Extra Special


It is still a vivid experience. Something that is deeply carved in my senses. That very day that I was holding flashcards about weather conditions, teaching them how to read the words and what it is, sounding it out enthusiastically for them to imitate, adding some tune for better reception and recognition of the words such as sunny, windy, and others, gesturing with both hands for motion when one of them caught me by fear and surprise as she pulled the white hair clip off my hair. It was so abrupt that I was caught off guard of myself. I was for a second worried about staying even longer in the room where I was the only one with at least “normal” brain function. It was the longest 5 seconds of my life. One of them, whom I supposed was the “teachers’ pet” ran immediately to their Thai Teacher to report what had happened. There and then the standby Thai Teacher came in and reprimanded the poor child, led the girl in one of the corners of the room and talked to her very softly that I couldn’t decipher what the other teacher was trying to explain.

As my sense of normality came back, I recomposed myself. I tried to control my shaking voice of terror. No doubt that the act of this adolescent girl who was in need of special care has sent a shiver down my spine.  Still, I thank God for creating in me a brave heart that I was able to keep coming back to the room with 15 special children and finish the semester with them. I fully know that she didn’t want to cause harm to me; that it was the only way she could have the hair clip that time; that I wasn’t prepared for such. If only she could have enunciated what she wanted but one thing is for sure she had placed a specific concern for their special needs.

After more than a year, I was troubled by the same concern for these children with special need. This past week, during a school’s event, I happened to see myself worrying about a certain child who for a reason fall into the same category. While in the hall packed with so many other students and teachers and with the loud sounds and screams, I saw him grew uneasy of the scenario he was currently in. After a while, he just had a meltdown. He wasn’t able to manage himself while in the midst of so many colors, sounds, and performances. He fell on the floor trying to cover his ears, head on his knees and with eyes closed. I ran towards him, clasped him, his head on my shoulders as I covered his ears. I tried really hard to at least calm him down before he feels worse than that. As the sounds grew louder, we decided to take him out of the hall for a much calmer environment. I was so worried as a mom to her child.

I didn’t specialize in this kind of teaching. Never did I have an experience of teaching children with special need. These were such a remote experiences. I was wondering why God has allowed me to face such challenge. I know that He’s changing me and building something in me. And this is teaching on another level. Teaching them through the love you have for them beats all the learned strategies and book-based knowledge. Beyond the course outlines on the printed pages. Beyond the subject matters.



‘Cause you’re short and you’re little compared to those who usually deemed to do it – so you’re not qualified. You’re hindered, you’re stuck, you’re unwanted, and you’re discriminated for sure.  You’re that square peg in a round hole. You just don’t fit well or maybe you just don’t fit at all.

In this world where eyes become so picky, faultfinding and hypercritical, we become so anxious about how we look and how we act. You become so concerned about what other people may say about the blood red lipstick you were wearing in the office on a Monday morning or that rugged ripped jeans you wear to a party of girls wearing skirts.

You might be aspiring of becoming a flight steward. You made all necessary preparations and earned the needed education only to find out on the day of screening that you are short of 1 centimeter for the height requirement. Heels won’t help you either. So you didn’t qualify. You didn’t meet the standard.

You desired to be a university professor. You gained all the needed degrees and obtained all the necessary experience. The screening came, applicants in line and so you were. Then the panelists told you that you’re excellent as your records showed but there was a certain applicant who was more physically attractive than you are. He’s tall that would mean the students would look up to him (literally). And you’re not because you’re short of 1 inch to be at least 5 feet tall. So you weren’t chosen. You didn’t meet their set standard in physical terms.

(Insert deep, long, heavy sigh here) The world has made up so many standards for a certain job, position or stature. All of these standards are collective. That is, many people pile up standards through time and as the time goes the harder it gets to meet those. It’s even harder than climbing the Mt. Everest. The more I think about this the more I get anxious about life.

However, to keep me sane, I set my mind beyond these worldly expectations. I thank God for He sees the inner qualities of a man. He does not see the surface but goes beyond it. He created every single one perfect in His sight. And when He calls you to do a ministry for His kingdom, he wouldn’t check your educational background and won’t go checking your physique if you would fit. Our outward appearance may wither as the grasses in the fields but the beauty that comes from Him qualifies us to His calling. We need not worry about our bad hair days or what fancy outfits we would wear. He looks beyond all of these. He looks after the beauty of the heart.

So if you’re thinking of giving up on your aspirations just because the world tells you do not fit, take another thought and look at yourself one more time in the mirror.

Capital A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E

It’s 10:19 PM here in Thailand and I’m still wide awake. I just finished a movie – animated one and “The Boss Baby” to be specific plus the third episode of a Top Model Search on TV where two Filipina top Model aspirants were both in the bottom 2 this week. I’m quite an avid fan of this show which transformations of women can be seen and the exceedingly powerful personalities of ladies from different countries of Asia are being showcased.

