“A Bad Smell”

God is good!

Our project was enthusiastically received by our client’s transformation officers (TO’s). These TO’s would be in charge of training the project officers who, in turn, would lead the organization’s tens of thousands of clients in Bible studies all over the country (the organization is a coalition of 11 Christian microfinance organizations with branches all over the Philippines).

They all agreed that the Bible study materials/devotionals which Perry developed would be very helpful in enabling them to provide a holistic ministry to the micro-entrepreneur clients—not just helping them in terms of providing loans and business and management skills training, but also in terms of sharing spiritual blessings with them.

The TOs’ enthusiasm was further boosted by reports from field tests, where random samples of clients were asked to read and study the materials, which we have entitled Gawaing Bahay (Household Work).

A great majority of the clients are mothers who are borrowing money in order to set up small businesses that can augment the family income.

One mother said that, in all her 43 years, she had never read the Bible. She thought that it had nothing to teach her. Besides, she thought that she could never have the time. But when she read the Gawaing Bahay material, she realized that the Bible was very relevant to her life, and could actually be appreciated even if read for only short chunks of time in the midst of her very busy schedule as mother, housewife, and microentrepreneur. Now she is motivated to study it along with the Gawaing Bahay as guide.

Another said that the Gawaing Bahay materials, which draw lessons from ordinary household work such as doing the laundry, cooking, sewing, etc., gave dignity to her routine housework, a perspective which she never had before.

Our client has already bought 30,000 copies of the Tagalog version for distribution to their microentrepreneur clients. We are now in the process of translating the Tagalog into Ilonggo, Cebuano, and Ilokano, three other major Philippine languages. We are also polishing the English version, which we will also print soon.

Below is an excerpt from the English draft of Devotional #4 of Gawaing Bahay (the Bible verses are taken from Today’s English Version):

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A Bad Smell
(Devotions 4)

If clothes are not washed well, they will have a bad smell. One day, I was folding the clothes that had been washed. While doing this, I smelled the clothes. One sock didn’t smell good. I asked myself, “How come? This is the only one that doesn’t smell good. All the others are okay.”

Probably it was because the sock was thick and black. Maybe I didn’t scrub it well, thinking that it was black anyway and any remaining dirt wouldn’t be noticed. But I was wrong. Maybe the dirt couldn’t be seen, but the uncleanness can be smelled! So I soaked it again in laundry detergent, and this time I scrubbed and rinsed it well. When it was dry, I held it to my nose and smelled it again. “Hmmm,” I said, “Now that smells good.” Since then, I have been more careful in washing black clothes to make sure that they will not smell bad.

Dirt in dark clothes may not be noticeable. But you cannot hide it even if the color of the clothes is dark, because it will smell. Sin is also like that: it smells bad even when it is not easily seen. This is why we cannot say that we can hide our sins because no one knows what we do in secret anyway. We should be more careful of secret sins because some day it will smell—and then what a shame it will be!

The Bible says that we ourselves are the ones who suffer when we know that we have done wrong and yet refuse to admit it.

But you know, God “does the laundry” very well. He knows everything about us—even sins done in secret. If you will only listen to Him, He will make you realize those sins so that you can allow Him to wash them away. He does not want to leave you smelling bad!

Things to Think About or Do:

(1) This is very personal, and you do not have to share this with anybody: Is there anything in your life which you know is wrong but which you do not want to let go?

(2) Would you like to spend some time, maybe 15-30 minutes, talking to God about it?

 “Hmmm, newly washed clothes really smell good!” That’s what we want, right? That is why we look for detergent soap and fabric softeners that will not only clean our clothes, but also leave them smelling clean. We feel good when our clothes smell clean, and we feel confident when we wear them.

A life surrendered to Christ smells clean. When we allow Jesus Christ to cleanse us from our sin, and specially when we serve Him, our lives “smell good” not only for God, but also for other people:

God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance. For we are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost.
—2 Cor. 2:14-15

God is so good to cleanse us. He knows that we will only be truly happy when we are clean. You might want to use the following Psalm as a prayer to God:

Be merciful to me, O God,
     because of your constant love.
Because of your great mercy
     wipe away my sins!
Wash away all my evil
     and make me clean from my sin!

I recognize my faults;
     I am always conscious of my sins.
I have sinned against you—only against you—
     and done what you consider evil.
So you are right in judging me;
     you are justified in condemning me.
I have been evil from the day I was born;
     from the time I was conceived, I have been sinful.

Sincerity and truth are what you require;
     fill my mind with your wisdom.
Remove my sin, and I will be clean;
     wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
     and though you have crushed me and broken me,
I will be happy once again.
Close your eyes to my sins
     and wipe out all my evil.

