FAMILY. In 2016, God blessed us with a daughter, Jahziel. The struggle was real as we did not have any help from yayas or relatives. Thankfully, parental leave from work is up to 18 months, so my wife took 12 months of maternity leave. The most difficult part when my wife went back to work was to leave Jahziel at a daycare 8 hours a day. When we got home, we only had little time to play with her because of household chores (cooking, cleaning, etc.) or we were just too tired. So, we learned to organize our priorities and schedules even in simplest things like weekly meal planning and nightly routine before bedtime (play, story time, pray, etc.). We also planned our vacations ahead as summer here is such a short time. We also put high regard on resting. In a week we only have a maximum of 2 nights out with others (friends, discipleship and Bible study) while the rest are family time and “we” time (date with my wife).
When we look at Jahziel now, we are just amazed by how God has favored us with strength and grace in raising her. God put in our hearts the desire to homeschool our daughter (and any future children), but that would mean giving up one full time job as my wife has to stay home and work only part time. Due to COVID, we had the chance to work from home and we (especially my wife) had a “prelude” of what our life and family dynamics will be like when we get into homeschooling. This will be another hopeful adventure, and we believe that God will orchestrate everything if this plan is truly from Him.
Ministry. One very important thing we’ve prayed for when we were still processing our visa was to find a Christian community where we can get support and where we can also serve. We had a vibrant ministry in the Philippines even as professionals in the marketplace; but starting one here had been a challenge since talking about spiritual things is very uncommon. Despite leading Bible studies and attending church activities, we still felt spiritually stagnated and dry at one point. That’s when we sought God’s leading. Thankfully, He brought people who intentionally mentored us. He also sent people who became our spiritual family and ministry partners. We became part of a growing discipleship movement of Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) in this part of the world. We still see it as a challenge to share Jesus with others, but we know that no one and nothing is beyond God’s reach. If we’re not careful, we could easily succumb into thinking that our goal of going abroad is to earn more money so work becomes the top priority and forget the One who gives the blessings.
Now if you ask us, “Is Canada a greener pasture?” Yes, it is! But not because of any material thing or the perks of living in Canada. It is a “greener pasture” for us because of the greatest blessing of being discipled and making disciples, which is God’s manifest presence in our family, relationships, career, finances and in all other aspects. Have we become rich? No, but we learned to be content and grateful in everything, to be faithful and grow where we are planted and most of all to be joyful that God’s presence is with us.