However, as this show was running right before my eyes as I watched it on my Mac screen, I felt the outburst of writing this. I felt the shame as one of the Filipina models who were both in the bottom 2 tried to pull the other Filipina down. How shameful was it to see that every time she would talk ill about her co-Filipina competitor, the banner that says she’s from Philippines too would flash on the screen and over millions of people are watching and witnessed the disgraceful attitude of “crab mentality”. Instead of helping and encouraging one another, one would pull the other down to be able to climb up on top. Thinking that by pulling the other down, she could easily be on the top of even more deserving girls who are all vying for the title as well. I’m quite disappointed by her attitude and her intolerable overrated self-confidence just brought her down. She was then eliminated at the end of the episode and the person she was wishing to be eliminated remained in the competition.

The disappointment was just too much to bear because I was expecting that it would be the other way around. I’m pretty sure I’m not being so idealistic. I’m just quite hopeful that in one way or another, in this show maybe, the camaraderie and synergy among Filipinos could be made known and made clear to the world. I was hoping that, since they are both rooted from the same land, they would bring out the best culture of their motherland.

(Sigh) I just pray that, one day, all of us will be less tactless, will be less selfish and will be less self-serving. I pray that, a day will come, that even in a competition and in all the seasons of life, we’ll find ourselves self-denying and humble enough and not demeaning other people. I pray that my countrymen will be even more united and not self-seeking. I pray that everyone will seek to develop Christlike character. These, I pray.


This Scar: A memento

In one of the ordinary noon breaks, while in the school’s comfort room, I was checking on myself whether I still look appropriate for the eyes of my first graders – the hair, not much of the face because I expect no disheveled makeup (I just wear it occasionally); that when I noticed the quite a big scar on my leg, almost on the side of the left knee. It’s barely noticeable since it’s almost the same color as my skin but unknowingly my eyes just led me to it. Flashbacks of when, where, when and how I got this flashed like a series of book leaflets blown by a strong wind in a sudden instance. I believe it was there for more than a decade to serve its purpose today.

A memento of the nearly forgotten past. 

I had a very exciting childhood years which I spent most in the rice fields. Being a pastor-farmer’s daughter, I grew up playing in the muddy puddle (I sounded like a piglet here saying proudly “I got wet, I got dirty but see I learnt, oinky oink oink” lol), in a newly plowed rice field and in the trees swinging with its branches or hanging from them upside down like baby monkeys in a jungle. Those days were when I was still quite flexible. I missed the gymnast side of me.

As I look at it, I remember how I acted like a boy.  As the only girl child in the family with two boys before and after me, I would always imitate my elder brother. My mom would make an effort to dress me up like a princess and neatly tied up my hair with a red bow as I rebelliously acted as one of the sidekicks of my elder brother in a shooting game or as I play as his base camp general. I am not fond of Barbie dolls or cooking ware toys. While other girls of my age played with them, I found myself playing with a bamboo shooter with small balls of wet paper as bullets or a homemade slingshot or a pulley-car made out of sticks craftily attached onto four inedible green fruits which until now I do not know the name. My elder brother is so much knowledgeable about these.

I never had a flawless legs when I was growing up, my legs are full of abrasions, lacerations and punctures. These legs are part of my physical insecurities. The scars created by these wounds are quite interesting now. They serve as reminders of how exciting my childhood days were and of whom I often played with and how scenic was the place where I usually play. Simple life in a very simple rural community with simple lifestyle and humble living – simplicity at its finest. 

As I look at the scars again, I contemplated. Wow! What great years I had during those times! This is another reason for me to thank God Almighty for giving me those priceless experiences which I wouldn’t trade for golds. Not all grown-ups of my age got to be hugged by the earth and be bathed by the stars under the umbrella of the misty night sky while playing “patintero” or “agawan base”  (both are traditional outdoor games). It was a perfect environment to make friends, to build relationships with mutual understanding, to learn to respect and to obey rules. It was perfect for the appreciation of the great past which led to who I am now,  to who my playmates are now, to who we are in a situation where we need to stick with the rules as our games dictated during those years, to  how we respond to those who leave us for reasons like our old friends  who transferred to another town and to what will we cherish from that experience beyond compare.

As one puts it, childhood is a short season. It is always fun to reminisce, to dive into those memories again and to freely feel and embrace the true emotions living in those memories.  I wonder whether this scar will ever be gone. However, so be it if it choose to stay in that corner of my knee. I would love to glance at it once in a while to remind me that inside me, there is a child who wants to play.



