Tag Archives: affirmation of God’s faithfulness

Bookworm Challenge: Book Channeling


Contemplating on the main objective of my main blog, I realized that I rarely publish book reviews. Curly Bookworm was conceptualized and conceived on August 2011. While having a quest with insurmountable queries of life during our family’s great crucibles, I found most of my comfort reading the Holy Writ and inspirational books. But naturally, I love books, and as much as I’m obsessed with reading, I’m fascinated and fond of writing and blogging.

When at times, friends aren’t enough to share burdens with, instead of sulking, I would spill my thoughts on the blogosphere. But of course, when answers to life’s trying trials and questions aren’t enough, there is Jesus. He is more than just an answer to my prayer. I have kept a journal as well to savor sanity.

Confessions of a Bookaholic

hahaI have bad habits to confess. I don’t know if many of bookworms out there can relate. As much as I want to hoard books for good reasons, often I compromise with ‘tsundoku’. Even tight of budget, if I would wander in a book store, especially with a book sale, I would end up buying books and later on wonder if it’s really a need. “Buy the NEEDS, not WANTS” I would always remind myself, but most of the times rationalize when the charm of books would take their spell.

While I wanted to uproot my old and bad habits, I am grateful that God inspired me some ways to replace them. Negative thoughts can only be overcome with positive ones, and so bad habits are replaced with good ones.

Thus actions repeated form habits, habits form character, and by the character our destiny for time and for eternity is decided. Christ’s Object Lesson, p.356

For several months, my new acquired books from a book sale (I occasionally buy 4-10 books on sale, 1-2 books on regular) have stood unmoved on the bookshelf, teasing me as they gather dusts. I would sometimes skim and scan them. But there are times, I would read books and don’t stop until I devoured the last page. No matter how blessed or entertained I am, I would think of blogging a review; then procrastination kills the initiative. No wonder you wouldn’t find much here. But I’ve written memoirs and musings. My life has been an open book after all.

No Greater Love

I skimmed and scanned them at the book sale. Having the aspiration to help establish and run an orphanage some day, I was thrilled to have found “No Greater Love” and “In a Heartbeat.” They are wonderful books about unconditional love and the memoirs about adopting African and Afro-American kids, and yeah, about orphanage! So, without an ‘if’, I secured them.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

But they’ve waited long enough on my bookshelf. I started reading “In a Heartbeat” last week, but when I am at the middle, I started reading “No Greater Love” and I didn’t stop until I finish the latter. Actually, my sister Zola read “No Greater Love” first. I’ve focus more on this life-changing book. I’ll tell about the other book next review.

Throughout the roller-coaster ride of emotions, vividly imagining the thrill, triumph, tears and trials of Benkert’s sojourn at Ethiopia, which are unfathomable, I reflected on my own life’s purpose. I tried to fit my feet in the missionary couples’ shoes, but I know I would never fully understand until I go to Ethiopia and experience their plight. To leave all things behind and be out of comfort zone to face the challenges of the unknown, has been the great leap of faith which Levi and Jessie Benkert. They’re unsung heroes, they are selfless champions for children. I believe, they were called to be world changers, and with God by their side, they turned the world of ‘mingi’ kids upside down, and so the orphans and widows of Addis, Ababa.

As much as I want to spill the beans, and to spoil the reader, I want this book review to be enticing. I wouldn’t. I personally challenge you guys to grab a copy of “No Greater Love” (check it out in their website) or be part of my challenge: book channeling. This one is too precious to be missed. Imagine a mysterious and ancestral practice of parents killing their own babies with the fear for superstitious beliefs of spirits getting angry at them if they keep their baby born out of wedlock, or if they conceive a child without telling the tribal elders beforehand. Or worse, if the baby’s top teeth grow first instead of the bottom teeth. They call the babies with such circumstances, ‘mingi’ (cursed). If they keep the baby alive, living in their village, the Kara tribe believed for generations that it can drive the spirits to fury. As a consequence, the spirits might kill all their family, causing disasters like drought and plagues, to name a few. That kind of practice was drastically discovered and stopped, through God’s miraculous working and providence. They had a great role in the lives of the ‘mingi’ kids and tribes of Jinka.

God has a greater purpose of sending Benkert family to Ethiopia, to be beacons of light at its darkest nights.

God has a greater purpose of sending Benkert family to Ethiopia, to be beacons of light at its darkest nights.

Who would have thought that God can use a MESS and turn it into a MESSAGE! Levi’s life was totally in a mess, especially financially and spiritually, before God called him to serve full-time with his family in Ethiopia, rescuing mingi kids. But the Living Messenger had done a great deal in his life. I can relate in some lil’ ways. When our family was in the fiery furnace of tribulation, the pain of losing three family members in quick succession was too much to bear. But then, we’ve received the best spiritual gains despite our great loss. Our trials turned out to be triumph. I was inspired to write a tribute to my late father, “Pain: A Blessing Not Everyone Appreciates” and testimony about my late older sister and younger brother, “When SOON Lingers”.

“No Greater Love” is truly a wonderful testimony of God’s redemptive discipline, God’s rescue and His wondrous grace. The book was not just well-written by Candy Churd. Behind its process was a Divine Wordsmith who carefully and creatively guided the gifted hands. This life-transforming story should be channeled to many people.

