Friday, January 25, 2013


Today, a new friend thanked me for blessing her with compassion. =) I don’t think anyone’s ever done that to me before. It's not that I’d all of a sudden become compassionate. Neither was it my first act of compassion. I think that it’s just because she had the eyes to see the motive behind what I did for her. After all, who thanks for compassion? I'm glad she expressed her gratitude because now, I'd be more aware of it, too. Truly, if we’re on the lookout, we can see new and typical blessings upon blessings that Papa God gives us. Sometimes the blessings are plainly obvious: they are (not in order of importance) money, material things, rest, sleep, time, good health, beauty, joy, love, kindness, goodness, patience, peace due to the absence of fear, etc.. Other times, we get blessed with a peace that we can’t even explain. Nothing different has happened, we’re still in the same difficult situation that we’re in before the peace was given. And yet, the peace is evident. It’s there. We stopped fussing about our situation. We’re no longer weighed down by our concerns. We still don’t have answers but we know it will work out. We know we’ll make it.

Last week, we were especially blessed with Eli turning 17 and Eng turning 53. We celebrated with the usual eating out but it was made even more special because my 91-year old father and brother came for a visit. He normally lives in Toronto but he and my sister went to the Philippines to sort out some papers regarding my mother’s death. Since he was in Asia, I invited him to come here. He didn't really want to come because of the flying involved. I also realized that travelling was costly and at his age, difficult. I actually gave up on him coming but I found out he wanted to come. =) He apparently wanted to ride an elephant. I'm sure he wanted to see us, as well. =) He and my brother stayed six days. We had Thai massages, looked at animals, spent time talking, and eventually, they rode an elephant. What a blessing to have them here! =)

The sweetest moment for me was when I touched my father’s left cheek with my left palm. As I held him, his right hand immediately went up and held my wrist, keeping my hand there. His response surprised me because he wasn't usually affectionate. A bit later, I realized that he was missing my mother’s touch. We held one another a little while longer, thankful for the blessing of expressing love through touch, before letting go.

Thank you, Papa God, our giver of blessings. You know exactly what to do to touch our hearts. We praise you for loving us and for being such a blessing!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Falling Leaves

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
Psalm 116:15
Our oldest son’s friend’s mother died of cancer last Monday. She was just in her mid-50s. When we saw her at our sons’ graduation just last May, she was radiant and full of hope. I remember when I briefly Skype chatted with her earlier last year when her son visited us in Canada. She said she wanted to continue the work the Lord had called them to do in Brazil. During the graduation’s reception, we had the chance to visit some more and I prayed with her for her healing. She lived an extra eight months after that time before going to the one she loved and served.

Today, I just found out that one of our close friends, a “barkada” (a Filipino term for a member of a tightly knit group) in high school passed away due to illness. Although I haven’t seen her in years, I feel the loss. I cannot believe that a friend I’ve grown up with, gone to school with, and hung out with, could already be dead. How is it possible when we’re barely over 50? I will miss her and her friendship. I’ll also miss her cheery and sweet disposition. I’m only consoled by the fact that she believed in Jesus and He was her saviour. In one of our rare phone conversations, she acknowledged her belief in Him. She also indicated that she was ready to go if the time came to do so. We prayed for her healing then and that was around two years ago.

I know I believed both times when we prayed that they be healed. I respect the Lord's wisdom in not answering with a longer time than what they were given. Also, neither were just completely physically healed. Instead, they were spiritually completely healed as they now dwell with the Lord. I don't have the answers, BUT, I am sure that both are much happier where they are now. They’re free from their physical and excruciating pain. They’re also in a place where there are no tears. What could be better? Most of all, they’re with Papa God =) so I don’t think they’ll ever have any problems nor need anything ever again. Perfect bliss. =D

Their untimely departure made me think of my own death and my going to heaven. I don’t know when I’ll be called home but I am ready. I’m very grateful for my life now but I am so looking forward to going home to my final destination (no more moving!).

Last week, I actually took a long climb to the top of a mountain. A monk I spoke to before my ascent told me that there were 990 steps leading to a still unfinished chedi (a mound like structure containing Buddhist relics) which was on the mountain top. I went there to enjoy the panoramic view but I couldn't help but enjoy watching the falling leaves, too. Some leaves danced this way and that before landing gently down. Others dropped unceremoniously down with just a final thud. My favourite are the ones that seem to take the scenic route on their way down. After they twirl, fly, meander, and hang in mid-air; they find their spots and occupy them. Watching leaves fall is such a fascination to me! It’s like Papa God. As indicated by the verse above, our deaths are precious to Him. I know it’s not because He’s a sadist. I do wonder if it’s because He excitedly awaits our spirits to leave our bodies so we could join Him. What a joyous thought! =) I’m looking forward to falling, too, Papa God. One day, I’ll get to see you and join you forever, too. =) YES!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unfailing Love

And it’s constant in the trial and the change
This one thing remains, this one thing remains
Cause Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me

From the song, “One Thing Remains” by Kristian Stanfill
Just today, I was relating the story of how our oldest son’s first year of studying at Houghton College was provided for. My colleague and I had been talking about some concerns of late in our family regarding our second son’s continuing on in college. Eric was considering going to a college that cost $30,000 US per year. How on earth were we able to pay for that? Except, this was a question already asked of us over four years ago. Evan actually wrote about it in this blog. The post was called “Provision in Answer to Prayer” (February 6, 2008).

