PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE – Part2 Devotional: …………………………….……………. “My Father’s Business” …..……………..…………. Lillian Javellana Editor’s Thoughts: ………………… ……...…… “A Purpose Driving Life” …………… Ardys Joy Caballero-Gadia
“Those Who Leave & Those Who Stay, How are They Different” …….. Nem Mortel Tambalque, AB- Theo’80 “Paving the Way For Others” ……………………………………………….. Andrea Aguirre Saguan, BSN’72 “Where There Is A Will…” …………………………………………………..……………….. Cristy Ligsay, BSSA’93 “God’s Way Is Best” …………………………..…………………………. Verna Lynn Ong-Peduche, MVCA’84
SULADS Corner ………………………..”Report from East Visayan Conference” …………………………… .. Fred L. Webb Patch of Weeds: ……………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………. Jessie Colegado LIFE of a Missionary: ……………… “Tokelau: The World’s Online Superpower” ..…….…..…….. Romulo M. Halasan Farewell Speech of the Class of 2016’ President ……………………………………..…………………….…… Deonnel A. Peren
CLOSING: Announcements |From The Mail Bag| Prayer Requests | Acknowledgments Meet The Editors |Closing Thoughts | Miscellaneous
Today’s Banner: The photo above is of beautiful purple flowers that seem to grace many parks & parking lots in Loma Linda this year. Calibrachoa superbells. Some call them Million Bells. They look like small petunias. Lack of water, poor soil, extreme temperatures which drop to single digits in the winter nights and soar to a scorching 120F in summer afternoons plus seemingly neglect do not stop them from blooming vibrantly. They simply SHINE ON!
Devotional: “My Father’s Business” by Lillian Javellana, BSN’81
"And He said to them, "Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?" Luke 2:49
was thrilled to see my wiggly earthworm friends in my garden as I was preparing the soil for spring planting. Although they remained seemingly unnoticed underneath the soil, these humble creatures keep themselves busy doing their job which is aerating and fertilizing the soil through their actions. They do not need a cheering squad to urge them to perform their job, nor do they expect an applause for their accomplishments. They just steadily toil in the dark, under the earth, serving the purpose of their existence. As a result we humans reap the benefits of their humble toil through an abundant harvest of fruit and vegetables from our garden. The earthworms live a "purpose driven life." Their purpose is to be a blessing to this earth and to us. Have you ever wondered what the purpose of your life is? What on earth are you here for? Have you ever heard the saying that goes, "We didn’t come about by accident"? I have, and I have learned and known that God has a plan and a purpose for every living creature that He made no matter how minute they are that we could not see them with our naked eye, or how huge and gigantic they are. God has given a task for each one (or each thing) to be accomplished. To some He assigned humble and lowly tasks and to others high and lofty ones. But whether lowly or lofty it is to serve His purpose which means all of them are important. But what is God's purpose for my life? It was important for me to know that as I easily get distracted from one task to another. I may start doing something and in the process, I see other things that I need to do. Pretty soon I find myself working on that project completely forgetting what I had started working on in the first place. In the end I accomplish nothing. Have you ever experienced that? Wouldn’t it be scary if we do not know God's purpose for our lives? It would be like a nightmare to find out that we had run out of time and we have not done our tasks and judgment day has come! The difference between a nightmare and reality is that you could wake up from a nightmare and realize it is not really happening. But reality doesn’t work that way. This has happened to me so many times. I would dream that I was back in school and towards the end of the schoolyear I would discover that I have not done my projects or have not attended classes so I could not graduate. My dream would turn into a nightmare but
what a relief it is to wake up to find out that it was just a dream! But what if it is reality and there is no waking up? God wants us to know His purpose in our lives. He will not expect us to know if He did not reveal it to us. Jesus said in John 5:39 "Search the scripture for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me." As I searched the scriptures to find what God’s purpose is in my personal life, He led me to the following verses:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." 1 Corinthians 10:31 "Therefore whether you eat or drink, or WHATEVER YOU DO, do ALL to the glory of God." Matthew 20:28, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Luke 2:49, “And He said to them, "Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"’
Jesus is our ULTIMATE EXAMPLE. To know God's purpose in our lives is to follow Jesus Who lived a purpose driven life. He lived a life of service all for the glory of God, from the manger to the cross and up to the grave He was about doing His Father's business: the business of saving sinners like you and me. Fulfilling the Plan of Redemption. That was the purpose why Jesus came. Now, as I study God's word and learn more and more about Jesus, the Holy Spirit has placed in my heart the desire to be like Him. I have come to know that my profession is just a tool He has given me so that I could serve Him and my fellowmen. To reflect Jesus in my life, so that precious souls will be drawn to Him. Therefore whatever I do, it must for the glory of God. I must be about my Father's business. That is the purpose for my life. How about you? Have you discovered your purpose in life? Are you going about our Father's business? By God's grace, I hope and pray that you are.
"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down, at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 Lillian C. Javellana (BSN’81) writes from Palmdale, California where she SHINES ON! as a nursing administrator and where she enjoys her passion for gardening and for sharing God’s word.
by Ardys Joy Caballero-Gadia, BSN’91
he February 26, 2016 issue of CyberFlashes was about “Purpose Driven Life.” To help demonstrate a small portion of what it means to live a purpose driven life, we featured happy puppies living a life so filled with purpose. Then we segued to a scenario where folks appear to have lost a purpose in life, bringing in the awareness that suicide rate in the Philippines has risen by 12% in women and 6% in men (World Health Org Statistics 2012) and, even more alarmingly, worldwide. I was surprised when CF readers reacted telling us how much they enjoyed that issue. We received requests to talk a little bit more about this topic. Hence today, we present “Purpose Driven Life – Part2” where we will segue on to a light awareness of one of the many causes of suicide: depression. When purpose is gone.
Joseph’s Story Joseph had every right to claim depression. He was born into a turbulent home. His dad Jacob was truly in love with his mom Rachel but in that same household lived a total of 4 women who were legally his dad’s wives. That brought much unwanted drama into the home. There was strife, intrigue, pettiness and jealousies. Leah was Joseph’s aunt, his mom’s sister and his dad’s first wife. As first wife and mother of Jacob’s first born son, she ruled the household. Zilpah was the handmaid of Leah and was obligated by custom to do as Leah dictated. She was also a wife of Joseph’s dad and the mother of his half-brothers Gad and Asher. (Gen 30:9-11). Bilhah was the handmaid of Rachel; by their custom she was obligated to do as Rachel ordered. She was also the wife of Joseph’s dad and the mother of his halfbrothers Dan and Naphtali. (Gen 30:7) I heard it said that in the written script of the Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages the character depicting two women under one roof is the word for misery, war, or despair. I do not speak either of those languages so I do not know. But Joseph could attest that FOUR women under one roof spelled disaster. As the four women competed for their husband’s affection, the Bible tells that not only had they no qualms about using their sons as weapons but that their animosity had also rubbed off on their children. Add to the fact that Jacob seemed to openly favor Joseph over all this children, Joseph’s home was a turbulent battlefield of emotional warfare. How depressing to be born into such an environment, right? The sons of Jacob’s four wives grew. One day the younger brother Joseph started having dreams of everyone bowing down to him. This caused the volatile situation to explode. At the first chance his brothers got, they decided to kill the boy. Thankfully his oldest brother Reuben (who ironically was also Leah’s first born and Jacob’s eldest son), stepped in and stopped his brothers from killing Joseph. Instead, they sold the kid to traders. How depressing it would be to be betrayed by your own blood! How traumatic it must have been to be physically and emotionally hurt and then sold knowing you will never see your family again! Do you remember Sarah’s maid Hagar, who bore Abraham a son Ishmael? It was his descendants, the Ishmaelite traders, that Joseph was sold to.