Words can change. The WORD changes, yet His love knows no change. (John 1:1-4, John 3:16). I praise the LOVE that makes me whole again – No Greater Love indeed!

Kindly read the news re mingi children and their rescue: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/05/world/africa/mingi-ethiopia/

Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God measures more with how much love one worketh, than the amount he doeth. ~ Ellen G. White

Bring Love In

The Benkert’s high hope to establish not just an orphanage, but a community of loving people (orphans, widows, less fortunate, collaborating with missionaries and sponsors) was finally made into a reality. I was thrilled browsing the website! I had a regret of not having it read or discovered earlier. But God has a perfect timing! So true with “Bring Love In” as well.

The family who serves and prays together stays happily together. Levi and Jessie, with their lovely children, Nickoli, Luella, Ruth and Edalawit (Everly).

The family who serves and prays together stays happily together.
Levi and Jessie, with their lovely children, Nickoli, Edalawit (Everly), Luella and Ruth.

“Bring Love In is a community (not just an organization) that exists to show the love of God by giving families to children who have none.  We are based out of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where we couple orphans who are given to us by local authorities, and widows from within local Christian church communities, to create new forever families here in Ethiopia.” ~ Levi & Jessie

Check their website: http://bringlove.in/about/

Yesterday, after feasting on the last page of the book, I was moved to utter a sincere prayer of empowering my eye of faith so I could be more sensitive in helping others, especially those beyond my reach. I let go of some emotions that I’ve been harboring on the past months, struggling with the reality, my identity and ministry. I thought my tear ducts were drained already then, but a good cry is healthy.

I was a missionary for many years then, and I always wanted to be one. “You don’t need to go across the sea to be a missionary” was the lyrics from the song, my youngest brother used to sing then. That’s so true! I dreamed of going to Africa, Cambodia or India, to be a medical missionary or missionary teacher there. I still don’t let go of that aspiration. But how can I be a missionary in a faraway place if I don’t live by it at home and within the sphere of my influence? Yesteryears have a history. My future would be more of HIStory.

Inspired by the efforts of Levi and Jessie Benkert, I wanted to adopt the inspiration to ‘bring love in’ wherever I go. Be a missionary anywhere, everywhere. Nothing is impossible as long as self is submitted to Christ.

I’ve enjoyed publishing ministry during high school years, and I have always believed in the power of printed pages. With this in mind, I’m moved to have a book challenge (especially for myself): to share to as much as many people I can about a book that made a lasting impact in my life. My vision is to inspire people to read memoirs of unsung heroes, exceptional people like the Benkert family. To transpire the blessing of being changed for the better. Those who are willing to join the challenge could be a channel of change.

  • Share a wonderful book by lending it for a specific period of time (at least a week).
  • The next person would lend it to the person who is willing to read it. It would be tracked (then goes the same cycle).

For example: I finished reading NO GREATER LOVE. The first 10 people who would e-mail me: lafronda7@gmail.com (subject: Bookworm Challenge: Book Channeling) with the intention to join the challenge will be accommodated. Let’s consider extending the list later.

  • This chain of book channeling would create a bond among readers, passing the book to one another, until it return to me.
  • A personal book review is encouraged to be done. I will feature it here in my blog as a part of the series about this book challenge.
  • It isn’t compulsory, but I encourage you to donate to BRING LOVE IN, or encourage others to do so by sharing this blog post. Learn about donation and how to donate: http://bringlove.in/needs/

Book Channeling: A Book Travel

Literally, the book travels too as the bookworm pass the book for challenge to another bookworm. So let’s see how far “No Greater Love” could go and how far its influence could reach. You can also do the same challenge, choosing a wonderful memoir or inspirational book. Just follow my steps: make a book review, encourage readers to join the challenge, lend the book and let it travel. Certainly, we could create a book club with a cause.

I found out a greater purpose for my blog. I would be glad if you’re willing to join force; so together, we could change the world, one bookworm and blogger at a time.

Find out my first step to financially help “Bring Love In”. Bookworm Craze: Curly Bookworm’s books on sale. (Click the title to read about the book sale). The proceeds will go to this wonderful organization. I’m saving a particular amount to donate. This could be small to jump start. But great things start from small beginnings right? Any creative idea to share how to raise funds for the orphans and widows? You can leave a comment, or write an e-mail to me: lafronda7@gmail.com (subject: Creative Ideas for Bring Love In).

If you aren’t a subscriber yet to this blog, I encourage you to enlist at the bottom left corner of this blog for you to keep updated.

Let’s keep the book rolling. Join the Bookworm Challenge!

© 2015 LAF

Note: Photos credit to Levi Benkert, CNN and Google. Videos credit to (Bring Love In) YouTube and Vimeo . This blog has a copyright . The photos and articles should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.

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Filed under Attitude of Gratitude, Bespectacled Books, Life story, Ministry, NaBloPoMo GROW 2015, Superb Authors

Fun Facts Fans Should Know About Weanne


Disclaimer: The facts were thoughtfully chosen, based on a documented research. The intention of the author is neither to put the person in an unfavorable, funny circumstance nor to inflict shame. This is a fun way to honor a friend on her birthday, and encourage the fans to know her on a personal basis. All emphasis intended.

