Monday, March 19, 2007

Trip To San Antonio

My hubby and I just got back yesterday from a week vacation. We went to Alvarado last Monday and we headed to San Antonio together with our friends, Bro. Jesse & Ms. Sue Garner last Friday and spent the night there. It was my first time to go to San Antonio, the second largest city in Texas, next to Houston. We’ve been planning to go there last fall but we decided to postponed it this month because George got a week vacation with pay. There were lots of people there because it was spring break. The weather was great, it was in the 60’s and 70’s. This city is a tourist spot and we had to pay just to park the car and then took a walk and go around the tourist attractions. The parking fee near the Alamo is from $10 to $12 so we had to look for a cheaper parking area and we found one that charged only $5 but it’s a little bit farther.

We went first to see The Alamo and the line was too long just to go look inside. We can’t wait that long so we just took photos infront of the building and also at the back there’s a nice garden with flowers blooming. Then we went to eat in a steak house and after eating we went to see the Riverwalk. The view there is really spectacular and we rode the boat. We had a great time looking around at those tall and great architectural designs of the buildings around the Riverwalk. The boat’s driver is the tour guide and gave us all the informations about those buildings. After the ride we took some photos and went back to our hotel. Then at night we went back to The Alamo and The Riverwalk again and to our surprise, there were more people in The Riverwalk at night. That place was so crowded and all the restaurants by the Riverwalk were all jampacked. We ended up eating in a Mexican restaurant by the Riverwalk and foods there cost more.

The next day we drove around downtown San Antonio and we went to see the Hemisfair Park and the Historical Parks. Tower of the Americas is under renovation. Then we went to the Market Square and had a great time looking around those Mexican stuff on display in the stores. Mostly, they sell items from Mexico. That place reminded me of the market place in Baguio City and downtown San Antonio reminds me of Intramuros, Manila. I’ve seen tourists riding carriages pulled by horses and go around downtown during daytime and night time. San Antonio has its scenic beauty, no wonder a lot of people go there. I really enjoyed this trip and we had a good time. Here are some of the photos.







Sunday, March 11, 2007

Busy Weekend

My friend Sofia and I had a garage sale last Friday and Saturday at her house. I decided to sell some of the stuff that we were not using anymore rather than just sitting there and just crowding the house. George had already donated a lot of clothes and stuff in the salvation army a month ago but I retained the other stuff for garage sale. As I woke up in the morning, I prayed to God that we can sell a lot. Sofia told me that she also prayed. This was my first time to have a garage sale and it was fun. A lot of people came to buy. My friend sold some of her furniture, her kids’ toys, clothes, displays, knick knacks, and a lot of stuff. They just moved here from Japan and she wanted to clean her garage so she sold all the stuff she doesn’t need no more. I sold the deep fryer, electric grill, frying pans, water dispenser, shoes, etc. We sold a lot but there are still some leftovers. Maybe we will sell it again next time. I made some money just sitting there for 2 days and I had fun. The following photos were taken at the end of the 1st day.



On the 2nd day of our garage sale, that was yesterday, I asked George to cook lunch and bring it at the Pattersons’ house so we can have our lunch. He obliged and brought us his home-cooked foods (pinto beans, corn bread and mashed potatoes) but before he came, he stopped by at Brauhm’s and bought our favorite butter pecan ice cream. Sofia cooked pancit. So we had a happy meal. We were invited again to eat supper at the Pattersons’ house after the garage sale and Sofia baked salmon with crab legs imitation and it was really good. We still had the leftover foods that George and Sofia cooked so we ate it again together with the baked salmon and we had the butter pecan ice cream for dessert. George and I had a good time last night with the Pattersons. James and Sofia’s kids namely Joshua and Heather are very good and well-disciplined kids and they are all active in the church activities. They’re good Christian family who love the Lord and we go to the same church, the Victory Baptist Church. The good Lord has blessed us with good friends.




Thursday, March 8, 2007

Panagbenga 2007

My sister Violy e-mailed some photos taken during the Panagbenga (Flower Festival) in Baguio City held on the 3rd week of February. When I called her they just got home from watching the float parade. I remember, I used to go up in Baguio every year when I was still in the Philippines to watch the Panagbenga. It’s really very fun and colorful especially the costumes of the street dancers and also watching them dance on the streets. The floats were all decorated with fresh flowers and they were so creative in their style. A lot of people go up to the City of Pines just to watch this event. Session Road and Burnham Park were full of people, all very eager to watch the event. There were also celebrities who graced the occasion and they even go in the parade. They also have the colorful fireworks at night that lasted for about 15 minutes. It’s really fantastic! We also used to go to Camp John Hay to see the Market Encounter and buy some souvenir stuff or flowering plants.

