Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Franklin Graham Festival and Others

It’s been a very unusual week. Butterflies hovered around me at two different places and times and one was even while I was browsing at Chiang Mai Plastics. I mentioned the name because true to it, the store sold plastic ware and other dry goods. Nowhere in sight were potted flowers which were the ones that would typically attract butterflies. I don’t know why they appeared and from nowhere but I surely noticed them!

I was also quite relieved when I managed to invite Khun Ni, a non-believer gardener who works at school, to attend the Franklin Graham Festival. We went with her 12-year old daughter, our two sons, and Eng. It was on the second day of the 3 day festival and because I’d already been praying that many would turn to Jesus last week-end, we got there and I immediately joined the crowd in the anticipation of a great harvest by the end of the meeting. We weren’t disappointed. Like our friends, we all enjoyed the entertainment but nothing was more entertaining than watching the Thai people file to the front of the stage to receive prayer. That night, over 1,300 people of 25,000+ went forward. They were a sight to behold! For those who may not know Franklin Graham, he is the son of Billy Graham, the well-known international evangelist.  Billy is known to have preached live to over 215 million people in over 185 countries. ( He is also known for his life changing gospel messages. Having heard Franklin Graham, he is obviously very much following after his father’s footsteps.

The banner advertised the wrong start time.
It was hit by a passing truck and ripped
on the exact spot where the time
was displayed. Simply AMAZING!
Lastly, I had been coordinating an outreach event which had been consuming much of my waking hours in the last few weeks. We are expecting a miniscule 1,000 people compared to the festival we just attended but it is time consuming and requiring a LOT of volunteers. One of the details I needed to sort out was the start time which was wrongly advertised. I quickly corrected the mistake by painting in the new start time on the advertisement banners hung on fences but I didn’t know how I could get to the banner which was hung over the street in the neighbourhood we were targeting. Imagine my surprise this morning when I received a phone call explaining that the banner had to be taken down because it was ripped by a passing truck! They had asked me to just get a new one made. So, I laughingly realized that God had taken the matter out of my hands in figuring out what to do to get to the banner. He did it for me! And I am just absolutely flabbergasted that our God of the universe is concerned about my banner problems and sent a truck to destroy it. Praise Him! If He could be so involved in just the advertising, I’m sure He’ll glorify Himself on the event itself! It would be so exciting to be there to witness it! I’ll share more about it soon as it happens.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ways to Help

I sometimes wonder about the relative that my father and sister visited in Palo, Leyte, in January. His name is Ryan Acebedo. He apparently lived alone and may be the only surviving descendant of my grand-aunt. I only saw my grandmother's (father's mother's) sister in a picture. Because my grandmother moved to the northern part of the Philippines, from Leyte, where she grew up, we never met her side of the family. I've never seen my grand-aunts and grand-uncles, their children (my father's cousins), and definitely missed getting to know any of my second cousins (their children). Ryan is actually a son of one of my father's nephews. Technically, he is a grand-nephew to me if there is such a title. Whoever he is in title, though, I now wonder if he's still alive. Will we even know what happened to him? He lived in Palo, Leyte which was just south of the most hardly hit Tacloban City in last week's vicious Haiyan/Yolanda typhoon.

My oldest brother Joel, Ryan, and my 92-year old father.
When my father, brother, and sister visited him, it was because my father remembered Ryan's relative. She apparently died a long time ago but they met Ryan again. He was in high school when my father was there last with my mother. Ryan remembered taking my parents to the MacArthur site when they came. To the right is a picture of the visit in January.

Unfortunately, no phone numbers were exchanged because Ryan didn't have any. So now, there is no way to contact him. Hopefully, my brother Joel will be able to seek him out when he travels there soon. Joel is visiting my father in Toronto until the end of this month. When he returns to the Philippines, hopefully, he'll be able to eventually make it there. The place will surely look drastically and tragically different.

Please continue to pray for those like Ryan who may have survived the typhoon but is currently picking up the pieces of their lives. How do they begin again when all is lost and loved ones are gone? Where will their hope come from? May our prayer be that they will be strengthened and sustained by our Lord. Most of all, that they will know God through their sorrowful state and turn to Him. May they have new beginnings that are filled with hope in God regardless of who or what they lost.

Above is a newspaper clip to describe the efforts of Lib
as she raises funds for the Philippines. It was on their
community's local paper. In the picture is Ryan, Lib
and my father. It was taken during the same visit there.
If you wish to assist the affected ones in the Philippines, my two sisters in Toronto have sites to donate to. I am so proud of their work to help the marginalized and poor people. OMF also has missionaries working in that part of the country. Here are the sites:

My oldest sister Nora is involved with ADHIKA, a group which connects projects in the Philippines with people in Canada. To donate through them, visit and click on the Canada Helps icon and specify that you are donating to ADHIKA for the victims of Haiyan.