I’ve been Weanne Myrrh ‘Wea’ Razon Estrada’s fan-turned-friend. I even considered myself a “fans club”, telling her that I’m equivalent to a dozen of fans, especially when it comes to her love life. A cheering squad, its exaggerated counterpart. Haha

Ok, so to tell a short background to justify the first statement, let’s walk down memory lane. During late 90’s, I first heard Wea’s voice through a cassette tape. Yeah, she’s a recording artist at a tender age, together with her older sister, Dianne Claire and some other gifted kids. I’m a fan. I love singing, and I told myself, I’ll meet her/them one day, and perhaps sing with her/them.

So after several years, I finally set foot at AUP, and tsaraaaaaan! I finally met her.

But I lately found out, she focused more on playing the piano and had been the accompanying pianist. She doesn’t render SOLO. No false hope. She just doesn’t sing solo. Unless someone powerful enough to persuade would inspire her to sing, perhaps “I See the Light” (theme song). Haha

But I’m grateful that I’ve got that once-in-a-lifetime rendition with her being my accompanying pianist during the Health Professionals Convention last year. I ain’t a health practitioner though.

*The ‘haha’ is something I got from Wea. There’s a blog post about why she often put that at the last part of her sentence. But this isn’t just about mimicking her. That’s the power of influence! Haha

Soya is way beyond cutie. She's a walking, smart stuffed toy.

Wea’s baby Soya is way beyond cutie. She’s a walking, smart stuffed toy. Soya has her lil’ puppies now. Time flies indeed!

Wonder Woman, Wander Weanne

It would take a blog series to enumerate the fun facts. So I chose the most significant ones, enough for a fan to know to be legit. Haha

She’s all that – gifted, achiever, leader, topnotch, trustworthy, thoughtful, practical, persistent although self-proclaimed “professional procrastinator”. A loving daughter, loving sister, caring friend, extra-caring girlfriend (understatement, unless the description comes from her boyfie).

But aside from being a wonder woman, she likes to wander as a traveler. She’s actually a globetrotter, having conquered countries in Europe, United States of America (where she sojourn for her graduate studies), and some Asian countries. There are more in her bucket list. But when it comes to traveling, she’s not ‘maarte’. She’s a genius girl-next-door with a gorgeous smile. She’s an exceptional lovely person inside-out.

There was one trip from Paseo (Sta. Rosa) to AUP (Adventist University of the Philippines) with her, and I wondered how her mind wandered. The jeepney stopped already in front of AUP gate, we already toned down from being engrossed with our random topics with a whimsical whiplash (we jump from one topic to another, as always, haha) during the travel. She was quiet and was looking afar. I didn’t bother reminding her we’re already in AUP. She was in reverie, I guessed she will continue traveling to Sta. Rosa Heights or visit a friend somewhere near my place. So when the jeepney started moving, about a minute, she realized, she missed it.

“Wea, saan ka pala pupunta?” I asked her.

“Ay ate Lai, AUP na pala! …ayy! Para po manong!” she surprisingly screamed and hurriedly went out with poise. Haha

She flushed, but not-so-red, I know she felt embarrassed.

I forgot if I mentioned to her, after she went out, some of the people in the jeepney said: “Di ba, yon yung Top 1 sa Nursing Board Exam (Nursing Licensure Exam in 2010)? Ayon oh, sya yung nasa tarpaulin!”

That’s how she wondered when we wandered.

Frisson for French

When she opens her mouth, either to host an event or to deliver a speech, she’s a magnet. I don’t wanna be biased as a friend, but many people have attested to that. That’s why she got many fans. Whether covered by television network, or local videographer, her eloquence is evident. God endowed her a gift in speech.

She made her graduation speech soon before her graduation, and left thousands of audience inspired and quite petrified. Spontaneous. Very moving. Okay, okay, she’s capable, after all, she’s an achiever from elementary until college – always on the top. But she’s so down-to-earth. No hint of arrogance, whatsoever.

Since she loves to travel, she also loves foreign language. But you should excuse her French. Last year, she finally sojourned in Paris. Dreams do come true! She finally saw the epic Eiffel Tower and gallivant at the heart thump-thumping, Love Lock Bridge. Only to realize and confess afterwards that she got confused of La Dolce Vita as French, when in fact, it’s Italian. And that’s her blog’s name. Haha

imageedit_5_3789440810Read about it: http://weannewashere.tumblr.com/post/83312050617/paris-day-1-excuse-my-french

Attempted Arson

She’s harmless as it may appear. Yeah, she is. But you shouldn’t mess up with her. The lawn near the College of Nursing was on fire before her graduation; she’s one of the responsible ones (she’s the graduating president and college president of her batch). It happened during a very significant activity. The fire from the bonfire set ablaze and they had a hard time to tame it. It was unintentional and an accident, no one ever imagined it would happen.

