2016 Christmas Letter

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I have only one desire, and that is the desire for solitude—to disappear into God, to be submerged in His peace, to be lost in the secret of His Face.

~ Thomas Merton

“Matthew, can I visit you?” Sr. Marijo was on the other end of the line.

“Sure, Sister! I would love that.”

A flood of wonderful memories crossed through Matthew’s mind as he told me that we were going to have a visitor. He remembered this verse from Thomas Merton who has largely influenced his life.

Sr. Marijo introduced Zen to Matthew almost 40 years ago. With a small group of friends, they would regularly visit her and sit in meditation together. Needless to say, it was a life changing experience for them. Since then, Matthew shares to me how Zen has helped him deepen his Christian faith and how it has helped him cope with the challenges of life.

I really enjoyed listening to their animated conversation and as Matthew describes it, “It’s as if the conversation just stopped for a while and we took off from where we left off.”  I guess these are just the stuff that real friendships are made of.

This year, Matthew and I were quite busy.  We became godparents to the highly energetic and lovable  son of Alex and Robe Ann.  We were also able to attend the 50th Golden Anniversary of our godparents, Tito Peter and Tita Dory. It was so much fun to meet and catch up with many people we’ve not seen in a long time.

Also, this year, our endeared godparent Tito Tony passed away. We are saddened by the loss of one of the most generous persons that we have ever known. Thank you, Tito Tony for everything.

Of course, we cannot end this letter without mentioning our blog. Now on its eighth year, we have grown to have 319 followers and have reached a whooping 404,265+ hits! We are happy because people are  visiting our blog, liking our posts and our cyber community continues to grow.

May the Blessings of Christmas be with you, May the Christ Child light your way, May God’s holy angels guide you, and keep you safe each day.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Matthew and Jojang

2013 Christmas Letter

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“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

~ Isaiah 52:7

This verse keeps repeating in my mind as I contemplate on the lovely Cordillera mountain from where I sit at a coffee shop situated on the top floor of a mall here in Baguio City.

Where does this serenity in the midst of turbulence come from?

You see, the past year has been a tumultuous year for Matthew and I. We were faced with so much stress that it has taken its toll on our health.  Twice, Matthew had to be confined in the hospital, while I suffered some setbacks as well (weakened by my hospitalization around this time last year).

However, although unpleasant, this difficulty we recently faced turned out to be a faith building exercise for us. We stand witness to God’s faithfulness as big and small miracles happened… before we knew it, our concerns were being addressed… issues resolved and very slowly but surely problems solved.

To say that we are awed and humbled is an understatement … Thank you, Lord!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our doctors who patiently and lovingly take care of us. In spite of Matthew’s stress related hospitalization, he recovers much faster now than before — a marked improvement.  I, on the other hand, am grateful for my home based work wherein I do what I immensely enjoy doing.

I cannot end this letter without mentioning my blog with my husband which is a source of joy for us (please refer to this link:  http://mattandjojang.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/christmas-letter-2013/) .  As of this writing, we have 135 followers and have reached 193,542 hits. All in a span of 5 years. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine that we will be able to reach out to so many people through this blog. It excites us that we have developed friendships on cyberspace too.  We got to meet like minded individuals who share our beliefs, convictions and interests. A wonderful blessing!

Let me end this Christmas letter with a quote from one of Matthew’s favourite authors:

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.

~ Meister Eckhart

And we say, “Thank you, Lord” … Indeed, you are good!

Here’s wishing you a meaningful Christmas and a grace filled New Year ahead.

Matthew and Jojang

Sweet Sacrifice

Daddy and I when I graduated from College more than 30 years ago.

Daddy and I when I graduated from College more than 30 years ago.

 

Today is my Father’s birthday and I am posting this to honor him.

One of the advantages of working as a Virtual Assistant is that we can spend quality time with our loved ones. Something, I wish I did in my younger years.

 

Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country…

Luke 1:39

My Daddy had arthritis. This means that he cannot take long walks. More so, he could not climb flights of stairs. If ever he is forced to, it takes him a very, very long time because he stops every so often.

When I was in college, I encountered a problem in school. The Dean wanted to talk to my parents so that he could settle the problem with them. My folks agreed to go. The Dean’s office was on the third floor and the elevator was out of order that day. I was so preoccupied with my problem, I forgot that Daddy was having difficulty climbing the stairs. Mom and I rushed up to the office and we both talked to the Dean. The meeting did not take long. And by the time we were through, my Daddy has just reached the third floor. I saw my Daddy catching his breath, paused near the top of the stair. We told him the meeting was over. It was another ordeal for him to go down afterwards.

At that time, the meaning of my Daddy’s sacrifice meant little to me. I took for granted what he did and a lot of other things that he has done for me. But deep in my heart, I knew that Daddy loved me. Now, my father has passed away. And the memories bring tears to my eyes. I realize that they mean very, very much to me now. To him, it was not a sacrifice. He wanted to share that moment in my life that was very important to me.

I see that Mary must have been the same. She was overjoyed at the news of the miracle of Elizabeth. And she wanted to share that moment with her.

When we do things for people we love. It will never be a sacrifice. In fact, it will be a joy. Because we do it for love.

– Marisa