It’s really fun and I wish I was there to watch it this year. George has been wanting to go and watch it but we have to wait for God’s blessings so we can go there. I really miss my native land, my family and friends. Also I miss the cool weather in Baguio, it’s not that cold, it’s just the right temperature all year long. They call Baguio City the Summer Capital of the Philippines. The parks in Baguio are full of flowers too and they put some of the parks here in US to shame. If you are a nature lover, Baguio is the place to go. The picturesque mountains, the pines and the beautiful parks with flowers and the nice temperature really take one’s breath away.

Here are some photos of the street dancers during the Panagbenga 2007.







Friday, March 2, 2007

My Personal Testimony

This is a continuation of my previous post.

I can say that my life is very colorful, full of drama, joys and trials. Sometimes just thinking of making my life story open to others who barely know me make me feel uneasy but I am doing this just to show how the good Lord has worked in my life and that everything that happened in my life, God had a purpose. You have read in my previous blog how a very big trial has hit me and just more than a year after, another big trial fell upon me.

I had a boyfriend whom I loved so much and he was very loving and affectionate to me. He had been with me when I was in my lowest moments in my life. He had seen what I’ve been through when I was battling the cancer and he had accompanied me during my chemotherapy for 4 consecutive months. During those times that I thought I was going to die, he didn’t leave me. He stayed by my side. I was even ashamed to face him at that time because I looked so ugly, no hair because of the chemo and I was so thin and dark. I didn’t want to face him at first but he insisted to talk to me. I told him I want to break-up because I didn’t know if I’m going to live or die soon. I told him that he can find a healthy and pretty girlfriend and I’m setting him free. He’s a good-looking guy and a lot of ladies had a crush on him in our town. He didn’t want to and he told me that he really loves me and he said that my hair will grow and that he already expected my hair to fall out after the chemo. So he has been with me through the bad times in my life. He’s seen me without my hair and he has witnessed the worst effects of chemo on me but he never gave me up. Whenever I was having a throw-up he was there massaging my back and giving me support. He went with me to the hospital every time I went for chemo and check up. I’ve seen his faithfulness and his love for me. Until I recovered everything went smoothly again but not for long.

My BF has been watching in the tv this religious program and he got impressed with the minister because he seems to know a lot about the Bible. The audience asked that minister questions and he answered and quoted verses in the Bible from memory. So without me knowing, my BF went to find a church affiliated to that program and he studied their doctrines and got baptized. At first I was impressed at my BF because he read the Bible and has been taking notes in their doctrines. Until he told me about their doctrines then I got the big shock of my life. They don’t believe in the Holy Trinity and they don’t believe in the original or inherited sin either. They only believe in God the Father and God the Son but don’t believe in the Holy Spirit. So I started watching that tv program of that minister and I saw and heard how he twisted the meaning of the verses in the Bible. He also blatantly criticized all the other religions and he even cursed on tv. So I discerned that he is a false teacher/minister and that their religion is a cult.

The Lord has really prepared me for this because during the time that I was in Baguio City having my radiation and chemotherapy, I read my Bible daily and I even highlighted those verses that really blessed and inspired me. God had been talking to me through His Word not knowing that my faith in Him will be put again to the test. So every time my BF came in to our house we always have an argument about our beliefs and I even brought out the Bible and read to him and explain it to him but he had another interpretation. It’s the interpretation of course of their false teacher. One time I got so upset because my brother had a birthday celebration and my BF came but he didn’t eat because he said it’s against their doctrines to eat if the celebrant is of another religion. How absurd! I even quoted to him 1 Timothy 4:1-5 but he won’t accept it. Then he wanted to invite me to attend their church so I can see how they pray and sing but I refused. He said that when I invited him to my church he came with me many times so I should go with him too but I declined. I said I’m already content with my church because they’ve been with me when I was sick and they prayed for me and they are my prayer warriors. Also it’s in my church that I got saved and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He said that he would be praying for me so I would join him in his church but I told him no need to pray for me about joining his church because I already canceled all his prayers and it won’t be effective. He said he is the man and he should be the one to be followed. I was really in spiritual warfare that time. He even proposed marriage to me but he said we will get married in civil ceremony or in their church. I told him “No way, if I will get married it will be in my church and will be officiated by our Pastor.” He said he really wants to marry me even though I can’t have kids anymore because of the chemo and it really made me cry. I know that he really love me. His mom was very fond of me too and she always cook for me whenever I would go to their house.