Burn AUP? Nah! The sub-headline was just an exaggeration. I can’t imagine her being tarantacious, lacking grace and poise to act on that crime, when farewell party turned into firewell frenzy (*firewell is borrowed term from her friend)

But really, you shouldn’t mess up with Wea! Haha

Farewell with Fire Frenzy

Farewell with Fire Frenzy

*photo courtesy of Dana Conopio

Of Beauty and Bullying

Wea confuses people whether she’s Chinese or Korean. She hides her eyes when she smiles, but she’s plain Filipino, from mixed ancestors.

Who would imagine Sandara Park would rise in stardom here in our country? She had a humbling beginning prior to her discovery in local showbiz. Who would have thought, she’ll be more famous as how she is now, as a singer (2NE1) and actress in Korea?

Being misconstrued as her friend when she posted a fangirling shot with Sandara during a movie shoot in AUP, and post it in social media, she had a foretaste of bullying. There was a girl who commented nasty things about her looks compared to Sandara’s. It’s been a laughing stock, even sometimes when close friends would make fun of her. She’s not taking it personally though.

Read about it and look at their pic and the cyberbullying (Wea, don’t sue me for this, haha): http://weannewashere.tumblr.com/search/Sandara+Park

Bullying. Stereotyping. Exploitation. These are some of the negative and ill doings she hope to evade or help eradicate, with her campaign on upholding the human rights and advocacy to help the plight of Filipino nurses here and abroad. The ripple effect was beyond measure.

Can you also see her bright future? Insert Ser! ahem. haha

Can you also see her bright future? Insert Ser! ahem. haha

She’s known for goodwill.

She has a humungous heart.

She has some funny moments which manifested her vulnerability.

She’s not perfect. But imperfectly perfect in her ways.

 Do you have some funny facts about her which I might have missed knowing? Feel free to leave a comment. Haha

*I hope and pray that God will continue to make her channel of his goodness and blessings; may more lives be forever touched.

Dear Wea,

I’m just behind your back. I’m keeping track of your blog, LOL. Keep sharing how wonderful the God we serve is! Stay loving and blooming. I’m cheering for you and your academic and love life milestones. Alam mo yan! Thanks for the bongga friendship!

For the efforts, especially praying for my future special someone, much gratitude and gaiety! Haha.

Melodious Birthday! 😀

P.S.

You’re missed to the moon and back.

Your funny fan, friend, and sisterfromanothermother,

Te Lai.

PARIS

“Someday, God willing, madadagdagan ang locks dito with you and someone’s name hihi. Thanks for all your love and sweetness to me te, someday a lucky guy will experience that same love and sweetness from you for himself too. mwah ” ~ Weanne 1.15.14 (surprise souvenir)

“However rare true love is, true friendship is rarer”. ~M.M. *The solo pic is one of my favorite shots coz unknowingly, I’d be beheaded in for the photo booth during the camporee (thought I’d be a model Master Guide, Haha).

© 2015 LAF

Note: Photos credit to Weanne and Arj Almocera, otherwise stated. Our duet pics in the collage are mine (at least may duet sa picture).

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Filed under Attitude of Gratitude, Friendship, Life story, Travel & Adventure

PAIN: A Blessing Not Everyone Appreciates


“God wants us to choose to love Him freely, even when that choice involves pain, because we are committed to Him, not to our own good feelings and rewards…Job did not seek the Giver because of His gifts; when all gifts were removed He still sought the Giver.”
~Philip Yancey, Where is God When it Hurts?

Today’s supposed to be Papa Benny’s 59th birthday. He peacefully slept in the Lord without bidding goodbye, in the loving arms of his Beloved, my Mama Belinda. He passed away 2 months and 25 days ago, to be exact.

Remembering my friend’s statement after his burial, “I thought you’ll sulk, …good thing you don’t. Take time to grieve for your sudden loss, you’ve been through a lot!”

Healing Amid Hurting

The dawn of December 1, 2013 was still vivid! The night of  November 31st was full of fun and laughter since we’ve been visited by family friends and lingered until almost midnight. Only to be awakened by a call that chilled my spine and gave me a shock. “Ate, wala na si Papa…”, my brother Franz tearfully uttered.

That devastating news was another nightmare, it petrified me. It didn’t sink in, until I received a call from our family friend neighbor who assisted my mother in our province. If only I could fly and attend to my mother’s dire need of our presence. But how can I? when I felt so helpless, as if my wings were utterly broken. I was torn. Then after several minutes, I was able to bitterly cry.

During the five-day wake, I never cried. Even during the internment, I didn’t shed a tear. The excruciating pain almost benumbed me. Maybe because I’ve been through major heartaches with the quick successions of death of my younger brother BJ (March 2011), and eldest sister Leah (12.12.12), and then my father’s.

I never forced myself to cry, though I was greatly hurt within. Now that the grievances resurfaced, I could cry and I’m grateful for the gift of pain and tears.

“Our sufferings are not for nothing.
NEVER…
The trial of faith is a thing worth much more than gold.”
~Elisabeth Elliot

Family Day Out the day after ate Leah's cremation. (Dec. 12th her death was Franz's birthday, Dec. 15th was JR's birthday). Sort of celebrating despite the great loss.

Family Day Out on Dec. 17th, the day after ate Leah’s cremation. (Dec. 12th her death was Franz’s birthday, Dec. 15th was JR’s birthday). Sort of celebrating despite the great loss.