Create a pure heart in me, O God,
     and put a new and loyal spirit in me.
Do not banish me from your presence;
     do not take your holy spirit away from me.
Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation,
     and make me willing to obey you.

Then I will teach sinners your commands,
     and they will turn back to you.

Spare my life, O God, and save me,
     and I will gladly proclaim your righteousness.
Help me to speak, Lord,
     and I will praise you.
—Psalm 51:1-15

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God is so good and gracious to allow us to participate in a great work that He is about to do among our countrymen. All praises, thanks, honor and glory be to Him!

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Kudos To My Beautiful Wife

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a good holiday, and you’re all having a good start to the year.

Perry and I are having a GREAT start. We’ve been offered an opportunity to join a project which will benefit tens of thousands of Filipino micro-entrepreneurs. We had to create the proposal and some samples last week, and over the weekend, for submission this week. We really are praying that God will grant us this project. All praises and thanks be to Him!

My wife is truly a blessing. She is not only very loving, caring and understanding, dealing with all my baggage, but she’s also very wise. I always learn so much from her, most recently in connection with the offer regarding this new project.

Courting my wife at Keukenhof

Courting my wife at Keukenhof, the Netherlands, 2004 

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It was possible for us to join the project because she was never idle during the 22 months that we were in the Netherlands, when I took up my Masters in Theology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. She tried repeatedly to apply for a work permit but was never granted one all the time that we were there. Still, she kept herself busy. She wrote books and devotionals and children’s activity books and coloring books. She even started plans for other, much bigger projects (which she doesn’t want me to talk about now, because she’s still developing them).

Well, I finished my studies and we came back to the Philippines two years ago. She was recruited by a local partner of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and now works both for that local partner and for the Philippine Bible Society. We set up a publishing company last year and published one of her coloring/activity books. The other projects were shelved and put on the back burner.

Until the last week of December. An old friend called her up and said that their organization was looking for some material for use in a new development which they want to begin this 2008. The friend knew that Perry was interested in such projects, since Perry was involved with microfinance NGO’s before we left for the Netherlands. The friend asked if Perry and I could develop something, even just a draft, which she could present to the decision-makers this first week of the year. Well, guess what? my incredibly gifted wife had already written something which fit perfectly with the project—two years ago, in Zaandam, the Netherlands! All we had to do was polish it and tailor it to the organization, and prepare a project proposal—which we all did in one week, last week.

It was still a bit tough, specially given the time constraints. But it was much easier than starting from scratch. We were able to submit something because Perry never allowed herself to be idle during the almost two years that she was not allowed to work. If she had not continued developing new materials and new projects all the time that she was being kept from working in the Netherlands, we would have been unable to take advantage of this opportunity when it knocked.

A great lesson from a great wife—a true woman of wisdom. Don’t just wait for opportunities, or be alert to them. We must also keep ourselves ready to take advantage of them when they do come. Never be idle! Continue developing yourself, continue developing new ideas, projects, and products, so that when the opportunity, contacts, and resources come, you will be ready.

Beauty at Swan Lake, Keukenhof

I love my wife! After 17 years of marriage, my love and admiration for her continues to grow. I love her even more than before. And I don’t just love her, I admire her—I’m a die-hard, life-long fan. God bless my wife! God bless Perry!

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Happy Slip, Kabayans!

Hi there!

I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday. I had a fun and refreshing week, with Christmas services, parties, blessed times for prayer and meditation with my wife, and family reunions with aunts, uncles, and cousins, and with my wife’s family. It’s not over yet. We have another family reunion with my brother and sister tomorrow the 31st, which will last until January 1.

Just wanted to visit the blog today and post a notice about a very talented and funny Filipina—Christine of Happy Slip. Her YouTube channel is now #5 in terms of subscriptions, and I believe she deserves all her success. She’s hilarious, and actually plays all the roles for her family members in her videos, a la Eddie Murphy—her lola, her mother, her father (!), her sister, her auntie and her cousin. She’s even among the 15 nominees for Balitang America’s Newsmaker of the Year by ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel.

Her videos showcase not only Filipino humor, but also the high value that we place on the family. Below are samples of her videos:


A Christmas jingle with a catchy (and hard-to-imitate 😦 )
backbeat on a plastic cup (!)

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Thanksgiving—> Thanksliving
(she’s got a good point on this video)

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And, kabayans, you’ll LOL when you learn where she got the “Happy Slip” tag 🙂 .

BTW, I’d like to thank Pastor Eyriche for pointing me to Happy Slip. Thanks, brother!

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