Thursday, April 27, 2017

Home

   Which one is the better home?  Is it the lavish home that is miserably dark and cold because the residents are always out traveling the world.  Is it the average home that is empty because the owners are busy working three jobs to make ends meet.  Then, there is the home of the poor called shanty in the Philippines, located in the urban poor zones called squatters’ area.  They can be demolished any day.  Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on them all.  Rich or poor are offered free Bible publications and Bible study, as Matthew 10:8 says, “Jesus sent out, giving them these instructions… You received free, give free.”

   The thing is a home can be anything.  For some, it’s a cardboard box, a park bench, under bridges, abandoned buildings, or just a spot in the pavement.  Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on them all offering free Bible publications and Bible study because Jesus said “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth” (Matthew 24:14)

   The above seemed to have covered all, but not quite.  There is the nomad homeless one will not find staying in a cardboard box, a park bench, under bridges, abandoned buildings, or just a spot in the pavement.  These are those homeless who continuously walk the earth searching for the next meal in the next garbage can.  People shun them as they smell of urine and look dangerously crazy.  Jehovah God looks at them and see pitiful creatures.  How can they be given the “good news of the Kingdom”?  

   Jehovah God provides them the cart witnessing that stands in almost every corner of the metropolis giving away free Bible publications so they will know Isaiah 65:21-22 “They will build houses and live in them…  They will not build for someone else to inhabit,” 

   In the present system, the construction workers never get to own the home they build.  God’s words in Isaiah 65: 21-22 is a promise of a new system right here on earth, not in heaven, where everyone can have a place to call home.  Like mortgage, one can pre-qualify.  Just read the Bible and apply.  

   

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Time Travel

   I loved traveling when I was young.  Each trip was an adventure, each left unique memories.  

   My daughter and I took the Star Cruise to Cebu Island.  The mess hall converted to a bar/disco after dinner.  They had a good band playing.  The lead guitarist kept looking at us.  Then my daughter said, the guy was looking at me.  He couldn’t be over thirty. Cute! But my daughter was in college and I was in my 40’s.  I let that one get away. 

   Around those days, I told my daughter I was visiting a friend in Calasiao, Pangasinan over the weekend.  I failed to come home on Monday so I called the office for an emergency day off.  My daughter came to the office expecting me to be there.  The Admin Manager told her “Your mom isn’t back.  She’s with her boyfriend from Pangasinan.”  Imagine my daughter’s reaction!

   Here in the US, I traveled with my friend Margarita.  We did road trips from Louisville, Kentucky to Indiana.  We drove from San Francisco to Big Sur and Monterey.  Then we took the boat ride to Alcatraz.  
With Margarita and her husband in Indiana
   Now the airport has turned into a stressful place.  If a terrorist attack doesn’t catch you, the ICE could.  Since the last US election, airport hospitality has flown out and crashed.  Good thing I don’t have the budget to travel.  

   So, what do I do now?  I journey through time.  My writing has prodded me to go back to 1969, when I was innocent and loved to dance.  With my imagination, I met up with some friends and lovers, some of whom have slept in death.  

   My third book is set from 1898 to only God knows in what year it would end.  It’s amazing to visualize, with memories of my grandmother’s stories, what I never saw with my own eyes.  Below are three paragraphs from the book titled The Matriarchs of Cavite.

An employee of the Cedar Lake Ice & Fuel Co.
slipped a cold one into the ice box of a Minneapolis home
 in about 1930. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)
   The food was excellent but the two could hardly chew.  Swallowing was difficult as if their throats have closed.  A little wine might have helped but the wine, imported from America, was served to matured guests only.  The young got iced water which was a luxury in the absence of refrigerators.

   Homes had something in the kitchen called non-electrical ice box, a heavily insulated box to keep ice from melting.  The Americans brought over the business of ice manufacturing plant.  Blocks of ice were delivered to homes and stores in the morning.” 


   On another page:

   “The homes built before the electric fan arrived in the Philippines had wide windows and high ceilings.  The Spanish descent elites had fabric fans hanging from the ceiling with strings pulled by housemaids to swing.”  

   Some ice plants still exist in the Philippines to supply the fishing industry.  A sample of the fabric fan hangs in the home of the National Hero Jose Rizal in Calamba, Laguna.  

   This third book is promising to be my masterpiece, if I could live long enough to finish it.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

The Vow of Faithfulness

   The vow “till death do us part”, in any language or version, originated from the Book of Common Prayer, published in 1549, an upshot of King Henry VIII’s break from the Roman Catholic Church.  For centuries, the phrase “till death do us part” has been unconsciously borrowed and used as part of the marriage vow that we were all led to believe came from the Bible.  It is ironic that the vow was created owing to a king’s desire for divorce and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleynthe wife he  later ordered beheaded

My Philippine Marriage Contract
   The Philippines has no divorce law.  No matter how long or what circumstance the married couples have been separated, they are forbidden by the Catholic Church and law of the land to remarry.  However, the Bible’s stand on divorce is, as Jesus, himself had spoken, “However, I say to you that everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of sexual immorality, makes her a subject for adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matthew 5:32)  This explicitly mean that Jehovah, the God of the Bible, allowed for divorce if sexual immorality has been committed.

   In their adherence to Bible principles, Jehovah’s Witness in the Philippines have something called Vow of Faithfulness.  This Vow of Faithfulness is not legally binding.  It can’t be used for any legal claim of benefits.  This is a three way vow between Jehovah God and the couple.  The only purpose is to make the marriage honorable in the sight of Jehovah.  The vow does not say “till death do us part”, rather it says “I recognize this relationship as a binding tie before Jehovah…to be held to and honored in full accord with the principles of God’s word” referring to 1 Corinthians 7:11-12, “To the married people I give instructions, not I but the Lord, that a wife should not separate from her husband.  But if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled with her husband; and a husband should not leave his wife.”  A break of the relationship could result in disfellowshipping of one or both.


My US Marriage Certificate
   Whether the nuptial document used  is a marriage contract, a marriage certificate or a vow of faithfulness, in the final analysis they are all made of paper and ink.  Love and commitment is written in the heart where it lives until the last beat.  

My Vow of Faithfulness
   The love of my life came home to the Philippines from the US in 1996.  The two of us met with Bethel authorities (Philippine Branch Office of Jehovah's Witnesses) to request the privilege to do the vow.  We said our vows.  He left me the morning after  without saying goodbye.  He stayed with me a total of three days.  It was like he came home only to have the Vow of Faithfulness with me.  He died in the US 18 months later.  By that vow, I know in my heart this is the man I will be with in paradise.
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