Celebrations with families and friends

In my Top 5 Happiest Happenings in 2011, I wrote as the fifth item “Celebrations with families and friends.” Who, exactly, are these “families” and friends?

1. My natural family

I always look forward to Sunday afternoons, when I get to joyfully celebrate with my dad, mom, younger brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and niece, the amazing grace and steadfast love of our Lord! 😀

Celebrating the New Year with Dad, Mom, Penan, Tetet, Karl, Paolo, Joshua, and Téa; and Cousins Mau, Tess, and Charm, and their families.

2. FORMDEV

FORMDEV is one of my four spiritual families. There are around 60 student facis, around 200 alumni facis, and around 15 faculty facis in the FORMDEV family, many of whom are my spiritual children (in the sense that the Holy Spirit chose me, undeserving man that I am, to lead them to Christ). I especially look forward to FORMDEV’s 10th year anniversary celebration — Praise God! — which we’re planning to hold sometime in April, before the DLSU centennial year closes in May.

Post-Christmas party with FORMDEV alumni and student facis. May we all remain faithful ambassadors of Christ in the workplace and at school. Thanks to Nikko Reyes for the photo.

3. My local church

I’m so proud of being a member of this beautiful church (where by “church” I don’t mean the edifice but the people who make up the church), which is situated right in the middle of a huge urban poor settlement. I’m proud of the pastor and leaders, who, by God’s grace, have faithfully and zealously obeyed God’s call to love, and of the members, whose slow but sure rise from poverty of many kinds, as a result of faith in and obedience to God, is a miracle that I witness every Sunday morning!

With Pastor Jun and some of the leaders of the church, after a powerfully symbolic and Spirit-led worship service on 1st Jan 2012. Thanks to Tony Pacadar for the photo.

4. My spiritual parents

Always in my prayers are Pastors Shinji and Kayoko Kimura, my spiritual parents, in whom I saw Christ’s agape love for the first time. I was so happy to hear from Pastor Shinji last Christmas of how, by God’s grace, he recently facilitated the visit to Japan of around 20 Youth with a Mission (YWAM) young missionaries from various countries. Alas, my last visit to Japan was in 2005. I hope to visit them again when I take my sabbatical.

A very old picture. I’m not fond of taking pictures, and if it were not for my blogs (which I only began to write in 2010), I still wouldn’t be taking any. This is with Pastor Shinji and his youngest, Ilie, in front of Mt. Fuji, when I was still a PhD (Computer Science) student in Japan.

5. My accountability partners

Also always in my prayers are Pastor Arnold, my accountability partner, and his wife, Sister Mina. There are certain habitual sins (spiritual strongholds) that can only be overcome with the help of an accountability and prayer partner. May everyone have such a gift from God.

With Pastor Arnold and Sister Mina in what has become our favorite Chinese resto chain – David’s Teahouse – since our Baguio trip last May.

6. Special groups of friends

a. My best friends

All but one of my best friends who are not pastors are citizens of other countries (one is a citizen of Canada; another, of the U.S.; another, of Australia and the U.K.; and another of South Africa). Though it saddens me to think that the only one who is based in the Philippines is going to Canada soon 😦 I am buoyed by the fact that our friendships have, by God’s grace, stood the test of distance as well as time.

Celebrating Christmas with favorite high school math and science teachers, Ms. Cordero and Ms. Jarumayan, best friend Carlo, based in New Jersey, and very good friend, Tookie.

b. The Gorettis

We served as deans of DLSU at around the same time and I can’t believe that we have remained friends after more than a decade. All of us have retired from DLSU administration but we’ve amazingly been able to meet up every trimester for fellowship. How we got to be named the Gorettis is a long story. 🙂

An old picture. Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures when we had lunch last December. According to my camera (which has date issues), this one was taken last October.

c. My PhD (Education) classmates

Studying to obtain a PhD is tough. Doing so when one is already old and with many children (some even with grandchildren) is a lot tougher. So I’m proud of my classmates for having finished our coursework! Now, after two years, “all” that remain are the written comps and the dissertation. By God’s grace, may we finish all these before the academic year ends!

Celebrating the end of our coursework over buffet breakfast overlooking Taal lake, with Sr. Joy Luz, our last prof. Thanks to Jenny Banal for the photo.

I’ve got several other groups of very good friends, but we were not able to meet up during the holiday season. Nevertheless, I will add our photos here when we’re finally able to celebrate the new year together.

Thank God for families and friends!!! 🙂 It is because of God’s love and theirs that I am able to fulfill the purpose of my life!

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7 thoughts on “Celebrations with families and friends

  1. What an amazing journey you are having, my best friend! You are definitely a true example what Christ can do! I can see the leaps and bounds you have done in your life. For me, life should be simple: work, gym, watching tv, clean my place, grocery market and have fun along the way while trying to stay out of trouble the best that I can. LOL!

    Wishing you the best of 2012!

    Your BFF In Canada,
    Alex

    1. Thanks heaps for visiting again, old pal! My daily life is as simple as yours, really, but let’s not be deceived by mundanity, for even in the seemingly simple events of daily life, choices are made which ultimately lead to victory or defeat.

      Wishing you as well the best of 2012 in Christ!

      Know that you’re always in my prayers.

  2. Thanks for the special mention in this article. Though I get to see you twice a year (so far), I still feel exhilarated every time we meet. And I also feel as if I was just away for a short time, meeting again where we left off. Time is playing tricks on me, as if I am transported back in time. One thing however that keeps moving forward is our maturity (both mind and body lol!), but I like it because I notice the deepening conversations and the graceful aging. 🙂

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