Joseph lost his freedom. He became a slave in Egypt. But because he resolved in his heart and mind to be completely true to the God of Heaven, he never succumbed to bitterness or depression. Instead, he decided to do the very best in everything he was doing and to keep his heart in constant worship of Jehovah. Surrounded by a variety of Egyptian gods and pagan practices, Joseph resolved that he would not partake of this no matter what. He was consistent. He became the most trusted servant in the household of Egypt’s 2nd most powerful man, Potiphar. He was entrusted with much. Life was good. Alas – his boss’ wife, Mrs. Potiphar – falsely accused him of assaulting her, so Joseph was thrown into jail and seemingly forgotten. He was a slave after all and owned by Potiphar. How depressing it was to be falsely accused of a crime and be sent to prison indefinitely for it! How depressing it was that your contributions to the job meant nothing, your promotion to the top spot in the organization (household of Potiphar) forgotten. I can only imagine what kind of criminals he had to live with in prison and what atrocities he witnessed there. I can only imagine what despair others succumbed to knowing that the small confines of the prison walls may be their home forever. But again, Joseph, who had already learned that he serves a faithful and caring God refused to be angry, depressed or despondent. If people mocked him for not serving the Egyptian gods and if they attributed his string of “bad luck” to the gods being angry, we do not know, but we know that Joseph stayed faithful to the God of Heaven. We also know that when he was sold as a slave and even when he rose to power, he never went around telling people that he was an Israelite, a member of a chosen nation. Instead, at every opportunity he had he told others of the powerful God of Heaven and he lived a life that Heaven would approve of. Just like the Lamb at Calvary, there are no records of Joseph fighting against his captors or using his influence to undermine them. His life had a clear purpose: it was to worship and glorify the God of Heaven at all times. More than a dozen years passed. When Pharaoh had dreams he wanted the meaning of, a former fellow prisoner remembered Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams. He informed the king of this. The king got Joseph out of prison. He gave the king a very satisfactory interpretation of his dreams so the king appointed Joseph as Egypt’s governor second only to Pharaoh. Did he go on to speak ill of Potiphar and his wife? Did he refer (speak about) the bad things that happened to him in his life? There were no exclusive interviews. There were no angry posts in social media. There were no lawsuits for unjust imprisonment. Instead, he wasted no time and went on forward making wise decisions for the kingdom. Why didn’t he fight back? Was it because he was weak? I would say Joseph had a lot of strength because he did the opposite of what human tendencies are. I would say he got his inner strength from frequent communion with his Heavenly Father. I would say revenge was simply not part of his agenda or purpose. He remained focused on his purpose to live a life fully acceptable to God. Yes, he had every reason to become depressed, to be mad, to demand compensation. But he chose not to fetter himself with these emotional handcuffs that could easily become a debilitating prison. Instead, he purposed in his heart to serve God with all that he had, no matter what. When things got very bad, the only thing that was certain for him was the God whom he believed in would care for him. Regardless of the enormity of his multiple life-altering hardships, he had the inner strength to tide him through, enough to preserve his sanity, enough to give him hope. Today, we shall dig deeper into the secrets of living a purpose driving life. Joseph’s secret was knowing IN WHOM he believed and he stayed focused. It was the secret of his great success.
ack of water, poor soil, extreme temperatures which drop to single digits in winter nights and soar to a scorching 120F (48.9C) in summer, plus the seeming neglect of gardeners – any of these conditions would make a plant wilt and die but not the calibrachoa! These beautiful flowers that look like small petunias thrive in the arid environment of Loma Linda. Some say they are “hardy perennials” because they don’t freeze and die in the winter; instead they simply go dormant but bloom again when the weather gets warmer. Some call them “weak perennials” because they last for only about 2-3 years before they die. But whether hardy or weak, they inspire me to SHINE ON no matter what the conditions are! I would like that to be me – to SHINE ON despite how unfavorable the environment may be. Personally, I don’t really care what others say but I do so desperately want my Creator to say that I did SHINE ON no matter what. At the end, I would want for Him to say, “Well done.” This week we are blessed with testimonies of MVC alumni who, like the calibrachoas, refuse to get discouraged with their hardships. Like Joseph, they refused to be crippled by their circumstances. They refused to be held prisoners by feelings of self-pity and defeat. Instead, they STOOD UP in spite of adversity and held on tightly to their faith in God. They actively PURPOSED in their hearts to serve and worship God no matter what. They CONSCIOUSLY chose to live a purpose-driven life! We have many examples of MVCians who did just that. Today’s testimonies are a small sample of that. If you have a testimony to share, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our editors to share your story! (Our email addresses are at the “Meet the Editors” portion of this newsletter, towards the end.)
“Those Who Leave & Those Who Stay, How are They Different?”
by Nem Mortel Tabalque, AB-Theo’80 am going home! The work is too heavy for me! I miss my family! I don’t have friends here! People here don’t even speak my language! I think I am better off at home! Coming to MVC was a mistake!”
Sitting at the office of the president of MVC and forgetting his previously rehearsed speech, the young working student Nem Tambalque blurted out the anguish of his heart. Dr. Agripino C. Segovia stood up from his chair and walked to where Nem sat with his young face troubled and his shoulders hunched.