FREEDOM in SURRENDER: Pakistani Refugees and their Unshakeable Faith

RELIGIOUS PERSECUTIONS. As the percentage of the world’s population edged upward, the rampant religious hostility gradually escalated through the years. Christians in areas with dreadful religious restrictions are compelled to pay a heavy price for their faith. Persecutions are experiences on a daily basis ranging from public humiliation to rape to torture to slavery to discrimination in employment and education and even more worst is death.

I’m not writing about them because I knew a lot. I knew little. Little things that make up the bigger ones. I knew and understand, with all my senses attesting to it, their deepest sorrows and grave suffering.

I came to Thailand bearing in mind this thought of religious persecutions;  not considering the fact that at some point, somewhere and somehow, I will be able to meet people who have experienced religious hostility and have fortunately escaped from the pangs of the oppressors but remained imprisoned by the discriminations and the end-result of their sudden flee.

The Compassionate God has opened the door for me to grasp the reality of the existence of these religious persecutions. I meet some Pakistani Refugees who are currently stuck here in Thailand and patiently waiting and seeking for the approval of their asylum status requests from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). For most of them, application has lasted for more than a year or even so which bears great agonies, burdensome day-to-day living of no assurance of food and the frightful fleet from the eyes of the national police. Once caught, they will be imprisoned with a bail or deported back to their home country where persecutions are evident and rampant.

I was deeply moved by their situation knowing that the only hope they have is the assurance of God’s presence in this darkest moment of their lives. I was not sure of my calling of being a missionary but God has allowed me to feel the compassion He has for these people. One Sunday as I led the Praise and Worship, their great sorrow just fell onto me that it burdened me to pen this for the sole purpose of creating or opening even the smallest window of charity for them.

In their very present situation, families lack food and other basic needs. They adjusted themselves to eat “roti” or  “chapati” (a flatbread made from stoneground wholemeal flour) three to more times a day. The children have no sustainable access and resources for education. They get to learn from the visiting missionaries which classes are in an irregular occurrence which are usually conducted in a room that is not even conducive for learning.  The mothers who are in-charge of the whole house culturally have experienced the intensified burdens of the day-to-day demand for security of their husband and children and the stress being brought by the patrolling policemen. The fathers grow helpless due to unemployment and the lack of means to provide for their family. They are capable of doing things but the opportunity is little to none due to the issues of their documents or visas. Old people lack medical attention. They are not given adequate and proper care. For all of them, the access to medication and hospitalization dropped less to none. Only few missionaries would come to check on them, visit them when they get extra time, provide supplementary food when extra budgets are saved up or teach the kids when there is extra time on Sunday afternoon. Very few devote time or reach out to them when they needed it badly or maybe only few understand the real picture of their daily cross.

I heard one Pakistani mom’s cry of hopelessness during the Praise and worship and it bothered me. I cried out to the Lord for clearer message of why am I discerning their afflictions and He spoke to me.  He wanted them to know that He promised to never leave them nor forsake them especially in this most difficult struggle in which they are in. He wanted them to understand that He is true to His Words and promises. That as they suffer in the pursuit of their faith, the glory of the Lord will be more revealed to the nations.

In this present time, I praise the Lord for people and organisations, the individual churches, who tried their very best and stretch out their resources to give them a little to enough. I praise God for opening the eyes of the world for this kind of Christian battle, that at times like this, we can only find the genuine hope in surrender. There is freedom in surrender when we let God take lead of the battle.

Let’s continue to pray for these refugees and reach out to them in our simplest ways.

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Romans 8:17
And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Coffee Diaries:What paralyzes you today?

No Coffee.

While writing this, I just happened to save myself from being groggy, dazed and stupefied for the final half of the day due to a caffeine deficiency. I made this disorder for myself due to an apparent change of force in my body for not taking a cup of coffee early this morning before I started working. This body of mine just set its own alarm of telling me I need an intake of caffeine or else I would again hear my students telling me “You’re like a zombie, Teacher Jirah”. I don’t want to be a coffee dependent  but the more I tried not to, the more I become one. 😛

Anyway, this is not about being a coffee addict. This is about how a simple thing could paralyze us. How about you? What paralyses you today?


Move forward.

I think this is something that is supposed to be easily said than done. How much more is the phrase KEEP MOVING FORWARD. This is a more prolonged imperative than the former and the word “keep” and the tense of the verb which makes it a lot more demanding in every situation when you wanted to just breakdown.

There are so many causes of paralysis as trees has many roots. One cause is to one person would be my approximation since a single mind can make up its own problem and can make it even more complex. However, as I see it, our own mindset wins the crown of causing all of the day-to-day paralyses.

In natural cases, our physical incapability causes us to be stagnant and lead us to the decay of our dreams, goals and our little wants not being satisfied with our extra courageous efforts. Let me call this as “paralysis in physical nature”- complete or partial loss of function especially when involving the motion or sensation in a part of the body as Merriam-Webster defines it.

