to even think about celebrating anything. Looking at everything that has happened (and still happening) 6

In the last couple of years, I’ve experienced anxiety like never before. As a mother of young children, panic and worry are heightened as I lie awake at night thinking about the “what ifs” concerning our kids. Thoughts like, “What if my husband and I both get sick, who will care for the children?” Even reading or watching the daily news brings on feelings of confusion and chaos. Kung nakaka relate ka, I want to encourage you to do three things: Pray, Trust and Declare God’s Truths. Pray. Talk to God and “dump” all your thoughts, worries, and feelings no matter how messy it all sounds. Kahit magulo at hirap intindihin ng iba. It doesn’t have to be formal and coherent. Release all the tension that’s been mounting in your heart and mind. He hears every sound and thought, things we can’t even utter because there are simply no words


– He sees you and hears your heart and He delights in hearing from you, His child. Trust that God is good and He is good at being God. Everywhere we turn these days, we see and hear, “Just trust God.” OK, sige. But does that mean we will regain the things we lost in this season? That everything will go back to “normal” soon? Not necessarily. But we can trust that our God is fully in control, He is always good, and He will never change.

When you are gripped with fear, overwhelmed by depression, anxious about the future, devote some uninterrupted time to soak up God’s truths.

During Christmas season, we also hear a lot about hope. Hope for a dark world with the birth of Jesus Christ. But what is this hope? According to author, speaker and Pastor Erwin Lutzer: “Hope, as understood in the Bible, is not, “I hope everything will turn out okay, but I’m unsure.” Scriptural hope is “confident expectation.” It means we have something to look forward to; and it is something that we can depend on.” He continues – “Hope does not guarantee that life will get easier; hope is the assurance that God will be with us whether it will get easier or not. Hope does not mean that we will be healed; hope means that God is with us in our sickness and even in death. Hope does not promise a change in circumstances; it promises a change of heart. Our faith is best demonstrated not when things are going well but when they are NOT going well.” Know God’s truths. The enemy likes to keep us down and bombards us with outright lies and half-truths. When you are gripped with fear, overwhelmed by depression, anxious about the future, devote some uninterrupted time to soak up God’s truths. Read your Bible, listen to music, watch a sermon, etc. If there is a verse or word that’s speaking to you, memorize it and more importantly, live it. Don’t just be inspired by it, actually apply it. Personally, in these uncertain times I find comfort in the words of an old hymn I grew up singing. Today may you be encouraged as well. COVID or not, we have reason to celebrate. “… Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.” 7


This is Us, and Our Faith

by Lorie and Jed Velarde

Lorie and her husband, Jed, work in the largest online stock brokerage firm in the Philippines. She’s been there for 20 years; started as the Head of the Accounting Department and currently serves as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) . Jed joined the company 5 years ago as an Executive Assistant to the Chairman and now also heads the partnership efforts of the firm. ABOUT US AND OUR FAITH


Jed & Lorie with daughter Vera at 10 years old.


y husband and I met in 1996 at a Christian theater missions group where we became good friends in spite of our age gap. We got married in May of 2002 at the Church of the Risen Lord, U.P. Dilliman. Three years into marriage, our doctor broke the sad news that we only had a 50/50 chance of conceiving. That is when we decided to go through a series of fertility workups which lasted almost 2 years. Every time we received a negative test result we ended up in tears. Each unsuccessful work-up stretched us and our frustration grew. Sharing the journey together has made us appreciate more of each other’s patience and sacrifices and has strengthened our resolve to be there for each other.


Vera at 6 months old

After several failed rounds of fertility work-ups, we finally agreed to stop the medical intervention and start totally trusting God. It was only then we were able to conceive naturally. Unfortunately, our first pregnancy ended with a miscarriage. We were able to get pregnant a second time and the doctors were not optimistic about a live birth. But God had a much better plan and we heard our baby girl’s cry on the 25th day of September 2008. We named her Vera. Vera is a Russian word for ‘faith’ and in Latin it means ‘truth’.

pedia-cardio informed us that Vera had a rare congenital heart defect called Truncus Arteriosus. This is a condition in which, instead of 2 blood vessels coming out of the right and left ventricles, she only had a single one, and that required a crucial heart surgery. We were initially saddened and were faced with a lot of questions like; Why does it have to be us? Why did God bring us to a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the journey of conceiving-miscarriage-conceiving and now a birth defect?



We had learned our baby had a special condition through the pre-natal screening protocols. The

No one likes to be subjected to a surgery or to see a loved one Continued on next page



Even in the time of drought, we sow the seeds as an act of obedience to Him. We chose to overcome rather than to be overwhelmed! subjected to one. But our new born daughter was going to be subjected to two different sets of surgeries, one when she was 4 months old and the other when she was 4 years old. The truth is, we almost lost her. At one point in time, we were practically living in our car parked at the hospital just so we would not have to leave the medical facility. Thirty-three days spent in the hospital ICU and living in a car can be draining -- physically, emotionally and financially. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT US

One day, as we peeked into the ICU unit window where Vera was, we heard a deafening cry of another mother whose child had also been operated on. This mother and child were in the “service ward”. This means they had to cover specific medicines that were not available in the hospital. Her child, Jonah, needed one of those medications desperately. We felt led by God to pray for and encourage the mom and even take care of the needed medicine. Our initial response was: Why do we have to concern ourselves about her child while we have our very own


to worry about? Why do we have to pray for and encourage her and pay for his medicine, while we ourselves need prayers and encouragement and have our own mounting bills to pay? Why?! BECAUSE! Because we could relate… because we could help. We personally knew how hard it is as parents to see a child (our very own) being treated in the hospital for a serious condition. It’s doubly hard to go through the ordeal with limited financial means. We had the choice of ignoring the need of our neighbor justifying that we also have our own needs, but that’s not what God wanted us to do. Even in the time of drought, we sow the seeds as an act of obedience to Him. We chose to OVERCOME RATHER THAN TO BE OVERWHELMED! Baby Jonah survived while our Vera was thriving. WHAT PEOPLE DON’T SEE

