Monday, October 27, 2008

He moves in mysterious ways

In 1997, my parents and I moved from the Philippines’s capital city of Manila to the adjoining Quezon City (QC). It was quite a difficult decision for us to move out of Manila to take residence somewhere else because we had stayed in that beautiful, busy city for more than 40 years already, at that time, in the same house. But the constant floods that occurred almost all-year round in our area in Manila (even if the rain was not that strong—“flash floods” as they were, and my friend Monching would always joke that all it took was 10 lizards to pee at the same time to have our streets flooded) was a major convincing factor for our transfer. There was also the rather expensive cost of the needed renovations for our old house, which had stood in that corner lot since the 1950s. Our mostly wooden house was already showing many scars inflicted by time and the elements, and by various pests that got attracted by the moisture brought on by the floods. Our house was, in fact, just among the few remaining wooden, original houses in the area. Other similarly old, wooden houses nearby had already given way to concrete apartments and townhouses. We were also among the very few residents in the area who had their own houses. Many of our neighbors were renting the apartments and townhouses they were living at.

The decision
Weighing our opt
ions, faced by floods and the hefty cost of renovating our house which we thought actually needed rebuilding and not just renovations, our family decided to sell our old house. We were more convinced to sell especially since during the time that we started to put it up for sale, we saw a modestly sized house and lot for sale in QC that needed just a few repairs to suit our needs and taste. We surmised that we would be able to afford to buy this QC property, and its repairs, from the proceeds of the sale of our Manila house. Now, that is one of the early ways in which I know God was moving his hand to help our family transfer residences.

His hand
He guided my brother in chancing upon that house in QC for sale in a nice, low-key village, with a “For Sale” sign put up by a bank to which the original owner had failed to pay her mortgage. In QC, which is highly urbanized, it is not that quick to find a bungalow residence that is quite easily affordable. One will see more of rather costly large houses, townhouses, or condominiums in many of QC’s major districts. God’s hand moved once again when it did not take us long to find a buyer for our Manila house. The tran
saction with our buyer lasted for only a few weeks, and, soon, we were also able to close our own deal with the bank that owned the QC property. But as we were still waiting for the renovations to be finished in our new home in QC, we were still staying put in our Manila home, with our things all properly bundled up and ready for transport. It was in our local Catholic church in Manila where I really and very immediately saw God’s hand moving. He paved the way for me to serve in the Mass for two consecutive Sundays, and He made sure to make it happen just before I transferred to QC. Before these two Sundays, I had never served in any way in this church, which was a few blocks away from our Manila home. I just went to Mass there and that was that. But in one of those two Sundays, while I was seated in church waiting for Mass to start, one of the women assisting in the Mass approached me and asked if I could be a collector for that Mass. Initially I wanted to refuse her because I was nervous. I had never done that thing before, much more touched even just the tip of the collection bag’s wooden pole. But, well, I said okay to her. Come collection time, I stood as if at the back of my mind I was answering God’s call, and made a beeline to the altar with the other collectors to get our collection bags. Going around the pews to gather the Mass goers’ contributions, it was quite an experience for me. Like I said, it was my first time to do such a thing, but I felt light-hearted after that.

Then, the next Sunday, I was surprised that I was called again to serve, in the same church. Another woman assisting in the Mass approached me early on while I was already seated and asked me to carry one of the floral vases to the altar during the Offering. This time, I had no apprehension, and immediately said yes. I was happy at the chance to serve.

It was many days after that I was able to reflect on my two Sundays’ worth of experience in that Manila church. And I thanked God that He gave me the opportunity to serve Him at that church just before I left it, where incidentally I was baptized, and had studied Kindergarten in its parochial school. (image from

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