“Why?” Dr. Segovia quietly but kindly asked looking straight into Nem’s eyes. His voice calmer now, Nem explained the many reasons why he felt he did not belong in MVC. He admitted that he was not sure what his future would be if he quit MVC, or if he would even get an education at that point. But he also explained how unhappy he was. Patiently, Dr. Segovia listened as Nem unburdened his heart. Then Dr. Segovia started telling stories. He mentioned successful people – most of whom Nem knew or had heard of. He told him about their struggles as working students: their hardships, heartaches, and victories. He pointed out where these people were at with their careers and the significant difference they were making in society. He spelled out how they were able to care for their own families and for those in need. Nem listened, intrigued. His heart was softening, the paralyzing pain receding. Dr. Segovia shared that he too was a working student once and had feelings of discouragement from time to time. But he stayed in school, worked to earn his way through until he graduated. “And THAT is the difference between those who stay and those who leave!” the president concluded before he and Nem knelt for prayer. The college president did not hold Nem back from going home nor did he tell Nem what to do. He simply listened to Nem, told a few stories about former working students of MVC then had prayer with the young man. Nem thought about all that Dr. Segovia said. He thought about the beautiful prayer said in his behalf. Never had he heard such a prayer -- he was stunned! So lovingly had the college president entreated God’s help and blessing in his behalf that Nem could not help but think, “here is someone who was not a family member but who really cares about me!” Nem decided to stay. He also decided that on graduation day each semester he would go to the Florence Kern Auditorium and watch the graduates march down the aisle. He would identify which of them were working students like him and he would quietly celebrate their success in his heart.
he second child of four, Nem first heard of Mountain View College when he was in high school. He heard of the ministerial training there and the work-study program. Then one summer, MVC’s Field School of Evangelism was held in his hometown of Odiongan, Romblon. As he observed the activities of the MVC students, his desire to study for the ministry at MVC was rekindled and solidified. This was what he really wanted to do! However, his parents had other ideas. They suggested that their son go to Philippine Union College (Baesa) which was much closer to home (Romblon) than MVC (Mindanao). So Nem went to PUC. During his first semester at PUC he worked at the food factory to earn his way through school. The second semester he was in class. Although he did enroll at PUC for ministerial training, his heart remained heavy. He really wanted to go to MVC and PUC was ... well, PUC was not MVC!
The following year found Nem finally in Mindanao and enrolled at MVC. It also found Nem in the office of the college president reassessing whether he made the right choice to come to MVC! But Dr. Segovia's prayer and encouragement touched the very core of his heart. He stayed. He worked. He studied. As a fulltime working student, Nem worked at the New Hydroelectric Plant (Hydro2) under the supervision of Engineer Eugenio M. Porteza. They were the first group of full-time working students assigned to Hydro2. He later worked at the food factory under the supervision of Mr. Anselmo T. Nermal then at the security department under the leadership of Mr. Danny Lamanero and then at the PE department as a student assistant to Mrs. Luz N. Frasco. He also joined the student canvassing work to earn funds for his tuition. He graduated in 1980, successfully reaching his dreams and was later ordained to the gospel ministry. Today, Nem is the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Haiti Adventist University in Haiti. He is also the Graduate Coordinator for the Inter-American Theological Seminary based in Haiti. Prior to serving in the country of Haiti, he was the head of the Department of Theology of South Philippine Adventist College (SPAC) at Digos, Davao del Sur. He has served in the beautiful country of Ethiopia in Africa as the head of the Department of Theology at Ethiopia Adventist College. And he was also chosen to serve as the first Dean of the School of Theology of Mountain View College. Recapping lessons he has learned through his experiences, Dr Nemuel Mortel Tambalque states: “Perseverance. Responsibility. Dedication. Dependability. All these are inseparable from each other and are the positive fruition of a work-and-study program intertwined as the true essence of Christian education. In the mission field I have realized that when we do more than what we are originally hired to do, we do that because we learned how to do that in MVC as working students. We become “all-around” well rounded individuals, able to do many things, and having more skills than average. I realize that what I am, who I am, what I do, where I work now and in the past, are not what I originally dreamed of while a student in MVC. I learned skills and lessons through the years; they just came to me one after another. Back then I just wanted to finish college and be a church pastor or district pastor somewhere. But God had other plans for me, better plans that I could even imagine for my own self. I gained more because of God's leading through dedicated mentors and Christian education. God was there all the time to hold me and pick me up when I faltered, to guide my steps when I needed it, and to fill me with joy and peace. God’s unfailing grace and mercy make life enjoyable. All praises to Him.” REPRINT from CF 20130607 |Dr. Nem Mortel Tabalque (AB-Theo’80) wrote from the French speaking country of Haiti where he and his wife Lyn lives. There he SHINES ON! as both the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Haiti Adventist University and the Graduate Coordinator for the Inter-American Theological Seminary which is also based in Haiti.
“Paving the Way for Others”
Andrea Aguirre-Saguan, BSN’72
S members of the first class of MVC School of Nursing, things were more difficult for us. First, MVC never had a school of nursing before so we had to be careful because whatever we did, good or bad, would directly reflect on the school. If we passed the boards then MVCSN could go on. But if we failed, then that could be the end of MVCSN. One way or another we knew we would directly impact the lives of many future MVC-trained nurses. Needless to say, we felt much pressure! Second, in our aim to do well we had no model to look up to. So we simply decided on what a model nurse should look and act like and became that model to the “lower classes”, the classes that came after us. Third, we did not have a diverse team of clinical instructors like you have today. We had Miss Burnett from Loma Linda University. She was knowledgeable and strict. And fourth, we did not have a home hospital to do our internship at like you do today. Our clinical training took place at Miller Sanitarium & Hospital at Cebu City. The next year it was at Mindanao Sanitarium & Hospital at Iligan City when the MVCSN building construction was completed.
But none of that held us back. We learned much. We grew up. We had fun. he main focus of the training during our time was on MedSurg and Rural Health Nursing. I had incredibly excellent clinical instructors and nursing directors who showed me by example how to give the best nursing care to my patients relating to their diagnosis and beyond. The book knowledge was demonstrated at the clinical setting. Mrs. Pefanco, our nursing director at Miller San, was willing to listen to us and our concerns. She was very professional and kind. I decided I wanted to be like her. Because I loved MedSurg, nursing I later specialized in cardiovascular rehabilitation, trauma care and burn care. As I look back at the years I worked as a registered nurse, I am glad I pursued nursing. I am glad I persevered and did not allow hardship and discouragement to hold me back. I am also glad that I had the opportunity to contribute to the profession by training and mentoring new graduates each year as they came to our unit. Andrea A. Saguan (BSN’72) writes from the state of Kentucky where she SHINES ON! each day. She opted for early retirement which she is enjoying immensely with her husband. They enjoy organic gardening, the Back to Eden Method.
“Where There is a Will, There is a Way” by Cristy Ligsay, BSSA’93
he little girl with shiny black hair stared in amazement at the firm large tomatoes her older sister Liza had brought home from MVC. She had never seen tomatoes this large before! She knew they would taste wonderful! She reverently picked one up, and cradling it with both hands she inhaled deeply its sweet aroma as her sister regaled the gathered family with stories about Mountain View College, her experiences there as a working student and the many things she was learning. In the little girl’s heart a desire to study at MVC was taking root. For the next few days she would think and dream of these possibilities. The little girl, Cristy Ligsay, was born to a poor family in North Cotabato. She and her siblings Ana, Liza, Oscar, Orlando and Rustico Jr belonged to a close knit family that loved morning and evening worship. Their parents were hardy folks who often opened their home to those in need. Everyone shared with the workload at home. Cristy finally went to MVC after she graduated from high school. She enrolled as a full time working student and took classes whenever she could. She worked as an assistant dean at the Ruby Hall (women’s dorm), served as a student secretary to Dr. Edgar Lloren at the Theology Department, and also served as a student secretary at the office of the Director of Student Affairs. Her duties included working in the MVC Post Office, the admissions office and the secretarial office. She added, “I felt much joy in MVC even though I didn’t get enough sleep because I had to work hard and even though I didn’t have any cash or have nice clothes or shoes. My bosses were very appreciative of whatever I did and everyone was so nice. At MVC, I felt God everywhere. I did not witness any greed, jealousy, strife, etc. As I worked to earn my way through school I learned to become more responsible. I learned to rely on God for everything, to supply all my needs. I learned to be content, to be joyful, friendly, kind and prayerful. I became a vegetarian. I learned to value time. I enjoyed the church services, and thrived in the close platonic friendship everyone had with each other. Cristy graduated from MVC in 1993 with a degree in BSSA (secretarial). After graduation she served as a departmental secretary at the East Visayan Conference in Tacloban City before becoming an administrative secretary. She later went to the United States and studied nursing. Her siblings, also full time working students in MVC at one time, now serve in different parts of the world: Liza teaches at a church school in the Southern Mindanao Mission area. Ana is a business woman in Taiwan. Oscar got injured however his wife Nora serves as MVC’s Director of Student Finance. Rustico Jr is a district pastor in southern Mindanao. Orlando is a head barangay leader in their barrio.
