Even so, uncertainty at times troubled me. I was in a new place and I do not know anyone. If something happens, I would just be a call away from my family but geographically hundreds of kilometers separated.
I thought about myself as a new student again about to be welcomed by strange faces in a new school where I will learn and experience a higher course of life. And indeed after all those years – my perspective and many aspects about me have changed.
One of the great things me and my wife have experienced and been blessed with, were the parents and new family that God raised for us in Palawan – our Godparents and friends.
When I was a kid, I had godparents and I remember who they are. I know how they showed their parental care through my old pictures and certain memories. When I came to Palawan, I was warmly welcomed by a new family. Though I had no plan of staying or settling in Palawan before, one of the things that may have encouraged me to stay was the genuine love of people around me. In six months, I have always felt at home, though many times, I also miss my first home. Lately, I’ve attended a “despedida” of a Chinese lady who came to Palawan to teach Mandarin at one of the best High Schools – and she testified about how she felt at home while in the Philippines. One of her “at home” experience was when the owner of one of the largest department store chain had been bringing her a Chinese newspaper each morning for a year and a half. She had mentioned lots of people and how each made an impact in her life. She owned the longest hour that night and would have mentioned more if she had more time. The Chinese lady was a Christian and everybody that night in the hall. That night, the pastor mentioned how the universal church was at work. Being a Christian breaks all barriers allowing everyone have a common heart and spirit, and treating each other as sisters and brothers. So no matter where you go, and whoever you are if you truly have Christ in you – you will always feel at home in the company of fellow Christians.
I have also experienced what the Chinese lady had, and maybe even more for staying here longer.
I have experienced here the best birthdays I’ve ever had (I’ve written my story in my blog last year – Birthdays). I have truly felt the “parently” care from our godparents and other friends.
One time, while inside their car traveling to “bayan”, one of our godparents told me that I should use a perfume and make myself smell more presentable, it wasn’t the exact words but I know that’s what she means. Back then, I was the community coordinator of an NGO and what I do exposes me always to the different wearing elements of nature. Days later, she gave me a perfume – and since then, I am given a perfume once a year.
When I started teaching, I only had 2 respectably looking polo. They must’ve noticed it, so , they gave me their signature no longer used polo. And since then, formal shirts became my common birthday or Christmas presents.
When I was seriously starting my independent life and don’t have much to start with and sustain me, I have received supports from them and other friends. I don’t know where most of the supports came from though I have hints. It must be pure generosity not to let yourself be known. Interestingly, they were all just in time when I have none or when I needed it most.
When I was down or at one of my days’ trough, they were always available to talk to. They’d listen and would confidently give Godly advice or present choices for me think and pray about.
When I told them I’m in love and will be courting my future wife – they were there to give me warnings and reminders which have helped me realize more that I’m really in love. In the end, they gave me their blessing though I was scolded once or twice. I am accountable to them and it was worth it.
When I got engaged and finally got married – they were there always. From the counseling sessions, the shower and stag party they organized, to the wedding, and even in the daily preparations – they unhesitantly shared their time, resources, much efforts and hard-thought ideas just to make our special day elegant and memorable. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, they were all there supporting us with things we need and even those we thought we don’t need. There were two baby showers that have been organized by them which we have truly enjoyed (It wasn’t just a simple gathering of giving and sharing but there was a program that includes games, simple feast and activities to make it more fun). And also, everything that Summer needs during her birth and in her first month have already been provided by all of them. Some gave even months before. In fact, we only spent a thousand (which also has been given by them) for a few “lampins” and other newborn clothes. Thankfully, God allowed us to save for later.
When Summer was born, as usual, how can they miss helping us again and be there? Me and my wife were so thankful to God for providing us with people who truly love and treat us with kindness. Sometimes, real love is found not only within our biological ties but also among the company of our spiritual siblings.
There are many more situations of “when I wasses”, and they were there. In every little and major situations that I’ve been through, they were the other pair of footprints in the sand behind me. As I type and thought about this, I remembered a verse in the Bible. In Matthew 6:26-27, it says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
I have realized how God loves us and how valuable we are to Him. Through the people that surround us, we have felt how God has been taking care of us. He supplied our whole needs through the years and has been watching us without slumbering.
We too will become Godparents to younger couples someday – and by God’s grace, we’ll know how to be one. To all our friends who know us and we’ve talked to, our relatives who cares for us, our Godparents in Palawan and beyond and our parents who loved us first – we will be forever grateful…