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.

Together Forever Couples Retreat

For the first time in 9 years of marriage, Steve and I joined a marriage retreat.

We entered feeling like we have such a great marriage. We love each other and we really don’t have any problems. But as we listened to the topics and listen to our “classmates”, we both felt that we can still grow in several areas in our relationship.

 
The retreat did not make you knit pick at each other’s short comings but it brought to life the roles that each spouse plays in a marriage and in our family legacy. It reminded me how I can be great wife (not just better). I also when each of us responsibly take on our God-given roles, we can bless not only each other, but also our children too. 

  For women, our main role is to submit to our husband’s leadership, respect them, and to be their helpmate. The bible says: 

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

I personally am still a work in progress here! I can sometimes be stubborn. But I am learning that when I submit, it pleases God. When I submit to my husband, I ultimately submit to God. 

In the retreat, I met women who never seemed to struggle with their husbands. It was there I realized that it can be possible! Also, I learned that we are a more refined version of Adam, having been made from his rib… You can say women are like a version 2.0 while Adam is first-generation made. So in many ways God made women with special features such as good home makers, multi taskers, administrative assistants, teachers and mothers… They usually can do what men can’t do.  All because women are the greatest complimentary creation for men! And since we are strong in many aspects, God reminds women to submit to the leadership of their husband.

But wait, husbands have a much larger role – to be the Lover, Leader, and Provider. The bible also states this:

“As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. That’s how husbands ought to love their wives—in the same way as they do their own bodies. Anyone who loves his wife loves himself.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:25, 28‬ ‭CEB‬‬

 
It is very healthy for couples to go through retreats so they can get a time out from the busy routine of everyday life and nurture the marriage. It is also a time to reassess what is important and that is loving each other in a deeper and more meaningful way.

I highly recommend it to anyone who is married whether you are a few months in the club or even more than 50 years! It’s fun and also a great way to bond and date your spouse with God at the center of the experience!

 
 

The man who holds my heart…

Many ask how I met Steve.  Everybody gets giddy when I say “it was a blind date”.  Yes it was my first blind date and last… and finally he became the man I married!

That blind date I remember so clearly. I arrived 30 minutes late in Les Souffle and he was cool and collected.  He was smoking his cigar and having scotch — and I thought, “He isn’t my type”.  On the other hand, I had a cold  so I was sneezing and blowing my nose throughout the dinner date … (Not very attractive, ey).   It was a double blind date because we each brought a friend who we tried to pair as well.  It was a tense night, because we were all getting to know each other.  The night ended in suspense.  I wondered if I will hear from him again.  But Steve did call and we got to know each other more through more dates.

When we met he was 28, working as a stock broker and starting a Fund Portfolio Management Company.  I was a 22-year-old working student.  We became friends for 6 years before we tied the knot.  Our marriage is a gift from the Lord… It’s a journey of faith.   We waited for seven years before God gave us children.  The journey also made us grow as a couple especially when God led my husband, Steve, into government service. Now, we are parents, and together we are learning how to raise our children to love God and our neighbors.

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Today he celebrates his 44th birthday. I want to honor Steve,  my husband, friend, and the father of my children.

Strength – You have been my strength, my source of security.  Your love has allowed me to bloom to be the woman I am today.  You have always given me freedom to express my gifts and you encourage me to be my best. Your prayers for me have covered my weak points.  You have provided for me and our children. When I feel insecure, you remind me that God is all we need… Thank you Steve for being my strength.

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Truth– You have always spoken truth and you avoid sugar-coating the truth. You say what needs to be heard because of love.  You have also encouraged me because you love God’s Word.  You desire God’s truth and want to obey Him.  I am so blessed that you are after God’s heart.  I am a very fortunate wife because you are honest to admit your mistakes and you never found it hard to say “I’m sorry”.

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Empathy – God has given you a heart for people.  Your passion to serve the helpless and bring some light to the hopeless has fueled my own desire to serve others. When you host those medical missions and bring hope to people with challenges on health,  it energizes you.  When you are able to help someone get an opportunity out of difficulty, I see gladness on your face. It is your joy to see other people happy.

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Visionary– The more I know you, Steve… the more I understand that you are a man focused on one vision — To make God the Center. You want God to be the center of our marriage, the center of our family, the center of your service, the center of everything.  When God is at the center of everything, then all things will fall in its proper place.  We have seen that in our lives. Even in the midst of the storms, because God is at the center, there is great peace. Your vision for Sarangani is God-centered Prosperity — Our declaration is, “Without God we can do nothing”.

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Excellence – One thing about you, Steve, is that you like things done excellently.  You have patience to train and develop leaders to be more efficient, to think outside the box, and to go beyond. You are not over bearing but you command respect.  Even at home, you are patient with us.  We know that you want us to do things with eager hearts and to do things well. I thank God that you have that virtue because this sets as a good example to our children.  You are a great adviser to all your siblings and to me on achieving our goals and reaching are full potential.  God is to be praised for giving us someone like you.

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Over all, I want to say “I love you”.  You are such a good and faithful husband to me… Thank you for taking care of me and our children. You are the man who continues to hold my heart.  We love you dearly, babe.