REPRINT from CF 20130607 |Cristy Ligsay (BSSA’93) wrote from Kansas City, Missouri, USA, where she lives. She SHINES ON! as a registered nurse and enjoys gardening and helping people.
“God’s Way Is Best”
by Verna Lynn Ong-Peduche, MVC Academy’84
n January 2006, I started a subspecialty training at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila. The 1-year program was tough; I had to study real hard. On the first week we were given research work to do and requirements to accomplish. I did fine with the theory aspect but with the practical side I had a difficult time catching up. I felt that my seniors, who were mostly guiding and mentoring us, were also frustrated with me. I started to get discouraged and to wonder if I would make it. I reported for duty on January 2. Two weeks into the training I got sick with German measles. Although I was sick and my fever high, I still kept reporting for duty determined to persevere. But a few days later I woke up with severe pain on my right foot and thigh. The pain was so bad I couldn’t walk; I had to crawl to the bathroom. Then the same foot and thigh started to swell. At that point I finally called my department chair that I couldn’t report to work. Providentially, some friends took me to the hospital where I was admitted. My husband took the first available flight to be at my side. I still couldn’t walk and had to be carried to the bathroom as needed. For 10 days I stayed in the hospital. My doctors were baffled but they could not come up with a diagnosis. Daily blood tests were done; some were pretty routine while others I had never heard of. A biopsy was performed. My doctors worried. I started to get worried too! “Lord,” I prayed, "I hope it’s not something serious!" I had to take steroids for a month after discharge. You can only imagine how I looked! I was limping and I was starting to get a “moon face” from the steroids but I had a bright smile because I was so happy to be out of the hospital. Because I missed so much training and was not fully well, I made arrangements to take leave and resume my training in July. My request was granted! Back home, I restarted the clinic I closed that December. For the next 3 months I tried to build my practice again. My former patients started to come back and I got new ones as well. On the last week of June just as I was preparing to return to my training at the Philippine General Hospital I received a call from the General Conference Headquarters asking if I was willing to work in Africa. I don’t remember consulting my husband and family, I simply said yes. We were given 3 weeks to prepare even though I asked for 3 months. I called the department chair at PGH and explained that I was going to Africa to serve instead. She asked if I was sure of my decision and I said I was. I told her this is probably why the Lord allowed me to be sick because He had something much better planned for my life. My two favorite texts: Romans 8:28 and Proverbs 3: 5, 6
Verna Lynn Ong-Peduche (MVCA’84) writes from the African country of Zambia where she serves as a missionary doctor. With her are her husband Gemini Peduche and their two children.
SULADS’ Corner: “Report from East Visayan Conference” By Fred L. Webb. March 23-24, 2016
e arrived in Tacloban about 2½ hours late at 3:30 p.m. March 23, but the treasurer, president and Sabbath School director were there to meet us. We went directly to the Conference headquarters and ate a long delayed lunch! After enjoying that, we proceeded to the office of Pastor Samuel Salloman, president of East Visayan Conference (EVC) and Laarni de Leon who serves as treasurer. We went over the proposed MOA. From the beginning of the discussion, it seemed that EVC may not be able to comply with the non-Christian policy recently adopted by GO. The current administration could not immediately think of any non-Christian communities within their territory. There are many, many barangays on the Island of Samar where the people CLAIM to be Catholics but in fact are animistic in world view. It seems a shame to deny these villages the privilege learning of the true path to salvation because of our policy. If this policy persists, EVC will have to give up their GO workers. We stayed in a budget hotel overnight as EVC has not yet been able to fund the rebuilding of their own guest rooms after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. We slept early as we set our alarm for 3:30 a.m. to leave at 4:00 a.m. to visit all five of the GO workers in this conference. About 8:00 a.m. we met Wilfredo Fugoso in Llorente at the church there. In the approximately 6 years he has worked in this area, he has seen about 120 persons baptized. Unfortunately, due to people moving to other areas and to some backsliding, the current number of members attending services is only about half that number. Total attendance at Sabbath Services is about 80. Obviously, Wilfredo's term here has exceeded the 5 years allowed in spite of notification last year that he needed to be transferred. I told the current administration that GO must withdraw from this area. I did, however, give them until June 30 to complete the work here. Llorente is the farthest GO site from Tacloban. On the return trip, we stopped at the other GO sites. The first of these was the town of General MacArthur. While Venerando Tomoling, Jr. has been in General MacArthur for only 9 months, the
GO work in this area exceeds the 5 year term. There are about 20 persons attending the Sabbath Services regularly even though more have been baptized. Vennie has been active in reaching out for more interests right up to the present time. Likewise, GO must withdraw from support of work in General MacArthur.
Left: Church in Llorente. Right: the district leader, President Samuel Salloman, Wilfredo Fugoso, & Fred Webb
Left: Verenado Tomoling stands by church. Right: Members in General MacArthur
he next stop was in Giporlos where GO worker Joel Villarente has been laboring. Giporlos was one of those areas of Samar Island that were very hard hit by Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013. When I visited here last year, the group was meeting in a tent. Today, they have a temporary church where they can worship the Lord. Joel reports that about 10 of the 20 regular attendees are baptized. He is studying with several more and is hoping for more baptisms in the very near future.
Lawaan was the next area to be visited. Jonathan Fernandez is the first GO worker in Lawaan beginning June, 2015. He has been very active and has gathered a group of about 20 that attend each Sabbath. Baptisms will be forthcoming very soon. Jonathan is studying with a number of individuals meeting with at least one group every day of the week. If the policy of non-Christian areas is enforced, this may be the only project left in EVC and that only for the next 4 years. The final stop was at the Legazpi church in Marabut. Hansel Agrade is the GO worker there for the past 2 years. He arrived in January, 2014, after the Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013. It has been his struggle to bring back together the scattered flock when their church building was completely destroyed by the typhoon. He has about 60 who regularly attend Sabbath Services. About 40 of those have been baptized. He is still reaching out to the community with Bible studies and community services. Again, this project has been funded by GO for more than five years and I gave them till June 30 to close the GO work in this area. We returned to our hotel at about 3:00 p.m.
