On Facing Childhood Cancer
Meet Myla and Sophia, two young ladies who were once strangers but were brought together by faith. 17-year-old Myla from the San Francisco Bay Area was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at the age of 10 and has survived having a bone marrow transplant, heart failure and recently, a kidney transplant. When 12-year-old Sophia from New York was diagnosed in 2018 with a brain tumor, her mom had heard about Myla, and reached out to Myla’s mom for support after seeing her story on incmedia.org. Today, with God’s help, both girls are cancer free and are living their best lives. We’ll hear their stories of survival and the changes they made in their perspectives while battling cancer and they share some insight on how they stayed positive during such a difficult period in their childhood.Show/Hide TranscriptOn Facing Childhood Cancer Sophia Espiritu: So I wanted to ask you, what do you think is the funniest thing that you did at the hospital that kept you busy and let time pass by? Myla Cunanan: When I was in the ICU, I was always making slime. So I opened up a slime shop where nurses and doctors would stop by and get slime from me. Aliw Garcia Pablo: Meet Sophia and Myla, perhaps the two most amazing young ladies I’ve had the privilege of knowing. Sophia: Well, there is a lot of boring time spent in the hospital. I did have a lot of hobbies at the time, I used those adult coloring books. And I would make lions with vibrant manes. Aliw: They are childhood cancer survivors, philanthropists, and just overall inspiring young people. But on second thought, I don’t think the word inspiring will do justice in describing them. Myla: So, we did have a band aid drive, where I donated different kinds of band aids to the hospital. I also had a book drive, where I collected a lot of books and donated it to the school in the hospital. Sophia: Well, in 2018, the same year I got diagnosed, I felt like for my 10th birthday, I want to give back to the community. So then I was trying to think of something unique, like, okay, a lot of people give out candies, and they do give out quite a few things at the cancer center. So I wanted to not repeat that same thing. Aliw: Whatever it is you’re going through in life right now and maybe you need a pick-me- up. Make the time to get to know these two faithful young souls and I guarantee you, they will give you the kind of change in perspective that we all need to be reminded of during those tough days. And, oh, these girls, they’ve had their share of tough days. [Show Open] I’m Aliw, and you’re listening to Making Changes. Today’s episode is a pretty special one. Because it’s not often that we get to meet people like Myla and Sophia. I’ve known Myla for many years now, and Sophia, I’ve yet to meet in person. They’ve never met each other in person either. But they’ve led such parallel lives that when Sophia’s mom heard of Myla’s story, after Myla was in remission from her cancer, Sophia had just been diagnosed. And so their families have been a support system for one another. Today, you won’t just meet two young ladies, but they’ll give us insight on how to help a loved one or friend who may be going through a sudden life changing ordeal. They’re going to give us tips on what to say, what not to say, and what love language to use during such a difficult test in someone’s life. You will surely laugh and cry. So get your tissues ready. Let’s listen in. [Music ends] Sophia: Hi, Ate Myla, I’m so glad to be talking with you today. Do you remember the time that we first met? I remember when my mom told me about you and we watched your story. Myla: Yeah, I remember the first time we FaceTimed. I felt very happy that you reached out to us. And I was glad that I was able to connect with you and just was able to help you. Sophia: When we did, I just felt glad to connect with you. And glad that I could talk to another family that had such a similar experience in the hospital. I’m so glad we’re both happy and. healthy. And we both beat cancer and congratulations on the kidney transplant that you got. Myla: Thank you! Sophia: So altogether, how long do you think you spent in the hospital? Myla: Well, I’ve been in and out of the hospital since 2014, until I had my kidney transplant, but probably about two to three years altogether. Sophia: So how do you think cancer changed you? Myla: How did cancer change me? It made me more positive. Also, it made me grateful for a lot of things, like you. And most of all, I trust more in God now. And yeah. Sophia: Yeah, I think cancer definitely changed me. I feel like I don’t think it made me braver. This is a hot take, but I think it just showed me how brave I actually am. Not to flex or anything. And I feel like after that, I just realized how grateful I am for everything. Like, the day before I was supposed to start chemo, I just remember like, “Wait, I’m not gonna be able to go to a buffet again” because you know, like, there are a lot of germs at buffets. And I mean, everyone at my church, they always had celebrations at buffets. So just after that, I definitely wen to more buffets. So I, it definitely changed my perspective on the world, but for the better. Well, I’m glad we got to talking. And hopefully after this pandemic, I can come over to California, and just give you a big hug. Myla: Me too. I hope we can see each other in person soon. Aliw: Hi, guys. Hi, Myla. Hi, Sophia. How are you? Myla and Sophia: I’m good. I’m good. Aliw: And as I’m listening to you guys, I I feel like I’m listening to two very wise, young women. You don’t even speak like your age, because you’ve been through, you know, you’ve been through more than most adults, you know, two, three times your age would have gone through. But you know, I just wanted to ask Myla you were 10 right? When you were diagnosed with Sophia, you were 9- 10 or so? You’re nine. Okay. So do you think your friends treated you guys any differently? Once you got sick? You know, because you guys weren’t able to hang out with your friends as much as you used to before especially with having to be careful, having the need to be careful, right with germs and things like that, that you guys mentioned. How was it like? How did your friends treat you differently if they did while you were sick? Sophia: For me, I feel like I just remember that first day after I was in the hospital. And I was diagnosed and I came into the classroom. And everyone shouted my name like “You’re back!” And actually someone at my hospital comes to the school and can talk to your class or your grade about this thing. Like they were able to find a way for us to connect. And I feel like my friends–they were able to understand they were third graders but they were able to understand enough. I’m glad they still treated me basically the same except for that little being more careful. Other than that, we just still had fun together. Aliw: What about you Myla? I know you were in the hospital much longer in and out but how did your friend stay connected with you? Myla: My friends and classmates were definitely very supportive and understanding with my cancer. Some of them will actually come to the hospital and visit me which is really nice. Aliw: Oh, nice. Myla: Yeah, some would send cards or gifts and my class, my whole class, my fourth grade class, and my teacher, they actually took time–part of their class, just shopping for hats, different types of hats for me. Aliw: Awww, that’s so sweet. Myla: Because they knew that I was gonna lose hair, of course. So they chose different styles to see which one I would like. Aliw: Oh, that’s really sweet. What would you, you know, if there were other kids who maybe they have a friend, or maybe they have someone close to them who’s battling an illness, whether it be cancer or anything else–What advice would you give to them on what they should say? Is there a right or wrong thing to say to someone? Sophia: There’s nothing really wrong to say, because most people that have illnesses, and you’re saying something to them, you know, they know that you’re just trying to help them. But I do feel like there are some things that can be improved upon, like… Aliw: Such as? I like how you said that can be improved upon, such as? Sophia: You can talk to them about what’s happening, but you don’t have to smother them, you don’t have to be like, you don’t have to be their parent. In retrospect, you don’t have to come over like, oh, how are you? Oh, Here, take this, take this, take this. How…do you need me to call the nurse or something? Are you okay? You can ask them occasionally, like, “Oh, hey, how have you been?” Just like you normally would, they might talk about the illness or not. But don’t just be cool about it. Just be relaxed about it. Don’t be so upfront about the illness because again, they’re still just a, they’re still a regular person. And I don’t have any way to end that. Aliw: Okay, just just be yourself basically. Myla: Like, Sophia, you know, just be yourself. And just talk to them like you regularly would. Because, you know, just because we’re sick, it doesn’t mean we’re different. So just treat them regularly, and try to be positive. Sophia: A lot of people tried to be very serious, like, especially the doctors and the nurses, they come in like, “Hey, how are you?” with those pity eyes, as we talked about the pity look, and they’re going to be very serious. Like, it’s almost as if they’re afraid to be happy. But then, I feel like on the other hand, you really need a good mix of those things. Because since that happens, it feels like it makes them feel like they’re sick. Really. It makes them think, “Oh, I’m sick. I’m not supposed to be happy and be laughing.” So if you can walk in to your friend’s hospital bed, say, and don’t walk into the hospital bed, walk into the hospital room. Aliw: Wow, that’s deep. Don’t walk into the hospital bed. Walk into the hospital room. Okay, you’re gonna have to clarify that a little bit. Sophia: No, that’s just don’t walk into bed. Aliw: Oh, you mean like literally don’t want a bed. Sophia: Don’t walk into the hospital bed, walk into the room. Aliw: I thought you were being symbolical or something. Okay, got it. Got it. Sophia: If you’re able to laugh with them. If you’re able to make jokes then it’s like, “Oh yeah” It’s like, “we’re friends.” We’re able to communicate. And that helps them think like, “Oh, yeah” I’m, as I said before, “I’m still a regular person.” I’m not labeled as that sick person. I’m labeled as a person, just a person. Aliw: So we’ve done other stories of both of you before. Myla, we’ve done Stories of Faith on you and Sophia, you’ve done a Faith Speaks. And in your stories, you’ve both said that you never felt alone. You know, during your ordeal during your treatments when you were hospitalized. Can you tell us? How come you never felt alone? Like what was it that was going on inside you that you knew that you never felt alone? Who wants to go first? Sophia: That feeling when God is with you, it’s just a feeling deep down in your soul. Like a 1000 teddy bears, the big ones from the carnival, the big ones that you need a lot of points for, but just 1000 of those wrapped around you. And I feel like that can be put in many different forms. Like, sometimes it’s just by yourself when you’re having some of some thoughts like you’re thinking, and then you, all of a sudden you feel this, you get this wave of warmth and care. Sometimes, it’s when it’s with other members of the Church. Whenever I’d go into the worship service, when I had cancer. Everyone was checking up on me. And they were like, “Oh, hey, are you okay? Are you okay?” And I’d be talking to them. Like, they just care for me in so many different ways, actually, like, especially actually the anointing of oil, which I’d get. I think every week, the minister would have an anointing of oil with me. And again, just this feeling like these people are caring with me, what is caring for me, God is helping me and caring for me through this tough time. Aliw: What about you, Myla? What were your prayers like? Myla: I’d ask for strength and for courage to help me overcome my sickness and my pain and to be healed. So that and so that I have strength to serve God. Sophia: My prayers, just guidance, really guidance. Because before this, I was just like this lunatic who would be running around. It’s a much different feeling once I was diagnosed, and it’s like, okay, now we have like, next the next level of life, and now we need to just get past this part. Like, let’s just keep going. Aliw: When you were diagnosed when you guys found, you know, heard the word cancer, and you’re you’re just a kid, you know. Myla you were 10, Sophia you were 9. Did you ever think, like, “God, I’m just a kid. I’m only 10 and I’m only nine. And I’ve got this big adult, you know illness?” Um, did you ever ask “Why me God because I’m just a kid. I’m just a little girl.” That ever cross your mind? Sophia: Barely. Maybe if it did just a second or just a minute, until I realized that I was worshipping the true God. So this wasn’t for bad reasons. If anything, it was just a test, or just something physical that happened. It was just going to be a test. And I’m not the only one. Like, I know that Ate Myla went through this. So then I realized that it’s all going to be okay, we’re just gonna have to see how the road is going to be until we reach our destination, healed. You know? Aliw: Destination healed? How about you, Myla? Did that thought ever cross your mind? Myla: Not really, maybe for like a brief moment. But I just thought maybe this is God’s will. This is God’s purpose for me. And, and He just wants…and it’s just a trial in our life that He wants us to overcome. Aliw: And when you, Sophia, when you met Myla, or when you saw Myla’s story, and you were going through your ordeal, and she had already, you know, had passed her treatments and everything. What did you think when you saw her look at her? She’s doing fine. What kind of hope did that give you? Sophia: It made me think that again, I’m not the only one. And if I do get past all of this, I also won’t be the only one. But that’s because of God’s help. And again, seeing Ate Myla and all these other kids even. And I would hear, overhear them. I’m in the lobby, I overhear them. Like, “Okay, we’ll see you next year.” And it’s like, “Whoa, that kid, he’s already done. Like, he’s not going to be here for another year?” And just seeing a bunch of people and hearing all these stories about like, “Oh, all of these guys got past that. So why shouldn’t I and especially, I’m a servant of God.” Aliw: What advice would you have for someone your age, that may be going through something tough? Myla: To always be prayerful. Pray for strength and courage and always trust in God and what He could do for you. Aliw: Sophia? Sophia: You know, when the movies, when it just pauses, it just freezes. Like, don’t just stay within like that one room and keep thinking thoughts to yourself, or you’re gonna go crazy. Get other people, talk to other people, even the nurses if you have to. Just go talk to the nurses and your doctors. I feel like since we had this experience that happened in our life, I want to become a doctor when I grow up. So I feel like that empathy will help with those patient encounters, like being diagnosed with cancer, it’s like, “Oh, you’ll be fine. I went through the same thing.” Aliw: So Sophia said she wants to be a doctor because of her experience to help others. What about you Myla? Have you thought about what you want to be when you grow up? Myla: I always wanted to do something that had to do with kids. So I thought about it back then, like before I was sick I always wanted to be a teacher. But after my experience, I want to be a child’s life specialist. They’re kind of like a mix between a social worker and the school teacher. I guess I mean, that’s how I could describe it. They stopped by and they will give you like, if you need… if you’re bored though, like give you stuff to do. If you need someone just like to stay with you in the room. They would stay with you. Or sometimes like when I would have like a big surgery coming up. They would call the child life specialist to explain things and just like to help you be calm about it. Aliw: Now, in a way, if you never had cancer, do you think that you guys would have thought about these things? As are your future and what you wanted? Myla: Not at all. Sophia: No, I don’t think any…Well, maybe the doctor part, but not anything close to, like where I am now, none of the experience or the feelings or if I didn’t have the cancer, I wouldn’t be here right now on this podcast for the cancer episode, right? And I wouldn’t get to meet you, Ate Myla. I wouldn’t be all over. I wouldn’t have been on Channel 4. That was a good day. I left early from school. Aliw: Well, I just want to thank you both. You know, I’m so excited to see what kind of life you both are going to live as adults because as young people, you’ve already done so much. And you’ve impacted so many lives. And I’m really, really excited to see what else God has in store for the both of you. If you’ve already gone this far, and the courage and the faith and the bravery that you have. I feel like after listening to you, both people will feel like they can tackle anything. They can overcome anything with God by their side just by listening to your stories. So thank you. And I wish you guys the best in this school year and finishing up the school year. And good luck with the rest of your high school Myla. And Sophia, good luck with the rest of middle school. I know that you guys always make the best, right? You guys have taught us to always make the best of any and every situation. So thank you. Take care you guys. Bye. Myla: Thank you. Sophia: Thank you. [Music] Aliw: Aren’t they great? Such wisdom and such young hearts. If you want to hear more from Sophia, you can watch her Faith Speaks episode as she talks about being brave. And you can learn more from Myla in previous Stories of Faith and Blessed Moments episodes all right here on INC media.org. Now if you want to see more of both their community service projects, check out INCGiving.org. As always, if you found value in what you heard today, please share it with a friend and don’t forget to subscribe to the INC Media app, Apple or Google podcasts. And while you’re at it, maybe you can leave us a review. And if you want to see the faces behind the voices, check out our Instagram account Making Changes podcast. Thanks for listening and may your change uplift you. [Music Ends] The post On Facing Childhood Cancer appeared first on incmedia.org.
