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.

I want to go to heaven

One of my heart’s desire and prayer is for my children to believe in Jesus in their youth. I take seriously the command of the bible in Deuteronomy 6:5-7

  
Joshua and I have conversations about God and Jesus because we get to read the toddler’s bible. We get to explore who God is through the stories in the Old and New Testaments. His favorite stories are Moses who prayed to God and the Red Sea opened, David and Goliath, the birth of Jesus, the Cross and Jesus’ Resurrection.

At night he sleeps to this song which his nanny has taught him -“Kay Buti Buti mo Panginoon” (God, you are sooo good). He can sing it too. 

But as of recent, our conversations have become more interesting. I explained to Joshua that heaven is a beautiful place and Jesus is in Heaven. He has prepared heaven for those who believe In Jesus and ask Jesus to come into their hearts. So I told him to ask Jesus to come in his heart and he said it… “Jesus, come in my heart”.  Then for how many days since our conversation… He has been asking about Jesus and he has been saying, “I want to go to Jesus. I want to go to heaven.” My response is, “me too, I want to go to heaven and to Jesus”.

 
The bible tells us that heaven is not only beautiful and perfect… It is also a place where we are in complete fellowship with God.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭3-4‬ NASB)

Joshua seems really excited to go to heaven because he was asking if we can ride the car and go there. I told him, we have to wait for Jesus to come and to take us to heaven. 

I know many probably freak out with this kind of conversation. But, if you believe in God and His Word, then heaven is where we all should desire to go. Even as young as 2 years old, my little boy is beginning to desire that too! (Who desires to go hell?  Not many I hope!)

In my quiet hours, I am thanking God for the opportunity of being able to share these moments with Joshua. It made me think, if parents do not teach God and their faith with their kids, then the world will teach them many confusing and (often) cruel things. 

I pray by God’s grace, I can raise my children in the fear and love of the Lord. My other prayer is that they grow up committed to love and serve the Lord, and influence others to do the same. 

Teaching my child about God

Joshua is 2 years & 2 months old. As a mother, my heart’s desire is for my children to know God and for them to follow God all throughout their lives. I started to research how I could teach my son about God. I found some materials on the internet. But I felt like the materials might take an extra effort for comprehension at this time.

Then, friends of ours, Manny and Lisa, encouraged us to start teaching our toddler bible verses that would be easy to memorize. Manny told us to try Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength”.  Manny gave us a book by Larry Fowler called “Raising a Modern Day Joseph”. It says  in the book that the most important years in a child’s life that will impact his future are the developmental years from ages 2-12 years old. If we intentionally invest in our children’s character and knowledge of God then they can go through life without compromising.

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So I took the challenge and I decided to teach Joshua to memorize a bible verse in Deuteronomy 6:5 by doing actions.  Joshua would put his hands on his chest when I say, “Love God with all your heart”. Then he would put his hands on his head when I say, “with all your mind”. Then he would muscle up his biceps when I say, “with all your strength”. And he would run and hug when I say, “and love your neighbour as yourself.”  We would do this activity again and again at the start.  Then we practice it about 2-3 times a day. Here is a sample video of this bible verse.

I bought Joshua a toddlers bible when he was born.  I am trying to familiarize him with bible stories just by using my own words.  We started with Adam and Eve, the story in Exodus when Moses prayed to God and how God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to Pass, and David and Goliath.  I am praying one day as we continue to talk about God, pray to God, and live out the grace of God, that my children will follow as well.

Joshua and his toddler's bible

Steady My Heart

Having a second child is like going back to scratch. The only difference is having the knowledge and the experience of child care from the first child. Even then, every child is different– I have heard that line before, and I have to agree with all the other moms about that.

My first born, Joshua did not want to be put down, he always wanted to be held. As a boy he ate almost every hour and at times every 30 minutes. I was dead tired breast feeding him. However, he was a happy baby. He did not cry so much. Meanwhile my second child, Anna, is different. She likes to sleep. She eats alot and takes a lot of milk so she can go and sleep for 2-3 hours. However, when she is awake she has a straight face and seldoms smiles. She easily cries. Her voice is so loud and full that it can be quite stressful for anyone who is handling her.

I am back to sleepless nights. I have taken the night shift and I let Anna’s nanny get her early in the morning so I catch about 3 -4 hours sleep. To keep me awake, I need my smartphone. I get to browse on Facebook, I get to read my bible online, I also get to listen to music especially praise & worship songs. These night shifts have become my quiet times… my time of conversing with God.

Anna for sometime was colicky and that made her cry alot. But God sent a friend who gave me some advise to try gripe water. After some online research, I asked my sister-in-law to buy us gripe water from Healthy Options. That did help in releaving her gas, and gave her better sleep. But that did not stop her crying blues when she is awake.

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I asked God to help me understand how He made our daughter… To give me wisdom and instincts to know how to care for her so she would be a happier baby. It is during the night shifts that I start thinking of all the events that are happening around me. I wish I could have been present on those events but caring for Anna has made me stay home. Many times, I keep thinking I am missing out. But a friend in the Lord, reassured me that this is what God wants me to do at this time. To focus most of my attention on my family. After all family is my primary ministry.