 

Legacy of Love Lives On

During his last week at the church, he had a special funeral service at our home church, Pinamalayan SDA Church where he also served. I was spontaneous in updating my Facebook timeline for the sake of friends and relatives who weren’t able to come to our province. I thought of blogging about it, but soon lingered.

tough guy at tough times, he's got a tough FAITH!

tough guy at tough times, he’s got a tough FAITH!

Here’s the caption of this old photo which I made my DP (display photo).

I bid my first love, my father, good bye.

He’s the man who introduced me to the Redeemer, Restorer, and Returning King; one who reminded me to make Him the first and last, and best in everything.

The fight of faith of this brave and brilliant man might have come to its end, but its legacy would last in my heart until we meet again on that grand & glorious day.

I would surely miss his baritone voice, his mega-watt smile, his warm embrace, his corny yet entertaining jokes, his intuitive advises, his never-ending tales, and his high hopes for our future.

I can’t thank God’s unconditional love that was channeled through him.

At a very young age of 8, he was an orphan. Lola Indalecia died after giving birth to their youngest sibling who died right after too! At 21, Lolo Blas died too, leaving him with all the responsibilities as the first-born, a quasi- mom and dad to his brother Wency and sister Ercie.

At early 20’s he received his black belt in martial arts, Judo Karate. He won tournaments and even survived fights, defending others and himself.

But when he got to know Jesus as his personal Redeemer and Defender, his outlook in life drastically changed.

Down memory lane, I saw myself begging him to train me (Judo Karate) for self defense. He never did, he even discouraged us to learn. He taught us to have full trust in God instead; advised us never to repay evil for evil, for “vengeance is mine, says the Lord” (favorite verse). For him, that’s the true measure of a man.

He’s a faithful husband to mama, and a friend to us. Despite some flaws and shortcomings as a hubby and a father, he’s still the BEST for us.

Til then Papa Benifredo Geronimo Fronda, Sr.
March 26, 1955 – December 1, 2013

*This photo was taken on December 9, 1978. (He’s 23 yrs.old)

She's an epitome of love, faith, patience & prudence. She's my unsung heroine and wingless angel. She brought me in her womb for 9 months and took care of me since then. Without her, I won't be here. I'm more than blessed having mama Belinda.

She’s an epitome of love, faith, patience & prudence. She’s my unsung heroine and wingless angel. She brought me in her womb for 9 months and took care of me since then.
Without her, I won’t be here. I’m more than blessed having mama Belinda.

Bravery During Bereavement & Beyond
Here’s my musing on the day Papa’s death sank in (Dec.1):
On November 15th, my beloved parents celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary with us beyond the distance.

On Nov. 21st, we celebrated again for mama’s birthday; and on 23rd, for Zola’s birthday.

This month was full of mirth and memories, not knowing that December would come with another cry-clad crucible for our family.

We’re never aware that it would be the last November with Papa.

With all the terrifying trials we’ve met, I’ve learned and unlearned a lot of things in the vicissitudes of life.


With my parents’ inspiration, especially Papa’s, I’ve scrutinized life and learned to focus on a query “how will I maximize the abundant grace provided?”, rather than wallow, asking “how come Lord?, why?”.

I may never fully grasp God’s purpose, yet I’m hopeful of that glorious day I would be able to sit at Jesus’ feet and find the right answers to my wondering.

 Christmas Selfie with photobomber sweetums! Who would have thought that this pic was taken 24 days after my father's death? We have a gracious God, our true source of happiness. *Dec. 25th


Christmas Selfie with photobomber sweetums, Who would have thought that this pic was taken 24 days after my father’s death?
We have a gracious God, our true source of happiness. *Dec. 25th

Miracle, Mirth and Misery

During my recent vacation at home last Oct. 28 – Nov. 10, I’ve witnessed how papa struggled with difficulty of breathing. Almost everyday, he’s got asthma attack; oftentimes, mild, sometimes, severe.

Aside from natural means to help him ease the pain & hardship, he’s been dependent with the use of nebulizer.

I had my worst dilemma when super typhoon Yolanda struck our province, Oriental Mindoro @ signal #4. We’ve got block-out, and we’d been praying for him to be spared of possible severe attack. He had on that Friday night, but God intervened. He wasn’t brought to the hospital.

For him, being confined in the hospital was a nightmare. He told me he doesn’t want if ever he gets really worse.

Actually, he had the worst attack on May this year, and was brought at the ER with only a lil’ chance of survival. He almost died, but praise God he was revived! He no longer has BP and very low respiratory rate, he’s already turned blue-black. Grateful, my bro. Ifo was there to rush him to the nearby hospital.

We’re so shocked that after 6 months of survival (with another confinement on July), he would give up the fight. He told mama that he’s so tired already on the wee hour of December 1. He had a severe attack and when my mother told him he should be brought to the hospital, he told her, “wag mo na ako dalhin, bukas na lang, pagod na ako, yapusin mo na lang ako at haplusan” (don’t bring me there, let’s go there for check-up tomorrow, I’m tired already. Just hug me and apply vapor rub at my back).

