God is at work and in control. Truly, He is our God.. The God of impossibilities, the giver.. The one who blesses and He love us! Indeed He is the master weaver!
It was year 2008 when I followed my husband here in Ireland-(through an invitation from my sister-in-law). We know for a fact that the situation would be indefinite for us; that it will be difficult; and that it is temporary; that there will be challenges before us. And yes, there were really tough and trying times- Events in our lives that almost tear us apart. But we thank God that in those times, God continues to show us and teach us that there is no other source of joy- no other source of happiness but only through Him. He taught us the value of humility, he taught us the value of patience during discouragements and that He is a good God!!
I arrived here at the time when recession was at its peak. There were no vacancies in both hospitals and nursing homes. My husband worked as a stay-in Carer and myself with different sort of part-time jobs but very few and far between – but looking back- we thank God because He really provided for us- which we were able to make ends meet. He taught us simple joys in things and the true essence of happiness. In all these, we thank God for bringing us to a place where we will both grow in Him. When we were in the Philippines, we were just church attendee and sometimes we don’t even attend the service regularly.
My husband went to Ireland ahead of me; we were separated for more than 3 years.
Circumstances started to change (during the latter part of those three years) when my husband would tell me that He has found a church that welcomed him as a family; that he’s becoming more than an attendee- but becoming more active in the church; and that He belonged to a care group that has welcomed him as a completely. One time, I was able to talk to bro. Jojo and Sis. Mailah, as we were introduced on the phone- it was a casual but very heart-warming conversation. I didn’t know why- but it left me crying into tears after our conversation- but for sure it was tears of joy that comforted me- that comforted us as we are miles away.
It wasn’t easy and clear. Living here in Ireland, as an undocumented, is very hard. It is something that we did that we asked for forgiveness and grace. We come to the Lord with honesty; I remember one time when we had our Bible study with Pastor Manny at Sis. Anette’s house –he shared: Come to the Lord with honesty and He will even make a way. Indeed, it is true! God’s mercy is complete and above justice- His mercy is more!
It is our prayer that I will be able to work here so that we can process our papers, and therefore legally stay here. Impossible it may seem, but yes! It became possible! Through God’s grace!
Decision for my eligibility for adaptation came out August 5 of 2009, it was my husband’s birthday. From then on we never stopped sending resumes to nursing homes across Ireland, reaching even far south to Cork. On the night of our church anniversary, year 2009 (we were still in Red Cow then) I received a voice mail from Sister Bernadette (with turn of events, happened to be my employer now) scheduling me for an interview. Following day was the scheduled interview, the evaluation went well – BUT I wasn’t hired because I still don’t have my PIN number. It was very depressing. I was heavyhearted while I was walking back home- It was probably the loneliest walk I can recall. I was crying. I prayed to God and surrendered everything to Him; that He be the one in control; that it is not in our hands but HIM alone.
So many trials happened from then on- those that emotionally crushed both of us.
But we thank the Lord that despite all – we remain strong and faithful. Despite difficulties, we remained as one. We thank the Lord that during these very trying times; we were surrounded with love by our family here in Ireland and back home; the WIN Ireland family and of course our Ballsbridge family.
It was very difficult. There were times that we almost gave up. We decided that if our papers will not be processed- there’s no other way but for us to go back home; that if my eligibility would expire then we’re set to go back to Philippines August of 2010.
I was worrying a lot- not for myself- but for my husband most importantly. He has a thyroid problem and because of that he needs regular blood tests and regular check-up for his medication. I have too many worries- that what if one of us gets sick? How will we pay for our bills? How will we pay for our hospitalization? Which hospitals will we go in case something happens; what if they would ask for our papers? Etc. And then it happened… one time after coming from church- my husband suddenly complained of chest pain and almost breathless. We were on the bus coming from Red Cow with nanay and ate laly. We asked the bus to drop us to nearest stop as my husband cannot breath. I was trying to call sis. Mailah but she was on her way to Monaghan that time. It’s difficult when you feel you are in a helpless condition. We were on the street as my husband was lying off the road. We couldn’t even get a taxi because it’s not the usual busy street. Then my fears started to run again. It was very difficult to see your loved one suffering and you cannot do anything. Praise God that we were able to overcome our fears and headed to the hospital. He was admitted overnight for cardio clearance and we got it! God is so good! He provided for all our needs according to His riches and glory!
We realized that worrying lead us to nowhere. BUT TRUST CAN. FAITH CAN. God understands our fears. And that is the time when HE wants us to seek HIM more. We should always put in our hearts that HIS love and power will get us through! God already knows what we want and what’s good for us. He knows our prayers and the desires of our heart. We just need to wait- and us we wait- He needs us- He needs us to worship HIM, He needs our time, He needs our attention, He needs complete surrender and before he changed our circumstances- He changed our hearts first. We thank God that despite all the trials- He continues to give us strength and He looks after us.
Then it all happened! God provides JUST IN TIME! NOT A MINUTE LATE! Months before my eligibility expires, I was listed for my adaptation. God indeed uses people so HE can fulfill His promises. We thank God for the lives of our Sis. Bing & Bro. Ian for referring me to Ate Nida (their friend), who in turns recommended me to Sister Bernadette. And this time, she hired me! Truly, God never fails to accomplish HIS purpose in us, if we surrender everything to HIM.
I had to go back to the Philippines to arrange my visa for another re-entry. This is time God used again another important person in our life again, sis. Mailah for my visa. Every time I travel back home there were uncertainties whether I will be able to go back again or not. But still, God continued to move in our loves and made everything possible. My visa was disapproved at first, I almost gave up again but my husband would tell me that God doesn’t want husband and wife or a family to be separated. And we continued to hold on. We are claiming the victory and that God is always with us all throughout! We had to make an appeal and thank God!! It was approved!!!
On the day of my arrival, I was just an hour earlier before the airport closed due to ash falls from volcano in Iceland that erupted. If I was more than an hour late, I would be days late for my courses prior my training which then would affect the schedule of my adaptation. Again, God is never a minute late! He will make a way—a way impossible to our eyes but possible to HIM. Our job is to OBEY! God has made us a grand promise. And He is always true to His word.
We thank God for preparing us.. For preparing our hearts.. For his guidance and for His love as HE use us in the ministry as we continue to serve HIM.
We would also like to thank you all – our WIN Ireland family for all your prayers, for all your support, understanding, acceptance and love; that even if I am miles away you never failed to communicate your love to us through your emails and messages. Your prayers helped us through.
Indeed, He loves us unconditionally. He’s love is infinite.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Sis Maridez Abalos – WIN Ireland Youth Ministry