Its very hard to do, but I have declined many invitations. I am such a go, go, go person. Resting is often a struggle for me. Deep inside I do feel that this is what God wants me to do and I shall trust Him in this season of my life.

As a mom, I really enjoy my time with my children… In recent days, the Lord has been answering my prayers because Anna is responding more to me and is crying less. The Lord has also shown me, what seems to me a missing out on events is not a loss on my part. The Lord has been getting me involved on the things I am passionate about on a different way. I am able to do some work online and connections are made via emails. I don’t really leave the house, but God is still making me significant on the things that matters to me. Truly God is amazing!

God is teaching me that He knows me intimately. He knows my children and their needs. He is giving me wisdom on how to be a better mother. He is teaching me that if I am dependent on HIM, all things will just settle in their proper place and in the right time. Even the things that I love outside my home, He is working them out in my favor. All I need to do is TRUST that God knows what is good.

And with all my heart, I know it to be true. Our God is good! Oh God, you steady my heart… 😌

Here is one of the songs that have blessed me. Its during my night shift quiet times that I have come across this.

Just like Hannah

“I want to have grand kids, so double time!” that was part of the speech of my father-in-law during our wedding years ago. It was everyone’s well wish and expectation for us to conceive and have “mini-me’s” running around. But it was not an easy journey for us.

After a year of marriage and not conceiving, I visited the OB-GYNE to find out what can be done for me to get pregnant. My ultrasound would show I have polycystic ovaries. The doctor said that the cyst was small and it should not bother us. The only solution also to this syndrome is to just get pregnant. It seemed like an easy solution, but it was far from easy for us.

I remained very hopeful. My husband and I prayed, fasted, believed that we would get pregnant. Different options were given to us, pills, exercise, following a menstrual cycle for days of contact… however the months became years and I began losing faith.

I admit that I was getting disappointed with God. I would cry every time my period would come. It pierced my heart when people would ask why we were not getting pregnant and received their suggestions on what we should do. There was a year that everyone around me was getting pregnant (even my own dog!)… but I remained barren. It came to a point that I needed to blame someone why I was not conceiving… I started to blame my husband because at that time he was not open to get himself checked. I wondered why God was not granting our request… I was getting bitter towards God that I’d say “I don’t care if I don’t get pregnant”. Truthfully that was the total opposite. I did care.

God never gave up on me though. God was working on me, stretching my faith muscles. Through His Word He reminded me of Hannah. For years she was barren and mocked for being childless. She too cried to God. Her account is found in the book of 1 Samuel 1.
v 10 “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.”

But after Hannah cried to the Lord, she left this concern in faith, not in doubt or bitterness. After Eli (the priest) saw her in the temple crying he pronounced a blessing to her and she left no longer depressed.
v 18 “Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad”
The bible accounts that “the Lord remembered her plea”; v 20 “and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”

I had to learn to trust God’s plan and timing for everything and for everyone. I was becoming impatient and seeding doubt. Thank God for friends who never stopped praying for us, and that encouraged me to believe.

In 2010, my twin sister gave birth to her 3rd child, Jonathan David (JD). I was with her at the labor room, and I had the privilege to see her baby right after delivery. I held her little one in my arms, and began feeling hopeful again of God’s promise to me and my husband. The week after, I took a step of faith of seeing a specialist that would assess our situation. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. The week after, I was wheeled in the operating room for a laparoscopic procedure to remove the adhesions and polyps in my uterus and the cysts on my ovaries.

I was a Stage IV Endometriosis patient. In short, infertile. But that did not stop me to believe that God can open my womb. My husband began to follow the footsteps of Isaac who prayed for his wife. Genesis 25:21 “Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins.”

Okay, we did not have twins. But three months after the procedure we were pregnant! I cried for joy for the Lord remembered me. However, on our 5th week check up, the doctor could not find the sac. My blood (hcg) test says I am definitely pregnant, the pregnancy test shows 2 lines. But there was no sac.

We started to pray, and I believed God will show us a miracle that the next test we will see the baby in the uterus. We flew to Manila to have myself checked there… The findings — possible ectopic pregnancy.

The doctor explained to me that I had to undergo another operation again. She also told me straight that I can lose one of my fallopian tubes if the baby implanted in it. I was crushed and my husband was too. Both of us were crying the night before getting confined in the hospital. I was grieving to lose this child. That night I could not sleep, I kept talking to God. “Lord, please tell my child how much I want to be his/her mom.” I was talking to my baby and telling my baby “I love you, you made me excited to be a mom. I already miss you even if we have never met. You must know I want to have you so much.”

Joy Mendoza, my close friend and discipler called and cried with me… She said, “I am so sorry Mit. How are you feeling?” In my heart, I was not angry at God. I told her, “I know this is God’s will. The mere fact he made me pregnant is already a miracle. I am not disappointed with Him.” I worried about losing my fallopian tube, but the doctor assured me that I can still get pregnant with just one tube.