My mother developed calmness and constant reliance upon God since my younger brother died in her arms on March 31, 2011 (sudden death due to typhoid encephalitis), few days after Papa’s birthday on March 26th.

So my mama just did what he requested, few moments later, he’s lifeless. However heart-breaking the scenario was, mama said, papa was peaceful as if he’s just deeply sleeping. He was declared expired soon after, due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), he didn’t have any vice, but during earlier years, he was exposed to many strong chemicals due to work and our own Nata de Coco business (we used strong chemical which is harmful to health, esp. to the lungs), air pollution in the city where he stayed for many years, etc.

He died at mama’s loving arms. I admire our wonder woman more! God is indeed merciful.

Too ironic, mama and some brethren told me, he was at the wake in our neighborhood and was so lively, cracking jokes to the bereaved family friends earlier that night. Not knowing that it’s the last time he’ll laugh and would be emotionally stressed.

Even us, with my friends who visited at home in Cavite, we were laughing a lot as we bonded that Sat. night, only to receive the horrible news few hours after.

Life is fragile and temporary indeed! Our only surety is God’s will and the Blessed Hope.

 

Hearing My Last Sermon

During my vacation before his death, I was requested to speak in our church on November 1, 2013, focusing on the State of the Dead. I shared our family crucibles, the terror and trauma of death among family members and how we had “Healing Amid Hurting”.
Who would have thought that after exactly one month, December 1, Papa would be in the state of the dead! My mom even sang before I spoke! She sang “Keep Looking Up”. My parents used to sing duet when we were at an early age, and I found them very lovely singing together.
Here’s the second stanza and chorus of the song my mom sang:
So when your faith is sorely tried
And earnest pray’rs have been denied
Whene’er you need a faithful guide
There’s just one thing to do.

Keep looking up, Thy God is still the same today
Keep looking up He will not fail thee
Come what may, keep looking up
The darkest night will roll away
So do not doubt, but keep on looking up.

I actually made a blog in Tumblr, dedicated to my mom’s exquisite faith and bravery. The first entry, “Looking Down is Never an Option” is all about her and Papa’s sudden death. Here’s the link:
http://curlywittywordsmith.tumblr.com/post/70765941446/looking-down-isnt-an-option
Just keep on looking up. There is where God paints a rainbow after the rain!

Just keep on looking up. There is where God paints a rainbow after the rain!

The Last Song
For many people, both related by blood and not, they considered me a very strong person. “I can’t imagine myself if I were on your shoes Lanie, you’re so strong! I admire you! God is with you!” utterance of the former principal of AUP Academy told me. Aside from a strong and supportive family, we’re blessed with awesome family friends and prayer warriors!
Here’s my simple secret:
With Christ, I’M POSSIBLE!
Without Him, IMPOSSIBLE!
Here’s my post on Dec. 6, after the internment of my father.
Since last night during tribute until necrological service this morning, I talked much. I have no choice, since I’d love to and I am expected too! Sharing papa’s epic conversion story was a delight!
But to sing those three songs were offerings of a broken, yet grateful heart.I never thought it would be that rewarding to serve my family, relatives & brethren through music ministry. Coz to sing to my own papa’s funeral was a big, different story. Gone were the days when I rendered songs to other people’s funeral services, and to my sibling’s too. It’s just so special.After all, speaking and singing are the most obvious talents I’ve got from my father, according to my mother and other people.
Here’s the last song I rendered during the necrological service.  (please click the link, This Day if you want to watch the video)
Friendship Lives Beyond the Grave
Papa’s misconstrued as a politician in our place, he’s been known throughout our province having myriad of friends throughout the country and abroad. But he’s just a simple person, rich with friendships. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable and annoyed having many visitors coming almost everyday at home.
On his last night of wake, the number of friends who gave testimonials surpassed the number of family members and relatives who did.
Best Friends Beyond the Grave

Best Friends Beyond the Grave

During the first night, his best friend who came from the U.S., delivered the message. It was a blessing  because we longed to share to our relatives our faith and the HOPE of Jesus’ soon coming. Though it wasn’t a good reunion to gather with, all things work together for good! (Romans 8:28).

“Mahal ko po ang taong ito, sya ay isang tapat at tunay na kaibigan.
Mapagbigay, matulungin, (Para sa kanya, ibibigay pa sa iba),
masayahin…Nanghihinayang po ako!
Pero ito ay niloob ng Diyos na may kadahilanan…”

Tito Jerson Camposano highly regarded papa not because he’s his best friend since early 90’s, but because they’ve understood, accepting each others’ flaws & shortcomings; and help build each others’ faith. A true unconditional friendship indeed!


They’ve been brother-like buddies since he was assigned as our district pastor in early 90’s, according to him. He delivered the message on the state of the dead and the end-times, emphasizing the Blessed Hope of Jesus’ soon return.

I’m super grateful! It seemed a family reunion with a crusade. Most of our relatives aren’t SDAs yet. Our deepest desire is to reach out to them and uphold Jesus, our Wounded Healer.

Thank You Jesus isn't enough. Because You live, we can face tomorrow although we no longer have Papa Benny. You renewed that blessed Hope again and again. *Ate Leah's urn was finally buried with Papa's remains. Six days before ate's death anniversary.