2 Jul 2021
On Being A Nurse During A Pandemic
Meet Warren and RJ, both ICU nurses from the opposite sides of the country. Warren, who’s been a New York nurse for 20 years, talks with RJ from Los Angeles who became a nurse shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Both men talk candidly about how being on the frontlines has changed them as nurses and as people, along with the frightening reality when the patient is a family member. They also share the one thing they both do regularly to help them cope with the tragedies they witness on a regular basis.Show/Hide TranscriptOn Being Nurses During A Pandemic RJ Dela Cruz: I got into this field because I wanted to help. You know, I was an accountant before, and I really was looking for that part of myself to help someone in the time of need and.. Aliw Pablo: Meet RJ, a surgical ICU nurse from Los Angeles, who made a career change and found himself in a new field at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. RJ Dela Cruz: I feel like the nursing school, it prepared you for the boards, but you know, once you get out onto the field, I felt like I was a deer in headlights, my first few shifts. Warren Sabino: Oh, trust me. Yeah, I’m surprised that I did become a Nurse. Aliw Pablo: RJ talks with Warren, a cardiac ICU nurse in New York with 20 years of experience and shares some advice on how to get through tough days in the nursing field. Warren Sabino: You know, I remember one of the older nurses who retired already, they used to tell us, “Don’t take any of these things home with you.” I pray multiple times before my shift, during my shift, and then after my shift. It’s just one of the ways that helps me cope. [Show Open] Aliw Pablo: Welcome to Making Changes, I’m your host, Aliw Garcia Pablo. On today’s episode, we’ll hear from RJ and Warren, two nurses from the opposite sides of the country. At the time of this recording, we were in the middle of the second surge of the pandemic here in California. They’ll talk about the challenges and changes this pandemic has brought to the lives of nurses but also the frightening reality of what happens when the patient is your child. We’ll be flies on the wall as we listen to what helps them cope, seeing the frailties of life each and every day, for the sake of helping others. Let’s listen in. RJ Dela Cruz: Hey, Warren, it’s really nice to meet you. You know, they always say that no one knows what you’re going through when you’re a nurse, except for another nurse. Warren Sabino: Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you and to talk to you RJ, as well. I know, being a nurse definitely is stressful, but also rewarding. But I’m glad to talk to a male nurse as well. RJ Dela Cruz: I feel like they’re seeking out male nurses now. In my cohort, because I’ve only been a nurse for about a year and a half. So fairly new. Warren Sabino: You’re a baby. RJ Dela Cruz: I want to be as experienced as you one day. I wanted to ask you, Warren. So I was wondering how it is in New York right now? How is the state of the pandemic? Warren Sabino: As you know, like when the pandemic hit, New York was one of the first cities that really got affected by it. And, you know, we were really suffering for those first few months. And at that time, we didn’t really know what to expect. So it was really kind of nerve wracking, you know, I never, in my 20 years of experience, ever experienced something as serious as this virus. RJ Dela Cruz: Just looking in, in the beginning from California. I have to admit, I was kind of skeptical. I was thinking, what most people thought. Oh, it’s just a really bad case of the flu. And then, when you actually see your first COVID patient, it opens up your eyes, you know. You don’t understand the severity of it until you see it in person. In the beginning, we changed my unit. I’m a surgical ICU nurse, and we changed our unit to a COVID unit. And we changed it for about maybe three, four months in the beginning. And then our cases went down. So we converted back to a surgical ICU. And then the second wave came. Did your years of experience as a nurse, did it prepare you at all for something like this? Warren Sabino: Well, I mean, I think when it comes to this pandemic, I think no amount of experience can prepare you for something like this. You know, I’ve seen things and done things that I never thought I would do as a nurse. And you’re used to being in pressure, stress, high stress situations, as well, I’m also a cardiac ICU nurse. You know, your experience does prepare you for but because of how unique this situation is, how we have to gown up and take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves first. RJ Dela Cruz: Yes. Warren Sabino: You know, that was a change, like, when you’re an ICU nurse, a lot of time is very important. And, you know, especially when patients are not doing well, minutes, seconds are very valuable to have to stop and gown up and take that time away, and to take care of these patients who were really, really sick. I mean, it was, it was definitely a change and a different experience as a nurse. You know, our unit can only hold 20 patients, but when it was at the height of the pandemic, we were doubling people in rooms, RJ Dela Cruz: Wow. Warren Sabino: If you see this picture is unbelievable, because in the hallways, you see all these IV poles with multiple IV pumps flooding the hallways. We’re like the nurses are all over the place. You know, when you see how crazy and how busy… I mean, when I look at it now, now that it’s a little calm down here in New York, I just kept like, all of us are like, well, I can’t believe that we went down that whole thing. RJ Dela Cruz: Yeah, I think we kind of did the same. Or we’d have the IV tubing and everything extensions. Outside of the room. We also had the vents outside of the room at one point, or they were extended outside. So that was new. Warren Sabino: Wow. RJ Dela Cruz: Yeah, so I don’t know. Like you said, now you look back at it. It’s like, how did we do that? Yeah, how do we manage that? But we did. Warren Sabino: Well, it can be overwhelming. But you know, you go through it. But someone who’s just starting out with only a year and a half of experience. And I couldn’t even imagine how they must have been feeling or dealing with it. Because like you said in LA it’s one of the hardest hit right now. How are you handling things over there? RJ Dela Cruz: You know, it’s been tough as a new nurse, but you have to realize what, or why you got into this field, you know. I got into this field, because I wanted to help. You know, I was an accountant before, and I felt like I wasn’t helping anyone. And I really was looking for that, that part of myself to help someone in the time of need. And I felt that this profession really does that, especially now because this pandemic, you can’t, your family can’t even be in the room with you. You have iPads, you have FaceTime, you have, actually like zoom meetings with family members who can’t be in the hospital and you’re like, the patient’s family. And it’s been pretty tough. But to that point, I feel that I’m able to stay afloat by our faith and our family. I guess in a way it was good that I’m new, cause I don’t know what normal is as a nurse yet. So, it’s like throwing someone that doesn’t know any better. Warren Sabino: That’s a great way of looking at things actually. I never thought of it that way. I mean, like, being new to get that experience. RJ Dela Cruz: It was pretty hard. In the beginning starting as a fresh nurse in the ICU. Actually, the cases in California are slowing down. And now that I’m gaining patients that are non-COVID, it’s kind of weird, surreal, because, like you said, the putting on the protective equipment and the mask and the gowns, and now that I walk into a patient’s room, that’s not a COVID patient without all that stuff… Warren Sabino: Right. RJ Dela Cruz: I feel strange. I feel like am I protected? Am I doing this right? Warren Sabino: I totally agree. I mean, even after this whole pandemic is done, we’re all talking about it at work, it kind of changed. I can’t imagine taking care of patients without a mask and a shield. It might not be COVID, in the future who knows what other, I mean, I don’t want to think that way but, you know, it’ll change the way we take care of patients. RJ Dela Cruz: Yes. Warren Sabino: Who knows what else will be there? RJ Dela Cruz: Yeah, I don’t know about you but before COVID hit, I hated wearing a mask in a patient’s room. Even in the hospital, I hated wearing a mask. But now I feel like I need to. Warren Sabino: Totally. I mean, sometimes I would do things not patient care, but things in a room without gloves. Now, I can’t even imagine, like not putting on gloves the moment you walk in a room now. RJ Dela Cruz: Yeah. Warren Sabino: Going back actually, if you don’t mind me asking if we can just for a second. RJ Dela Cruz: Yeah. Warren Sabino: You said earlier that you were an accountant before? RJ Dela Cruz: Yes. Warren Sabino: Then you went into nursing. And so how did that happen? How did you become a nurse from being an accountant? I know, you said, you wanted to help people. But how did it become nursing? RJ Dela Cruz: You know, I’ve always had this interest in the medical field. But I was stubborn about… Let’s face it, Warren, there’s a stereotype about Filipinos being nurses. And I was so stubborn about that. I was like, I don’t want to fall into that stereotype. I resisted it for so long. But I was stuck, I felt stuck in Accounting. So jobs were being sent overseas and I have a family. You know, honestly, it’s been a blessing, because probably a lot of people during this pandemic have been laid off. And I feel like I probably would have been laid off. If I didn’t become a nurse at this time. Yeah, it’s a blessing. Warren Sabino: I agree. More than ever. At this time, it’s a good career choice, RJ. RJ Dela Cruz: There’s no turning back now, Warren. Warren Sabino: I know. RJ Dela Cruz: Honestly, we’re both in ICU and for me, there was one point where I would come into work, and there would be a patient who would just pass away every shift. And that was tough. I was taking care of this patient for at least three weeks. And that was my patient for every shift. Because the family requested me. And in the end, he passed. That really affected me. And it’s so hard to think about this now, because the family was so grateful. They even wrote me a nice letter and saying, thank you for just being there when we couldn’t because of all that COVID stuff. Warren Sabino: I don’t know, I don’t think you can ever get used to someone dying on your shift. You know, there are those situations where you kind of know there’s not much you can do anymore for patients. You know, I remember one of the older nurses who retired already. They used to tell us, “Don’t take any of these things home with you.” Like any of these, like when it comes to… don’t let it weigh you down. If you can save someone’s life, you’re trained to do that. Just trust in what you’ve learned. And what I do is I always just pray every…I pray multiple times before my shift, during my shift, and then after my shift. It’s just one of the ways that helps me cope with kind of experiencing all that and not letting it affect me to the point where it affects who I am and what I do. RJ Dela Cruz: You see these COVID patients, a lot of them personally, the ones that we see, they don’t have anything really wrong with them, except for COVID. COVID is real. It doesn’t discriminate against anyone. We get patients who are young, and they’re in their early 20s, you know? Warren Sabino: Actually, in the beginning, my son actually was affected. RJ Dela Cruz: Wow! Warren Sabino: My youngest son, yeah, he was 12 at the time. He came down with a fever. And of course, at that time it’s alarming because that’s one of the biggest symptoms that you have to look out for. So when it happened, I was just like, we were kind of hoping it was just something—nothing too serious. It was just like, maybe just, like a 24 hour thing, it’d go away. And then my wife called me in the middle of my shift, I went to work. And she’s like, “He has a 104 fever.” And I was like, “What?” You know, obviously I was kind of nervous about it. Because we’re in the middle of [a] pandemic. So, everyone in the hospital has COVID and no one wanted to spread it. So they told you know, don’t go if you can handle the symptoms at home. And he was my son, I can tell he was getting like when he sleeps, his breathing was labored. And he was just so tired. And he couldn’t even walk to the bathroom. Or if he did, he’d be so tired. If so we finally brought him in. And then the doctor, they took some blood and they couldn’t get a blood pressure on him. RJ Dela Cruz: Wow. Warren Sabino: They were like, yeah, they were like, he doesn’t look good. I think we’re gonna send him to the ER. So he would stare me blank in the face. And he was like, “Dad, I can’t see.” And I was like,”What?” I was like, yeah, so then I was like, “Okay, sit down.” We had to [lay] him down. We had to call an ambulance to get him to the hospital, just to the hospital. But all I could do in my mind was pray. I was praying so hard. When we got to the ER, in the Emergency Room and then all of a sudden they asked to, they wanted to get his weight. So they stood him up. They couldn’t get a blood pressure at all. And then they were like, you know what, “Sit back down.” And then they finally got one that was like 60 over 40, 30. And then all of a sudden, they called like a mini code. So then all of these doctors and all these nurses start rushing in. And of course, I’m from the ICU, of course I know what’s going on. RJ Dela Cruz: Yeah. Warren Sabino: And I know what they’re about to do. But then, you know, my son just looked at me and I just looked at him, I just I go, “you’re fine.” I was like, “they’re just gonna give you some medicine, you’ll be fine.” I just kept looking at all like maybe like five or six people were putting on IVs, giving him fluid, giving him… putting monitors on him. And then when it really hit me, they started bringing the intubation tray in and central line placement kits, all those things that you do when you get into an emergency and I was just like, “Please God.” Like, “please.” But he was a trooper, he would just look at me, I just [looked] at him. He never lost consciousness. He was just kind of, I guess, a little nervous. But I would just say, “Oh, you’re fine. No, you’ll be fine. No worries.” Finally, they took us up to the pediatric ICU, I guess during that time, they seemed like kids that were having, not COVID, but I guess they were labeling it the Kawasaki disease? RJ Dela Cruz: Oh, yeah. Warren Sabino: Cause it was like presenting like that. But I think now they named it, what is it? The Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome. But after a few hours, he made a quick turnaround. During that whole time the only thing other than that we can think of to do was to pray like I, you know, we would call some of our ministers. And I [called] every minister I can call. RJ Dela Cruz: Yeah. Warren Sabino: Because when it comes to us, that’s the real solution, the real solution, the real treatment for us. So, I had like multiple prayers and only after a few hours, he recovered quickly. Yeah, all his medicine, they were able to go down. Like, I think we were probably in the ICU a total of two days. RJ Dela Cruz: Wow. Warren Sabino: And our doctor and his cardiologist are all like, “wow, like, it seems like he never even had it.” Like, he’s great. He’s doing well, and there’s no restrictions. Like, he’s doing well. Thank God, that was probably the scariest thing that ever happened to me in my life—it’s because of that. You know, it’s just different. It’s so different when it’s your own family. As nurses we know how to take care of these patients, we know what to do. But when it’s your own family, it’s just a different experience. Like, it’s unbelievable. RJ Dela Cruz: When it hits close to home like that, you feel a little helpless and you just got to trust in your faith in God and just keep praying. Warren Sabino: Totally. I mean, if it’s just, you know, God has always been good. And, I really believe that He was there for him and for our family, because even with, like, when it comes to myself, I mean, I’ve been exposed. I mean, not exposed but dealing with COVID patients so closely, though, these almost almost a year, not lucky, but just blessed to be… RJ Dela Cruz: Exactly. Warren Sabino: I don’t have to worry about that. RJ Dela Cruz: You know, I pray all the time, before every shift, before I leave the house, that God is with me. Asking for guidance, and especially to help me when I feel stressed out or any anxiety. As a new nurse, I definitely get anxiety just thinking about going into work. You know, what am I going to see today? What’s going to… what kind of patient is going to be thrown at me or what kind of situation is gonna happen at work that I don’t know how to, or that I’ve never experienced before. But, all I do is pray and I know that there’s nothing that’s going to happen, that if He’s with me that I can’t handle. RJ Dela Cruz: How do you think that this whole pandemic has changed you as a nurse, and a person in general? Warren Sabino: You know, just being more aware. I mean, it made this happen so quickly, and out of nowhere, and it just shows how delicate life is. Being a member [of the Church Of Christ] really puts us at an advantage. When it comes to dealing with what’s happening in the world and like during this time you’re even closer to God. RJ Dela Cruz: It just made me appreciate everything more. You know, it just appreciate your family, appreciate being able to have, like you mentioned more in the faith that we have. You kind of take these things in life for granted that this pandemic has pretty much brought to the forefront of your mind like, “Wow, I’ve been so blessed.” I’m going to try not to take any of that for granted. Warren Sabino: And no matter what situation– if it’s the pandemic, if it’s something life threatening, if it’s anything that happens, it’s just knowing you’re a member and knowing God is on your side, you can take on anything. RJ Dela Cruz: So, hey, Warren, I just want to say thanks, and I really appreciate you taking your time to talk to me and as a new nurse, just having someone to talk to about all this, it’s really been a blessing. So thank you so much, Warren. Warren Sabino: I was such a…I really had a good time talking to you. You know, I wish you all the best in your career and your family life. Hopefully, when this thing gets figured out, if I ever go to California, I’ll come see you guys. RJ Dela Cruz: Definitely, I’m 15 minutes away from Disneyland, Warren. So come on over. Warren Sabino: Nice. Will do will do. [Music] Aliw Pablo: Hey, Warren, and RJ! Gosh, listening to you guys, you know, all of these images come to mind when you guys are talking about your real life situation in your hospitals or just being with the patients that you’ve had. We can only imagine how challenging your every day must be. Now, RJ talking to Warren, what do you think was your biggest takeaway from your conversation today with him? RJ Dela Cruz: You know, even for Warren, this pandemic has been new. But although he has 20 years of experience, the experience helps, but Warren, you still rely on your faith and your family to get through this. Aliw Pablo: And Warren, what would be your advice to anyone who is studying to be a nurse, especially now that the world has completely changed, you know, so much from this pandemic? Any pieces of advice you’d want to give that may be different from when you started as a nurse 20 years ago? Warren Sabino: My advice to anyone who wants to become a nurse—I say do it. It’s very rewarding. If you have that passion and if you have direction where you want to help people, I would definitely say, keep on it. And you’ll know, you won’t be disappointed with it. Aliw Pablo: Well, I just want to say thank you both for your time. And for being at the frontline during this terrible pandemic. And we pray for both of you and your health and your safety and your families. And, in case you don’t hear it enough, we just want to thank you for doing all that you do. Thanks, guys. RJ Dela Cruz: Thank you for connecting me to Warren. It’s been great talking to you. Warren Sabino: Thank you. I really enjoyed this experience. And it’s really uplifting. So, thank you. Aliw Pablo: Thanks to RJ and Warren for taking the time to talk with us. And we’d like to thank all the nurses and frontline workers who have been such a tremendous help to families during this pandemic. Now, if you found value in what you heard in this episode, be sure to share it with another frontline worker or another friend who could use this conversation in their life right now. Be sure to subscribe to the Making Changes podcast on Apple or Google podcasts, or download the INC Media app to stay up to date with new episodes and check out our Making Changes Instagram account so you can see the faces behind the voices. Thanks for listening and may your change uplift you. The post On Being A Nurse During A Pandemic appeared first on incmedia.org.
