Wednesday, October 5, 2016

To Teachers

I was raised by teachers. My parents were Public school teachers. Manila paper was a staple and the smell of Pentel pen ink was always present in the house. Back in the day, teaching using the computer was unheard of. Chalks were the medium and dustless chalks a luxury.

I am a teacher but admittedly, not a very effective one. As to why, I will explain it in another post. Today, in celebration of World Teachers’ Day, I dedicate this piece to the teachers who made a dent in my life. 

To the teacher who opened my world to the wonder of stories. I looked forward to every Sunday School, paid close attention to how your eyes would grow wide, and most importantly, your nail polish. I copied you at home, lining up my dolls and retelling the stories I heard from you.

To the teacher who taught me to read. It was not the reading I remember the most but how, one surprising day, we cut bananas and papayas in class and made fruit salad. It was the first time I wore an apron.

To the teachers who helped me discover new things. You taught me the word ‘kidnap’ and it was a fear that haunted me daily. You taught me the words ‘noisy pupils’ and I was careful not to be on that list. You taught me the word ‘quiet’ and I had a hard time being one, even until now. But, you also taught me the words assignment, cleaners, and pass your papers. With those I learned that some things have to be done on your own, you need to pick up after yourself, and most importantly, opportunities have deadlines.

To the teachers who gave me time on stage. You helped me conceive a dream I never knew I had until later when the stage became my avenue for influencing others.

To the teacher who made me take over her class when I was 14. You were right. I was going to need that experience to toughen me up six years later when I had to go on Practice Teaching.

To the teachers who made science and math the most important subjects in the world. You made me religious! True enough, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry and physics are nothing compared to the complexity of romantic love. I am glad I was trained in your class to survive!

To the teacher who taught me how to be a homemaker. I can bake, I can sew, I can arrange furniture, I know the color chart, I can make fruit preserves ,I can embroider,  heck, I can even dress a chicken all because you did not accept anything less than perfect from us. As to having a family, I am working on that.

To the teachers who had to deal with our adolescence. Today, as I deal with young people I have one question: How did you maintain your sanity without punching us in the face? *clap clap clap* I have many words but all can be summarized in two: Thank You!

To the teacher who made me fear my English class. You unearthed a wealth of courage I did not know I have.

To the teacher who scribbled notes on my essay. I fell in love with writing because of you. Also, I was slightly in love with you until you left us.

To the teacher who gave me an 80 in a major subject. Hahaha!

To the teacher who made me interpret my Dexter’s Laboratory comics in class. I discovered my humor because of that experience.

To the teachers who instilled the love of country to us. I am fighting because of you. I will not be quiet because of you.

To the teachers who showed me the bridge between Theology and Practice. I am having a swell time because your lives are living examples.

Lastly, to my in-house teachers who until today check my attendance, give me occasional lectures on matters I usually evade, and evaluate my performance in life, thank you. You were our first teachers and will continue to be after every one is finished with us. Thousands of unruly, hard-headed pupils came and went out of your classrooms but, bad news, we’re staying! Sorry parents, you can’t get rid of us. Haha! After years of leaving the service, here you are still teaching us tirelessly about life and the one true God we serve. I guess, when you are a parent, you never retire from teaching.

I was raised by teachers. I hope that in this generation, I can also raise some. With everything that is happening in the country and around the world, I fear for this generation. The world is full of monsters ready to pounce at these young people. Therefore, I have committed to fight for them and with them. And education is my weapon of choice.

I am a warrior. I teach. 

Back in the days when my ideas of entertainment were cutting my bangs, and letting my Grade 2 students interpret the skit "The Cat and Dog" on their own. They made their own costumes and did their own make up.

These kids are in college now and I, well, am tempted to cut my bangs again.Hahaha!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CPU Christ Emphasis Week

I just came back from a week-long preaching engagement. It is a miracle I have even managed to write. My body is weak, as of the moment, suffering from Acid reflux – the kind where you can not eat but you have to eat. I think it is my body demanding some rest. Or maybe it is my mind that needs to. Whichever it is, I will not let that stop me from writing about this. 

I have never realized the depth and width of a Christian university's ministry until I had this opportunity to speak at Central Philippine University last week for their semestral Christ Emphasis Week. I was invited to speak to the high school students of the university for five days. It was daunting to face 1500 young people, full of energy and all with different backgrounds. It was only by the grace of God that I was able to go up on stage, speak the word and invite them to commit their lives to God.