Left: Church & Sign. Right: Joelâ€™s home.
Left: Fred with Jonathan Fernandez. Right: Community Center in Lawaan. This conference has been hit very hard by the Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. The rebuilding has been difficult and the finances of this area are stretched very thin. For this reason, I believe the overstaying of our GO workers in these 4 areas should be understandable. I have made it very plain, however, to the new administration that the time is limited to June 30. We will have to remain in contact to see what transpires in the next three months. I believe, also, that the previous administration has used GO very profitably. There are at least 6 current district leaders who have worked under the GO program. The testimony of both these district leaders and the former conference administrator that the discipline learned in the GO work has prepared them well for the work they are now doing. ÂŠ SULADS International, Inc. If you would like to support this mission program dedicated to taking the Gospel to the people of Mindanao, please write a check to Gospel Outreach. Mark it for the SULADS and send it to: Gospel Outreach P.O. Box 8 College Place, WA 99324 You may also donate to the SULADS using your credit card by logging on to Gospel Outreach's donation site (http://www.goaim.org/) and follow the directions. Again, mark it for SULADS. If you would prefer, you may write your check to the General Conference of SDA and mark the donation for SULADS and send it to: General Conference of SDA Donations 12501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring, MD 20904 Thank you for your support of this very important project.
“Pleasure for A Season”
ummy, my turtle's dead," the little boy, Andrew, sorrowfully told his mother, holding the turtle out to her in his hand.
The mother kissed him on the head, then said, "That's all right. We'll wrap him in tissue paper, put him in a little box, then have a nice burial ceremony in the back yard. After that, we'll go out for an ice cream soda, and then get you a new pet." "Ice cream?" the little boy said, wiping his tears and smiling. "Oh boy!" His mother said: "I don't want you..." Her voice trailed off as she noticed the turtle move. "Andrew, you're turtle isn't dead after all!" "Oh," the disappointed boy said. "Can I kill it?"
“Doubling the Recipe”
r. & Mrs. Goober have been back from their honeymoon for two weeks when Mr. Goober comes home from work and says that he has invited four of his friends from the office home for dinner on Friday night.
Mrs. Goober is a bit apprehensive and asks if she must cook a meal for the four. The husband explains that there will be eight coming because each will bring his wife. Since this is their first party, the husband consoles her by saying that all she has to do is get some Chinese food in and perhaps she can bake a cake. This sounds like a good idea, and they sit down and decide what Chinese food to get. Friday morning Mrs. Goober calls the office in tears. She explains that the only cake recipe she has will only feed six. Hubby says, "Why don't you just double the recipe?" She decides that is a good idea. At four, hubby gets another phone call -- this time quite frantic. "I just can't do it," wifey weeps. "It's impossible." "Now, now, what's the matter?" "Well, the recipe calls for two eggs..." "So, you use FOUR eggs. Don't you have them?" "Yes -- then it needs 4 cups of flour."
"Well," Mr. Goober says rather testily, "you will have to use 8 cups of flour --what is the problem?" "It isn't the ingredients," Mrs. Goober sobs, "it says that the cake must be baked at 350 degrees and I have checked the oven, and I can't turn the heat up to 700 degrees!" (From Cybersalt Digest)
“Smart Eyes” first-grader came to the ophthalmology office where I work to have his vision checked. He sat down, and I turned off the lights. Then I switched on a projector that flashed the letters F, Z, and B on a screen. I asked the boy what he saw.
Without hesitation he replied, "Consonants." (From Stephen Downing via Reader's Digest)
“Black Coffee in a Clean Cup” ill and Doug went into a diner that looked as though it had seen better days. As they slid into a booth, Bill wiped some crumbs from the seat. Then he took a napkin and wiped some moisture from the table.
The waitress came over and asked if they wanted some menus. "No thanks," said Doug. "I'll just have a cup of black coffee." "I'll have black coffee, too," Bill said. "And please make sure the cup is clean." The waitress shot him a nasty look. She turned and marched off into the kitchen. Two minutes later, she was back. "Two cups of black coffee," she announced, sternly. "Which one of you wanted the clean cup?" (From Sermon Fodder)
“Over Five Years” out-of-towner in New York at the height of the tourist season decided to revisit an uptown restaurant he'd enjoyed on a previous trip to the city.
Finally catching the eye of an overworked waiter, he said, "You know, it's been over five years since I first came in here." "I'm sorry, but you'll have to wait your turn, sir," replied the waiter with typical New York charm. "I can only serve one table at a time."
(From ArcaMax Jokes)
“Lion and Lamb” few years ago the Pope visited New York and was taken around by Henry Kissinger. They visited the Bronx Zoo and Kissinger showed the Pope one cage where a lion was with a young lamb, which snuggled up next to the lion.
The Pope was amazed. "For 2,000 years, we've prayed for signs of the messianic era and the prophecy that the lion will lie down next to the lamb. I see you must really be a man of peace. How did you do it?" To which Kissinger replied, "All it needs is a new lamb every day!" (From Big Mac Clean Joke Attack)
“The Job of Kissing”
ran across something from an old Focus on the Family magazine where Deena McClure wrote the following: “With our meal completed, I brought a homemade apple pie to the table, placed it in front of my husband and gave him a kiss. Our 6-year old, Mary, asked, ‘Why do you and Daddy kiss so much?’ Before I could reply, our 9-year old son interrupted, ‘because, silly, it’s their job!’” Oh how we wish more married couples would see that importance of kissing! This brought to mind something that happened recently when we were babysitting our niece’s kids while she was in the hospital delivering their baby brother. Steve and I were preparing lunch when he pulled me closer & gave me a big kiss. Just then my 4-year old niece came in & smiled. Steve remarked to her, “I do that because I love your Aunt Cindy.” She gave the cutest little giggle. Later that day, she was drawing a chalk picture of some faces on the cement. I asked her who those people were. She said, “This is Uncle Steve and this is you.” She then drew the arms and legs. I remarked to her that I only had one arm and so did Uncle Steve. She said, ‘that’s because you’re hugging behind your backs.’ Then she smiled and said, “I saw you kiss.” I smiled & asked her how it made her feel. She said, “I liked it.” That brought the fond memory to mind of our son David, when he was a little guy, and how he used to hug Steve and I together when he’d see us hugging each other. He seemed so happy to see his parents showing love to each other. Something that Dr Debbie L. Cherry wrote confirms what I’m trying to convey here: "One of the best things any of us can do for our children is to provide them with a strong marital model. Children need to know that their parents love not only them, but also each other. The child’s sense of security grows as he/she sees parents loving each other. To put your marriage on hold for 18 or more years while you raise the children is not only detrimental to the marriage, it’s devastating to the children. When the parental team breaks down and begins to disintegrate, the children become the biggest losers. When children don’t feel secure, their whole world seems to unravel. No amount of baseball, dance, piano lessons, or toys can make up for that kind of loss.