27 May 2021
On Being Teachers as Parents
Meet Melissa and Arienne, two teachers who are also moms. The pandemic has forced them to teach from home while caring for their own children. Studies show the impact on mothers and working women have been tremendous during this past year. Listen to this honest conversation where they tackle how they juggled between being a mother and teacher day in and day out.Show/Hide TranscriptArienne Rusgal: Remote teaching is pretty hilarious. Melissa Benedicto: I agree. Arienne: The things that you say now, “Turn on your camera, right?” “Mute please.” Aliw Pablo: Meet Melissa and Arienne, two teachers who are also moms. Melissa: Please don’t bring your iPad to the bathroom. Don’t share too much information when you come back from the bathroom, please. Aliw: They both were forced to adapt to the drastic changes the pandemic brought at work and at home. Studies show that women in general have taken the hardest hit during this pandemic, many having to leave the workforce due to the overwhelming pressure of juggling it all — working and being a mom. So today, we’ll talk to Melissa each with three children of their own and how they’ve managed to thrive during a very difficult time when the lines between being a teacher and a mom at home are often blurred. I’m Aliw Pablo. Welcome to Making Changes, a podcast about two people on the path to change but are in different stages in their journeys. (Show Open) On today’s episode, Melissa and Arienne open up about the challenges of wearing two hats at home during this pandemic. Melissa has three children, two teenagers and an 11-year-old while Arienne asks Melissa for advice on teaching remotely while caring for three kids under the age of 3 at home. Melissa talks about how after 15 years of teaching, the challenges of a virtual classroom made her think about possibly changing her career but she’ll tell us what it was that made her stay. We’ll be flies on the wall as these two moms talk openly about what they learned about themselves and the changes they’ve had to make in perspective as educators and as moms. And they’ll tell us about the big part that God played in their lives during this uncertain time. Let’s listen in. Melissa: What’s up fellow mom? Arienne: I’m so glad to talk to you because let me tell you, it is so hard to be a mom and a teacher right now. And just being able to talk to you is just giving me already a sense of relief here. Melissa: You know, being able to talk to adults, sometimes is relaxing and therapeutic. Arienne: Yes. I just kind of wanted to get your thoughts and some advice on some stuff, just because, you know, especially with a pandemic, and having three kids under three and trying to teach from home and trying to teach online while they’re crying downstairs and just trying to do it all. It just hasn’t been easy. Like, I just feel like I can’t do it all. I don’t know how to be that super mom. I mean, what do you do? Melissa: Other than cry in the corner on a daily basis. I kid, but just realizing that you… Just knowing that you can’t do it all, you know. Just unloading and allowing other people to help you. It took a long time for me to like, not need people. And I’m not saying I don’t need people right now. But that’s what family is for. Just know that it doesn’t fall on you. And we share the load. What grades do you teach again, Arienne? Arienne: I teach a four or five combo. but it’s pretty much from 8:00 to 12:30 in the morning. But I mean, trying to teach a combo in the classroom is already tough, let alone a combo on the screen. So there’s that added pressure too. And what do you teach again, Melissa? Melissa: I teach Special Ed. And it’s from kindergarten all the way through eighth grade. So multiple combo classes. A ton of different personalities and perspectives from the spectrum. So, it’s difficult to do everything online, which is why I was grateful when we opened up our school. And we started with our Special Ed students, because they were the most in need of in-person support. Arienne: Right? You can’t give that same kind of… I don’t know, you just can’t really give that same kind of love and attention when they’re tiles on your monitor. Melissa: Yes, especially when you’re meeting them for the first time Arienne these are kiddos you saw, the first day of your teaching online so… Arienne: What was this distance? like physical distance and just emotional distance? I know you’re back in person but what was the hardest part for you teaching remotely? Melissa: Chasing my students, because they come from low socio-economic backgrounds. And so if they’re not showing up on zoom, I’m finding ways to have to reach out…which is why having them in person physically having the bus go pick them up, and bringing them to school that was the connection that my students had. And so when that started, I was obviously back in person, but my own children were virtual, still. So that created a challenge, because, you know, I’m teaching in my classroom, and then I leave my kids behind. Yeah, and they’re older, they’re older. But, you know, trusting that they’re going to be okay, that you did what you needed to do to make sure that they were provided for that was also something that was a struggle. Arienne: My room, our bedroom has kind of become my classroom. There are some perks right? I get to make them breakfast, I get to be with them at breakfast, and I can take my breaks and go downstairs and see them and just check to see how they’re doing. If, you know, worst case scenario, if you know everyone’s crazy and everyone’s crying, then I can bring someone into the bedroom and throw on, you know, some some movie and they can just sit and chill out and and watch while I’m teaching but,… you know, trying to be a mommy and teacher at the legit exact same time, it’s so hard. You know that you are these things like 24-7 no matter what, but when they’re mushed together, literally in the exact same room, it’s so hard to differentiate between the two. But remote teaching is pretty hilarious. Melissa: I agree. Arienne: The things that you have to say now, that you never would have said in the classroom? “Turn on your camera, right?” “Mute, please.” Like what else do you do? What else have you said? Melissa: I’ve said, “please don’t bring your iPad to the bathroom. And if you do, turn off your camera and mute,” you know. “Don’t share too much information when you come back from the bathroom, please.” Arienne: You know, there is so much to do but I got to be IT. But with the virtual class, you’re IT all day, every day. And you’re like, “I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you.” And you’re telling him, go, “Go to the 3 dots at the bottom, press that says “yes” everyday. But I think you know, one of the things that kind of kept me going during a class meeting, there was one kid who was saying, “I appreciate you because you have a ton of kids, but you still teach us.” It really does warm my heart and it helps me feel a lot better, that even though I’m teaching in front of a screen, that they could still feel that I care. Melissa: Virtual for me was just the most difficult. As it progressed, it just was so depressing. Because I, you know, we didn’t do student teaching through zoom, and this is not what I signed up for you know, I said that a lot. And as much as… give me the most difficult student and the most difficult class any day over, over virtual. And so it was during this pandemic that I really after, like 15 years of teaching, I thought, maybe I should do something else. Maybe I should change careers, because this is not what I trained for. And it was one of the realizations, like you said, those comments that our students say that all they need is connection. If that’s the only connection I have with my students, then I’ll do that, even though it’s difficult, but I have thought about changing careers. Arienne: And I think that’s, the harder part too, is because the lines are so blurred. Right now, I can’t. I don’t have a schedule. Whatever happens with the kids, like, if someone’s in a bad mood, like there goes that schedule. But you know, 1, 2, 3 am is kind of the time that I’ve been finding to lesson plan, to get my slides ready for the day after because now we can’t teach without slides, right? How did you survive? I know you were in the classroom when your kids were young? How do you get from being a mom of babies, and still be the kind of teacher that you expect yourself to be? How do you do both? Melissa: Juggle. Yeah, it was, you know, when you’re in it, I’m sure 10 years from now, you’ll be like, how did I do that? Because I’m at that point because I’m like, Oh, I hear Arianne. Wow, I was…I was that. How did I do it? That’s what I’m thinking of when you’re talking about these things. Because it is, you’re in the moment. You do what you need to do, right? Quick story about when I first started going back to the classroom, and my kids are big. They are…. I have a 11-year old, a 12-year old, and sophomore in high school. So she’s 15. One day, I came home, and they looked like someone had been crying, right? And then I knew something had happened but they didn’t want to tell me. And so finally, I talked to my oldest and I was like, why are you guys so quiet? Why are you not telling me something? And I kid you not. It took all of me not to just feel like the worst mom in the world. But she was like, you come home so tired. We don’t want to bother you with this extra thing. And I’m like, but It’s okay. And I took a step back. And I was like, I need to watch my face, what I say. You know what made me realize — wow, I’ve got great kids that know, right, that they can kind of empathize and try not to become a bother even though I need them to tell me these things. But I’m like, wow, you know, this, all this like teaching, right? It shows, it does show up. And like when they become older, and they, you know, they’re out of diapers, and you’re finally done with breastfeeding your last one, you’ll take a step back and be like, wow, these are awesome kids. Arienne: As hard as it is, like, I would not trade these years. For, anything, you know. I remember, like, talking with my husband, and you know, we were wondering, like, what are we going to do about childcare? Like, if both of us have to work, what are we going to do? What are we going to do? And then, boom, the pandemic hit. Everyone had to work from home. And there was like, this answer, right? I mean, it’s so… it’s such a hard time to live in. But it’s, I don’t know, I feel like it’s kind of brought a lot of families closer. Melissa: Yeah. You hit it on the nail– families closer because you wouldn’t have thought this was the solution to your no childcare issue but this has brought your family closer. I am virtual all day on Wednesdays. And my son cooks for us. Wednesdays, yeah. We don’t ask. He just figures out what, you know what’s to be made and he cooks for his siblings and me because … Arienne: I cannot wait for that. But how are you able to hold on to your offices [in the Church] and still, have your kids and teach and do the whole thing? Melissa: Well, it’s, it always is, like what you put first. And you know, what I realized, as my kids are now like, in their teenage years, it’s what they see that counts, right? So I want them to grow up knowing that wholeheartedly, I perform my duty as choir member, because I love it. It’s something we took oath for. Right? We took an oath for and know that we are going to fulfill it wholeheartedly and them seeing that, even though they see that I’m tired, right, even though they see that I come home, allows them to realize that they can do the same thing. And so that pushes me not only for the love of my duty, but for the love of my children as well, because I want them to continue to be officers as well. Not because mom is pushing them. But because they love it too. Arienne: Performing is almost like a form of self care, I think. And listening to you about what our kids see. Like I know our kids are pretty young to the point that they will have pretty few memories of right now. But I do remember to like my mom when she had my little brother she went back to the choir right? Right away. And so it was no question in my mind, about coming back to the choir after having our oldest, after having our second, I think I went back two weeks, two weeks after having my first one because we were prepping for a special worship service. And I had to make sure that the choir was ready. So my mom being a choir leader, too, like she totally understood, so she would take him and then we would go to choir practice. And then it was two months after my second one, and even then I remember like, just itching, itching, to go back. But a lot of it really is self care and like, I feel renewed and I feel strengthened and everything when I get to go and like teach the choir and listen to the hymns and all of that kind of stuff. I almost feel like when I get to go to choir practice, when I get to serve God on my own without any interruption, that I come back a better mom. Or I hope I come back a better mom. You know, it’s so much better than like, going to go get your pedicure and coming back, right. I mean, that feels good already, like getting your hair, your nails done and coming back home to the kids. But yeah, there’s like no other feeling. Maybe it’s just because I feel like a load is lifted. So that when you come back home to the kiddos, they need you to be strong. You’ve been strengthened, I guess. Melissa: I completely understand. That’s definitely one of the reasons why I continue. And I know that now as you know, mother of teenage children is that they, they see mom, and you know, I nowperform with my eldest daughter in the adult choir who loves it, and who cannot wait to come back to the chapel, and put on her choir robe and sing in the choir loft. And I know that that’s not something that I pushed for her to do. It’s the love that she has for it. And so, you know, it’s therapeutic but also so much blessings. Arienne: That’s what I want from my kids too like, I want them to see us performing, you know, day in and day out and realizing that the reason we have what we have is because we dedicate so much time to God and our duties. Melissa: Yes, so Arienne what did you learn the most about yourself as a mom through all this through all this crazy pandemic? Arienne: The biggest thing that I learned is you can’t do it all. And it’s okay. That I have to allow myself some grace. I know that like you know, postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety is real because I feel like I live it, especially right now after having the third one, I didn’t really feel it too much before. But … and it’s been hard, it’s been a challenge to get out of that mental state of “I’m not doing enough.” But you know, hearing you, talking with friends, praying and praying and praying and praying is little by little reminding me, you know, that you don’t have to do it all. What’s the biggest change that you had to make during this time? Melissa: I’d have to say I know that God is always with my family, and blessed my family. But during this pandemic, I didn’t know how much it would take out of my mental capacity. Because I was like, at a point when I thought I can’t, I can’t do this. I can’t handle it. I’m right here. He found a way to like, take away the load somehow. And allow me to just…okay, I think I can do this. As moms we are pretty resilient. We say this about students all the time. Oh, you know, they’ll bounce back. They’re resilient. But as educators, as moms, we’re resilient ourselves. And I know this because of this pandemic. I’ve done things that I didn’t think I could do. So that’s that’s the biggest, biggest change. Arienne: Thank you so much for your advice. And for just, you know, talking me through I think I’ve had a lot of “aha” from this conversation. Melissa: Me too. It’s always great to grow together. Arienne: Yes. Melissa: Through conversation. So thanks. thank you so much. Aliw: Hey, moms, Melissa, Arienne.. Thanks so much, you guys. Thank you so much for doing this. And, you know, first, I have to say I, there are frontline workers and there are essential workers. And teachers — We don’t give you guys enough credit. You really are in the front lines. And you really are essential, like on so many levels. And you’re right, I think, I forgot which one of you said it that you go from one job to the other. Do you feel like you’re mothering consistently because you’re also mothering other people’s children when you’re at work? What do you think, Melissa? Melissa: Yes, I agree that the mothering has no boundaries. So I cross the threshold of my classroom, I’m mothering. I cross the threshold of like, my home, I’m a mother. So, you’re constantly teaching and showing and caring for and whether it’s my own children, or others, it’s what we were put here to do. It’s been a challenge this pandemic, however, God has shown us that we are resilient. Aliw: Resilient, indeed. Arianne, you mentioned that once you became a mom and like you said it was prayers and prayers upon prayers answered and this is really what you’ve always wanted. Do you see yourself being able to have enough energy to keep teaching in the future like with because you’re really in the thick of it all? Arienne: I do wonder that all the time, whether I’m going to have enough energy, I mean, my own three are exhausting to say the least. They are exhausting already, let alone having to go in with a class of 33, another class of 33. I love kids and I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was 14. Just like being in the choir is part of my identity. I feel like teaching is part of my identity. And I want my kids no matter what they decide to do in life, well, most things anyway, I want them to follow their passions as well so that when they are older, they would love whatever it is that God gifts them with. And I feel that if I stopped teaching, then I would show them that it’s kind of okay to give up your passion, too. And I want to be that role model for my own kiddos that no matter how hard it is to do what you love, you should still do what you love because God gave you those gifts of whatever it is — I guess, in this case of teaching, of showing, of molding and that kind of deal — for a reason. Aliw: No matter how tiring it is and no matter how tired you are, right, as moms, what is the difference when you do something you love? Arienne: I think there’s a huge difference between doing something that you love versus doing something just for the sake of a paycheck. But we go a little bit above and beyond when you love something. I mean, it’s the same thing with the Church, right? We’re there all hours of the day or all hours of the night and you come home and you’re exhausted but feel full, right? You feel satisfied and uplifted because you are doing something that you love. Aliw: Your students are so blessed to have you both as teachers, because just listening to you both we can tell just how much you truly love what you do as teachers, but also how much you really do care for your students. And of course, your babies at home. So thank you guys, thank you so much. And I hope you get some sleep, Arianne. And, Melissa, I hope you get through the teenage years. And you will. And thank you so much for sharing your stories and your heart with us. Arienne & Melissa: Thank You. Aliw: Thanks Arianne and Melissa. Now, if you found value in what you heard today, share it with a friend, a fellow mom or a teacher that you know could probably use this right now. Stay up to date with new episodes of Making Changes with these different platforms — Apple, Google podcasts, or subscribe to the INC Media podcasts on Spotify or you can download the INC Media app. You can see the faces behind the voices by following our Making Changes podcast Instagram account. Thanks for listening to Making Changes and may your change uplift you!The post On Being Teachers as Parents appeared first on incmedia.org.
20 May 2021
On Losing My Mom
