God-Centered Province

Today I joined my husband to witness the Thanksgiving Celebration of the SAAD (Special Area for Agriculture Development) project in Maitum. I have been hearing such wonderful feedback about the upland rice development. One of the remarkable news I received was that the IP (Indigenous People) farmers are harvesting an average of 1 ton per hectare without fertilizers and they are planting on non-irrigated lands. In the past they were averaging 800 kilos per hectare. This is a supernatural increase!

Last year, during the Jesus Reigns celebration the churches in Sarangani declared that we will enter into a season of Harvest. Through a helicopter, we anointed Sarangani Province with oil and declared through grain offering that we are dedicating our land for God’s harvest.  True to our declaration, we are in these days of harvest. We see God in agreement with our prayers because of the manifestation of His favor.

The SAAD project is funded by Department of Agriculture and this office is giving P100 Million to Sarangani. They have downloaded P25 Million and the upland rice program started 7 pilot sites. In Alabel farmers have planted on 50 hectares; in Glan they have planted on 94 hectares; in Malapatan they planted on 51 hectares; in Malungon they planted on 20 hectares; in Maitum they planted on 165 hectares; in Maasim they planted in 25 hectares; and Kiamba planted on 20 hectares. With the 25% starting fund about 122 hectares are harvesting this October to December.

With the successful start, Secretary Emmanuel Pinol came to witness the Thanksgiving and Harvest Festival in Upo, Maitum. He gave his full support to Sarangani because of its performance. He wants Sarangani to be out of the list of poorest provinces. So he gave additional 120 Million Pesos interest free loan as capital for the Provincial Government to purchase the upland rice and white corn harvested by the farmers. This way we allow the farmers to fully enjoy the fruit of their labor and harvests and not be at the mercy of traders.

In addition to these, Secretary Pinol committed to add 7 rice mills and 7 packaging machines for these pilot sites. He will also add multilayer farming by providing breeder of native hogs and goats to add to the economic enterprise of the communities. He will also assist us with Brazilian milking cows (if after validation of communities that are capable to manage dairy operations). Another offer is P30 Million loan for IP farmers on microfinance method. The Secretary is happy with the program implementation of Sarangani that he completed the 75 Million Pesos remaining fund of the SAAD project by releasing the cheque during the Thanksgiving event! It was an overwhelming support from Secretary Manny Pinol and the Department of Agriculture.

Steve meanwhile reminded the people to make God the center of everything for it is God giving us these blessings. Steve wants the IPs to practice biblical agriculture where the people tithe their harvest, God promises to bless the land and it’s people. In Malachi 3:10-12 says:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes, ” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.

Steve as governor has been declaring Sarangani as a God-centered province. He wants the people to understand when God is at the center, blessings and true prosperity will come. Steve also encouraged the people to give to the church, then to allocate for their family, for replanting, and for commerce.

Secretary Manny gave me a special mention to be blessed to have a hard-working and dedicated husband who is willing to take full control of these projects. I sat there, a proud wife with full amazement of what God is doing. I’m also happy to see first hand how God is using Steve to be a channel of blessing to the people of Sarangani.

We continue to believe that Sarangani is no longer poor but a God-centered province that will experience God-centered prosperity.


The Blessing Habit

I am celebrating my 36th birthday today with my son Joshua who also turns 4 months. I also am not forgeting my twin sister, Monique, who I am privileged to have in my life. I feel really blessed, and looking back in our lives, I can truly say God has turned curses into blessings. He continues to shower us with His love, its been an amazing journey.

I want to share about my conviction on the Habit of Blessing. Steve and I joined a bible study where the topic touched on the culture of blessing. If you are Filipino, you know that we are a hospitable, nice, and warm people. You also know that at the other side of the coin, we are a very critical and judgmental people. Just greeting people casually we would say things such as, “You got fat. (Tumaba ka ah!)” or “You got dark. (Ang itim mo ngayon).” or “Why are you so skinny, you must not be eating. (Bakit ang payat mo, hindi ka kumakain, ano?)” and so on and so forth. You get my drift.

Generally, we are not a people that like to praise or give away blessings. Its quite counter-culture for the Israelites for Blessing is part of their life. Every Sabbath, the father would gather his family and over a meal he would initiate the blessing of each of his children. From there each member of the family would bless one another. It is no wonder that even if they are few, Israelites are strong, intelligent, and prosperous people. This makes them a blessed nation.

Our conviction is to bless our family and to ask the Holy Spirit to help us be less critical and judgmental of people. So, even while Joshua was in the womb, Steve and I would speak blessing over his life. We would pray that God would make him a healthy and strong boy, handsome and tall, intelligent and wise, would have a loving and obedient heart to God and us his parents, to have a humble yet joyful spirit. Oh, and the special blessing that Steve is declaring includes that Joshua will bring million upon millions to Jesus! Even after Joshua was born we continue to practice this daily to declare blessing in his life.

I truly believe what the bible says about our mouths and blessings:

Proverbs 10:11 “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.”
Proverbs 12:14 “From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.”
Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eats its fruit”

In the bible the final blessing of a father is sought after by the children. Look at the accounts of Isaac and Jacob, and how this final blessing is so important to the next generation. Just last Christmas, Steve’s family experienced this very special and meaningful blessing. Daddy Ruben called his children over the Noche Buena dinner table and for the first time, I see my father-in-law deciding to lead the prayer. He first thanked God for his life. After, he started to bless his children and grand children. As he called each child by name, I saw them closing their eyes, nodding and their hearts openly receiving their blessing. It was such a profound sight. That Christmas dinner had laughter, tears, songs, and overjoyed feeling of family and love. Even Joshua received his blessing from his Lolo. He said “Joshua, may you be a good Christian just like your parents.” This we believe and declare.

Today, I too received a blessing from my mom, who accidentally thought I was turning 37 today! Hahaha.


As they say, if you discipline to do something regularly it becomes a habit… And blessing as a habit is a very good thing!


Named with Significance

     It was my friend Marlene Suarez of CBN Asia who one day asked me a question,    “Michelle, do you know the meaning of your name?”  I honestly have never checked the meaning of my name.  She then said, “your name is like a prophetic utterance to who you could be”.  Marlene pointed out to me, that my name has the name of God in it.  “EL” means God. So I took the liberty of looking at the meaning of my name.  It is of Hebrew decent and was derived from Michael, and it means… “One who resembles God”.

    I thought to myself… Wow, that is powerful!  The gist of that conversation stuck with me.  I have decided on naming my child and future children with an intention of a prophetic blessing over their life. 

      After the knowing the gender of our baby on the fifth month, my husband asked me what should we name our son?  For some reason I was drawn to the name Joshua.  I loved the account of his life in the bible.  He was a young brave warrior, obedient to his leader which happens to be Moses, and he saw things in a different perspective — with a godly pair of eyes.  He finally led the Israelites to the promised land and on the final account about his life it says, “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the Lord which He had done for Israel.” (Joshua 24:31).  His legacy was a generation that served the Lord even after his death.

    We would want to bring up our son to love and serve God just like Joshua did. We want his name to speak that blessing upon his life. Joshua literally means “God saves”.  It is a powerful reminder of the heart and character of God.

    Of course, we named our son a much longer name — because of the long wait for a child, our first son gets 3 names which may post as  a challenge on his future documents… hehehe…  But we chose these names with the intention to speak a blessing over his life 🙂