Christian married couples who show they are in love with each other are also a great witness to other children that need to see the love of God demonstrated in healthy ways within marriage. Here’s another piece of advice from Dr Cherry concerning this “job” of showing marital love: “If you are always pushing your spouse aside for time with the children, you may want to consider just what you’re teaching your children. By the way you treat your spouse, you are modeling for your children how you hope they will treat their future spouses. Spending time with your spouse not only draws the two of you closer together, but it also teaches your children that the marital relationship has to be our number one human relationship.” Something that Dr Kevin Leman has written is important to consider too: “When I say, ‘don’t make your children the centerpiece of your home,” some couples react pretty strongly. They ask, ‘Why not?’ Here’s my answer: You don’t do it because it gives them the idea that they’re the center- pieces of the universe. And if that’s true, then where is Almighty God & where are other people? Doesn’t this breed the kind of permissiveness and selfishness that we see in so many homes?” Make it your “job” to demonstrate the love of Christ in every healthy way you can as a married couple …do it for the benefit of your marriage, your family, and others God brings your way. By Cindy and Steve Wright marriagemissions.com
“Tokelau: The World’s Online Superpower and the First Country in the World to run on Renewable Energy”
his week let me tell you about a very small country which I am sure you have not heard of. Tokelau is an island country and dependent territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls: Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo, with a combined land area of 10 square km (4 square mi) and a population of approximately 1,400. Its capital rotates yearly between the three atolls. The United Nations General Assembly designates Tokelau a non-self-governing territory. Until 1976, the official name was Tokelau Islands. It is a New Zealand territory, and is sometimes referred to by its older colonial name, “The Union Islands.”
Originally settled by Polynesian emigrants from surrounding island groups, the Tokelau Islands were made a British protectorate in 1889. They were transferred to New Zealand administration in 1925. Tokelau's small size (three villages), isolation, and lack of resources greatly restrain economic development and confine agriculture to the subsistence level. The people rely heavily on aid from New Zealand -- about $4 million annually -- to maintain public services, annual aid being substantially greater than GDP. The principal sources of revenue come from sales of copra, domain names, postage stamps, souvenir coins, and handicrafts. Tokelau has no airports. Lagoon landings are possible by amphibious aircraft but their government has been talking about having an Air Tokelau sea planes. Tokelau has no ports or harbors; offshore anchorage only. A twice monthly service runs from Apia onboard the MV Tokelau – which I was told was managed by a Filipino sailor. Tokelauan society is deeply Christian and visitors are welcome to attend church on Sunday morning and afternoon. Sunday is a respectful day, a day which Tokelauan people thank the Lord for the many things they achieve in life. Island of Tokelau Becomes World’s First Solar-Powered Country Goodbye diesel generators, hello sunshine and coconuts! The remote Pacific island nation of Tokelau, which lies midway between New Zealand and Hawaii and was settled over a thousand years ago, is the first country on the planet to give up fossil fuels and power itself solely by renewable resources. Tokelau’s three atolls now have independent renewable energy systems comprised of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and coconut biofuel-powered generators. Each renewable power plant has battery backup installed and produce enough clean energy to supply 150 percent of the country’s current demand. As of 2012, Tokelau runs completely on solar power--the first country/territory in the world to be powered 100% by renewable energy. Previously the island country powered itself by shipping in thousands of barrels of dirty diesel fuel. According to PowerSmart, the New Zealand based company which installed the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project, diesel generators were burning around 200 liters of fuel daily on each of Tokelau’s three atolls, meaning more than 2,000 barrels of diesel were used to generate electricity in Tokelau each year, costing more than $1 million NZD. Money saved from diesel fuel costs will now be put toward social programs.
Pigs might swim The islands of the southwest Pacific have a high degree of animal endemism, with human and natural selection taking place in very distinct and geographically limited areas. As a result, there are thought to be numerous undocumented breeds well-adapted to life on the islands. "The main problem at the moment is that we don't know what breeds there are," Nichol Nonga, animal production officer for the islands admits. In the Tokelauan culture, Tokelauan's are deeply respectful to their elderly people. The young people show the elders their manners because the elders make the choices within the family and community.
The youth learn acceptable manners and characteristics from the elders which hopefully will improve the future of the nation.
The Worldâ€™s Online Superpower Tokelau, the Pacific island nation is the online world's only true superpower. It dwarfs every other country. In the real world the U.S. is considered some kind of hegemon or powerful entity, but Canada outshines the U.S. in the online field. By contrast, Tokelau outshines both Canada and the U.S., as well as the entire world with regards to its domain name, .tk. True, Tokelau is hardly visible on the map. It is made up of three small atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Many consider it a non-country. It has no natural resources, it has the smallest GDP of any country or territory in the world, its population is only about 1,500 inhabitants. It is almost dead last in world rankings for area and population. The country could hardly be called a paradise. There is no industry to speak of, and almost no space for agriculture. Tuna depletion has reduced the viability of subsistence fishing. Tokelau depends on aid from New Zealand to make ends meet. That's is where this map comes in. Tokelau at some point decided to monetise its .tk domain name, paradoxically by offering it to anyone for free. More than 31.3 million websites worldwide have been registered with the Tokelauan extension, almost as much as the combined registrations for the two runners-up, China (16.8 million .cn registrations) and Germany (16 million .de registrations). In a prescient example of the 'freemium' business model currently so popular online, only the usage rights are completely free for .tk-registered websites. Full ownership still requires a fee. Those fees represent about one-sixth of Tokelau's annual income. America's dwarfism is as remarkable as Tokelau's gigantism. There are just under 1.7 million websites registered with the extension .us, less than Colombia's 2 million .co registrations or Spain's 1.8 million .es registrations. Remember, Tokelau has 31.3 million .tk registrations. This is largely due to the popularity in the U.S. of the .com extension, which is used for about 123 million domains worldwide.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Tokelau The Seventh-day Adventists have no church in Tokelau but we have some SDA church members who come to this remote country every now and then. The Trans Pacific Union Mission is trying to establish a church in this small country but so far the religion has not taken root. In several of my visits to Apia, Samoa, I met an SDA church member who is from Tokelau but is now residing in Australia. He always goes to Tokelau as part of the missionary group to evangelize the country. Whenever, I meet him, he always goes to the market and buy a big fish for me to cook. Many times, we could not finish eating the fish so we have to invite our mission personnel to join us to consume the fish that we have cooked. Please pray for the inhabitants of this small and remote country of Tokelau so that they will hear about Jesus. Romy Halasan, Suva, Fiji South Pacific
The flag of Tokelau
“Alumni Announcements for 2016” When April 17
What Training for New SULADS
Where Sulads HQ @ MVC Campus
Point of Contact email@example.com
Workshop: “Reaching and Empowering Single Adults” with Pastor Lowell Teves as guest speaker Illinois Chapter Weekend Getaway
Pasadena SDA Chuch 1280 E. Washington Blvd Pasadena, CA 91104 Wisconsin Dells. River cruise, hiking, swimming…
Dr. Edgar Lloren
4000 E. Ontario Center Pkwy Ontario, CA.
See Heritage Singers on Facebook.