My sister, Lib, usually raises funds for "Children at Risk" through collecting recycled bottles and cans in Salmon Arm. Because of the current, urgent needs, proceeds from their bottle drive will momentarily go to the Philippine Emergency Disaster Relief Fund of Action in Manila. Donations online can be done at

Lastly, if you wish to donate through OMF, or keep abreast of their work as they help in the Philippines, you can log on to and click on "Urgent Need in the Philippines".

Thank you for your prayers and practical help. Bless you!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Urgent Plea for the Filipinos

Thanksgiving in all things accepts the deep mystery of God through everything.
Ann Voskamp, "Why the Best Response to Life, the Holidays,
Anything is: Yada, Yada, Yada"

This is a shot of what's left of houses in Palo, Leyte.
The town was where my sister and father visited in
January this year so that he could reconnect with
long lost relatives. We haven't heard from them about
their condition as the communications had been down.
This week started with the disturbing news of the outcome following Haiyan or Yolanda, the most-ferocious-storm-to-ever-make-it-inland to hit the southern part of the Philippines. Before the day was over, the death toll numbering in the thousands started to be reported. News continued to trickle in about lives lost and lives miraculously spared. As in almost all natural calamities, there are no answers to the "why" questions of grief stricken survivors.

I chose the quote above because I don't have the answers. Still, I choose to thank God for His goodness and faithfulness. I choose to accept that I cannot fathom Him and His ways. He is good and because I know that He is always up to something good, He will turn this situation around for the better. I don't know how He'll do it but that He can and He will.

I also wanted to post something other than this but with all that is going on in the Philippines: the needed relief, looting, stench from the bodies, seeking of shelter, chaos and destruction everywhere, I couldn't help but just use this post to appeal to you on behalf of those Filipinos in need. In the way you are able, please send help (food, clothing, finances). Most importantly, please pray earnestly for God's help and mercy. May those affected see Papa God's hands move and touch their lives. Thank you and Lord, bless you.

For pictures of the devastated areas, please click on the link below.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sukhothai Trip

The girls in a traditional way of
greeting in Thailand.
As I said last week, I did chaperone my son's class to Sukhothai, a city just over four hours south of here. It proved to be a very entertaining time for me. It was tiring but full of interesting things to see. For more information on the ancient city, please read last week's post. First, before we got to Sukhothai, we visited a cave which got its name from the huge three headed elephant called "Erawan". The elephant is associated with the Hindu God "Indra" who supposedly rode it. Presently, statues of "Erawan" can easily be seen in Thailand. Even the old Kingdom of Laos had "Erawan" depicted on their flag. (Source: Inside the cave, a huge rock formation looked very much like it had three protruding trunks with the accompanying head bulges. It was dark, cool, and creepy with bats that flew overhead but it was interesting to see the "Erawan" looking rock.

From there, we traveled to Si Satchanalai Historical Park and checked out ancient temple ruins. We had to traverse a very steep road (on our bicycles!) and climb many steps to get to the site which was on top of the hill so I was the last one up. Obviously, I was panting and out of breath by the time I got there! I actually wondered why I volunteered to accompany 7th graders on a sight seeing trip! What was I thinking? But, I managed to play my part well and took LOTS of pictures. We also enjoyed the speedy bike ride downhill! I hadn't done that in years and it SURE was FUN!!! =)

The girls peeking from behind the ancient pillars.
From there, we drove another two hours to get to Hotel Pailyn where we were soon eating supper and later cooling down in their pool. It was a HOT day so it was fitting to end it with a dip in the refreshing water. A short devotion time was given and some active games were played before we all slept well. The welcome rest helped to have energy for more cycling around a bigger historical site in Sukhothai the next day. But although it was interesting to see structures that were still up from the 13th century. It didn't exactly excite me to be looking at ruins of old temples. I found the old trees and their roots far more fascinating. And of course, the girls and their scheming to come up with artistic poses helped to make the going around fun. There we were, looking at structures over 600 years old and they did nary a glance at what was in front of them but were more intent on making their next pose far better than the one before. They did really well!

At one point, we headed to 7-11 (a convenience store) and bought ourselves ice cold drinks. I made us stop to enjoy our drinks and to think about what we were grateful to Thailand for. Because we were in the ancient city where the country was founded, I wanted us to thank God for what we appreciated about Thailand. I also had us pray that a seed of love for God would be planted in that very place and that it would grow to affect the rest of the country. May it be so, that a new kind of faith, the kind that honors Jesus as Lord would begin to arise, just like the religion founded in the ancient city of Sukhothai did. I am grateful that nothing is impossible for God. =)  Let it be so, Lord. Amen.