That day in June 2011, I had another operation to remove the fetus before it raptures my fallopian tube.

After the procedure, when I opened my eyes in the recovery room, my husband told me this “Guess what… the baby was found in the abdomen, it implanted and found blood supply there. But the sac could not sustain so it was ready to be removed. So, they did not cut your fallopian tube. Your reproductive organs are all intact.”

When I heard that I had peace. I thanked God for being so gracious, and for giving us a child that was so considerate to give way for another baby in the future by implanting in the abdomen rather than in the tube.

Like Hannah, I cried and grieved before the Lord, but God gave me extra grace and an increased faith. I had more confidence than before that I would conceive in God’s perfect time. Then, I moved on everyday believing that I would receive. In fact, there was no pain in my heart about the loss. I felt God’s presence and firm love for me and my future.

And true to God’s promise… I conceived again in April 2012. This is now our precious baby Joshua. God is indeed faithful, His love never fails. This is why I claim these verses as my life statements: “Everything is possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23) and “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)

Pregnant by faith

Pregnant by faith

God does move mountains!

Initially, I was planning to deliver the baby in manila, so I saw my sister’s OB-GYNE when I was about 5 months pregnant. She looked through my medical history and decided its appropriate for me to get a Congenital Abnormality Scan (CAS). This scan is done via 3D or 4D ultrasound to see if the baby has any problems or is in the pink of health. It will be the time also that one would know the gender of the baby and to see a bit of the baby’s features. With lots of joy on this pregnancy I was excited to see my baby.

I asked my sister-in-law, Pria to join me for this momentous occasion. We were both giddy and excited to see the baby.

The scan is about 30 minutes long. The doctor shows us via screens in the room the baby in the uterus. My baby was moving, kicking, and responding to our voices! I was smiling from ear to ear. Then the doctor asks, “do you want to guess the gender?” … I said a quick prayer “Sana Lord, boy” … But whatever is the gender, I’d be happy. My prayer was granted, when the doctor revealed we are having a baby boy. Suddenly, I can hear Pria with tears in her eyes reporting via phone what we both could see to my husband… We were so elated!

After checking, my baby has complete fingers, complete toes, no cleft lip… Then the doctor became silent. She kept going back to the heart. Then she told me, “you need to see your doctor”. I asked her what she could see, and she refused to explain to me. In minutes she called another sonologist to come in our room, and she checked my tummy again… They both concurred that their findings was the same. I did not know what they saw, but I knew it was not normal.

Having our celebratory merienda at Landmark, i opened the results and the finding was a probable DEXTROCARDIA. I was not sure what it meant but cardia is definitely heart… I researched it and it meant that the heart was not pointing to the left and the possibility of other organs to be on the opposite side as well… As I told my husband who was at the province at that time, he worried so much and asked God, “Lord, why?” He was upset and he did not want me to be disappointed with this circumstance. I laughed and told him, “I am not worried, we are on God’s special lane, I know He will do something.”
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That night, I felt God assuring me He is in control. I talked to Pria and told her not to tell anyone because I believed God will do something about this. We kept it a secret until the prescribed 2D echo doppler has been done. The only thing is that procedure can only be done a month after. So it gave us a month to pray and practice faith. We entrusted this update to only a few friends who prayed with us.

I embraced this verse and declared it over my baby “Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). I kept saying out loud, my baby is a perfect gift from God, so he will be perfect! I surrendered, trusted and believed in this promise.

Sept 7, 2012 we got a schedule with the head of pediatric cardio in St. Luke’s global for a 2D echo doppler test. Dr Jonas del Rosario was very cool and made me and hubby relaxed. He was not going to say anything until he sees the heart of the baby. Holding hands, my husband and I prayed and thank God for this baby and the test. In about 20 minutes of scanning, he shows us.. “Look, his heart is pointing left, his valves are all normal, his stomach is on the left, your baby is normal.” Looking at the screen and seeing my baby’s heart beating, I smiled! All I could say was “thank you Jesus, thank you Doc, thank you Jesus!”

We experienced a miracle that day. God is in full control. Out loud, I would declare like a little kid, “I knew it! I knew that God would do something”. Indeed He has, and with increased joy, I believe God still moves mountains in this modern-day. He moved my son’s heart… He can move anything!

52 days

Its been 52 days that I got my official badge that I’ve become a mom! I’ve got the c-section mark to prove it. Its been a long journey and a test of faith. God is so gracious and faithful to me and my husband… We have waited for 7 years for a child and now every time I gaze at my son, it is so surreal. We have become parents!

The faithful day was December 12, 2012. God gave us our healthy bundle of joy… We named him Joshua Ruben Emmanuel.  A reminder forever of the giver of this child…

God has answered our prayers! Out of this joy we received from God, I am wanting to start sharing the stories and insights of motherhood and parenting that God will be revealing. In this blog, I would hope to encourage and be encouraged.

So let the Mommyventures begin!

via 52 days.