Northern California (Note change of venue) Lone Star Camp, Athens, TX
Annaliza Wilensky & Alison Sabanal Pastor Rolando Baysa firstname.lastname@example.org
July 29-31 July 30 @7PM
Aug 7-10 Aug 19-21,
Heritage Singers 45th Anniversary Reunion Concert (Advertised in their FB site as the last reunion concert they will be having) MVCSN’s Zoarkes’91 Silver Anniversary Reunion All Filipinos of Southwestern Union Conf FAMMANA Convention
Nora Munda, Leslie Rosendo, Vicki Ybanez
“Corrections” We apologize for the typo errors in last week’s issue of CF. I didn’t catch those in time… Photo of Regin Reyno? (page 5). It was taken in Beijing, China not Japan. Mt. Calibo? (page32). We meant Mt. Kanlaon. (See photo of the volcanic ash cloud with the CPAC men’s dorm on the foreground.)
“Prayer Requests” “When men have to swim against the stream, there is a weight of waves driving them back. Let a hand then be held out, as was the Elder Brother's hand to a sinking Peter. . . . Let the one who is supposed to have moved wrongly be given no occasion by his brother to become discouraged, but let him feel the strong clasp of a sympathizing hand; let him hear the whisper, "Let us pray." The Holy Spirit will give a rich experience to both. It is PRAYER that unites hearts. It is PRAYER to the Great Physician to heal the soul that will bring the blessing of God. PRAYER unites us with one another and with God. PRAYER brings Jesus to our side, and gives new strength and fresh grace to the fainting, perplexed soul to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. PRAYER turns aside the attacks of Satan.” Our High Calling, p. 177
Prayer of Thanksgiving & Praise
For the blessing of education and last week’s graduation of MVC’s Class of 2016 … For the safe passage afforded the graduates, their families and loved ones as they traveled… For answered prayers. A large group of MVCians prayed for our brethren in the country of Fiji (as well as Romy Halasan & team) as they braced for a huge cyclone to arrive yesterday.
But God answered prayers and the cyclone did not hit the island. Instead, it passed over the waters and poured its fury onto the ocean.
Prayer of Supplication
For the SULADS in Southeast Asia who enter un-entered territories to minister to others. Many of these areas/countries are known for restricted freedom and human rights violations. We pray God’s blessings on them and those whom they associate with. May they be gifted with Grace and Wisdom. May Heavenly angels watch over them at all times and the Holy live in their hearts.
For Atty Jonathan Navales who is very ill right now. For the continued healing of Demi Garduque, Galileo Villaflores, Flor Samson and Oseas Zamora. Grace and wisdom for the leaders of the Adventist Church & Hospitals, from the General Conference level to the local churches.
For the various ministries of MVCians around the world, their small groups, their families….
For Mountain View College, her leaders, her faculty & staff, and her students especially those who are involved in literature ministry (canvassing) this summer.
Prayer for the bereaved families of Annie Cartagina and Jonathan Serenatas.
Let's pray for the family of Jonathan Serenatas an MVC Agriculture student who was supposed to be undergoing his on-the-job training this summer, however on his way back from Davao (I think from Calinan) going to MVC riding on a motorcycle met an accident yesterday morning (April 6,2016) which caused his untimely death. Taken from the fb account of his older sister Jennifer Simmons. They need our prayers for comfort and strength.
“Acknowledgment” I would like to acknowledge the following who helped make this issue of CF a reality:
To those who shared their personal testimony about, first, having a purpose in life and living a that life with purpose : Nem Mortel Tambalque, Andrea Aguirre Saguan, Cristy Ligsay, Verna Lynn Ong-Peduche, Jimmie Solis and Deonnel A. Peren
To those who faithfully contribute to CyberFlashes each week: o Lillian Javellana for her lovely devotional o Jessie Colegado for “Patch of Weeds”, o Romy Halasan for “Life of A Missionary”, o Dr. Fred L. Webb, Sulads International and Gospel Outreach for the SULADS update,
To those who sent in feedback to the editors, announcements to the alumni, and those who readers who have faithfully joined us in praying for those listed in our prayer list.
CyberFlashes editors are always looking for alumni stories, pictures both current and throw back (from the past), alumni news, etc. This newsletter is about bringing MVC alumni and friends together, encouraging each other, praying for each other, and supporting each other. We know you have much to share. To do so, simply contact any of the editors and share your stories, news, photos, comments, etc.
“Meet The Editors” This week’s issue of Cyberflashes is coordinated/edited by Joy Caballero-Gadia. Next week’s will be by Lily Escara-Lare. Please direct all entries to her or to any of the editors. NAME: Eddie Zamora Evelyn Porteza-Tabingo Jessie Colegado Joy Caballero-Gadia Lily EscaraLare Melodie Mae Karaan-Inapan Raylene Rodrigo-Baumgart
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“Closing Remarks: Farewell Speech “ By Deonnel A. Peren, Class President. Class of 2016
o our distinguished guests, beloved parents, sponsors, relatives, friends, supporters, loved ones, respected administrators, faculty members, teachers, and fellow graduates, a pleasant day to all of you.
It is indeed a privilege to do the farewell speech since it could possibly happen only once in a person’s lifetime. So, I decided to make this speech as meaningful as possible not only for myself and my family but for everybody. This is supposed to be a collective message to represent the sentiments of the graduates.