His college then, wanted us to list our assets and give them a copy of our bank account(s) to prove that we could support his education (totalling $120,000 by the time he finished his 4-year degree). At the time, we had about $400 saved up in our bank so we were in a serious quandary. Our money was just a little over one percent of what was needed. =D What could we do? How would we provide for him? A little later, I suggested that we write, “The Lord God Almighty will provide” in our application form. Eng thought I was crazy but he relented, got the paper notarized at the US Consulate, and sent it off. =)

Because nothing is impossible with God, Evan was accepted at Houghton College in spite how we responded to their forms. For those who regularly read this blog, you already know he graduated last May 2012. Currently, he pays $80 a month to pay for his school loan totalling (drumroll, please) just a little over $5,000. It is mind boggling that the difference of $115,000 was provided for from the total but that is exactly what God did. Evan received scholarships every year, had part-time jobs throughout the school year, two summer jobs, and financial gifts. The biggest gift was for $10,000 US and the smallest was $5,000. They were given by people we hardly knew. I’d known the lady who gave us the $10,000 for barely 3 days. We just met at a week-long silent retreat so we couldn’t even talk a whole lot. =) She was convicted by God, pointing out to me different sections in our collective prayer one morning. It was almost as if she was convincing me why she was giving Evan the money! I was just flabbergasted; I didn’t even know what to say! When I found my tongue, I explained that Evan hadn’t even been accepted by his college yet. Once he was, I told her I'd write her. True to her word, once she heard from me, she immediately transferred the funds to Houghton.

God’s love will do what I just narrated. His ways doesn’t make sense but He is able to work it out. From nowhere, stuff just happens and we just find ourselves with our needs accounted for. I’d learned not to figure it out because it’s inexplicable. Truly, God’s ways are higher than ours. We can allow ourselves to be stressed with our situations, or we can choose to be in complete peace as we wait on Him to provide. Either way, He will come through for all of us. His love never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out. Really! Ask Him to prove it to you because I know He will. We currently don't know how Eric's schooling will be provided for but we know our Papa God who doesn't change, WILL do so! =) Thank you in advance, Papa God!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thanks 2012!

For Thou, O Lord, art high above all the earth
Thou art exalted far above all gods
I exalt Thee, I exalt Thee, I exalt Thee, O Lord.

From the song “I Exalt Thee”
Hours after ringing in the New Year, we gathered as a family to pray and thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness to us in 2012. We had so much to be thankful for! He is so good and blessed us abundantly. It would make a terribly long post to list them all so I thought to summarize some major points of our year in addition to our highlights and prayers which follow below:
• Gratefulness for the house we lived in in Canada.
• Our move back to Chiang Mai, Thailand (from Toronto).
• Evan and Eric at Camp of the Woods for the summer.
• My mother (and Chris Tom) had gone to be with the Lord. I made it back to Toronto for three weeks to be with family and to attend my mother’s funeral.
• Eng and I traveled to Malaysia to visit family and to celebrate Eng’s Mom’s birthday.
• Fun with friends and family while camping at Doi Inthanon.

We were all grateful that Evan and Eric could be here and celebrated Christmas and the New Year with us but Eng first mentioned it. He would like prayers to know what he should do this year as he senses the desire to do something different.

Evan’s highlight of the year was his graduation (with an English and a Writing major) from Houghton College. He’s also grateful that he was able to take care of his grandfather from August until he came here. He would like prayers to find a full-time job in Toronto but he is also willing to move to the US, if necessary. Also, he would like to meet someone special in his life.

Eric was grateful for finishing a term in his college. His continued prayer is to do well next term and to know what he’ll study next, and where. His one year Liberal Arts program will finish at the end of April. Please pray that Evan can be there for his graduation because neither Eng nor I can be. His current choices for next school year are: Houghton College, McGill University, and Redeemer University College.

Eli would like prayers to continue to do academically well in 2013 as he did in the last semester. He would also like prayers to know what he should do in the future (where to study and what to study) after he graduates from high school. Finishing in June 2014, he hopes that his brothers can attend his graduation.

Ethan’s thankful that we were able to return to Thailand. Because Evan and Eric will leave us shortly to return to Canada, his prayer is that we’ll be able to be together as a family again. =)

Still amazed, I’m so glad my friend from the Philippines came to celebrate my birthday with me when none of my family could be here in August. My prayer is to love well in 2013 in spite relational challenges. I also want prayers for help with my online Counseling courses and the provision of finances for those courses.

The Lord has been so faithful and good. We do exalt Him, thank Him, and praise Him. We are sad to have to be separated again soon (not knowing when we'll all be together again) and we still have unanswered financial needs, a job for Evan, direction guidance, etc., but we can surely trust that the Lord will be just as faithful and good to us in 2013 as he was in 2012. Amen! Thank you, Papa God! We are looking forward to what you have in store for us in this new year.

Happy New Year! =) With love and blessings from us,
Eric, Eli, Evan, Ethan, Eng, and Linda