Meet Mike and Jason, two sons who were very close with their moms. In the previous episode, they talked about the special mother and son relationships they had but also the challenges of taking care of an ill parent, as their mothers dealt with chronic illness. In this part 2, they open up about the pain of losing their moms and how this life-changing experience has given them a deeper perspective on grieving and loss. Show/Hide Transcript Michael Robinson: I never wish for anybody to be in the positions that we’re in, right? Jason Pablo: No. Michael: We always want best for others being able to have that certainty that our mothers, our loved ones pass, and that there is a time that will come to see them again. This is just a timeout? Timeout, you know, it’s this short period of time that you know, we’re just waiting to see them again. And I relished in the fact that when my mother passed away, these things… Jason: Yeah Michael Robinson: Whatever is happening in the world right now could do nothing, could change nothing about who she was, and what she stood for in regards to her faith. [Show Open] Aliw Pablo: No matter where you are in the world, there was one thing we have all experienced together–change. This pandemic has forced us out of our comfort zones, and has pushed us into a new norm. And we simply surrendered and figured out a way to thrive. I’m your host, Aliw Pablo, and welcome to Making Changes, a new podcast from INC Media audio. It’s part two of our episode on loss and grieving. In part one, we heard the story of Jason and Mike, who both cared for their mothers battling chronic illness who eventually passed on, they talked about the challenges of seeing their moms physically deteriorate, but how the change in their prayers is what helped them get through their ordeals. On today’s episode, both talk about the values their moms have passed on to them, and how knowing that they will see their moms again, is what helps them fight through the pain of loss. Let’s listen in. Michael Robinson: That’s one of the great things too Jay, you know, I think about the legacy that my mom leaves behind. And that’s left in us. Jason: Oh absolutely! Michael Robinson: I started thinking about all the things that she taught me. And of course the good values of just being a good person, you know, because we weren’t in the Church of Christ. I grew up in the Church, but she was converted. And I started thinking about all of these values that she taught me that were of course given through the Worship Services in the church and those few days before, and just holding her hand, and she’s taking her last breaths, which is, it’s still a horrible sequence of images in my brain but over time, it’s gotten better and better. But I really felt like because of the mercy that I was asking, it’s like, “God, please just give me mercy to accept your will, give me the strength.” The fact that I was next to my mom when she was taking these last breaths. And she was actually able to attend Worship Service, even though just hearing, but it was a video streaming of our Executive Minister. And it was such a timely lesson, because it was about the fight until the end, and trusting God, that He is on the job, that he will do what is good for you. And once you accept that, no matter what happens, only good things will come to you. And I wanted to share this little piece with you, Jay, because I don’t know if you had an experience like this, but the nurse was with me. And as she left, I’m saying these words to my mom in her ears and , “Mom, we will see you again. We love you. Remember, you’re a member of the Church. You’re blessed. This isn’t the end.” And once she passed and took her last breath, the nurse said to me, “Well, at least she’s not in pain, and she’s in heaven now.” And that made something clicked so hard in my brain. Where I said to her, “Well, as a matter of fact, no.” And my brother, our I’m sorry, my co-worker, he came there, he was there already, Gary, and he recorded me on his phone talking to this nurse for 30 minutes about our faith. Jason: Right. Michael Robinson: Because that’s one of the things in perspective that I want to say “change,” but it became even more highlighted in my mind. The way that we see death is entirely different… Jason: Right. Michael Robinson: from the way the world sees death when someone dies. You know, yes, we celebrate life. We remember them. And the living works so hard to hold on to those who have left behind. And I’m not saying that’s wrong. You know, we concoct so many things in our minds, to help us… Jason: Cope— Michael Robinson: …to cope, to console ourselves, to get by. But the fact of the matter is, is that being in the Church and seeing that path that God prepared for my mom and I—Not only to spend time with each other, but for me to truly repay her, and caring for her, even in her darkest hours–It taught me a great sense of humility. We know that our parents are not just gone, they’re resting, there’s something better that’s coming for them. And it just made me think, “Well, how bad do I want to see them again? How bad do I want to see them again?” Jason: Well, you know, first of all, I do need to say that I think your mom, and my mom, they’re cut from the same cloth– just very, very hard, loving people. I mean, my mom, I always described her as that when she loved you, boy, she would go out of her way to take care of you. But again, the prayer was all about, “God, she’s in your hands, will love you no matter what, you know, I just don’t want to see your suffering anymore.” And a day later, that was when she was no longer awake, and the only thing keeping her alive were the machines and the medicines that she was on. My mom was, you know, she and I were very close and to lose her it just made me realize that you have to really let your kids know how much they’re loved by you, as a father, by you as a parent, because that’s what my mom did. I miss her very much. But like you said, I’m inspired to be able to one day see her again, which makes me work even hard during the performances of my duties. One, so that my kids can see that. But two, just so we could all get there. And you know, I do treat that differently as a member of the Church, because death is but a rest. And we’ll all get there, as long as we hold on, and I’ll be able to see my mom. And one day again, along with my younger sister and along with my nephew… Michael Robinson: Yeah, I never wish for anybody to be in the positions that we’re in, right? Jason: No. Michael: You know, we always want the best for others. And, whether you’re in the church or not, people face death, people get ill. People, unfortunately, become part of unfortunate circumstances, whether it’s calamities that happen. I mean, COVID that’s going around now, right? Jason: Yeah. Michael Robinson: You know, it’s a part of life. And we’re involved in that, too. But, you mentioned it, being able to have that certainty that our mothers, our loved ones passed, and that there is a time that will come to see them again, because that’s what our faith is. Our faith dictates that. And, it’s proven that this is just a, what do we call this? A timeout? Jason: Yeah. Michael Robinson: It’s timeout, it’s this short period of time, that we’re just waiting to see them again. And I relished in the fact that when my mother passed away, that these things here in the world– pain number one, this physical, emotional bodily pain, would never grip her again. Jason: Yeah. Michael Robinson: Whatever is happening in the world right now, could do nothing, could change nothing about who she was, and what she stood for in regards to her faith. Yeah, with the passing of my mom, I not only became stronger and my resolve because I said, I want to see my mother again. But I trusted God more. Jason: Yeah, no, definitely. You know, once our moms kind of finish their course. You know, they became the lucky ones. Yeah, they had to suffer through it. They had some pain to endure. And they did. Probably, I mean, I know both you and I wish that we could have been in our mom’s places where we just kind of like take the pain away from them. But you know what, God did that for us. And you and I, as members of the Church of Christ, we definitely treat death differently. Because our parents–because our moms have died as members of the Church. Michael Robinson: And just like your mom, she fought till the end. I remember bringing my mom to the House of Worship. Every time that we go to the Worship Service. I go in the room, get her clothes, put her clothes on. I put her foot drop brace on, tie her shoes, I will get her wheelchair ready with a cushion and a pillow that she specifically wanted. Because she kept saying, I want this pillow and help her out. I put the wheelchair in the back of the van, and then repeat the whole process all over again. And Jay I know, I’m waiting for you to tell me with your mom how that all was. I’m sure you had experiences. Jason: Everything you said was dead on but because my mom, because of her condition it was a show. I mean, it was us getting ready for a show, you know, you had to give her a bath. You had to get her ready. Michael Robinson: Yes. Jason: Lay out her clothes. But the thing was, and this is how I knew my mom was still in there, my mom still cared about worshiping and how she worshiped because we would lay her clothes out. And you could even with her trach he’d be like, she’d be telling us, “No, not that.” Michael Robinson: Not that color. Jason: And then like my sisters would grab earrings. And she, of course she’d go up. What are you doing? These are not the earrings that I want. I want another. So you know, like you said it was just a big show to get your mom, wheelchair up into the car. Get into church, the brethren would you know, the brothers and sisters at church would come and kind of greet her. And, you know, my mom is really happy to see them. She’s exhausted. But you know, she’s still trying to say “hi.” But you know, I just remember that getting the wrong clothes and having the wrong earrings. My mom would not want to get ready unless it was right. Because, again, she was going to worship service and she wanted to worship God in the way that she wanted. She wanted to look right for Him. Michael Robinson: Even I imagine that that time Jay, like they were on that hill. And they’re making all this effort. And I would even say like and, that’s one thing that I learned from that experience was that because our mothers are like, they don’t I’m not saying they didn’t care, but they’re like, “Hey, I gotta worship.” And imagine that you, the caretaker, are going to stop your mother from worshiping God is almost saying, “God, I don’t think this servant of yours should worship” like that. Jason: Exactly, bro. Michael Robinson: I mean, “Wait, am I really gonna do that? Because I started realizing my responsibility as a son. Like this was now the added bonus to my relationship with my mom. I was now responsible for her to worship God. And so you know, bringing her to Worship Service, even though that was the only time she went out of the house! Jason: Exactly, bro. Michael Robinson: Like this the only time and she would not get in a wheelchair for anything. You know, if it was the day before, she’s like, I’m not doing anything, I need to rest this whole day for the worship service. But they knew, even to that point, they were so ill-stricken. And we talked about this before, you know, we all could have made excuses, and would have had the right to, but they still fought. If they’re fighting and they have such little that they’re able to do yet they’re still fighting? Why not more us? Yeah, that’s why I’m just grateful. I’m thankful for the faith that we have. The faith that we live by in the Church Of Christ. And honestly, Jay, I’m thankful to you as well, having this outlet to speak about this, because, for me, and you’ve been there, losing a parent, and it’s still kind of fresh, but just having someone else to be able to talk to about it, give their perspective. And, you know, it all boils down to, we really do think differently, from what the world may think about it, and because of these experiences, it changed us for sure. It changed us, but it changed us for the better. And it changed us for the betterment of serving God. Thank you so much, Bro, I really appreciate your time. Jason: Oh, no. I enjoyed it. Michael Robinson: I forgot to ask you, oh my gosh, this just popped in my head too you know, like your advice that you would give, for others because our situations were different still but, what would you say to others and such? Jason: It’s just that, the best place to be is in God’s hands and in living under God’s will. We may not understand why certain things happen. The good and definitely the bad but at the end of the day God knows exactly what He’s doing. And feel good about being under God’s will because you are always taken care of. God always knows what we need. Whether it’s you know, whether it’s a moment of sadness, like losing a mom, losing a parent. It teaches us something about ourselves, which makes us better as Christians. But God’s always doing that for us. Everything that happens in life, God’s will is at work. That would be my advice to everybody. Michael Robinson: And I’m going to take that personally, because I love that line you just said, everyone who’s listening, “Feel good about being in God’s will.” That is the phrase of the day. Only feel good because nothing else will go wrong. And I can’t thank you enough. Jay really can’t. Jason: Oh, thanks man. I appreciate it, bro. [Music] Aliw: Gosh, I felt like I wanted you guys to talk forever. Like you guys, one minute you’re making me laugh. And the next minute you’re making me cry. That’s how this listening to two big burly guys talk about their moms. It’s like you guys are like these big teddy bears. But you know, what’s been so great is just listening. You know, listening to you both and and your mom’s we’re so blessed, to really have been loved by sons like you and having been loved and cared for by you guys. And, I know I got to meet your mom once Mike in Florida. Michael Robinson: Yeah. Aliw: And, and I know, and you know this, I would text you this all the time that how blessed your mom was to have you. As you know, you are going through all those difficult times taking care of her because like Jason said, it was just you and you and I always told you, “You got to take care of yourself, because you had two little kids and then your wife.” And, I also really got to see how much my mother-in-law really loved Jason, and up till the time she passed away. He’s right, she was always concerned about us, even though she was the one that was in pain and suffering. But, it’s rare to have to hear two guys talk about their feelings, and talk about their love. Jason: We’re big and burly. So you know, we’re okay about it. Michael Robinson: Teddy Bear. Aliw: It’s just rare. But you guys really, you know, thank you for being so vulnerable and letting your heart out there. But, grief is not something easy to talk about to begin with, but to have two guys talk about grief is like a whole nother level. But what do you think, Mike, what do you think your biggest takeaway from Jason was? In our conversation today? Michael Robinson: Well, I think one of the things you just said, being vulnerable, I think the premise of the things we talked about, didn’t make me feel vulnerable, or to think that I was going to be in a vulnerable place. Because it’s honest, it’s real. And I mentioned, even earlier, the one thing that just popped in my head with Jay was saying is that feel good, that you’re in God’s will. And hearing his story about knowing that sometimes we want to know what God’s will is and, and we believe it’s what’s best for us. And even to the point and I connected with Jay so much when he said, “I don’t want to make that decision.” And when we trust in God to know that He’s going to provide, even if we had to make the decision or not, He’ll give us that strength to do it. But I’m just even speaking to Jay, with someone else, you know, it’s always good to speak to someone else who’s experienced something like you did. I mean, our circumstances are different in certain places. But, we’ve all experienced the same loss. And I’m very thankful for listening to Jay’s story, too. I’m happy to hear that there’s another guy that really loves his mom as much as I to what extent we would go to, because I used to think like, “Am I loving my mom too much because you have a family too.” But just hearing Jay–it reassured me even more that what we did was right. And it wasn’t because we just loved our mom. But, we know what’s good to God. And we know what His will is, and when we apply ourselves to it and make ourselves part of it, versus thinking what we think is best. Not only do we have good things, but we’re more calm, we’re at peace. And that was my whole endgame here. In regards to my mother passing and I’m sure with Jason to know that we had peace and everything that we did. And having this conversation gives me more peace about it, knowing that moving forward that even though I do miss her, yes, you know, I have a fellow brother who also firmly believes we’ll see our mothers again. And it’s not just our mothers who will see each other’s mothers again and each other. But yes, feeling good about being in God’s will–That’s the biggest thing that I love what Jay just said, because it really brings me peace about everything that has happened, and to never be upset with God, but to be even just more thankful. And, to know that I passed this part of the trial in my life and when other ones come, we know we can feel good, because God’s will, it’s just being done for all of us. Aliw: And what about you, Jason, what was your biggest takeaway from Mike? Jason: My biggest takeaway from Mike was that, we’re always gonna question how, if we’ve grieved enough or during the time, have we done enough? The answer to all of that, that I’ve learned from Mike is that God has always allowed us to do exactly what we needed to do for our parents or for our loved ones, for that matter. You know, and even after death, our parents are going to live through us because we love our mothers so much, we’re always gonna wonder if we’ve done enough for them. We’ve grieved enough for them. Now that they’re no longer here. But I want to say that we only question that because we love them so much. Aliw Pablo: Thanks again, Jason, and Mike for taking the time to share your stories and life lessons. And if you found value in what you heard today, please share it with a friend who is dealing with grief during this time. And we’d greatly appreciate it if you can leave a review on whatever platform you’re listening from. Be sure to subscribe to Making Changes to stay up to date with new episodes. For more inspiring content or to learn more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ, log on to incmedia.org or download the INC media app. Thanks for listening and may your change uplift you. The post On Losing My Mom appeared first on incmedia.org.
6 May 2021
Most Popular Podcasts
On Caring For A Sick Parent
Meet Mike and Jason. Both men have experienced taking care of an ill parent, something that almost everyone will experience in their lifetime. Both of their moms suffered from chronic illness that changed their moms in ways they could have never expected. But through it all, they share the life-changing moments they gained as they watched their moms courageously face such difficult moments.Show/Hide TranscriptOn Caring For a Sick Parent Michael Robinson: She went into this, you know, coma like state. She just wasn’t responding, and she was having brain seizures over and over again. Now, I had to decide whether—am I accepting this as what my… this is what it’s going to be from my mom’s, you know, quality of life now. Like, is this what it is? At what point did you find yourself where you’re like, okay, this is my mom. Okay, this is who she is? Jason Pablo: I wasn’t prepared for that. So, while my mom was actually recovering, initially from the brain tumor removal, she actually had a stroke. And it was at that point where it flipped the switch in my head—this isn’t going to be the mother that I knew. (Show Open) Aliw Pablo: No matter where you are in the world, there is one thing we have all experienced together, change. This pandemic has forced us out of our comfort zones, and has pushed us into a new norm. And we simply surrendered and figured out a way to thrive. I’m your host, Aliw Pablo, and welcome to Making Changes, a new podcast from INC Media Audio. In this podcast, you’ll hear honest conversations between two people who are on the same path to change but are in different stages in their journeys. And we’ll learn how they’ve navigated their way around their new normal, but always with God by their side. On today’s episode, you’ll meet Jason and Mike, who both cared for their mothers’ battling chronic illness, but now have passed on. Jason has lost three members of his family in a five year span: his young nephew, his mom, and most recently, his younger sister. Mike, an only child, cared for his mother for two years, and just recently lost both his mother and his grandmother a month apart. Today, these men will talk about what it’s like to go through different stages of grief, and how in such tough times, why having the right perspective matters. And, by the way, Jason is my husband, and Mike is a good friend of ours and my colleague here at INC Media. So we’ll be flies on the wall as these two sons share life lessons they’ve learned along the way. Let’s listen in. Michael: Hey, Jay, how are you doing? Jason: What’s up, Bro? First of all, you know, I want to extend my condolences to you. How are you holding up? Michael: I’m doing okay, and thank you for the condolences. It’s been odd, been very odd. And I say that to you Jay, because, you know, I know you’ve had a loss in your family. I mean, my gosh, like the past three years, if I’m not mistaken, right? Jason: Oh, yeah, five. Three very, very close family members in the past five years, so yeah. Michael: You know, sometimes, I wish I could be in your position, because that saying of “Time heals.” And, yeah, the situation I just had, it’s pretty fresh. But I say it’s an odd situation, because just like, you gave her condolences, and I’m so grateful for it. Jason: Right… Michael: You know, but it feels like it happened so long ago. But when I start thinking about those last moments because I had the opportunity to be with her, it really makes it even more real again, that I have accepted that she’s gone. And until now, I still wonder if I dealt with the grief properly. You know, I’ve spoken to others who are close, and I’ve been meaning to speak to you for a while. Jason: Right. Michael: You know, it’s one thing to say that loss is— it’s expected, you know, we’re expected to pass. But when it happens, and it really happens to somebody who’s close to you, and in this case, a parent, it’s always helpful to find different perspectives on it, because everyone’s circumstances are different. Jason: Well, I lost my mom back in 2017. And I think for me, it was all about—she got into her condition because she actually had a tumor in her brain. And, you know, she was fine before that. And then all of a sudden, that tumor came about and the doctors thought it was a pretty aggressive tumor, so they wanted to take it out really fast. But it was after that particular operation to remove the tumor where my mom was never the same after that anymore. But it was just one of those things where God’s will kind of took the forefront and you know, you’re right. “Have you accepted it? Have you grieved enough? Have you grieved in the right way?”, I was asking that question to myself. You know, I would say, months, probably even a year after she had passed. So, tell me a little bit more about your mom. I mean, if you don’t mind, what was her illness? Michael: Well, my mom was diagnosed with renal failure. She had kidney failure, and it was a process for her. It wasn’t something that just came. In a nutshell, in 2000, she was in a very bad car accident that changed the life of my entire family. She had spinal nerve separation. Basically, she had all these shredded nerves. And she lost all feeling in her right leg and she had foot drop, and she developed Parkinson’s disease after that, but after that she was walking, going back to work. She had a cane, like— Jason: She went back to work? Oh, my goodness! Michael: Oh, yeah, she went back to work after six months, and she was diagnosed not to ever walk again. Jason: Your mom’s a fighter, Bro! Michael: And it was lots of prayers. No, I’m serious. This woman is, like, she’s, stubborn to the letter. She went to work. She went back to her usual thing. And it was when we moved down to Florida, because the winters were getting so cold, so harsh for her body in 2018. And, she was expecting just to live life and retire. And unfortunately, she got to that age where her condition got worse. Her Parkinson’s got stronger, you would see her right arm shake, her neck shake involuntarily, so she had to take more medicines for that. And then she started having urinary tract infections. And it got to the point this past year, Jay, I mean, I’m not even kidding, because I have the discharge papers to prove it, she was in the hospital more than 20 times this year. She was in the hospital more, and rehabilitation more, than she was at home. And that’s how bad it got. And then later on, she started having seizures because she had to go on dialysis because of her kidney failure, and it weakened her body more and more and more, and every time she got sent home, because she ran out of Medicare days, she couldn’t do rehabilitation anymore. You know, she would always get sent home in a weakened state. And it got to a