I’m not used to reading speeches. I always do my public speaking without notes. Hopefully this message will capsulize the thoughts and feelings of the graduates. I first came to Mountain View College in 2002 and it is only today that I will conclude one of the courses I aspired for. It has been a solid fourteen years of academic and non-academic experiences with MVC. Now you have an idea how important this graduation is for me. It is so cliché for a speaker to say that graduation is not the end but only a beginning. Indeed, it is true but in order not to be very conventional, I would like to say it differently. I know all of us are familiar with the story about the Rabbit and the Turtle, right? It depends on the version of your story but my version goes like this: “One day, the turtle told the rabbit that he could outrun the latter. They agreed to race. Sure enough, the turtle ate the dust of the speeding rabbit. But since the turtle is a long way behind, the rabbit decided to take a nap. When the rabbit woke up, the turtle already stepped on the finish line.” And so goes the moral of the story that perseverance and consistency are essential. Do not sleep on your abilities because life is a race. It’s a good moral story. This is the traditional moral of the story. But you know what? I look at this story differently. If you compare the story to your life, you need to be very critical lesson of the story because it conveys a certain philosophy. For me, life is never a race. Many of us are just like the turtle and the rabbit racing through life as if the ultimate goal in life is to be on the top or to be number one. That is why sometimes we resolved in doing our best to outrun others through our accomplishments, recognitions and positions. If that were the case, then we will all look at life in the shadow of the Rabbit-Turtle story. We are trapped in a fictional story in which we ask in the end, “Who won?” But again life is not a race. It is a journey. When you know where you are going, you do not care who is ahead. When your goal is to arrive in a certain point, you do not care who gets there first. What you care about is that you are heading in the correct direction. Who knows, the turtle in that story might just continue walking because it knew its direction to its destination. The turtle knew it would lose but who cares. The turtle had to walk the walk. He was going that direction anyway. When you gauge your own success with others’ success, time will come that you take a “rabbit nap.” You will find yourself frustrated when others run ahead of you. Each one of us travels the road of life. Each trip is unique to each individual. We do not have to worry about being ahead or behind if we just travel according to the leading of God’s guiding hands. And just like the parable of the talents told by Jesus, we do not have equal talents. We only have equal opportunities. Some of us here graduated as early as 4 years into their study while others spent 8 years or more just to finish a single course. Some of us may graduate with academic awards but others graduate with experience as their award. Some of us graduate with the whole
family present; others may graduate with only friends. But whatever situation we have today, we need to be grateful because we have the same opportunity of claiming God’s blessings every day and to live in the eternal home God prepared for those who finish. We travel life from point A to point B. Point A is unique to each one of us but point B is already determined. It is eternal life with God. When it comes to my education, I think my pace was that of a turtle. I graduate today at the age of 32 years and 8 months, while others might graduate as young as 18. There are several reasons for this. First, missionary work is my priority more than anything else. Second, I do not conform to age-related norms of success. Third, I have an unending desire for learning. When I’m in a classroom I get ready to ask a lot of questions because I expect a lot od answers. By any means, I find my journey amusing and appropriate. I enjoy life. You will always have a positive regard for life when you find your purpose. If you are unsure of what you are made of or where you are going, just do your best to honor God. Her will always lead you to the safest and the truest place. But lest I forget, the fourth and yet significant reason that I stayed longer in this academic journey is poverty. When our mother left us 26 years ago, my father had to work harder in order to feed us. “Isang kahig, isang tuka,” they say. Growing up, we lived a life of scantiness and malnourishment. Sometimes I would have one sachet of Milo to eat with rice, or sometimes just plain salt. During my time at MVC, I had to survive many odds but because I grew up with hardship and because of my early training, I consider my life as a fulltime working student normal. While some students have the privilege of lining up in the cafeteria to get their food, we line up at the back to get some “dukot” and leftovers. While some privileged students line up at the cashier to pay for their tuition during enrollment and before the examinations, many of us also line up at the Department for Student Finance office to beg for approval of our promissory note because we do not yet have the money to pay. Sometimes we line up there for hours because the queue is long. While some students complain about their allowance, we survive with food we find around. Among the SULADS we call it “see-food”: anything you see around as long as it is edible, is food, and that will be your meal. One semester, I experienced wearing a pair of shoes I found near the barn. It probably belonged to a sugarcane worker (tapasero); it was so tattered it was thrown away. But I was so happy to find it and I wore those for my P.E. classes. I remember a time one of my teachers did not allow us to get inside the classroom because we did not wear black shoes. It was the policy. What she did not know was that I did not have a pair
or the money to buy from an “ukay-ukay”. So I had to wait for my friend’s class to end so that I can borrow his shoes. I remember this friend of mine; he used to wear a pair of black rain/rubber boots that people mistakenly thought were black shoes. His pants cleverly concealed the fact that he was wearing boots. Another friend of mine enrolled in nursing. His shoes were so damaged that he had to patch it every day with white bond paper and glue. I remember not having any money at all for many weeks. A friend of mine, not knowing my situation, gave me a ten peso coin. I couldn’t help myself. I went to a corner and cried because I felt the love that moment. I used that money to photocopy my class work requirements. I really wanted to do this for a long time. May I ask all the working students to please stand. Let’s give a hand to these mighty victors.
n times of difficulty what gives me a dose of courage are the words of our former SULADS director Sir Daryl Famisaran. He said, “You cannot experience the sweetest of life’s sweets if you cannot experience the bitterest of life’s bitters.”
But those odds I experienced were nothing new. I attended my elementary graduation alone. I attended my high school graduation alone. In both graduations when parents were asked to march together with the graduates during the processional, I was the only one who had no one. But for the record, today is the first graduation that my father is able to attend and I am the happiest person in the universe because of that. The past graduations I had made today’s graduation my sweetest of all. Maybe you are wondering why I am sharing all these. It is because this makes MVCians unique in many ways. We sometimes fall down in life but we bounce right back even stronger. At MVC we learned more than just academics. We learn to live life with resiliency and with faith in God. We are what we are today because we are trained and molded by the hands of our Creator. God is the Potter and we are the clay. Before I end my speech, let me have a proper farewell to the people who made this journey possible. To our parents – either biological or by choice – with you witnessing this important event is unforgettable for us. You are also victors together with us. Because what we do and what we achieve today is the result of your unending sacrifices for your children. The diplomas that we are about to receive is just a type of what you have achieved in raising us. You are the one who built the foundation in which rests all that we have learned in school. Remember when we were tiny? You taught us obedience through that “close-open” game. You were the one who taught us resilience when you allowed us to stand on our own each
time we fell. You were the ones who taught us love and forgiveness each time you gave us second chances.
But behind the joys of success is the painful truth that you are about to let go of us into the world that would never love us the way you do. We can do the math: a few years from now the nest you established for years will be empty. We know it would be a very painful process for you. That is why we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your courage and commitment in raising us. To our teachers – our relationship with you have mostly been a teacher-student or a gradergradee relationship (if there is such a word). But many of you resolved to go beyond that, to have that parent-child relationship with those who need it. Your work went beyond the four walls of the classroom. You proved that you are indeed our second parents. Thank you! I’m so sorry to do this publicly but Ma’am Olive Vasquez, I would like to thank you for being my mother here on campus. I still remember the time you called me to your office and gave me 500 pesos for my uniform because you learned that I didn’t have one. Ma’am Lala Opao, I won’t forget the time I went to your house asking you to give me a grade of F because I deserved it. I left the campus with unfinished requirements because I went to several camps to serve and minister. But you told me that if there’s a person who would give me an F grade, it won’t be you. You told me to do my requirements and that you are willing to pay the penalty fee for submitting the grades late to the registrar’s office. In the end, it was not what the lessons you put in our mind that we remember but instead it is what you put in our heart. It’s not about your intellect that made us respect you but it is your love and kindness. MVC is more than just an educational institution. It is a living-breathing instrument of transformation. Just like other colleges and universities, we become. We do not only represent MVC, we embody it. We are proud MVCians. Thank you! God – All the glory and honor belongs to You. We cannot say good bye to You. And to all of you who have come to this graduation event today, you just witnessed one of the greatest stories ever told: not of the rabbit or the turtle but many great miracles. Once again, to the Class of 2016, we are all victors because our lives are molded by the very hands of Jesus Christ, our Master Potter. To God be the glory.
Cyberflashes, April 8, 2016