Labor of Love – Christmas Feed the Homeless 2014

Here is my article about my experience with Labor of Love Project in West Covina, California:

from B.C. with Love….

at first i thought three weeks’ stay in California will be a bit too long to be away from my Dersky (my significant other) who is in Beautiful British Columbia, where we are based. my trip was kind of a snap decision, but God knows better, i had a wonderful bonding time with my two sisters and their families as well as with my brother and sister in law, shirley, and nephew, Kiko.

the highlights of my stay were, spending thanksgiving with my two sisters, bonding time with my special niece, Teresa, who is almost a daughter to me,

and last and most fulfilling of all was joining the 2014 Christmas Labor of Love event that happened on December 5th and 6th.

IMG_5618

not only that i witnessed the preparation of the care boxes, i also went with the picking up of donated items/goods courtesy of In-n-Out burgers and Coca-Cola, two major partners of L.O.L., as well as picking up the apples at the produce market (Choppy Produce) in downtown Los Angeles. staff of In-n-Out were unbelievably kind and all smiles while we were there… such a heartwarming encounter!

since i have been remotely maintaining the blog for L.O.L., it was a wish for me to actually be present in any of their events, Easter or Christmas, and this trip has fulfilled my wish :)

it is very humble of my sister-in-law, Shirley, and my brother, Tony, to open their home to strangers, who in the end become friends and part of family of L.O.L. i have seen what they had to do before opening their doors to those volunteers arriving early on Friday, December 05, up to the time they clean up and call it a day. moving furniture, arranging tables, setting them up so that preparing the care boxes will be like an assembly line, and making sure there will be enough snacks/drinks for the volunteers and cleaning up the house after everything is over… of course, kudos too to volunteers, young and old alike, from different ethnicity, profession or what nots, who shared not only time, but also their financial or any kind of contribution.

and, to top it all, very inspiring that they offered their vehicles to drive to downtown L.A. and areas where the care boxes will be distributed, i saw the cul-de-sac, all parked cars waiting to be loaded up with the boxes… isnt that ah-maaaazing!!! but this time, more cars but not enough boxes eh??

IMG_5520

as for myself, i did hand some boxes when we went to the area they called “skid-row”, i even listened to a homeless lady telling me she was drugged, beaten up and face slammed on the concrete floor… so sad. all i can do is pray for the poor lady.

overall, my trip was all worth it.. i thank God for my family, i thank God for taking care of them, i thank Him for my sister-in-law’s compassionate heart, i thank God that He allowed me to be with the destitute, God put them there to teach me humility and compassion. i thank God for all those who worked hard too for this cause. i am JOYFUL! it is an early wonderful Christmas gift…. A BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO ALL, from B.C. with love,

IMG_5561
To God be all Glory!

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” ~Acts 20:35

M.

bringing home the sunshine…

i ended my 3 week vacation just in time before the storm hit Northern California last Wednesday. though my flight was delayed for 5 hours due to impending strong winds, i was glad to be back home in B.C. with my Dersky.

before the storm, it was mostly sunny in California, yes it rained on some days, which they direly need as they have been having drought for a long time, but after the rain, there was glorious sunshine again. a friend asked me if i have brought wintry weather from B.C., i said, no,, i will be bringing home the sunshine from California.. you see not only it rains in Vancouver, hence earning her nickname “Raincouver”, it is also waaaay too cold.. not complaining though, i know it’s much worse in the east, so, i’ll be happy with what we have here…

my stay with my beloved sisters and brother was a very joyful and heartwarming one, just like the sunshine that greets me each morning…. being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with them, having spent time with my dearest Teresa, (my special needs niece) who is growing to be beautiful, and heavy…

and also the highlight of my trip was joining my sister-in-law, Shirley’s Labor of Love – Feed the Homeless ministry. I will be blogging in detail about this to post here and on their site, www.laborofloveproject.wordpress.com watch out for it.

IMG_5618

i divided my days among my three siblings, a week with each of them more or less.. i miss them so much that i wish they were just living next to my house.. but life is such, we each have our own destinies God perfectly planned and so be it..

soon it will be Christmas, and it is one of those occasions when we reminisce about the happy pasts… especially those spent while we were growing up under one roof, where Mama used to prepare our Noche Buena (Christmas Eve feasts) of pork BBQ and hot macaroni soup and ham sandwiches, the wafting aroma of halaya (purple yam jam)….. yum yum… sigh! these memories bring the sunshine into my heart in this wintry weather, and i feel JOY!!

Have a Blessed Christmas and may you experience the warmth of this season with your loved ones and of course, with the presence of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to Him be all Glory!  IMG_5642

M.

It’s the Season of Advent

Sunday, December 01, 2014

Love ought to show itself in deeds over and above words. St Ignatius Loyola

Good morning to all, today is the first Sunday of Advent!!!!  During this Advent Season as we prepare for the coming of Christ, let us all ask for a deeper and meaningful fellowship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ the Lord through our less fortunate brethren.  Remember, the Lord of the house is coming.  Let us be watchful and be alert.  He could be one of the people we serve.  Let us show our love to them.  God be with us all the time!!! God bless and I wish success and spiritual enrichment in our events.  See you on Friday, Saturday and next week.