point where I picked her up from dialysis one time because her blood pressure was so low, I picked her up, we’re driving home and she had a seizure, right in the car when I was driving. And I was holding her down trying to turn around, keep calm and everything like that. And since then, and this was in September, I admitted her again. And that was the last time that I was really able to have a conversation with her because then she went into this coma-like state. She just wasn’t responding. And she was having brain seizures over and over again. And yeah, that’s where it got really, really tough. Because you mentioned before, now I had to decide whether—am I accepting that this is what my mom’s, you know, quality of life [is] now? Like, is this what it is? You know, and I start to ask, like, how am I going to deal with this? I mean, there [were] things that happened beforehand that I was even struggling with, but she was home with us. She was able to talk to me and tell me like, “Michael I feel this way, or this, you know.” But now like, I was in this position where I’m like, Oh my gosh, I have to make decisions for her health now?” Jason: Right. Michael: And now I have my wife who has her own health issues. [I] Have two young children. How does this all fit in? So, and it even started affecting me honestly, Jay, it started affecting my own health. At what point did you find yourself where you’re like, “Okay, this is my mom. Okay, this is who she is, even though she’s sick. Okay, yeah, she’s still the same person.” And then all of a sudden, they’re never who they were that you knew they were before? Jason: Oh, yeah. No, it’s, you know, when I was going through all of my health stuff, of course, the heart transplant and everything, you know, of course, with something like that, you know, death is always in the back of your mind. And for me, it was thinking about death. For me. It was about me leaving behind my wife and my two young kids. But with that, I was prepared for me, for my own death. And by the grace of God, I got through all of that, but when it came to my mom—I wasn’t prepared for that. So, while my mom was actually recovering, initially from the brain tumor removal, while she was recovering, she actually had a stroke. And it was at that point where, you know, it flipped the switch in my head saying that, I don’t think my mom’s going to recover from this, or if she does recover it, this isn’t going to be the mother that I knew. This isn’t gonna be the mother that was always calling us to see how we were doing. You know, every time I ended up in the hospital, she was…because she worked at the same hospital, she was there, she would spend her lunches, she would spend her breaks just to see how I’m doing. But now that was gonna be gone, that part of my mom was going to be gone. I mean, essentially as bad as this may sound, my mom stopped being my mom, during this time. And yeah, it was tough to accept, even if she were to be physically—and she was transferred into a nursing facility. She was also after that transferred to another specialist facility, because she actually got tracked. So and there she is, she’s there. She can’t communicate, because she has a tube down her throat. So, yeah, one of the biggest things I struggle with is–this is no longer my mom. And it was tough. You know, there were a lot of prayers, but the theme of those prayers were—at first, it was, “God, please heal, Mom.” That’s what we’d say prayers with the kids with Aliw and the kids, “please heal mom.” But, once we were kind of like, knowing where this was going, and you know, there was, it was a couple years until my mom actually passed on. But once we turned our prayers to God—”no matter what, we’re still gonna let—Your will is what we trust. Whatever You have planned for mom, we will accept it.” And, I think, once we came to that point, it got better, emotionally, to deal with. It got better spiritually to deal with. Because, we had to just let God’s will kind of like happen. And the toughest part was just kind of like watching her deteriorate. I mean, it’s hard, one, to see your parent, or to watch your mother get older and weaker. But for me, I mean, I had siblings, there were four of us to take turns, because she was bedridden from this point on. But for you, man, I mean, you were an only child. Michael: Yeah, that was really the rough part. And to be honest with you, my shoulders would get tight, my face would get tight. There’s actually a part of me at one time when I found out my mother was intubated, because things weren’t going right. I actually was in the car driving, and I felt my face tightening up. I started having heart palpitations. I said, “Oh, my gosh, am I having a heart attack? Am I having a stroke? So, I called my wife and I said, I’m going to the ER, and when I went to the ER, they’re like, “Sir, you’re fine, it’s anxiety.” And I used to belittle people who have anxiety attacks. And I’m like, “oh, man, it’s just in your brain. Like, get with it, grow up”, you know that kind of thing. Jason: Shake it off type of thing. Michael: Yeah, shake it off, but you know what I realized at that point? That it wasn’t in my mind, because it really wasn’t in my mind that I was stressing. It was my body. Like, my body was actually telling me like, “Look, you got to deal with this in a way that you know, because it is affecting you.” And, you know, being that I was the only one working. And, Jay, you and I being members of the Church, we love our duties. We would die for our duties. It doesn’t mean that we don’t balance our time with our family. We love our families, but when that call is there, we know that when we perform our duties, God doesn’t forsake us. And that’s what it was really at. So, when you ask that question, like, you know, how did I do it? It really was with God’s help. And why I did it was because I was really like, God, what more can I do to have you help me? What more can I have? I used to say this to my wife—I’m not asking God to give us more things, I want more mercy. I want more of His pity on us because I really felt like, “wow, I’m hurting here.” But that was an experience that I thought maybe, at the time, crossed my mind being a human being and, when I had to do maybe sometimes undignified things to take care of my mom because it was just me, and it’s just her. With the prayers, I mean, I went to the chapel every day, you know, initially asking, “God, can you please heal my mother?” You know, “I’m not asking you to make her 100%, just let her be able to walk, or not even walk, just let her be able to talk and respond.” And the experience that I wanted to share with you is that the doctor was telling me right in front of my face. And at the time that my mom had just opened her eyes, but she couldn’t communicate–He’s saying, “You need to consider hospice.” And when he said that, my mom had this very sad and tearful look. You know, and I let the doctor talk. Because I said, “Okay, we need to listen to what he has to say.” Then after he left, I went to my mom. And I said, “Mom, look, I said we had to hear what we needed to hear, because for the doctors, yes, it’s an improbable thing. But that’s why this is for God. He’s the expert of the improbable and impossible. So we’ll continue to pray, and do what’s best. So don’t worry about if I’m going to send you to a hospice center.” I said, “That’s not in my mind. What I want is, is that, you know, we’ll be guided in whatever decisions we make.” You know, and that was the turning point, as you said, Jay, to my prayers. I went to the chapel that day, and I prayed and I met a good friend. This close family friend said to me, “Mike, I wish I was in your position. Because I wish I could have had the chance to be with my family or a family member before they passed.” And when I heard that, I realized that I was never upset about the fact that God didn’t heal my mom, I never got upset about that. I never got upset that, you know, as much as I prayed that there was no progress in her health. I realized that God was preparing me, I was mourning that whole time, grieving that whole time, but He was preparing me to accept that look, you know, if it’s your mom’s time, this is what it is. And I remember saying that, that time I first spoke to the sister that, “God, please just give me the strength from now on, to accept whatever you want. I’m ready to accept that if my mother passes.” Because Jay, I’ve seen the pain that she’s been in. And I’m sure you’ve seen the pain that your mom’s been in probably a long time— Jason: Most definitely. Michael: You know, you’ve been sitting with her next to her on that bed taking care of her and you see this excruciating pain they go through. And they even tell you about it. Jason: Most definitely. Michael: It was frustrating taking care of my mom, but not once did I ever get upset with God; thinking that why would he allow this to happen? Does He know that I’m performing my duty at the same time and Jay, I fought hard. Your wife knows well, I fought hard to come into the office every day to do work. And at any time, I could have said, “I can’t.” Jason: And you had every reason to say no. Michael: You would think I had every reason. And at the same time. I’m like, “do I have a reason? Do I have a reason to be upset? Do I have a reason not to thank God still?” And after all that, that’s when I really again, realize like, you know what, I can never be mad at God for what happened. Jason: When my mom was going through all of her stuff going in and out of the hospital—there was one time I was actually in choir practice, and I get a call. The doctor said, “Your mom is having trouble breathing, we’re probably going to have to intubate her again, but we need your family to give us the yes or no.” So, quickly, I had to call my siblings but right before I call them, I just prayed and I said, “God, I am not going to make this decision.” Because the doctor said if we don’t intubate her, the trajectory could go in a downward direction. And it was just one of those things like oh, okay, so I prayed, “God, let your will be done.” I called my siblings and said, “Hey, this is what’s going on. I need to give the doctor some decision, okay? What are we going to do here?” And you know, we talked about it. The decision was, is my mom able to communicate with you? So I called the doctor back. That was gonna be my question—“Can my mom communicate with you?” When I called the doctor back, the doctor says, “Your mom told us to intubate her.” Michael: Oh, wow. Jason: My mom was the one who made the decision. So, even the last time I saw my mom awake, and it was a Saturday night, prior to her death, Aliw and I, we walked into the hospital and you know, my mom, she’s hooked up and everything. But she’s cognizant, she’s looking at us. She’s smiling. She’s waving. But she’s got all these tubes, in and out of her. You can see the pain that she was in, and you know, yeah, we just sat down. Of course, you know what it’s like to sit there holding her hand. Just watching them suffer. But my mom was still trying to smile for us. I think she even asked us if we ate. And I was like, “Mom, you don’t have to worry about us eating.” And then my dad and my sister walked in, so we kind of left and Aliw and I were just talking and said, “You know, I hate seeing my mom like this.” And that night we prayed, “God, we know, whatever You want to do, we’ll still love You.” Again, it was always that, we wanted to assure God that we will still love You no matter what. Just put my mom into Your hands, whatever Your will is. And that was the last time that we saw her awake. Me and my family, we never had any reason to ever be mad at God. Because with the situation where she had a hard time breathing; are we going to make the decision to intubate her or not? God gave her enough strength to communicate with the doctors, so she made the decision to be intubated. Jason: Even that last time that I saw her, you know, we knew she was suffering. But again, the prayer was all about, “God, she’s in Your hands. We’ll love You no matter what. I just don’t want to see her suffering anymore.” And a day later, that was when she was no longer awake, and the only thing keeping her alive were the machines and the medicines that she was on. She was sick for quite a while. And I think God gave me that time, gave us that time to to kind of prepare for it. But you know how it is, Mike, no matter how much you prepare, you’re never prepared when it really happens. Michael: I was gonna say, because you said something before and hearing what you’re saying, Jay, it’s helping me a lot. Because one thing I was looking for, always was, in making these decisions, am I gonna have peace about it? And you sound like, you know, because of your prayers. You know, God gave you that peace to know that even if the decision that was made, and you know, she passed, that you really could feel that it was His will and it wasn’t something that you were left in confusion. And I went through that similar thing. When I made that decision, I was wondering, before the decision, am I making the right decision? Am I choosing her fate here of some sort? Or what’s gonna happen? Jason: You know, the one thing that you said, which totally hit home was, “what should we pray for as a family?” And you said, “I just prayed for mercy.” And that’s what it was. Once you said that, it’s like, I had goosebumps everywhere. Because that’s exactly it—”God, you know, please be merciful. Not just to me, but to everybody who showed love to my mom.” And I thought that was awesome, when you said that. I’m not asking for anything. I’m not asking for her to come home, you know, to be able to do this again or do that again. All I’m doing is praying for mercy. Michael: It was mentioned in one of our worship services about how God’s peace is something so different and unimaginable, that it guards our thoughts and emotions. And when I heard that, it just clicked. Jason: When we were asking for mercy from God, for God’s will to kind of show up. It’s like, do we keep my mom around for our own selfish acts? Because we just want her around? Michael: Yeah. Jason: Or do you just want God to do what He has to do, so she stops feeling pain. And the latter was always the greater, and yes, I love my mom. You can ask my siblings, I am the favorite. You don’t have that problem! Michael: Oh right. Jason: Yes, but I miss her very, very much. And, you know, but God did what he had to do for us, and for my mom, to put us at peace. We as members of the Church, we treat death differently. Michael: Oh, definitely, yes. Jason: So, I mean, definitely with my mom, definitely with my, my nephew, when he died at eight years old. And then with my younger sister, who was only two years younger than me, so she was, 45 when she passed. And hers was all of a sudden. So, with my mom, you had time to prepare, with my sister, I didn’t have any time because that was, literally, out of the blue. But God knew. God’s will was that they all be taken away from this world. In the time that He did, and that’s all God’s will. And we say it in our prayers every time, God, in Your hands, and in Your will, is the best place for us to be, just keep us there. And I love it when my kids can say that in their prayers when we say that at night. Michael: And that’s one of the great things too, Jay, because you ended off like with your kids. You know, I think about the legacy that my mom leaves behind, and that’s left in us. I started thinking about all the things that she taught me. Aliw: And that’s part one of Mike and Jason’s story. We’re going to stop right here for now. And in part two, we’ll talk about the values that their moms have passed down to them, that they’re now passing on to their own children. We’ll also talk about their advice for others who are going through grief in this pivotal change of losing a loved one. So, make sure you tune into part two. Now, if you found value in what you heard today, please share it with a friend who is dealing with loss and grief during this time. And we’d greatly appreciate it if you could leave a review on whatever platform you’re listening from. Be sure to subscribe to Making Changes to stay up to date with new episodes. For more inspiring content or to learn more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), log on to incmedia.org or download the INC media app. Thanks for listening and may your change uplift you. The post On Caring For A Sick Parent appeared first on incmedia.org.
29 Apr 2021
On Following My Dad’s Footsteps
Meet a father and son who have both decided to devote their lives in the holy ministry. Brother Donald Pinnock, the host of the INC Media show, “The Solution” will be talking with his son, Brother Daniel Pinnock, who followed in his father’s footsteps. They’ll take us back to their journey on how their life-changing decision to answer God’s call to the ministry has given their lives purpose and meaning. And Brother Daniel seeks fatherly advice on parenting as he and his wife raise two young sons of their own.Show/Hide TranscriptMaking Changes – On Following My Dad’s Footsteps Brother Donald Pinnock: You know, what’s really strange, son? When we visited you in France, when we went to Marseille, and you were preaching in— Brother Daniel Pinnock: Oh man, I totally forgot about that… Brother Donald: …in Tagalog, and also English. I’m sitting there listening to my son preaching Tagalog and also slices of English and French at the same time. And it was just like, wow. But I did notice, I really noticed that for you, I wasn’t there, because you were really concentrating on the brethren. And I could, I could also feel that the love that you have for them. So, that just made me even prouder, I suppose, and now, I’m telling you, Brother Daniel: Well, like father, like son, Pop, it’s all the mercy of God.[Show Open]Aliw Garcia Pablo: No matter where you are in the world, there is one thing we have all experienced together, change. This pandemic has forced us out of our comfort zones, and has pushed us into a new norm. And we simply surrendered and figured out a way to thrive. I’m your host, Aliw Pablo, and welcome to Making Changes, a new podcast from INC Media Audio. In this podcast, you’ll hear honest conversations between two people who are on the same path to change, but are in different stages in their journeys. And we’ll learn how they’ve navigated their way around their new normal, but always with God by their side. On today’s episode, you’ll meet a father and son who have both decided to devote their lives in the holy ministry, Brother Donald Pinnock, assigned in Toronto, Canada, and also the host of the INC Media show, The Solution. We’ll be talking with his son, Brother Daniel Pinnock, currently assigned in Val-d’Oise, France, just outside of Paris. Today, we’ll learn about this close-knit father and son relationship, and they’ll take us back to their journey and how they answered God’s call to devote their lives to the Church. Brother Daniel who calls his dad, Pop, will seek advice from his father, on parenting his two young sons, while living a life in service to God and others. We’ll be flies on the wall as they share life lessons they’ve learned along the way. Let’s listen in. Brother Daniel: Hey, Pops, thanks for sitting down with us and having this kind of conversation with me. How’s everything there? Brother Donald: Good, son. It’s great to talk to you. You know how much we miss you and the family. Brother Daniel: I miss you and mom, too. Please give my love to mom and Chantel. Brother Donald: Always. Brother Daniel: First off, Pop, try not to cry, okay? Brother Donald: I can’t promise you anything. Brother Daniel: Right off the bat, Dad, I just wanted to say, thanks. I’ve never really had a chance to, you know, say thank you for the advice and guidance that you’ve given me throughout my life and throughout both my pre-ministry and ministerial life. So you still continue to give that kind of advice. So I still want to express the kind of gratitude and know that when it comes to everything you’ve taught me up until this point, and all the advice that you still give. I’m always taking it to heart and I try my best to follow it. So, thanks for all of that, Pop. Brother Donald: And even if you didn’t say thanks, and it’s a labor and fruit of love. You know how much your dad loves you and your sister. So, you know, love motivates everything that we try to do. We try their best as parents for you. Brother Daniel: So far, so good, Pop, with God’s help. Brother Daniel: Let’s take it back a little bit, Pop, when it comes to you joining the ministry. I figured that’s where we could start because that’s what we have in common right now, aside from families. Brother Daniel: When it comes to you joining the ministry, Pop, and I know you’ve explained it to me before, but I guess my question right now is, when it comes to what you had to give up, to join the ministry, because at the time if I remember correctly, you were already married, you had me – newborn, you already had a job. So you were established as far as you know, living your life, as a member of the Church Of Christ. You had a duty or duties in the Church, you were performing them. So what was the, what was the reason or the catalyst for giving that up, to join the ministry? Was there any specific mindset that you had at the time? Brother Donald: I think looking back, even though I had a, let’s say, a rough upbringing. I learned a lot, I experienced a lot, and all thanks be to God. But little by little, He started to channel me towards the Church. And, you know, eventually becoming a baptized member of the Church in 1985. And inside the Church, that is when I started to experience real progress when it came to my life. Brother Daniel: Okay Brother Donald: I started to be more successful. Yes, by the time I was a member of the Church, I was already in my career as a graphic artist. I mean, the most important void within me was filled, when I became a member of the Church. That was a lot. That was 99%, we can say that I became a member of the Church that filled the void within me, because before then, I just felt empty. Brother Daniel: Okay Brother Donald: But I became a member of the Church, I became full. However, there was still a part of me that was seeking more. Brother Daniel: Okay Brother Donald: Seeking more when it came to my life. You may have heard the expression, ‘The purpose of life is a life of purpose.’ Before I found what my real purpose was, yes, it was nine to five Monday to Friday, you work, you save up, you plan to get a house, you have your family, you work hard, if you’re lucky, you pay off the house that you get your retirement and enjoy the last decade of life. But I just couldn’t see myself doing it. I really couldn’t see myself doing it. There was no compulsion. It was almost drudgery to drag myself out to, again, a career that was paying. But at the same time, there was just something that was missing inside. Brother Daniel: Okay. Brother Donald: And I was a CWS [Children’s Worship Service] teacher. And our dear Brother Pastor Palacios, he was the resident minister there in Toronto. I remember after a class, he said, just out of the blue, he says, “Who knows, you may join.” Actually, what happened was we finished the class and I was walking out of the chapel there in Toronto. And I started walking towards the bus stop. I was taking the bus at that time. And all of a sudden, I heard that inner voice saying who knows one day you’re going to be a minister. And I started laughing to myself. I really did. I was laughing to myself. So that’s ridiculous, me a minister. But then, as time went by, I really started to, dwell on Brother Daniel: The idea Brother Donald: Of being in the ministry. Which was something, before then, I would never ever think of, to the point that we went to the Philippines, in 1990. Myself and your mom spent some time and we visited Brother Erano G. Manalo. Me and your mom, we spoke and we said, “Okay, I’m going to ask permission if I could study in the ministry.” Brother Donald: And at the end of the visitation, he turned around, he says, “Yes, you can study in the ministry.” Brother Donald: So that changed everything. Brother Daniel: Okay. Brother Donald: That changed everything that was 1990. And yes, I could see that it would be very difficult. But at the same time, there was something that was really driving me. Brother Daniel: And I don’t know if I ever actually told you this before, but for me, joining the ministry, what I noticed because if you remember, I had various like part time jobs from high school Brother Donald: Right Brother Daniel: You remember that? Working that, you know, Tim Hortons, coffee donut place, KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken], Taco Knives. Yeah, all of these jobs. But what was crazy, Pop, was when it came to all the jobs, even the good paying ones, I don’t know if it’s the same as yours or in the same sense as your case, but for me, it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t fulfilling to the point where I wanted to stay. Brother Donald: Right Brother Daniel: Even the good paying jobs, it was like, yeah, they were good paying, I got the money I could buy whatever I wanted to buy for either myself or for you and mom or Chantel Brother Donald: Video game consoles Brother Daniel: Yeah, my video game consoles, which I miss, and I hope you’re taking care of them. But it just never felt like enough or never felt fulfilling. And that was one of the reasons that pushed me towards considering joining the ministry. Because it was as if even a good paying job, which at the time it was, if even a good paying job, wasn’t enough to keep me in that job, then, what’s a bad paying job for sure going to keep me there? Brother Donald: Maybe like father, like son. Brother Daniel: Which is crazy, Dad. Brother Daniel: It’s as if that need for purpose that you had was like, through heredity, was just installed. Brother Daniel: Do you remember when I told you I was joining the ministry? That Brother Donald: Yeah. But that was maybe a week or so after you graduated from university. Brother Daniel: Yeah. Brother Donald: And then you and I went out, we to a Vietnamese Pho. Well, we went, and we sat down. It was probably a long time since we had a father and son discussion like we did there. And it was because of course, your mom Brother Daniel: Gung ho Brother Donald: Gung ho. She wanted you… So more or less in that conversation, if you remember, we talked about pros and cons, there’s no real cons, per se. But there are certain realities that have to be accepted. Again, when the Administration goes, you go there, you go there, there’s no complaint. When it comes to discipline — we make a mistake, we fall short of expectations, and there’s a discipline there,iIt has to be accepted. So in many ways, it’s like you’re, you’re entering into the military, but this is a holy military. So it’s the holy ministry. And some of what I went through, I relate to you in that conversation, and I told you at the end, more or less, son, whatever your decision is, I will accept it wholeheartedly. But don’t join the ministry, because I’m in the ministry. It can’t be, it has to be because you feel that God is calling you. And you should also understand that it’s a lifetime commitment. It’s not just a trait now, you don’t like it. Okay, I’ll take off because, that’s really doing a 180 in ways you’re turning away from God. 3 Brother Daniel: In truth, you didn’t just sit down and talk, do you remember, you wrote me a letter about that? You don’t you don’t remember that email? Do you? Brother Donald: I sent you so many. Brother Daniel: You don’t remember that email though? Brother Donald: Did we have email in those days? Brother Daniel: Yes we had email. How far back do you think this was, Pop? This was less than 10 years ago. I’ve been a minister since 2017. Four years, now going into 2021. But you wrote me an email, right in the same week that I was graduating, that’s where you listed out, like what you mentioned, Brother Donald: Do you still have it? Brother Daniel: Yes, I’m looking at it right now. I printed it out. Brother Donald: Really? Brother Daniel: Yes, I saved it, Pop Brother Donald: Send me a copy. Brother Daniel: I’ll send you a copy afterwards. But I’ll read you one part just to see if it jogs your memory. But the first part right there it says: “I’ve been wanting to write to you for some time, but as usual, so busy. Anyway, I’m taking a little while here to mention a few matters. You’re reaching that stage of life, when you have to make serious decisions concerning your future. You’re about to step out of being a student per se and into manhood, the path that you take in life will be based on your decision, even though overall God will have known already.” Brother Daniel: And then that’s where you go and talk about, you know, life in the ministry, which you’ve experienced, and then life outside of the ministry, and what you’ve experienced. But that letter was before, our sit down there at the Vietnamese restaurant. Brother Daniel: It was nice, it was a nice prep for entering the ministry. Brother Donald: And you had job offers remember? Brother Daniel: Yes, ,that was but that was like God’s way of testing if I really wanted to go to the ministry, because that was right around the time when it was time to enter the ministry. Brother Daniel: Oh, here’s one for you, Pop because we’re talking about going into the ministry. So I decided to join, I was chasing that purpose in life as well. that was a big one for me, because that was a big point that you always instilled in me in Chantel. That was to always love the brethren and take care of them, and I figured, with all the love the brethren have shown us, what better way can I help them, then, to help them in their services to God, so why not be a minister? Brother Daniel: So going into the ministry now, with all the reasons that were already laid out. I’m trying to get my mindset around how different it must have been me studying there versus your time. What were some of the biggest aspects of studying in the Philippines you had to deal with, Pop? Aside from the obvious, you know, language, difference in culture and food? What would you say, if you can remember, or like the biggest challenges or the biggest adjustments that you had to make as far as studying, actually studying now, in the ministry? Brother Donald: The biggest challenge for me when it came to my studies was being alone. Being the only black man in a school of hundreds and hundreds of ministerial students, I was the only black at that time. That’s an old brother Greg, a good, best Friend.. He’s a best friend in the ministry. And I really miss that guy, Brother Daniel: I miss brother Greg, Pop. Brother Donald: He really helped a lot in those years, because we used to spend a lot of time together, after class and everything. But what compelled me was, especially when, before I entered the ministry was, here’s this glorious Church, doctrines – watertight, solid; there was just absolutely no new poll or leak when it came to the teachings. And it’s like, wow, people have to know about this Church. And especially people of my kind, meaning to say, non-Filipinos, but fellow blacks – they need to know. And, my purpose was just developing. And it was, getting into fourth or fifth gear was going turbo by that time. So even when I went there, in fact, if I can just retell this I don’t know if; in fact, I’m sure I told you, but when you were one year old, your mom was still a choir member that I have set up for the choir because I had to, spend more time when it comes to preparing my studies. So as an overseer, and one worship service in Toronto, I had to babysit you. And near the end of the worship service, we’re in the nursery. All of a sudden, you started to have convulsions, to the point where your eyes were rolling to the back of your head, your lips turned blue. And you were listless and it was right at the end of the worship service. So I just kind of ran out of the nursery and I’ve just virtually shouting for somebody to help. Brother Donald: Fortunately, there are a couple of sisters who were nurses, they came. They tried to help out but still you seem very listless. And in fact, I was afraid you’re gonna die. And we went into the office, Brother Raniel Serrano, the Minister, called me in and he prayed for you, and immediately you started to return to normal. But I will never forget that there was that proverbial voice inside that said, “The life of your son is in my hands, you do what I tell you to do.” And the reason why that happened was because a couple of months before I started to have doubts, I started to hesitate because I said to leave all my friends, I was going to leave a well paying job – we were just at a point of buying our first house. And I’m thinking, are you crazy gonna leave all this behind? Brother Donald: And let’s face it, life there in the Philippines at that time, especially for a foreigner was going to be very, very difficult. Brother Daniel: For sure. Brother Donald: But then because of what happened in that worship service, that removed every single iota of doubt that I had. I was there, even though I was the only black man, still I was so focused. I knew God wanted me to be there. And that was, that was everything. I knew he wanted me to be there to study in a ministry. And that’s why, glory be to God, I was able to stick it out. And now, looking back and seeing so many ministerial students of different cultural backgrounds, there’s a great joy in my heart, and especially when it comes to seeing my son as a minister. I mean, can’t be happier. Brother Daniel: How about now, 30 years later? What’s been the drive to keep you performing that duty? Because I’m just starting and I haven’t even hit five years yet. So I’m trying to picture in my head, Pop—what, five times four? Four more years? Or sorry, four more times? Just five years? What’s the drive that’s kept you performing that duty, the way that you’re expected to as a minister? Brother Donald: Love—love of God. And because I have all of these years in the ministry, I can look back. And I, you know, I can see the condition, and also the position of the Church in the 1990s. Brother Daniel: Okay— Brother Donald: …and here I am in 2020, you know, I mentioned earlier when it comes to seeing all of these non-Filipino ministers coming from virtually every cultural background in the world; the houses of worship, all of these congregations. here in Toronto before when you were growing up? It was normal for ministers here to have eight worship services a week to conduct eight—so six to eight worship services a week—because we were short, few in number. Brother Daniel: Oh, yeah. Brother Donald: … few a number. But definitely love, love of God, love of the Lord Jesus Christ—because we’re seeing all of these prophecies being fulfilled, and of course, love of the brethren. You really get to care. But if I’m going to point to one delightful aspect of my ministry, no matter what it has to be preaching, I love to preach. Brother Daniel: It’s crazy that you say that, because for me so far in my ministry, you know, preaching the words of God, the way the Church Administration taught us to preach. That’s like—that brings the most fire; the most drive to my idea of the ministry—is being able to preach. And that’s where it feels the most—it’s so flowing. It helps that what we’re preaching is the truth, and we see it happening. And you can see it being fulfilled in our lives and the lives of the brethren. That’s what adds to that love for preaching the words of God, and sharing them with people. Brother Donald: Yeah, I just always look forward (to it) until today. You know, it has always been taught by the ministers in the past, that you should always consider every worship service assignment, as not only your last, which is very important, because it could be your last; but also an opportunity for you to deliver a perfect message. And when I say a perfect message, it is not just words, per se, but words that will impact the listeners coupled with the gift of the Holy Spirit. So, that can’t be done unless you know your way of life when it comes to your prayers—your devotional prayers—and also when it comes to studying the lesson. But I just love to preach. I just want to help the brethren to just stay firm, bring them closer to God and deliver them to Him, you know? We’re just mouthpieces. You know, what’s really strange son was, for example, when we visited you in France, then we went to Marseille. And then you were preaching in Tagalog and also English. Brother Daniel: I totally forgot about that! Brother Donald: Now I’m sitting there listening to my son preaching Tagalog, and also with slices of English and French at the same time, and it was just like, wow. But I did notice—I really noticed that for you, I wasn’t there. You were really concentrating on the brethren, and I could also feel the love that you have for them. So, that just made me even prouder. Now I’m telling you, Brother Daniel: Like father, like son, Pop. It’s all the mercy of God. Brother Donald: You were in Canada. You had to come back because of your paperwork. I believe the visa that you had in France was only good for a year or so? Brother Daniel: No, it was three months. It was three months. Brother Donald: So, you had to leave the country. And you came back to Canada. And of course, they gave you a worship service assignment. And then we were graced with sharing a worship service. Brother Daniel: Yeah— Brother Donald: It was in the locale of Markham. I remember we were both sitting there as father and son, and then I gave you the nod for you to stand and start to preach. And while you’re preaching, it really felt as if I was looking in the mirror. It’s like I was looking back in time at myself. And you even sounded like me! Brother Daniel: First of all, as far as the preaching when I was even in my studies, and I was preaching out loud, practicing, there were times where I stopped myself. I said, man, I’m starting to sound like Pop. Like , I can see exactly how he says it. And I guarantee you, Pop, I can do the same exact intonations that you do on certain questions or certain verses, like, for tone for tone, I could match you. That’s how it for me was God’s way of showing like, you know, your, your Donald Pinnock’s son. So for me, it was a point of pride. That first worship service assignment, Pop, for me was a big time blessing. Brother Donald: Yeah, those are memories that God gifted us with, that I’ll cherish. I’ll cherish until my last days. Brother Daniel: What advice would you give me about raising these two munchkins who are super crazy— Brother Donald: [laughing] You know, those early years of the child’s development—it’s like, placing them in the car, without giving them instructions. For sure they’re going to crash in the lake, have accidents, make mistakes. You know, Christian discipline, it’s really important. And you also have to create it, where you’re able to have that warm relationship with your children. You know, the open lines of communication, talking to them as if it’s an older brother to a younger brother, sort of thing. That’s why, you know, I just love—I really enjoy what we have, because we can just talk, we can laugh, and we can joke. Brother Daniel: And I’ve always told everyone this, you’re a minister, before you’re my Pop. But you’ve always done that balance of, you know, of raising me and Chantel, to recognize that you’re a minister. You are going to discipline and raise us and correct us based on the teachings of God. But that love of being our father, always was and always will be there. We always felt it. So that’s—I’m hoping I can give that kind of balance, as well. Brother Donald: I’m sure you will, son. Do I have regrets? I have to confess, yes. And the regrets are, when it comes to not being able to spend more time with you, and your sister, Chantel. Brother Daniel: It always worked out, Pop, because that’s when, believe it or not, me or Chantel—we were always the most proud of you, and we knew where you were. We never even when we talked about it—if Chantel even remembers from back in the day, we would talk about you being gone either for, you know, being in the locale or out of the locale like you mentioned, and it was never with any regret on our end. Brother Donald: As a father, I suppose, that’s where the regret is. So, my advice to you, as much as possible, even though there are circumstances that you will not be able to control, but as much as possible, try to be there. Spend some real quality time, talking, laughing with your kids. It’s everything. Time is that commodity, you know, one second goes by, and you can’t get it back. Brother Daniel: I guess in closing, Pop, I mean, thanks for joining me on a trip down memory lane. And I just want you to know that I’m always praying and I’m always thankful to God, for blessing my life with parents, who not only love me and Chantel, but you know, raised us to, to recognize God. I mean, being born inside the Church, that was a grace that no one really controls. So, all praise, all glory to God for that. And what God has done to give us parents that raised us to know God, and to give importance to what God wants, to serve Him— enough that, you know, the son enters the ministry and my sister’s an active member and officer. So, I’m always thankful to God for that. And my prayer for you and mom, especially in these golden years of your life together, is just the best of health and that you keep being a minister that, you know, God can keep using to help the brethren. Brother Donald: As for me, son, I’m really, really happy and fortunate. I pray for you and your family. Every single night, on bent knees, that God will keep all of you safe and that He’ll bless you in your ministry. Yeah, we miss you all. We love you all. And again, I’m very proud of you, son. Brother Daniel: I miss you too, Pop. Brother Donald: I’m very, very proud. Brother Daniel: God’s good, Pop. Thanks so much. Aliw Garcia Pablo: Hello Brother Daniel and Brother Donald. It’s so nice to listen in, and just simply be a witness to the love that you both have for each other. Brother Daniel: Thanks for having us! Aliw Garcia Pablo: What was so beautiful about listening to your conversation is, not only do we feel the love between the both of you, but the friendship. You know, we can really feel that you’re not just father and son, but you really are best friends and best buddies. Now, Brother Daniel, I know that you’ve kept the e-mails and you have kept all the advice that your dad has given you through the years. But would you be able to point out the one thing that you always hear, one piece of advice that is constantly in your head, as you go on as a father; as kind of like your moral compass, as you go on in your ministry. Brother Daniel: The one I guess voice that I could always hear, Brother Donald, my dad, saying is, to trust God. It’s shown so much in everything that he’s done and has happened in his life. Like, from the beginning, we’re talking, just becoming a member of the Church of Christ. Why? Because he trusted God enough to believe his words. So, he joined the church. Why did you join the ministry? Because he trusted God enough that when he saw certain signs, aspects of his life, he answered the call, he joined the ministry. You know, he trusts God enough to, to love the brethren through the hard times, and to see what God did in return because of that love and care for the brethren. He trusts God enough to always remind me to, you know, submit to the Church Administration. That’s why we follow the lead of the Church Administration, because that’s what God wants us to do. And that extends to my family, and raising these kids now, and having my own wife and and my own ministry—that will always be the reminder that I’ll remember from Brother Donald, my Pop, as far as being a father now and being a minister, is to just keep trusting God. Keep trusting his words that the Church Administration never gets tired of reminding us, that God will be the one to prove that that trust was well founded. And he’ll prove it multiple times. I’m sure of it. Aliw Garcia Pablo: And Brother Donald, you know, I, myself, I am from a ministerial family, and like you mentioned there was really something special about the bond between, you know, ministerial families, and just this call of duty. You talked about sharing a podium with your son, which, you know, I have to say, not a lot of ministers and their ministerial sons can honestly say they’ve been able to do. Can you describe the joy of having a son serve alongside you in the Holy ministry? What does that feeling like? And what is life like, you know, with that kind of shared purpose? Brother Donald: It’s extremely surreal. You feel another level of spirituality. It goes beyond chance, beyond luck. And you really understand that this is God’s will. Just to be with Daniel, sharing a worship service, was amazing. To sit down in the congregation when I was on family week, and again, listening to him preach, was also, you know, so heartwarming. I can’t really—I can’t really ask for much more. Aliw Garcia Pablo: Now, wasn’t that just a heartwarming conversation? Thanks again, Brother Daniel and Brother Donald for taking the time to share your stories and life lessons. And if you found value in what you just heard, please share it with your dad or your son, and let them know you’re thinking about them. Now, be sure to subscribe and stay up to date with new episodes of Making Changes. And we’d love it if you can leave us a review on whatever platform you’re listening from. For more inspiring content, log on to incmedia.org, or download the INC Media app. Thanks for listening, and may your change uplift you. The post On Following My Dad’s Footsteps appeared first on incmedia.org.