Thank You Jesus isn’t enough.
Because You live, we can face tomorrow although we no longer have Papa Benny. You renewed that blessed Hope again and again.
*Ate Leah’s urn was finally buried with Papa’s remains.
Six days before ate’s death anniversary.

Our loved ones, Papa, ate Leah and BJ (Ben Jathniel), left our presence, but never our hearts. They've gone asleep in the Lord and we long for that blessed resurrection morn. We simply miss them. Yet that doesn't lessen our reason to celebrate God's greatness!

Our loved ones, Papa, ate Leah and BJ, left our presence, but never our hearts.
They’ve gone asleep in the Lord and we long for that blessed resurrection morn.
We simply miss them. Yet that doesn’t lessen our reason to celebrate God’s greatness!

“The very trials that test our faith most severely and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are designed to lead us nearer to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at his feet, and receive the peace he will give us in exchange.
When you surrender yourself entirely to God, you fall all broken upon Jesus, you will be rewarded by a victory, the joy of which you have never realized.

As you review the past with a clear vision, you will see that at the very time when life seemed to you only a perplexity and a burden Jesus Himself was near you, seeking to lead you into the light.

Your Father was by your side, bending over you with unutterable love, afflicting you for your good, as the Refiner purifies the precious ore.”
~EGW, Gospel Workers p.372-373

 

“The TRIUMPH of Christian FAITH is
to SUFFER, and be STRONG;
to SUBMIT, and thus CONQUER;
to BE KILLED all day long, and yet to LIVE;
to BEAR the CROSS, and thus WIN the CROWN of IMMORTAL GLORY.”
~EGW, Sketches from the Life of Paul, p. 300

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.” Job 13:15  *with Lolo Urbano Castillo, an evangelist whom God used to channel bring Papa in the faith and helped build our home church, Pinamalayan SDA Church taken in early 90's. I'll post his conversion story later on.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.” Job 13:15
*with Lolo Urbano Castillo, an evangelist whom God used to channel bring Papa in the faith and helped build our home church, Pinamalayan SDA Church taken in early 90’s. I’ll post his conversion story later on.

 

My father’s epitaph:

Benifredo G. Fronda, Sr.

March 26, 1955 – Dec. 1, 2013

“For to me, to live is Christ 
and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

This is a blog tribute for my father. I longed to blog about him, but today is the right time. I pray that as you read this affirmation of God’s faithfulness in our family’s life, may you be strengthened in whatever storms you’re going through.

And if you’re plagued with pain, remember, the Wounded Healer is ever near!

© 2014 LAF

Note: Photos credit to Zola, and Google Image. Video credit to Zola and You Tube. This blog has a copyright . The photos and articles should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.

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Filed under Health & Healing, Heath & Healing, Life story, Love, Ministry, Vicissitudes

Affirmation of God’s Faithfulness


This morning, upon reading a Facebook message from Dr. Lalaine Alfanoso, I wasn’t able to hold my tears. With mixed emotions, I praised God for both good news and sad news. I cried because I was so blessed and touched of how God works in mysterious ways.

This experience is nostalgic, I reminisce the times my family and I were in the same predicament, a life and death situation of my late ate Leah. I remembered how brethren from far and near, friends and family, and even strangers were able to unite to support not only through fervent prayers and encouragements, but in various ways (especially financial support).

This post is another way of helping Ma’am Lalaine in her endeavors to help her dear friend. She’s always there encouraging, and her trust with my love for service made me more inspired to do what I can to help others. Prior to her invitation, I was with her and the rest of medical missionaries and medical professionals at the Heritage Center, 28th Floor, Raffles Tower at Ortigas, Pasig City. It’s a Health Professionals Sabbath Convocation dubbed as “Called and Revived for Mission: Medical Missionary Work”. This event was organized by the Health Ministries Department of North Philippine Union Conference where Dr. Lalaine Alfanoso serves as the Health Ministries Director.

Called and revived Medical Missionaries for the Master Physician

Called and revived Medical Missionaries for the Master Physician (some attendees left earlier, photo credit: Dr. Lalaine Alfanoso)

It was an inspiring fellowship attended by health professionals and graced by the topnotch SDAs of the recent PLE and other top notchers in the earlier years — MedTech Exam, NLE. Inspiring testimonies were given too! It’s a musical Sabbath as well, I am humbled and blessed to have given a part to render “I will Stand as a Witness of Christ”, with Weanne Myrrh Estrada (Top 1 of NLE 2010) in keyboard accompaniment. *I have a blog entry for this convocation. Keep posted!

Wordsmith with a Mission

Aside from being in a family crucible who dealt with three severe health cases with three family members (younger brother, eldest sister and father), and three successive deaths in three consecutive years (March 2011, December 2012, December 2013), I also experienced being a medical missionary in the field in my late teens and early 20s. With this, I am grateful of the Wounded Healer’s ministry channeled in amazing ways. Involving in this endeavor is a way to pay it forward to others in need.

Last night, around past 10:00 PM, I was in a hurry finishing some blogs. But when Ma’am Lalaine sent me a message, I paid attention with an impression that my help is needed. She requested me to write a letter of request for a helicopter, while she deals with other arrangements and other concerns related to Ma’am Gladdens Zamora Azuprado’s critical medical condition.