Our first event this week is the preparation and distribution of 700 care boxes to our less fortunate brethren!!!  For all donors and volunteers, new friends, Gabe, Linda, their 4 kids, Manny, his daughter, Hannalei, Mara, and Stephanie’s, parents, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! As we prepare to deliver our love to the poor, I take great blessing that we are responding to God’s call to serve Him through our less fortunate brethren.

As of today, I have received $1065.00, 24 cases of water, 710 energy bars, chocolates-55 small packs, 50 packs of chips, knots berry cookies, 2 cases of Gatorade and countless bible verses from Patty!!!.. Pledges for 3 big cakes, 100 lbs. of chicken (for the St. Christopher Winter Shelter dinner on Dec 12), to go boxes from In and Out and water/sofa from Coca Cola. Please spread our mission to your families and friends. Share our blog to them that they may see what we do.

Here is the link to our blog: http://laborofloveproject.wordpress.com

In order for us to have the resources and ability to continue with our mission for both Easter and Christmas, your participation is greatly desired and appreciated. Please contact me by using our Contact Form page if you wish to participate in any way with our mission. 

Friday, Dec 5, 2014 at 3pm: Preparation of 700 care bags 

Saturday, Dec 6, 2014 at 7am: Final Preparation and Distribution in Downtown LA 

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 6pm: St Christopher Church (629 S Glendora Ave., West Covina, CA 91790) -We are serving chicken dish with dinner rolls, rice pilaf and cake for dessert. (Volunteers, please be at the meeting place in St Christopher at 6:15pm.)

As always, I pray and urge you to join us in our all our LOL events.  Let us celebrate His birth through our homeless brethren. I am so looking forward to seeing old friends and meet new friends.

If you have any ideas or suggestion/s, please share.

Remember, SHARING IS CARING!!!! Hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you always and please take care.

Best regards from Tony and Kiko.

This one is for you Mader!!!

God bless and love to all,

Shirley

what are you thankful for?

95fae5b99cec3d429d75bdf08e8cf9c9f870bd5383ca25d38212157e72e82994

we celebrated our Canadian thanksgiving last October 13, but, i am in “mostly” sunny California now to spend American thanksgiving with my family, see my niece, Therese again, and enjoy the subtler weather since temperature is dropping in B.C. not to mention the rain… but, hey it’s thanksgiving, let’s see what we should be thankful for.

Sunday morning, i was able to join the service at my sister’s family church here in Prunedale, California, the Grace Community Church, and we had our thanksgiving dinner right after service. before we started with the buffet, Pastor gave us a few minutes to mingle with guests we were sitting with at each table by asking each one what are the things we are thankful for and why. so, usual replies were of course, firstly, thankful for FAMILY, and next was good health. Pastor shared the following (and i added some more) that probably will not make it in our list of things to be thankful for:

>taxes that we pay – it means we have our jobs
>weight gain, shrinking clothes – means we have food on the table
>dusts around the house to clean – means we have our own homes to stay safe
>weeds in the yard – we have our backyard to plant flowers and smell the roses
>flat tire to change – we have the luxury to drive a car
>church mate who sings off key – well, be glad we still have our sense of hearing

me n tiris for me,, i am thankful for having a special needs niece touch my life, for without her, i will never have  the compassion for children with learning disabilities, or mentally challenged like my Therese,  i will  never learn much about epilepsy and seizures, and thus make me understand more about their pain…

bebe

all in all, it is just being thankful not only for the good things that we enjoy in life but also for the little (or big) hassles we meet along the way, because God uses these to build up our character, and therefore, we have to be thankful for everything, good or bad.

so, are you thankful for your leaking faucet? of course! it means you have water to stay clean and get nourished… but better fix that, we don’t want to waste water especially in drought stricken California..

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!!

M.

on deciding to follow Jesus..

recently, i heard a loved one say, “i need to work on my relationship with the Lord”…

my heart leapt, for joy i guess, because that would mean the Lord’s flock will increase!
but what can i tell her to encourage her more? well, first of all, i cannot and can never instruct her to do this and that. i can only share how i did it and made it.

i am a sinner. we all are, but i was an “unconfessing” sinner. there is a difference. before, i thought to myself, i was not doing the wrong thing, i did what makes me happy. i was proud. so God used my mistakes to correct me, many times painfully, much like, using the error to correct the error… hmmm makes sense? okay to put it differently, we learn from our mistakes!

having a relationship with God is a decision one makes, and no one can tell him/her how to do it, nothing from the outside will make the decision for him/her. it will come from the inside, from the heart… so when i finally decided i want to build my relationship with Jesus, i did what it takes to be near him.