22 Apr 2021
On Accepting My Son’s Autism Diagnosis
Meet Emirick and Myra. Two moms who have sons diagnosed with autism. Emirick, who happens to be one of the hosts on INCMedia’s Faith and Family podcast, was forced to make a change in her perspective as she began accepting her son’s autism diagnosis twenty years ago. Myra began talking about autism just a few years ago, when her son Mateo was diagnosed. They’ll be talking about needs of autism children and shared lessons they’ve learned along the way.Show/Hide TranscriptMyra: So, Emirick , overall, how did your son change the trajectory of your life? Emirick: Now, 20 years later, looking back on this journey, in the beginning, not wanting it. But now, I am so grateful. I know that God did not make a mistake.[Show Open] Aliw Pablo: No matter where you are in the world, there is one thing we have all experienced together—change. This pandemic has forced us out of our comfort zones, and has pushed us into a new norm. And we simply surrendered and figured out a way to thrive. Welcome to Making Changes, a new podcast from INC Media audio. I’m your host, Aliw Pablo. In this podcast, you’ll hear honest conversations between two people who are on the same path to change, but are in different stages in their journeys. And we’ll learn how they’ve navigated their way around their new normal, but always with God by their side. On today’s episode, you’ll meet Emirick and Myra, two moms who have sons diagnosed with autism. Emirick, who happens to be one of the hosts in INC Media’s Faith & Family podcast, was forced to make a change in her perspective when she began accepting her son’s autism diagnosis 20 years ago. Myra, on the other hand, began talking about autism just a few years ago, when her son Mateo was diagnosed. They’ll be talking about what it’s like to be parents of children with special needs. And, coincidentally, Myra and Emirick are both educators. And today, we’ll be flies on the wall as these two moms share life lessons they’ve learned along the way. Let’s listen in. Myra: Hi, Emirick! Emirick: Hi! Myra: You know, a few years ago, I saw you on Faith Speaks, and I learned a lot, so I reached out to you when Mateo was first diagnosed. Emirick: Yes, I remember that. Myra: Thank you so much for answering my questions back then. And, now I have more. Emirick: Perfect. Myra: I know all kids are different. But since I’m a little bit newer in my journey with Mateo, I’m hoping that you can help me with your experiences with Russell. You know, it’ll help me a lot as Mateo grows up. How old is Russell now? Emirick: Russell just turned 20 years old, two days ago. I don’t want you to think that I’m the expert, okay. So, the experiences that I’m going to share with you are purely my own, with what we’ve gone through in our journey with Russell, and I love talking about it, because I know this journey can be really difficult. When I was going through it, it sometimes felt lonely. You know, I didn’t know many parents who had children with autism. So, I am more than happy to share my experiences with you. Myra: How did you know that Russell was autistic? What signs Did you see? Emirick: When he was, like, one, the biggest sign was he wasn’t talking. But he also wasn’t understanding. So, he wasn’t receiving the language. So, when I would talk to him, it’s like he was completely clueless. He just didn’t seem to want to play with kids. He wouldn’t make eye contact, the way he played with toys was different. He would just line things up, or stack things up all the time. Honestly, I was in denial. I didn’t want to think that there was anything wrong, you know. Myra: Was he only a year old at the time? You didn’t think that he might have just grown out of it? Emrick: Well, when he was a year old, I just kept saying he’s a late bloomer. And he was getting closer to three. And people kept telling me, like, “I think you should have him checked,” you know, and I could tell people were afraid to tell me also. There came a point where we couldn’t deny it anymore. He was just different. And so we ended up taking him to the doctor, and they quickly diagnosed him, like, he’s autistic. And it was hard. Myra: Looking back at Mateo, after his 18 month checkup, I remember the doctor asking, “Does he look and point?” And, you know, you’re so used to just saying yes to all of those questions. Yes. You know, those regular checkups. Yes, yes, yes. And then I got home and I realized, wait a minute. No, I’ve never seen Mateo look and point at anything. He was always smiling. He was always happy. And he’d flap his hands when he got excited. But I’d realized that he never had asked me for anything, or shared a moment with me. But, thankfully, we were able to get an appointment just before his second birthday. Emirick: That’s good. That’s good that you were able to get it early. Myra: We were really happy that it was early. Emirick: Yeah, really early intervention. Myra: If you remember the time before Russell was diagnosed, you know, you had some dreams for him? Emirick: Yeah… Myra: He’s your first born. Did things change after he was diagnosed? Emirick: You know, I dreamed of the sports he would play, like, I had planned the whole thing out in my head. And, so, when he did get the diagnosis, I was still in denial, and I was hurt, honestly. “Did I do something wrong?” You know, like, “Is this my fault? Is God mad at me? Did I eat the wrong foods?” I kept thinking, “How could this have happened?” You know, I did everything right. You know, I’ve always performed my duty, I worship. I was making this laundry list of why it couldn’t be me. So, we said a devotional prayer, because we couldn’t quite understand what was happening, like why weren’t my dreams coming true? You know, those kinds of things? Why weren’t my initial prayers of before, you know, when I was pregnant? You know, why? Why was it different? And so we said a devotional prayer to ask for understanding. And, actually, no, it wasn’t asking for understanding in the beginning, it was asking God to take it away. Take away his diagnosis. Make him normal. And, I look back on it now, and I laugh at myself, because it’s like, I was making these demands on God. You know, like, change your plan, I don’t want this, and that’s what my attitude was in the beginning. But after some time, you know, this was a process. And to make a long story short, I had to change my perspective, and my prayers changed to not asking God to take it away, but asking God to help me understand, and to help me endure it to be strong, and to accept it and to, like, “Obviously, this is Your plan, God, and I want to embrace it. Whatever it is I need to do, whatever it is You need me to see, I’m here, I accept it.” And that change in perspective is really when the future started looking up, and I started being able to just keep moving and just see the beauty in what was happening with my son. Myra: Now Mateo is seven. And, you know, he’s still not speaking. He doesn’t have words yet. And so we’re starting to see the changes that we need to make, it’s different from Emirick: Russell’s experience Myra: what Russell went through, different from his experience. And so, the change that we had to go through, it actually was in our marriage. You know, we started learning a lot more about each other, and about how we communicate through Mateo. Yeah, it helped us. All the things that they recommended for Mateo. And his therapy actually helped us, you know, when it comes to how people function, how people communicate, and, you know, all of us seeing things differently. Emirick: Oh that’s nice. There are all these silver linings that come with this, you know, and like you said, it changes your perspective on your marriage, on your relationships. Us too, it made us as a couple stronger. Both of us are educators and, and my husband, he has more experience with special needs children. So he was the more positive one in the beginning, you know, like, it’s gonna be okay. So, we had to lean on each other a lot more. And just be a team. Myra: I think after we got over the sleep deprivation, you know, for the first few years, Mateo wasn’t sleeping at nighttime. Emirick: Wow. Myra: I think that was the most difficult thing. In the year or two, following his diagnosis, we didn’t really sleep at all. Mateo would be partying through the night, and it was really tough. And as we prayed, we kept wondering and asking, “What would You like us to learn through this? What do we need to do? What do we need to change in order for things to get better?” [sound clip – Ipad: O … Mateo] [sound clip – Dad: Wow] [sound clip – Therapist: Wow! Good job, buddy!] [sound clip – Mateo giggling] Myra: People with autism or, you know, sometimes we’ll see puzzle pieces as the symbol. When we saw those puzzle pieces we thought, wow, we’re the pieces. Mateo is putting us together. That’s how we felt. Emirick: Wow. Myra: We saw it with us, in our marriage, our daughter Micah. She’s almost two years older than Mateo. And she became more patient, more prayerful for her brother. Emirick: Oh, that’s wonderful. Myra: Yeah. How about your, your kids? Emirick: Russell’s my oldest, and then I have two younger sons, Andrew and David. And, you know, they’re, they’re very protective of their brother. They help him understand the world socially. He admires his brothers and how easily they make friends. And so, they kind of give him advice. They say, “Oh, don’t don’t ask like that, ask like this.” When they meet someone a little socially awkward, they’re really kind. And they can help facilitate, and to where my boys, sometimes their teachers tell me, they get put in groups that, they know this child’s difficult, so they’ll put them in groups with my sons, so that my sons can kind of be the bridge to help them collaborate with other people. So, in helping Russell understand his condition, it came about because in middle school, he became more socially aware. And I didn’t see that coming, just because for for the longest time, his whole life up until then, he didn’t really need friends. He didn’t, you know, need that social connection. And then all of a sudden, when he became an adolescent, he needed it, you know, and then he was awkward. And people were mean, the kids were mean, and he couldn’t understand why. And he would say things to me, like, “Mom, I think there’s a secret language. And I think everybody knows it, but me.” And so at that point, you know, I hadn’t told him about autism, because I didn’t want him to feel like he was disabled, I didn’t want him to all of a sudden have a crutch and an excuse to not do the things that I know he can do. But he could tell he was different. And he didn’t know why. So when I finally sat him down, and I talked to him about what autism was, and I explained to him that you’re different, but not less, he started owning autism, and researching himself about what autism is. [Sound clip – Russell’s video: Autism. This is Xavier. He has a mild form of autism. It makes it hard to do three things. One language, it takes a long time to say what he wants: “Hey, how’s it? Hey, how’s it..”] Emrick: He had reached a point where he wished everybody knew what autism was. And Russell came up with the idea of making a cartoon because he is very much into animation. And we spent some time over the weekend coming up with a plan, and he made this video. [Sound clip – Russell’s video: Social skills. Xavier has a hard time fitting in because he doesn’t understand and make friends.] And then they continue to play that video during Autism Awareness Month, at the middle school, even now. [Sound clip – Russell’s video: Even though life can be hard, Xavier and other people with autism can do anything anyone else can do.] Emirick: With Mateo, you know, different, not less, and he is already communicating, right? Just not verbally yet. Myra: Yes, exactly. Emirick: But it’s through an iPad right now? Myra: Yeah, he uses a communication device to speak through symbols. [Sound clip – iPad: Magnets. Can I have magnets] And you know, a lot of his therapy involves a focus on communicating, you know, prioritizing communication over speech right now. Emirick: Nice. Myra: Even though, of course, it’s our wish and our dream or prayer for him to be able to speak, that’s something that we’re entrusting to God. Right now, we’re thankful he can communicate, and he can use the symbols to say things like, “Can I have chocolate?” Or, “Can I have celery?” And at the end of our prayers, he’s able to participate by pressing, “Amen.” And so that’s been a great blessing for us. [Sound clip: iPad: Amen] [Sound clip: Good boy] Myra: I have a friend who, you know, she has a son on the spectrum as well. And she shared with me that when people stare at her child, when he’s being kind of disruptive or having a meltdown, she told me she can’t help but glare at them. I used to get that feeling a lot. You know, I would glare at them. I’m thinking, “Don’t you know, he’s different” and “You should be more patient.” “You should be more patient,” and “You should do this” and “You should do that.” And I stopped. I stopped saying that. Emirick: I would have to say, in our community at church, and Russell, they’ve known him since he was young. And since he was a baby. He was born in that community. And he used to be disruptive, you know, Russell couldn’t control himself, he would be in church services, and he would babble. There was that like, where you feel like, embarrassed that your son is behaving that way, and you can’t make him stop, and so, I could see where a parent might get defensive, like, “Don’t look at my son that way,” or a parent might even be like, “I’m not going to take my son there, I’m going to spare him from the glaring eyes,” you know, and all that stuff. Myra: Yeah, my friend was really hesitant to bring her child to the children’s worship service. And I told her what’s worked for me is to be patient, not only with Mateo, but with everyone else. Emirick: Yes. Myra: And when I don’t look worried, and I look okay, that Mateo’s sitting down beside me, and he might be babbling, but he’s there. And I know that he’s listening. And, you know, as we’ve been taught in the Church Of Christ, you know, faith comes by hearing. And so as long as he’s there, and he’s hearing, for me, that’s already, you know, God’s answering our prayers, you know, Mateo is growing as a member of the Church. You know, it really helped because all of the officers of the children’s worship service, they learned about him, and they knew all of his quirks, and all of his unique qualities. And they learn different strategies on how to help him just stay there and experience the worship service. Emirick: So it’s like, it’s like educating the community on neurodiversity, right? So through our son, you know, through our sons, we can help others, you know, embrace neurodiversity, and be patient and all that stuff. So, don’t take your son away from the children’s worship service just because he’s different. Like, actually bring him and don’t be afraid of what other people are going to say, what they are going to think, and all that stuff. Just educate them. “My son, he’s a little, you know, he has some sensitivities, these are his sensitivities, you know, I’ll be here.” And so if you know whatever his triggers are, they learn they’re the triggers. And they can help make it a more peaceful worship for your child and all the other children. My attitude, my perspective was always about Russell in the future. He’s gonna be a man one day, it’s gonna happen, you know, I can’t slow down time, I can’t pause time. So, I have to prepare him for this time when he’s going to be a man. If I keep hiding him, and making excuses for him, then how is he going to be a successful man, when that time comes. So, I would immerse my son in children’s worship service, I would take him. In the beginning, I was there the whole time. And, you know, we would tag team, my husband and I, we would sit with him. He would get as far as a certain point, then he would start to babble and become a little bit disruptive, then we take him out for a walk. And then we’d explain to him you have to be quiet when you’re in the worship service. And in the beginning, he couldn’t understand that, but little by little, he would understand, and then we would take him until the point where he could stay the whole worship service. God gifted me with this child, and He entrusted me to raise this child to be, you know, a worshiper, as a servant of God, and so I can’t hide him. I’ve got to teach him. And so even though it’s a challenge, it’s not like what I’ve seen all the other kids do. This one is different. I’m going to do it, you know, and I’m gonna do my best. And so that was my attitude. And today, Russell’s a choir member in the adult choir. He worships from his heart, he understands the teachings. Myra: That’s so inspiring. Emirick: And if I had not engaged in that, if I had been afraid, then I don’t know that my son could have ever sat in a worship service. Myra: That is so inspiring for us because right now we’re so thankful that Mateo can attend the children’s worship service, and even in the video streaming worship services at home. During the pandemic, he’s able to sit, and we can see on his face that he enjoys being there in his way. And when we’re praying for him, we know that there are so many things, even beyond our dreams for Mateo, that God can do for him. You know, he’s not speaking now, but one day, we hope that he does speak and, if he could use his talents to serve God, and even be a minister? Now, that would be something really Emirick: Wow. Awesome. Myra: That would be amazing. And we know that it’s not up to us. But you know, if God would allow that, so many more people would be brought closer to God. Overall, how did your son change the trajectory of your life? Emirick: Now, 20 years later, you know, looking back on this journey, in the beginning, not wanting it, but now I’m just so grateful, you know, to have gone through this, because there are so many changes in my perspective, in the way my faith is, my faith, and the way I deal with other people. In the world, I am way more open minded. I know that God did not make a mistake. You know, in the beginning, I was confused about it. And I had my own plans, and I thought my life was gonna go in a certain way. But it’s just so much better the way I see things, and the way I feel about my faith and the way I see other people, so I just know God did not make a mistake with this decision, that this had its purpose, and I’m so grateful to have gone through this journey. Myra: I just want to thank you so much for answering my questions. You know, when I think about all of the changes that we’ve had to make along your journey with Russell, I think about the changes that we’ve had to make with Mateo, and although they’re different sets of changes, we share so much in common, and it’s really helped me to know that I’m not alone. Emirick: You’re not alone, anytime. Call me anytime, but just hang in there, and just hang on to that hope, and know that, that the changes you’re going through are the changes God wants you to go through. And it’s going to be a beautiful thing. When you look back on it someday. Aliw: Thanks, Emirick and Myra. I’m so glad you guys were able to share your experiences with each other. Myra, what was it like for you to just be able to connect with someone who understands and shares some of the struggles you’ve been going through? Myra: Oh, it’s everything to be able to have someone to understand the challenges that we’re facing, and, you know, understand our hopes, especially when it comes to serving God, which is a huge part of our hopes for Mateo. Aliw: Emirick, do you find that this is something that a lot of families just tend to keep to themselves? Emirick: Definitely. Just what I’ve gone through with Russell, I love talking about it, because I want to share that hope and that faith in God, when you just kind of surrender your own control, your own plan, and just give it to God and be like, “Hey, you know, I’m going to do whatever, wherever you’re leading me with this I’m going to go.” For the parents, young parents, older parents, who are undergoing this journey with their child who has different needs, a child who is neuroatypical, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not a mistake. God didn’t make a mistake with this. And it’s a beautiful journey. So just hang in there. Myra: I don’t know how many others are out there suffering silently, thinking that okay, yes, we know that God has put us on this journey, and we’re so thankful for God’s help. But I think part of the help is having people like you and others to be able to talk to about this. Emirick: Yeah, take away that shame. Take away that like, “Am I being punished? Is this like a horrible thing?” Get rid of that mindset because that’s not helping. And if you truly want to help your son, you’ve just got to accept that this is not a mistake. You have not been cast aside, you know, this is just a different journey. Different, not less, you know, and embrace it. And just have faith that it’s gonna be okay. Have faith and work hard. There you go. Aliw: AndI think, Emirick, what’s so beautiful about listening to you and Myra’s conversation is seeing your journey 20 years later. And it’s not, you know, it’s not just a theory. God will be the one to help and God will be the one to make sure that His children’s lives will always work for the good. Because you are literally living proof. You and Russell are living proof of that. It was a lot of work, like you said, but at the end of the day, surrendering and trusting God is what’s going to really make this journey a beautiful one. Emirick: For sure Myra: Absolutely. Aliw: Thanks, guys. Emirick: Thank you. Myra: Thank you. Aliw: Special thanks again to Emirick and Myra for taking the time to share their stories and life lessons with us. And if you found value in what you heard today, please share it with a friend. And we’d greatly appreciate it if you can leave a review on whatever platform you’re listening from. Now, be sure to subscribe to Making Changes to stay up to date with new episodes. For more inspiring content or to learn more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ, log on to incmedia.org or download the INC Media app. Thanks for listening and may your change uplift you. The post On Accepting My Son’s Autism Diagnosis appeared first on incmedia.org.
