Actually, only Ethan and I were born in the Philippines. When we visited there (April 6-14) during our Spring break, it was the first time for Ethan to be back since we left it in 2002. [We worked in Davao City from 1998 to 2002.] Since he was only a year and a half then, he had no memory of it. This time around, everything was new and exciting for him and he loved it. He raved about “Toy Kingdom”, (a toy store) and the bookstores that had the books he wanted. He made friends with my childhood friend’s children and didn’t want to leave when we did. Before we left, he’s already pleading to visit there again. God willing, someday, we will. I would love for that to happen.
It’s so great to be in a place where I could understand those around me. Also, we could end up speaking many languages but nothing ever beats speaking the mother tongue. =) It was good to see familiar places. Yet I say that with sadness because as I looked around the city I grew up in, it’s no longer the city I knew. It’s familiar but NOT. I was more confused than not. Having left in 1979 with just a few short visits, I’d been away too long, the place became strange to me. I love it but I no longer know it. SIGH. But, it warmed my heart to have seen “Cherry Foodarama” several times. It’s the big grocery store along Shaw Boulevard. My father was then constructing it at the time my mother went into labor with me. Consequently, my second name was influenced by it. However, not wanting to name me after the fruit nor the grocery store, the spelling of my name is “Cherie”. Thank you God, it means ‘dear’ in French. =)
In the nine days we were there, we met up with several friends and shopped a LOT. The shopping was tiring after awhile but it never got tiring to see old and not so old friends. One of them is an artist now and it blessed me to watch her as she painted. God must be so much prouder when He watches us at work.
On the way to Manila, we stayed overnight at Tune Hotel outside Kuala Lumpur. Our Room Number was 333 so I expected to be blessed BIG TIME during our trip. Please read the posting "March 3rd" (March 9th entry) explaining why 3 is such a God number to me. Well, blessed we indeed were! A comfortable apartment was provided for us for a week and my artist friend’s home for the next two days. We ate to our hearts’ delight and were taken to a summer home with a wonderful view of the countryside. Our different hosts spared no expense and treated us grandly. There is no explanation for their kindness, only of a God who wanted to bless us through them. The grace was overwhelming. There was nothing we did to deserve our treatment. We have such a good God who simply desires to bless.
Being there for my friend who needed an operation to remove a tumor behind her eye was special. It warmed my heart so much to literally hold her hand through the process. But most of all, different people committed their lives to God; the person who did my nails, the one who cut my hair, the one who drove us around, and the one who sold me candy.
Mang Federico is a cigarette and candy vendor. He's one of those who made a commitment to live for God. =)
Even the one who wanted us to contribute money to UNICEF at the airport indicated she will commit her life to God. I’m sure the angels rejoiced greatly when the commitments were made, as did Papa God. I could feel it. God is so good to allow us to be part of the whole process. Thank you, Lord! And thank you for the opportunity to travel. We had a great time! =)