first, i stayed away from secular interests, i love music, but  i began listening to praise music and Christian songs only. i stayed away from tv for a while, in fact i had no tv in my room, all i had was the A.M. radio, tuned in to the Christian station the whole night until sleepiness crept in. in my “previous” life, i would listen to pop music, silly love songs, and imagine things, then these things trigger me to drink, to smoke, to have fun.. to be carried away by my emotions, have pity on myself, etc etc. i watched movies that affect the mind badly, and gave me ideas how to sneak around. uhm uhm not good! okay this is me, people have different weaknesses…

footprints

then, i spent more time in church than anywhere else. in my “previous” life, i was out with friends, came home at 2 a.m. drunk. even during my married life.. i thought that was happiness. it led me to dishonesty to my husband (subtler infidelity) and everything that came with it.. i tried to learn more about Jesus by reading the bible stories more, and became more positive person, though not perfect, but am more at peace.

now that is one decision i made that i never regret. my heart is already a stronghold of God’s presence. yes i do listen to pop music now, rarely watch tv though except cooking shows, since i already know God filters everything i see and listen to. i am secured. and it was all because He helped me go through with it.

so, there. i pray for my dear friend, i know it’s a tough decision because you have to change a lot of “normal usual” things you do,, but take heart, surrender it to Him and He will lead your way, easily :)..

how about you, have you decided to follow Him?

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” ~Psalm 51:12

M.

zumba and thanksgiving…


i was on a two week vacation in Manila, Philippines…

the highlight of my stay was the Zumba party i remotely planned while still in B.C. with the BIG help of dear friends from High School. usually for mini reunions, a dinner will be set in honor of whoever flies in from abroad.. a roll call will be posted and any high school batch member is welcome to attend.

zumba-dance-party

coachbut i thought, how about getting the ladies all together and have fun doing some physical activity… since i was unofficially designated as their Biggest Loser Coach, i’d rather have a Zumba party than the usual dinner. all i needed i said were three things, venue, Zumba instructor, and at least 10 participants..

guess what,, a venue was chosen, an instructor was hired to come, and voila, almost 40 signed up and 30 showed up!!! it was a blast and a really joyful reunion!! those i never thought would do the Zumba, did! we had two who danced the first time.

call time was 8 a.m. some complained of setting it too early, but c’mon ladies, with my two week stay, i wanted to get the most of my time, plus morning exercise is still the best! our Zumba instructor gave us a big thumbs up saying we all danced like we are in our 30s hehe so 50 IS the new 30 eh??

zumba5

50 is the new 30!!

after the dance session, before we started with brunch, the hostess (venue owner) shared a very inspiring thanksgiving prayer, mainly for healing/recovery for mates who underwent major surgeries, including Jonathan, a 16 yr old son of my classmate, who just had brain surgery. thanking God that we are all under His care, and what would be the best thank You we can give back is to take care of our physical bodies while we can…

brunch was served afterwards, with delicious menu of rice, eggs, boneless bangus (milkfish) with tomato and onion relish, chicken sausages, bananas, desserts of cake, crepes and waffles… oh dear,,, i hope we didnt overeat, though there were leftovers which was a good sign??

foodies

before 12 noon, we were on our way home feeling joyful…

in 2 Samuel 6:14, “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might…” maybe it would give deeper meaning if the reason we danced was for the Lord… as our thanksgiving to His graciousness and Sovereignty, then it would not be a meaningless swaying and jumping. with thanksgiving season coming up, have you been dancing for the Lord as a thank You to Him? maybe we ought to take the first steps now. :)

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men..” ~Colossians 3:23

M.

how do you give?

good saturday afternoon!

yesterday after work, i dropped by at the church to volunteer sorting donated clothes, courtesy of Center Street Church in Calgary, headed by Pastor Wayne Smele. there were like 70 bagsful of used clothing to be given away for free today.

(click on photos for larger view)

we had so much fun folding, sorting, which table do men’s jeans go, ladies tops, children’s jammies, and some even gave away their,, er… underwear? but i think (and i hope) they’re new and never been worn hehe.. we finished after almost two hours, that included some chit chat, stories here and there, making fun of some odd shaped clothing like you’ll wonder what in the world is it? a shawl? a shirt? or a table runner?

last year, our Filipino group from where i work conducted a clothing drive when the devastating Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, particularly, Tacloban… then a leading Philippine courier company offered to send boxes for free so we grabbed the opportunity to solicit used clothing from workmates and footwear as well, or anything of use, as long as it helps our beloved countrymen.  we gathered i think 7 boxes in all..!! :)

CHC

in the pile of clothes we received, there was a comforter. hmm it’s perfect as they can use it to sleep on, what with their houses blown away along with there cots or cardboard beds (majority of the affected were the poorer population).. however,, (this is kinda disgusting).. it reeked of… i cannot describe it, it stunk so bad that i brought it to the laundromat before packing it.. i don’t think it will be proper to send a stinking bed sheet and to someone so down and out and in dire need of ‘comfort’, so to speak..

not that i am an ingrate, you see, i am happy that we received all those donations,, but,,, my question is, how do you give? rather than what do you give?

to quote Mother Teresa, “it is not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”… maybe if we give something away to charity, we ought to think of the recipient. do we really give from the heart or just getting rid of things? i too am guilty of this of course, but God gives us second chances as there are so many opportunities to do what we gotta do….. what do you think?

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7

M.