Five years after she moved there, I finally got to visit my daughter, Lindsey Romero, and her family for almost a month at their mission post in Malaybalay. The first morning there, I got up at 4:00 AM, not being used to the time change. A group of about 40 people were walking down the street in the dark with a very large statue of Mary and praying the rosary. You don’t see that everyday! This was a very joyful and devout community, and I couldn’t wait to experience it. God moment number one.
“Taking in my first sight of the beautiful landscape, I came across something I had not prepared myself for.”
Next came my second God moment. When the sun began to rise, I took my morning cup of coffee with me out to the courtyard. Taking in my first sight of the beautiful landscape, I came across something I had not prepared myself for. It was the grave of my granddaughter, Perpetua Hope Romero, who was miscarried just a few months earlier. I walked up to her gravesite and had a huge flow of emotion and love for this child. This was as close as I would ever be to her, and for possibly the only time in my life. I told her I loved her as the tears rolled off my face onto the ground above her. At this very moment, I felt God’s immense love. I fully realized how much God loves me: so much He gave us His only Son to save us. If I can love a child this much that I never met and will never hold, or talk to, or play with, it is unfathomable how much God really does love us!
But there was more. I got hit by a motorcycle as I was walking across the street one day. The impact flipped my body into the air – head over heels – and I landed on my back in the middle of the street. Knocked out for a few seconds, I awakened to the voice of my son-in-law Sammy. People were standing around to see if I was dead or not. I thought I was ok, so I got up as if it didn’t hurt. As if! My first impulse was to find the guy who hit me and hit him back. He was trying to get up from under his wrecked motorcycle. I realized I was wearing a Catholic Missionary t-shirt, so I really couldn’t follow through with my first instinct. I went over and helped lift the motorcycle off of him and offered him aid. God gave me this moment to be a true missionary – to be forgiving and assist those in need. I walked away with bruised ribs and a broken watch, thanking God for this opportunity to show his mercy. This was the third God moment.
Finally, but not least, Sammy asked me to help take an elderly lady, Nanay Ludi, home from the hospital. The hospitals don’t offer much assistance during the patient discharge process. Families have to get the patient to and from the hospital beds. Luckily, she had her own wheelchair. The hospital did not have an elevator, but did have a series of ramps for us to go from the third floor down to the street. It wasn’t too difficult to move her into Sammy’s SUV, so I thought this was going to be easy.
When we got to her home, Sammy, her husband, and I stood in the dark and stared down the steep hillside path to her house. The wheelchair and the patient were not going to make it down this hill safely together. A voice in my head said: “Pick her up!” I told Nanay, who was crying by now at our predicament, to give me a big hug as if she really loved me! She put her arms around my neck and I picked her up. I told Sammy and Nanay’s husband to walk ahead of me with the wheelchair. We easily made it down to her house and to her waiting wheelchair. Nanay and her husband cried big tears of thanksgiving to God. God moment four.
All these stories are now part of my story. My life has been truly enriched by finally saying yes to God and taking time to work as a Missionary. Yes, Lord, I will follow you. Thank you for the gifts and joy you gave me while experiencing missions with my family, working alongside them in the Philippines.
Father of FMC Missionary Lindsey Romero
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