A lot of people looked at us, parents of a child with CHD, and would think or say with pity, sadness and gloom, “Oh poor child, she should not have to suffer that way or she’s too young to go through that.” But,


what they didn’t see were the stories of courage, hope, victory, and faith! Vera’s story is indeed a miracle and a testament of God’s sovereignty, provision and faithfulness. Those early days of taking care of her, with all of the doctor visits, hospitalizations, waiting times, and uncertainties led us all the more to hold on to God and to each other. It is only through God’s empowerment that we made it through, one day at a time. FAMILY, FRIENDS AND GOD’S PROMISE

It was helpful for us to focus on seeing Vera thrive rather than give in to dismal, negative thoughts. This was re-enforced by the caring group of family and friends who walked alongside us especially during those extra tough days. We were also glad to have fellow believers who kept us grounded on the Word. We held on to God’s promise in Zechariah 8:12, “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.” SUSTAINED

There were a few key reasons why we were sustained during our ordeal. As husband and wife, the power of agreement for our child was paramount! Seeing opportunities to be a blessing helped us in

Vera at 12 years old

the waiting process. Surrounding ourselves with fellow believers who would journey with us, releases the power of Christian fellowship. Of course, it helps to be firmly anchored on God’s promises. MESSAGE TO THE PARENTS

To parents who are going through similar circumstance: Live, operate and declare God’s Word together as a team. Be there for each other, invite God in your journey and run with His word. Give some spaces to release the tension; cry, be vulnerable but after that, pick each other up. I think that as a couple, you have to learn to move forward. Moving forward demands courage and requires us to have hope, that this story is not just about God, but it’s a story about Him living and working in us.



Dealing with Grief During Christmas by Alleana Fuentes, MS, Mental Health Therapist


ere is a pinch of insight from Alleana:

• … grief or pighati, ito ay “natural, normal, emotional response as a result of a loss.”… Any sort of loss can bring about this sensation this response, this feeling of grief. • … being available with our presence is the best thing that we can offer. • Minsan, kinekwestyon pa natin yung mga tao kung nakapag-move on na sila, … that’s something that we don’t want to demand from people because, … there’s no timeline in grief. • Hindi tayo nandoon para ayusin yung nararamdaman nila but we’re there to really sit with them through the pain, through the grief and be there for them. • We may not have the ideal way of mourning the loss, but your loss is still valid, the grieving and emotions that you’re feeling


are still very much real and true and you’re allowed to feel what you’re feeling. • Personal relationship with Christ really does help as well in getting that hope that maybe we can’t find. • Everyone grieves differently, may mga personal na journey path ang bawat tao sa pag-grieve so hindi natin siyang sabihin na isang strict timeline lang. • As cliche as it may sound, the easiest way out of grief is actually through it. Preno -proseso natin yung grief. • Actually, the more that we run away from it, the more we deny it, mas mapro-prolong ang grieving process. • … it’s really important for us to allow ourselves to just feel those feelings, even though it’s difficult, little by little until we reach a place where we’re okay. • In this time of grieving, I think mahalagang mag-turn din tayo

FACEBOOK @momsmagazine



As cliche as it may sound, the easiest way out of grief is actually through it. Preno -proseso natin yung grief.

sa Bible at makakita ng source of comfort. • Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” So when we feel like we can’t handle it on our own anymore, we also have Christ to turn to, to help us as we weep, as we mourn, as we grieve.


How to Deal with Grief Ms. Alleana Fuentes shares insights on how to process grief and help those who are grieving.

When Grief Meets Hope A story of a father who found hope after losing his son during the pandemic.



Just Asking Here are some teaching and learning take-aways for every family. CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES MAYBE.

with Pastor Peter Banzon QUESTION

Our income has been affected by the pandemic. What should I do? This year, I don’t think I’ll be able to give the same amount of Christmas gifts to my children.


hildren always look forward to receiving gifts at Christmas while parents take great delight in giving it to their beloved kids. But our nation’s economy has been hit hard by the long pandemic affecting the world and lessening our income this year. I believe your children have an awareness of this difficult situation because of the long lockdowns as well as their education being confined to online learning (classes). This can be a learning and teaching opportunity for both you and your kids. 14

Tell them that despite the continuing pandemic they will have a meaningful Christmas celebration. Even if many families face a lot of limitations during Christmas, everyone should still celebrate because we have received the most wonderful gift of all, Jesus Christ our Savior. Jesus is still the reason for the season. Read the story of Jesus’ birth with them from the gospel of Luke chapter 2 and talk about what Christmas is really all about. BE THANKFUL FOR GIFTS NO MATTER HOW LARGE OR SMALL.

Gift-giving will always be part of Christmas but there will be times that the number of gifts will be limited due to different circumstances. Tell them to be thankful for whatever they will receive this year. Sometimes we forget to be grateful for the blessings we receive from God because we look for big things and neglect to appreciate the many small things that fill our needs each day. As a family, make a list of blessings that all of you received from God and then end this time by thanking God for what He has given.


Teach your kids to trust God in the face of challenges and difficulties. You can do this by being an example of trust and confidence in God’s power and care for all His children. When things go wrong don’t be a complainer but express confidence

that God will help you to overcome the problem. The Bible contains many of God’s promises to help and provide for us in our time of need, read and learn them with your family. Pray with your children. This is a powerful example of trusting God! Have a blessed and most Merry Christmas. God bless us all!


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.