3 Apr 2021
On Knowing the True God
Meet Ahmad and Naima, two siblings from Philadelphia who grew up in the same environment, same religious upbringing, but found their way to the true God in the Church Of Christ in different stages in their lives. Today, the close siblings, who both wanted to find God, will take us back to their journey on how Ahmad’s curiosity led him to share it with his sister, and later, with their mother.Show/Hide TranscriptMaking Changes: On Knowing the True God Ahmad Waleed: I went to a couple of Baptist churches, some A.M.A churches, Pentecostal… Catholic Church at one point in time. Naeemah Waleed: What were you looking for? Ahmad: My prayer was pretty much simple. It was like—God, I already know about these other places, I don’t want to be where they are. I want to be where you are.[Show Open] Aliw Pablo: No matter where you are in the world, there is one thing we have all experienced together—change. This pandemic has forced us out of our comfort zones, and has pushed us into a new norm. And we simply surrendered and figured out a way to thrive. I’m your host, Aliw Pablo, and welcome to Making Changes, a new podcast from INC Media audio. In this podcast, you’ll hear honest conversations between two people who are on the same path to change, but are in different stages in their journeys. And we’ll learn how they’ve navigated their way around their new normal, but always with God by their side. On today’s episode, you’ll meet Ahmad and Naeemah, two siblings from Philadelphia, who grew up in the same environment, same religious upbringing, but found their way to the true Church in different stages in their lives. Today, this close-knit brother and sister will take us back to their journey on how after trying out so many different churches, Ahmad’s curiosity led him to find peace in the true Church Of Christ, which then led him to share it with his sister, Naeemah, who then shared it with their mother. It’s a beautiful story of what it means to share the best gift to those you love. We’ll be flies on the wall as these two siblings share life lessons they’ve learned along the way. Let’s listen in. Naeemah: Hey, brother. Ahmad: Hey sis, how you doing? Naeemah: I’m good. How’s it going? Ahmad: I’m doing well. Very well. Thank you so much. Thank you. Naeemah: I want to talk a little bit about— I remember you first telling me about the Church Of Christ. I’m not even going to lie—when I saw you, it was like— one time, you’re like, Yo, what’s up? What are you doing, sis? (I’m like) Nothin’, what’s good? And you’re like, yo, let’s meet up for— I think we met up to get something to eat or something. And I was like, alright, cool. Let’s do that. So, then we met up. And then, I looked up. I was looking down and I looked up and I saw you walking, like walking down the street. What does it look like? It looked like you was floatin’. You were like, floating! And I’m like, what is going on? It was like, you was floatin’, bro. And then, I said—okay. And then, I don’t know if you remember me saying this to you, but I said, whatever you’re up to, you have to let me know, because whatever you got, I want it. He’s like, what? I’m like, bro, you’re like, floating! What’s going on? And he was like, Yeah, I gotta tell you about something. And I’m like, what is it? And I remember you invited me to come out to a bible study. And I don’t even think you knew this, but I was actually also seeking God, too. Ahmad: Yeah, I really didn’t know about that. Naeemah: Yeah, I was seeking. I had a prayer. It was just always something missing. Like, I had great people in my life. I had people who were supportive. However, I just felt like it was a missing piece. I didn’t feel like there was a wholeness about me. And I think, it was like a calling on my life—I felt like God was calling me, but I didn’t know where he was. And I talked to many people, like ministers and pastors of different denominations. A denomination I talked to was— I want to say, Pentecostal. And so, I was going to this particular church. And it was very multicultural. They had all different races of people there. So, I liked that. It was diverse. And I was just going there, but I was recommended to go. And then you asked me to come to a Bible study. And I was like, okay! So, I went. And I just want to know what had you asked me to come like, what made you say—Hey, sis, I want you to come to this Bible study that I’m involved in. Like, why did you ask me? Ahmad: Well, first and foremost, again, I didn’t know you were seeking. So it was just interesting. Because for me—it compelled me to share. There were a lot of breakdowns that were going every which way. It was just one of those moments where, you know, as I was going through those breakdowns, I literally had to sit down and assess—what was it that was going wrong, not just with the situations, but with myself. So when I reassessed myself and was able to, literally, focus on what it is that went wrong, it hadn’t taken action, you know, and that action that I had to take was prayer. I went to a couple of Baptist churches, some A.M.A. churches, those are like, I would say, like African churches. There are some that were Pentecostal. And I actually went to Catholic Church at one point in time, Naeemah: What were you looking for, Ahmad: You’re looking for something to really impact you; to move you. And when you come out, it’s just you didn’t receive anything. My prayer was pretty much simple. It was like—God, I already know about these other places. I don’t want to be where they are, I want to be where you are. And so—when I went to act on that, the prayer was so sincere for me. Because I prayed and I took that action, and it just manifested in my life. And it was just interesting how it all came together. So, my whole aspect was — when you called me, we were having this conversation, and it was just like— you know, I was like, look, man, let me tell you about what I’m learning right now. And it compelled me to share that with you. You know what I’m saying? Because, I think, even when people feel like they know it all, or they feel like they know what they know. Like, you know what I’m saying? It’s like, you don’t know that you don’t know about this. You know what I’m saying? Naeemah: Well, you—you’re my brother, I love you. And it’s really just that simple. You invited me to something, I’m there, (it’s) kind of how we do things. And so he was like, I want you to come and hear this. I’ve been getting something good. And I was like, yeah, let’s do it. And that’s kind of how it was. So it wasn’t really—it wasn’t really hard for me. I think we built a rapport and relationship. And I think that’s really important when you’re sharing with someone—you gotta have that relationship; like people trust you, you know, they know that you’re not going to bring them to something that’s going to harm them. And I knew that. I knew that this is something that if you’re into it, and it matters to you, then I’m going to check it out and see what it’s about. That’s kind of how that was—that was what was going on for me in the background. So, when I—I mean, my experience of being there—I definitely, you know, I enjoyed the Bible study that you invited me to, but it was confronting. It really confronted me. And I started to find reasons why I want to go back to my church I was attending in the first place. I was like, okay, thanks for inviting me, I really appreciate the fellowship. And (then) I went back to my (old) church the next day. And so, when I went back to my (old) church the next day. And there were things that, instantly, I started to be able to differentiate between the Church Of Christ Bible study, and the church that I was attending. And at the Bible study, I noticed that one thing that really stood out to me was there (were) multiple different versions of the Bible that were used. And the minister was very versed in knowing how to pull out the information to get to the point of the lesson. And then I looked at how the minister at the other church I was attending, and they used Bible apps. And I had never seen a book we use. I had my book—I had my Bible. But I was confused as to how to read the Bible. I remember reading the Bible, and it literally felt like it was going from one—I felt like I was reading like a book, and then it changed from one part of time to another part of time. And I (thought) okay, it looks like there’s a puzzle here. How do I put together the pieces? And I knew, in that moment, (that) I need someone to help me understand what this Bible is about. Because I could not read it straight through—like linear—like a textbook, right? So the lesson in the Bible study was very much—it was very comprehensive. In the Church Of Christ, the Bible study was very clear. And then when I went back to church, it was like—I was still unsure of things. So I had already made a distinction. When I leave this—when I leave the church that I was attending, I’m going to call Ahmad, and then we’re going to set up a Bible study in the Church Of Christ because it just was very—it helped me see (that) there were questions I had. There were things I needed to understand. And being someone who is really newly learning about Christ, I want it to be grounded in something strong. I want to understand that—if I’m taking this step into Christ, I need to know who I’m talking about. And I need to be sure of what I’m speaking of. So that’s really, that was how it all panned out for me. And I was like, sign me up! You were like, what? And I was like, yeah, sign me up for Bible studies. That was to me—I was willing to be confronted; to know more about the Church Of Christ. Ahmad: I think that was the interesting thing for me, because, again, it was just like, out of nowhere, you were just like, sign me up. I remember that because it was just like, you know, I answered the phone. And I was like, Hey, what’s up, Naeemah? What’s going on? And you were like, yo, sign me up! And I was like, what? What are you talking about? Naeemah: Yeah, it was like that. It literally was like that. Honestly, it was on my heart, too. As soon as—I was like, as soon as I leave this place, I’m calling Ahmad! And that’s what I did. That’s what I did. Because I was hungry, you know? If there was a hunger to hear,(then) there’s something there; (which) is not here at the church that I was attending earlier. There’s something in the Church Of Christ (that) I need to find out more about. So that’s kind of what it was about, for me. And, you know me. Once I have—once I’m intrigued about something, I’m gonna go all in. Ahmad: My first experience in the worship service— it was amazing. I walked into the sanctuary for the first time, and it was just one of those things where it was just, there was no noise. I mean, despite the fact that the organ was playing, it was just one of those settings where it was just peaceful. But it allowed me to be able to sit, meditate, and pray. And I’ve been in various situations, in various settings, in other religions and denominations, where I didn’t have that opportunity because there will always be yelling and screaming; there will be a band playing. And then it’s just one of those situations where there was nothing—it was just your thoughts; everything that that you’re going through right now in your life. It’s just one of those things that you just sit and pray and meditate upon. And it was actually very beautiful; it was actually very humbling (to be) in (that) setting. You know, I think that was the one thing that I admired. Even down to the hymn singing—the hymn singing was beautiful, too. And it just—really, it was interesting. It just was one of those things where I was like, alright,, I can actually really get into this; this thing with peace, because, you know, in my life, there was no peace. It was always hustle and bustle; there’s always work. Naeemah: I really wanted to know something that you got, because it was evident that you got something. It wasn’t just in what you said, it was in how you were being. There was a difference in you, there was a light in you; there was something that was definitely distinctive from who you used to be. And you know, you’re a great person, you just—you could see that there was something that you had leveled up on. And I was like, what is that? I want that! Seriously, I’m dead serious! Ahmad: So it was just interesting, you know, because you know, this thing about sharing and how I invited you. It kind of segued into (someone else) closest to us—you know, mom. Was there something that was heard, that resonated with you in the Bible study that stuck with you? And how was it able to move you to be able to invite mom, to be able to listen, as well? Naeemah: Yeah, the very thing that stood out to me, and I think this is the very thing that sealed the deal for me— I would say, looking back after the Bible study, the Minister, Brother Jeff Domingo—He said, everybody won’t be saved. And I think that—because I’m kind of like this person. Well, I’m not like this person, but I am someone who wants to help people. I really enjoy being of service to others. I’m a teacher, you know, so I find that it’s not a coincidence, right? When you take a profession, like it becomes something that you enjoy, not necessarily something that you have to do like for some people, but for me, I wanted to do something that was just a part of who I am. So, when it came down to—when I heard that I’m just like—it’s kind of like what we talked about before, when we hear something good, we want to share it, right? Ahmad: Yeah… Naeemah: So, that’s kind of how it was. And I think of all the people to invite, why not invite my mom? She’s the foundation of how we all started on this journey, anyway. And I think she’s also a pillar in our family (who) people really, really love and admire. And because (of) her sacrifices, I wanted her to have (what) we heard and what we received. And so that was the thing that stood out for me to most, everybody won’t be saved. And (I thought), well, I can’t have that. I can’t have that! We’re gonna have some people saved. I don’t know who, but we’re gonna try. And that’s what pulled me to invite her. And mom and I—that’s my ace boom goo! So, she was like, alright, let’s do it. So, she was really receptive. And I think when I started to get into it, that’s when she started to really get into it, (as well). I think, later on, someone had mentioned that, yeah, it was really hard to get your mom and invite your mom. And when you invited her, she was right there! Naeemah Waleed: And it was kind of like—we all have relationships with people that really, you know, stick to us in a certain way. And I think you were that person for me. I admire you, who you are, and the kind of things that you’ve done for others, and always being there, when people need you the most. I think, very rarely, that human side of you, you don’t see that in everybody. So I think people really appreciate that part of you. And so, that’s who’ve you’ve always been for me, always been there for me. So I just felt like, why can’t I be there for you? In the same way? So I’m going to. Naeemah: So fast forward, right, let’s talk about your baptism. Ahmad: Right? Naeemah: So you know, you finish all your 28 lessons, Ahmad: Right? Naeemah: And it’s all 28 lessons, and you’re waiting to be approved for baptism. And you’re attending worship services. And then baptism is here. What do you remember most about your baptism? Ahmad: The minister. I think officiating was – I think it was brother Manny Pallid. I never forget, I think he told me, no matter what happens, no matter what you go through in life; because things will come up, things will happen. You know, things were already happening. Ahmad: Even as I was attending those Bible studies, there were various breakdowns that were going on. But it just so happened that, me attending the Church Of Christ. And it just felt like everything, like everything – I lost my job, I got my place robbed. There’s just so many things that was going on. There were people that I would share my faith with and they would get angry with me. They would say hateful things. It’s just, I couldn’t believe it. I needed to pray. Naeemah: I was really nervous. You told me to pray. You said pray. And I’m gonna pray. And that’s what we did. That’s what we did. Naeemah: Was it the next day—it was your baptism? Ahmad: I think it was something like that. It was leading up to that. So, I was making my way up to the baptismal pool. And I was in there. Now, in the water and I was just thinking, like, in the back of my mind, ‘Alright, this is it. This doesn’t mean that, my life will get better. It just means that you know who I am. Ahmad: And I came out, I noticed, I noticed a very huge difference. Instantly, I felt this weight, this huge weight that I was either holding, or, like, it was like a huge boulder that was lifted off of my shoulders. Ahmad: Instantly, I felt lighter than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. If I can go through this; with knowing that God is with me every day in my life, then I’ll be okay. Ahmad: So how was your experience with your baptism? What was that like? Naeemah: So I had to travel to Baltimore, the local congregation of Baltimore. And it was so awesome because my birthday was the day before. So literally, I was born on the 29th of November, and my baptism was the 30th. Ahmad: Wow. Naeemah: So literally it was like, I’m truly being reborn again and starting newly. Seriously started newly. So it was very, very, very powerful in that regard, and I will never, I never forget, every time I have a birthday, my baptism is the next day. So I’m always constantly reminded that God saw something in me that was worth saving. Naeemah: I had an experience of definitely feeling like everything that I experienced from the past had been washed away. Ahmad: Yeah. Naeemah: And really feeling light. And really feeling like it was like a fresh start. And they definitely mentioned that. This is not necessarily, like, you’re going to go through challenges in life, you’re going to go through trials, and your faith will be tested. And this is all the more reason why, you have to stay connected to your source, stay connected to God, and pray often. It was very empowering, very empowering. And yes, things continue to challenge me. But I’ve realized that it’s like a muscle in you, and you work the muscle out. And if you rip tissue, and then it formulates again and builds a stronger bond. And a stronger bond, the more muscle you rip; the more stronger you get. Naeemah: So I use that analogy to say that the more challenges I face in life; at more faith in God. And there have been a lot of challenges that have put me on my knees. Okay, put me on my knees. And even sometimes I didn’t really know what to do. But all the more coming back to prayer, coming back to God, and staying consistent with the worship services, always put me where I really need to be. So baptism was everything for me. And I’m reminded about it every day. Ahmad: So how different do you think our lives would have been if we were still wandering, like church hopping? 3 Naeemah: Honestly, I feel like I would have been stagnant. You know, how you start and then you stop. And then you start again, and you stop. I felt like, that’s what, that’s where I did what I didn’t want to do. I did not want to start and stop, I was ready to commit to something. Because I wanted to build a family. Naeemah: And I think that was really my motivation. I’m getting older, I want to build a family, I don’t want my children to be grounded in nonsense., I want them to be grounded in something that’s true. And I also want to be grounded in something that’s true, and I want my husband to be grounded in something that’s true, and we live a life that is grounded in truth. Naeemah: So for me, I was very clear about that. And I knew that my mom was a pivotal part of my life. She really set the tone for what a woman should do, and how a woman should be. And I wanted to be that, I wanted to do that. Naeemah: So thank you for sharing your faith with me. Honestly, because without that invitation, Ahmad, I really feel like, my life would not be the same. It really changed my life for the better. It allowed for me to really see what’s possible. And I think that, to me, was the most beautiful thing that you could ever have done. You invited me to hear something and I felt like that was what was the calling of my life. Naeemah: So thank you for thinking of me in that way. By thinking of me; from all the people you could’ve invited, right and all the people that you did invite, you know, you invited me and I’m, I’m so grateful for it. Ahmad: Well, thank you for saying yes. Naeemah: Of course. Ahmad: My prayer for you is that you continue to grow in the faith. In life, it’s challenging. Life will bring curve balls, left and right. Prayer is always there. Let God know everything. Never, never put it in your own hands when you feel like you got to figure it out. God knows. Naeemah: I know that the wisdom that you have comes from God. And I think you always say, ‘It’s not me! It’s God!’ Praise God, not me.’ Naeemah: And I think, always keep the love for God in your heart, no matter what trials and tribulations come your way. No matter what adversities you have in this life, always keep that light within you. Because if you realize it. it’s very contagious. People look at it; they may not know exactly what it is that you have, but it is something that is undeniable. And whatever you received from God, continue to rust that, and keep that because it is contagious. Ahmad: Thank you so much. Naeemah: You’re welcome, brother. Naeemah: Love you, man. Ahmad Waleed: I love you, too. 26:05 Aliw: Hey, Naima, and Ahmad, thank you so much for sharing your heart and your stories with us today. And listening to you guys talk, I can really feel the love you have for each other, and the care you have for one another. Aliw: What advice would you have for other people who may want to invite their loved ones and share their faith but are perhaps a bit scared or unsure? Ahmad: I just look at it, again. A nd sharing, it’s like a gift. It’s not something that, of course, you have to do this? Ahmad Waleed: Like share. Share in a way where it’s not like pushing people away. And that was my intention all along. When I share, I’m not going to do this in the aspect of trying to push you away, but bring closer because I love you, and I just want you to listen. That’s all. 2 Aliw: 27:11 Naeemah, what would you say about how about Ahmad’s; the way he’s shown his love and intention, how has that impacted you? And how you’ve done the same for others, how you’ve shared your faith in the same manner with others? Naeemah: The impact that Ahmad has always had, I’ve always admired Ahmad. I mean, he’s my big brother, actually, I have an older brother, but he’s my big brother. So when I say that, I say that there’s a relationship there. And it was something that wasn’t just like, because we are siblings, we have a relationship, it was really cultivated. Naeemah: And it took time to build. And I think, with that being said, those things really matter. So when you are sharing your faith or when you’re building relationships with people, and you want to share this with them, you got to keep that in mind. Have you really built a relationship with them; for them to really trust that you’re going to bring them to something that really is going to resonate with their life. Naeemah: And I kind of often think about that. I share with everybody. But I also remember, I too got a lot of no’s and got people saying yes. And then, they received it. They felt some type of way, they were happy about it, or they didn’t. And I think for me, it has a lot to do with remaining consistent. Naeemah: Ahmad, to me, has always been such a heartfelt, great person. And that is something that’s consistent. So you have to remember people are looking at you. They’re looking at you always and looking to see if what you got from it. How does it look in your life? Is it really working for you. And if it’s not showing and you’re being then they may question, whether they want to come or not. So I think you have to always, as a Christian, we’re not perfect, but you have to always look at are you living the life that you’re inviting people to? Aliw: No, it totally does. And I think you both gave such profound advice, from a place of love. And I think that’s what you both have that common denominator of both of your stories. It’s that you both came from a place of love, and a place of pure intention of just wanting to help another person, another soul, another seeker. So, we just want to thank you both. Thank you so much for sharing your story, sharing your heart, and really, sharing your lives with all of us. All the positive changes that you’ve made in your life. Thanks, guys. Thank you so much. Ahmad & Naeemah: Thank you. Thank you for having us. Naeemah: Thank you. We really appreciate it. Aliw: You guys take care, and God bless. Ahmad: You, too. Naeemah: You, too. God bless. 30:17 Aliw: Shout out to Naeemah and Ahmad for letting us listen in. Now, if you have been trying to share your faith with someone you care about, we hope Ahmad and Naeemah’s story has given you the hope to keep trying. And if you found value in what you just heard—please, share it with a friend who may be seeking God or trying to find that missing piece in their life. And just like Naeemah—you never know—it might be exactly what they need. Now, be sure to subscribe and stay up to date with new episodes of Making Changes. And we’d love it if you can leave us a review on whatever platform you’re listening from. For more inspiring content, log on to incmedia.org or download the INC media app. Thanks for listening and may your change uplift you. The post On Knowing the True God appeared first on incmedia.org.
2 Apr 2021
Trailer – Making Changes Podcast
Making Changes Podcast features honest conversations between two people who are on the path to change, but are on different stages in their journeys. Listen in as they share life lessons they learned along the way, but always with God by their side. The post Trailer – Making Changes Podcast appeared first on incmedia.org.
1 Apr 2021