But 1500 is nothing compared to the 10 thousand plus college students the university has, and all these  heard the Gospel all week. And this happens every semester. Imagine, if each college student stayed in the university for 8 semesters, that’s 8 chances of telling them the Good news! Not to mention the many campus ministries who are also doing their best wining the students for Christ! Kudos to Rev. Cris Amorsolo Sian , Rev. Francis Neil Jalando-on and the pastors in the Chaplain's Office for putting their heart, mind and body into this, making sure the Gospel will not be delivered unsatisfactorily. 

I am glad CPU is still going against the tide. These days when it is even difficult to call yourself a Christian School, CPU is standing up, bearing strong the legacy of the missionaries who started it 110 years ago! May God protect the hearts of its leaders. It is my prayer that It will continue to put Christ central to its objectives. 

Isaiah 55:11 "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Sunday, March 27, 2016

I Looked For the Living Among the Dead

“Where do I go to take a break?”

I heard myself ask this question a few times over for about three months now. I felt that I was in dire need of refreshing. No, I was not bent from work – just a little chipped maybe. Normal, I guess. I was not going through an emotional problem. I read my bible. I prayed. These were the things I told myself that were NOT the reasons why I needed to get away.

Or maybe, these were the reasons why I needed a break. Because everything was normal on the outside but inside, things were a little messy. We know the mess we keep inside. I ‘try’ to keep the office table tidy by dumping all the things inside the drawer. The table looks clean but the drawers are another story. This was how I felt these months.

I tried to read the Bible everyday for fear that if I don’t , I’d fall off completely. I walked the way of wisdom but during the day I find myself making some foolish decisions or spilling ungodly talk. It was terrifying to go to bed at night and realize how horrible I lived the day.

I marched through a ceremony, bowing my head not much as a sign of commitment but in shame for how unworthy I am to say yes to a task for the chosen. Me, chosen?

Most times, I felt God was a little far. No, not that He was. I FELT He was. It was a foreign feeling. I justified it by saying maybe this is how I should always feel so that I would always seek Him. I told myself maybe this is what they mean when they say have a “hunger for God”. But it wasn’t.

I figured, a personal retreat would cure it. A special time of meditation, a special revelation and a dramatic visitation would be the turning point for this.

Until this morning.

My unexcited self went to church (thanks to also being sick for days) unaware that what I was longing for will be answered. My pastor talked about Jesus being alive in our lives. She talked about how, in our daily living we say we believe Christ is alive but live as though He isn’t. It was the prelude to how God revealed to me the truth about everything I've been going through.

Then we sang “He Lives”. And all that has kept me chained came loose.

I serve a risen Saviour, He's in the world today;
I know that He is living, Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him He's always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.
In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And tho my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading Thro' all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing Will come at last.
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs To Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, The help of all who find,
None other is so loving, So good and kind.

I saw what was wrong with me. I did not remember that Jesus, this God I believe in, is living in me. So,I desperately looked for him elsewhere. I was like one of those women during the resurrection morning “looking for Jesus among the dead”.

I looked for him in the songs I sang. I looked for him in the feeling of accomplishment at having read my bible. I looked for him in my ritualistic service. I looked for Him in my theology. There, I fooled myself into believing that I can look for him. I. As if my eyes were clear enough to see Him.

But there He was, having not left at all, loving me through my pride, arrogance, my constant defeat against my flesh, my anger and my unforgiveness just to name the ‘majors’. Believe me, people who are in the 'ministry' have a longer list.

I forgot that He was walking with me “along the narrow way” as the song says. I always thought that this refers to some problem or devastation but today, I realized THIS IS MY NARROW WAY! And what comfort it is to know that I don’t have to keep walking to find Him. He’s here!

I forgot that He took the long and dusty road from heaven to earth to find me. Me, the lost one.
And all this time, I made myself believe it was I that should look for him. He's here!

I forgot that He bore to be forsaken by the Father so he can win over death. Win over any form of death anyone can imagine so we don't have to keep looking for him like sorrowful lovers. He's here!

I do not boast of a steady spiritual life  nor a strong one. But one thing I boast of is this, that the Christ I believe in has conquered death and lives every day to bring life to me.

I may need a break, but no longer to 'find' God. He's here!

Today is Easter. Indeed, my Easter!

Happy Resurrection Morning!