I was quite shocked and I pity the patient for the unimaginable condition she is going through. I requested Ma’am Lalaine to pray for me, because I don’t know what to say, she gave me the details. With prayerful thoughts, this letter was done in a few minutes. I felt the urgency due to the emergency. To God be the glory for the thoughts impressed!

Please read the letter’s content to know the case of the patient. They need more support, especially in prayers.

May heaven’s riches blessings pour upon you and abound!

We beseech your good office to allow us to use one of your helicopters to transport a very critical patient. Gladdens Zamora Azuprado, the 40-year old patient, is a high school teacher on health subject at Naga View Adventist College. She suffered from a severe headache and profuse vomiting early Monday morning. She was rushed to Naga City Doctors Hospital.

The doctors discovered that one of her blood vessels ruptured in the brain, but they can’t locate where particularly the hemorrhage occurred. With this, the blood spread all over her brain which causes excruciating pain. This life-threatening condition prompted the doctors to do the medical procedures needed, but their facilities are not sufficient. The doctors mandated an urgent transfer to Manila, where state-of-the-art hospitals and medical centers could facilitate the dire need of the patient.

However, her critical case doesn’t allow her to be transported by land. She will have a hard time dealing with long and rough travel. She can’t be transferred via commercial plane either, because the abrupt flight and pressure on air might cause further rupture of her brain vessels. On the other hand, with a helicopter, her transfer would be well managed and would be less hazardous.

We hope and pray that you’ll give an attention to this request. Your kind consideration for the critical patient’s case is much appreciated! We look forward to receiving your apt response.

Alfanoso family, working closely in the furtherance of God's work.

Alfanoso family, working closely in the furtherance of God’s work.

Wonderful Wounded Healer

According to Ma’am Lalaine, she sent the letter right away to the respective personnel that gave a positive response to help. Her update this morning made me cry with gratitude, although I am sad at the same time, knowing that the patient’s case got more severe.

Because of your letter, we were able to facilitate two choppers to airlift the patient. The Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Navy in Sangley Point. Ang problem ngayon hindi pwede e-airlift ang patient kasi very critical kaya stand by ngayon ang mga choppers–isn’t God amazing? It’s a mission impossible but you know what, I never doubted God.

My son thought that I was just joking that I need a helicopter last night. He showed me his toy chopper (big one for big boys), sabi ko hindi yan anak, tunay na helicopter that will transport your ate Gladz.

Sabi ng son ko, that’s a mission impossible mommy. Pero after the hardwork, and people working together to request for a helicopter, the lord provided us! Not only ONE helicopter, but TWO! WOW! I cannot contain my happiness for the answered prayer. I just would like to share to you my happiness.

Thanks so much po sa help. I also had an experience with my mom when she was hospitalized. Then, ang dami rin tao naghelp and it’s overwhelming. Kaya nga po parang pay it forward and nangyari.

Sabi nga po ng husband ko, gusto na niya mag give up pero kapag nakikita niya ang mga tao sa palibot niya, at kahit na yung hindi niya kilala gumagawa para matulungan sila, that keeps him going.

I’m glad about the answered prayer! Very unsuspecting…unassuming…nakaka suspense!

I don’t know how to react, but PRAISE the LORD! I am nothing, but I am grateful! I never knew that even a very simple way of responding to a call to help would be a means of hastening the process, and God blessed and answered our prayers! Isn’t our Wounded Healer wonderful?

The patient, Ma'am Gladdens Zamora Azuprado with her loving family, Jun (Abraham), her hubby and son.

The patient, Ma’am Gladdens Zamora Azuprado with her loving family, Jun (Abraham), her hubby and son.

His Helping Hands

On behalf of the family and support group of Ma’am Gladdens,  Dr. Lalaine Alfanoso acknowledges her heartfelt gratitude to the following persons who kindheartedly extended help

  • Promise Joy De Castro
  • Rose Olarte Orbita
  • Rico Ricamata
  • The pilot in Sangley Point (I will withhold his name upon request)
  • The Headquarters of the Philippine Navy
  • Philippine Air Force (National) and Region V
  • My top 1, Daniel Alfanoso III (Dr. Lalaine’s hubby)
  • the people who fervently pray and encourage
As of this morning, the patient’s airlift transfer was suspended due to her worsened situation. She’s more critical and the doctors advised her to stay.
She will undergo CT Angiogram today.
Kindly keep her and her medical support group in your prayers. I initiated to blog this in support of Ma’am Gladdens. I may not fully understand how horrible her condition is, and how her family and friends are going through, but I empathize because I’d been in a similar situation before. May this inspire the family more. Kindly hold on to your faith. Jesus is ever near. Remember,  someone praying for you!
Nothing amazes me more than seeing a miracle happen. A miracle is simply an affirmation of God’s faithfulness!
Blog post about my sister Leah

© 2014 LAF

Note: Photos credit to Dr. Lalaine Alfanoso. Videos credit to You Tube, Hope Channel, and Eliezer Vida (Miracles). This blog has a copyright . The photos and articles should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.

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