CAREFREE, focused on self. Going to Mass every Sunday but that was it.
That was me before I joined the Light of Jesus Family.
Everything changed in 1987. Then my wife Josie was diagnosed with cancer. We so needed prayer support. It happened that Josie’s brother-in-law, Tim Duran, a member of the Light of Jesus Family, introduced us to his co-members who prayed over Josie not only once. They kindly served as our prayer warriors throughout our ordeal.
Difficult as it was, I just had to surrender Josie to God when she passed on
And there I was left with four young kids—Abby, Hermie Jr., Michael Dennis, and John Martin, who was then still a toddler. I was distraught, to say the least.
But then, there was the mission that needed my attention.
By this time, LOJ members already had five mission groups— Homes for Christ (HFC) for married couples, Esther for single women professionals, Joshua for single male professionals, Tabitha for elder ladies, singles or widows, and the Youth Mission for Parishes and Communities (YMPACT).
Norina David (at right, with me), Sis. Reng to everyone, who led Esther, caught my attention— or I caught hers.
I told my children about her, and they practically pushed me to pursue her. As Divine Design would have it, Reng and I got married. Reng, bless her max, embraced my children as her own. The first three are now in their 40s and John Martin is already 29.
In time, we received an additional, great blessing: David Emmanuel, born in 1999, five years after we got married, and after Reng suffered three consecutive miscarriages. David is now 21 years old.
Even as we have a big family to take care of, we’ve been blessed to continue serving the Lord in LOJ.
Reng and I became members of Homes for Christ where I eventually served as executive director.
Then one day, Bro. Bo tapped my shoulders—and dragged me to be among the LOJ presiding elders and Council of Elders head.
Next, more blessings!
Bro. Bo founded The Feast, replacing our usual prayer meetings, and before long, I found myself head of the Feast South District.
This happened as I was serving as president of our spin-off Media Ministries— Shepherd’s Voice Publications Inc., Shepherd’s Voice Radio and Television
Foundation, and chairman and chief operating officer (CEO) of The Feast Media Inc.
And then, as The Feast branched out overseas, by God’s grace, I would be taking the plane to serve as Feast coach-overseer of the LOJ Oceania Region which includes Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
As this region is way down under the globe, we have literally been fulfilling the Lord Jesus Christ’s mandate to His apostles:
“…You will be my witness, telling people about me…to the ends of the earth.”(Acts 1:8)
Last year, I reached my ageless season and thus I retired from my Media and my Oceania posts.
I will never forget the time I had to say goodbye to leaders and servants of our Oceania Feasts where I served for more than seven years. Hard to say goodbye to people who served with you for such a long time and who have become your good, close friends—like the members of Feast Perth in Australia (above) here with Reng and me during our recent pastoral visit there.
After nursing such heartbreak, I was already okay to enjoy retirement.
But God would not let me go that easy. Hardly had I cleared my office desk, Bro. Bo assigned me as overseer of our Mercy Ministries, mostly our Feast Family
partner beneficiaries— Jeremiah Foundation, for abused girls, Grace To Be Born for pregnant women in crisis, He Cares Mission for street children, Pag-asa ng Pamilya scholarship for out-of-school youth, Light of Jesus Prison Ministry, Light of Jesus Pastoral Care Center for the emotionally and spiritually wounded, Jesus Christ Cares for Cancer, and HAIL Mary for indigent leprosy patients, plus the Light of Jesus Disaster Response Ministry.
And for me, this new mission is a huge retirement “pay” more than I can ever get. For then, I know I would be blessed and blessed big as the Lord promised in Matthew 25: 34: “Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world… for whatever you did for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!”
Jackpot! For what could be a better reward than the mission of sharing Jesus and His love to the Anawim elderly (above) or simply dancing with a lola and
making her smile!
I started this piece reminiscing about my carefree life before I joined our Light of Jesus Family. Little did I know God had all along prepared for me
missions that would bring me close to Him and His people, especially those who need Him most.
So, when people ask me what’s my favorite Bible guide, I say it’s LOJ’s favorite Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.