Today, Pa turned 76 years old. I called and greeted him this morning. Izzy sang him the "Happy Birthday" song and recited her new memory verse. It touched my father's heart.
Thinking about my father reminds me of God's faithfulness. Five years ago, Pa suffered from Tuberculosis. The disease ate up his weight. He became smaller and weaker each day. We were so worried and thought that he would die with it. It was also the time when he decided to give up his church to my oldest brother. His retirement from being the senior pastor didn't help him. I guess he missed preaching at church every Sunday. I was positive that he didn't miss the administration part of his pastoral ministry because he always didn't enjoy doing that part. When he finally gave in to our (his children) demand for him to see a physician, he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. We were all very concerned. Good that the government in the Philippines provides free treatment for TB. We have no idea where he got the disease. With our oldest brother's help, Pa was able to avail the free medication. Pa's very disciplined personality helped him take his medication every single day. Lots of prayer and the medication took the TB completely away from his system after three months. The treatment was supposed to work after 6 months of religiously taking the pills every day. Day by day after the TB was gone, his strength slowly came back. His appetite also came back. He started gaining back the weight that he lost over a couple years period.
One day when I called him, he said that he is amazed at how his body is gaining back strength that he never thought possible for an aging man like him. He said that the strength from his youth has even doubled in him now. We got to see the evidence when we flew to the Philippines six months ago. We were amazed that he even climbed a mountain with us! He is really excited about his renewed strength. We encouraged him to go back into preaching. He was even more excited. Now, he preaches on air via DXGB every morning. What is more amazing is that he chooses to walk 3-4 miles early in the morning everyday to get to the radio station and back. He said that he noticed that the more he walks the stronger physically he becomes. It is also a perfect time to have conversations with the Lord.
His story has continued to amazed us of what the Lord can do in His people's lives. My mother is the same way. She suffered from heart and skin problems and is now completely free from them without the help of any medical specialists. God is awesome. He blesses my aging parents with good health and, most of all, joy.
Talking to my mom and dad this morning was such a breath of fresh air. It is so nice to hear my mom talk for an hour. She just has a lot of stories for me. All stories are of God's loving kindness. It was also wonderful to hear Pa's youthful golden voice. Yes, his voice has not changed over the years. That is one reason why many people love to hear him on the radio. At home, he's always the "man of a few words". But when he is preaching, he is so equipped with words... not just words... but words full of wisdom because they are from the Word of God.
I am so grateful to God for my father. Pa provided us a silent yet strong and wise leadership growing up. I don't have any memory of him spanking me. Well, he gave my mom all the right to spank me and my sister. He did spank my brothers. He just thought that a strong man should not spank a weak little girl. Makes sense. But he never failed to correct me whenever I needed it. I have so many memories of him holding me as a little child and praying for me. I can also remember how he told me of his wonderful dreams for me. One of them was to see me someday playing the piano. I failed him. I didn't make that particular dream come true. But he didn't mind because all of his other dreams for me came true.
Pa is my earthly savior. As a toddler, I lost my life one morning. Pa and Ma found me literally dead on the floor. He picked me up and begged God to give me back my life. And... God did! Oh, the whole village was celebrating when my dad told them about it. When I was nine years old, I drowned into the river while swimming with my brothers and sister. Pa, who was at a conference nearby, left in the middle of his sermon, obeying a still small voice to go look for his little Dina. He found me... drowning. All he could see was my long hair floating on the river. I was already unconscious after I gave my life up to Jesus. A great swimmer, who had already saved a few people from being drowned in the ocean, my dad dove and swam into the river to rescue me, not wasting time to take his tie and dress shoes off. He successfully saved me! What a father he is!!! I want to say he is the reflection of how God is as a father to His children but it is not right for me to even compare God's perfect and matchless love.
I have more to say about my Papa. But maybe I should stop here for now before our house become flooded with my tears.
I love you, Papa! I love you, so very much!!!