I asked him one time if now that he’s been faithfully attending that church if he’s sure that he is saved and he said nobody knows for sure. That’s why he’s doing good works so that he might be saved. I quoted to him Ephesians 2: 8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” It just fell on deaf ears because he’s already been brainwashed by their false doctrines. I felt so frustrated. Then I had this dream that my BF and I were talking when I saw a sack and something inside it was moving. He went to open it and I told him not to open it because it might be a snake. But he opened it and it was really a snake. What puzzled me is that the snake crawled past my BF and crawled in my direction and tried to bite me and then I woke up. I told my dream to a pastor and he interpreted my dream. He said the snake is the devil and the reason he went past my BF because he was already his and he wanted to attack me because I’m not his. So I had to make a decision. Satan had reminded me all the good things that my BF had done to me especially when I was so sick and he didn’t leave me. Even my aunt told me that I can’t find a man as good as him and who really loves me. My father and my siblings are very fond of him too. He used to give my father haircuts so I when I told my father that I broke-up with my BF he felt sad. Satan told me that no man would love me no more because of my illness. But I have to stand on my faith and my beliefs.

The Bible said in 2 Cor. 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbeliever: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what communion has light with darkness.” I prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction. Though it hurt me so bad I decided to break-up with my BF after 4 years of our relationship. I told God that I love Him more than any man in this world and that when I will see Him face to face and He will ask what I gave up for Him, I will tell Him my boyfriend whom I love. My BF was really sad that night when I told him my decision. I saw the hurt in his face and he had to go home earlier than expected but what can I do? I can’t accept his doctrines and beliefs which are contradictory to mine. I cried and cried that night. It took me a few months to get over it. I remember my sister asked me that time why is it that I have a lot of trials in life. I really don’t know why but I only know that God won’t give us trials we can’t bear. A few months after the break-up, my father passed away in February 2000. So it was another trial in our family. But with God’s grace I slowly overcame the hurt and the pain of losing 2 people that I dearly love. I can’t handle it without the help of God. Life has to go on.

In 2001, I met a guy in the Internet from Oregon and I corresponded with him for 9 months. He planned to meet me personally but it didn’t happen because he’s not God’s will for me. He met a Filipina in Oregon and decided to marry her. I was so hurt again and I felt bitterness and hatred in my heart because I felt cheated and broken-hearted. But the Lord has dealt with me and later on I forgave the guy. If God can forgive me, then I can forgive other people. It made me feel lighter and the burden in my heart slowly vanished. I prayed to God that if it’s His will that I get married, then He will give me a man who is a Christian, one who loves the Lord and who has the same beliefs as mine and also one who will love and accept me for what and who I am and despite the illness I’ve been through. I also prayed to God that if it’s His will that I will remain single all my life, then I would still be happy serving and praising Him. Every night I prayed to God for the right man to come along in my life.

Then on May 2002, I met George on the Internet at Christian CafĂ©. He is a widower for 5 years and he’s a Christian. We corresponded for 3 months and I told him everything that happened to me, my illness and my break-up with my ex-BF. Before I emailed him about it I had to pray to God and to the Holy Spirit for guidance. I prayed to God that if George can accept me despite the illness that befell me, then he is God’s will for me. If he will get turn-off then he’s not meant to be. So after I prayed, I e-mailed George and told him everything and the title of my e-mail was My Personal Testimony. The next day I was in the school’s division office because I had to submit some papers there when my cell phone rang. It was George and he told me he had read my e-mail and was touched and he was even teary-eyed when he read it. I asked if he still love me and he said yes. I was so happy and I knew that time deep in my heart that he is God’s will for me. My world became colorful again and my heart was aglow.

Here’s the e-mail he sent to me after reading my e-mail. I printed all his emails to me and kept it. I re-read them over and over and it really made me love him more. Here it goes, “My dearest darling angel, I read your letter and tears came to my eyes, it made me LOVE you even more and I knew you truly were sent to me by God. The LORD had kept you alive because HE knew that someday you could be an encouragement and uplifting, a very special person, a LOVING ANGEL for me. After I read your letter, I fell to my knees, prayed unto Him to forgive me for being so selfish. I had no problems, praise Him for giving you to me. My faith was restored by just reading your testimony. LISA I MOST DEARLY LOVE YOU. LISA you are the WOMAN I HAVE PRAYED FOR, THE WOMAN GOD HAS SENT ME TO LIVE OUT MY LIFE WITH. The LORD has given me life again. He forgave me for turning away from Him then accepted me back in the flock…LISA I LOVE YOU. I got to close for now. John 3:16. I thank God He also gave me YOU…" George. My tears were flowing down while reading this. They were tears of joy. The Lord has finally answered my prayers. He gave me the man I prayed for, one who loves me unconditionally. I love George very much next to God.

On August 25, 2003 George came to the Philippines and met me and my family and on September 11, 2002 we got married in our church. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was a whirlwind romance so to speak. On September 30, 2003 I arrived here in the US with my husband. God is really amazing! He answered my prayers and had given me my heart’s desire. God is sooo good. I can’t thank Him enough. God is awesome! God deserves all the glory, honor and thanksgiving from me. “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.