Our mindset or mental attitude, how we look and take in things around us and how we interpret them, has a much greater contribution on most of the paralyses that existed, that exist and that will exist. Yes, it is the thing to put the blame on. Meaning, the cause is not due to any external stimulus rather it’s internal. Even if the gravely difficult circumstance is offering probabilities and possibilities, an impaired mindset will never see any of these. It’s focus will always be on the side where there are impossibilities and unreasonableness.

So “blame yourself, not the situation! Nah! I knew the feeling of being betrayed by your own way of thinking. I was once a prisoner of my own negative thoughts and partial judgments of the condition I was in and the people I was with. I give due credit to God who opened my eyes to see what I needed to see, to hear what I need to hear, to understand what I needed to understand and to feel what I needed to feel to be able to be in a pace and a place of paralysis-free; it is where He wants me to linger on. It always a process. We learn through time and experiences.

A right perspective on things is a by-product of a healthy mind, a right attitude and a perfect faith on the One who authors everything that happened, that happens and that will happen.

So, shall we have another cup of coffee?



It’s February, Love Month, and this write-up is a must. Nah! I disagree. I thought of writing this while in a public utility bus on my way to school out of the immense clatter in my mind. Not because I needed to but I wanted to.  Only one thing is for sure; that is, how I wish that when people type the words ‘love’ or ‘heart’ and ‘valentine’s day’ in search for images as decorations or quotable quotes for a Facebook status, they’ll come across this page and be able to take in something worth keeping in their selves and drive them to move.


It has all the intensifiers the dictionary may provide. I call it THE SUPERLATIVE. It is the only thing that remains undefined but can be enunciated by actions alone.

Many philosophers, scholars, educated even the uneducated but experienced individuals tried to give justice to the existence of this four-letter word. However, the more we hardly tried to, the more it bears complexities. There are many gestures humans do to show what love is subjectively and objectively. Some people would even spend time for a romantic gesture of love lock to symbolise the couple’s lasting love or just the simple clasping of hands while crossing a street or walking through the crowd.

Love locks in Asiatique along the coast of Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand
His and mine while on the mountains

Amidst the complexities of love, the only truths that remains definite are You love(d) and you are loved.

Putting it simply, all of us experienced the essence of this word and gave the reasons due for its existence. There are numerous ways to express love and to feel loved. Being in this world for 24 years, I am beyond blessed to see, to hear, to smell, to taste and to feel what love is and what it can offer.

I learnt love, first, from my Mama (mom). She didn’t explain it to me in words. We didn’t have a love class in our morning coffee dates. She showed it to me and to every single member of my family. These eyes of mine serve as witnesses of her acts of love. Her simple acts like – how she provides towels and perfectly ironed clothes every time Papa (dad) would take a shower before attending to meetings or officiating weddings, how she forgave and supported my eldest brother when he gravely fell and when he started his own family, how she traded her own life as sacrifice when my youngest brother got seriously ill and almost in the verge of death, how she guided me in every relationship I got into and how she prays for us and everyone who needs it up to the point that she wishes nothing for herself. How selfless love can be!

My mom and my niece

But more to it, the most selfless act of love I knew and received is demonstrated by my Heavenly Father when He sacrificed His only begotten Son to be publicly humiliated, harshly beaten, sadistically pierced and shamefully crucified on the cross of Calvary for the sins of men. I’m truly in awe of His love. I always ask myself – am I good enough for His love? Or do I always find the hammer in my hand nailing Him on that cross every time I disobey? God’s love is immeasurably greater than our shortcomings, disobedience and transgressions.


On Tuesday, most streets of the world will be filled with flowers, chocolates, couples and LOVE! All its expressions and impressions! Still, my words will never be enough to describe the love the world has and the kind of love the Lord has which is far greater than the world can offer. I thank the Creator for allowing an ordinary lass like me feel love.

To you out there, remember, You are loved.


Itchy Feet + A Camera: The Dusking Sky

How lovely it is to watch the sun as it meets the horizon and paints the wide sky with varying shades of red while a solitary boat passes by right below the setting sun.

I always love to capture this scene. I’m not a professional photographer nor a camera trick skilled artist but I love this photo captured by myself a day ago.

Sunset @ Chao Phraya River

Chao Phraya River is considered as the major river in Thailand. It is where, in the Old Kingdom of Siam (old name of Thailand), trades and commerce with other countries predominantly occurred. Historically captivating!

Added to this picture-perfect scene is the mere escape from rowdy cars and the towering skyscrapers with a bonus of nice cold evening breeze.

A rewarding rest day indeed!

An Embrace from the Nature and The Karen People

I’m so blessed that I was given an opportunity to celebrate the Christmas 2016 with the lovely people I longed to see again and with the picturesque scenes of the nature in their area after a year. 

Fewer words. More pictures (this time).

KAREN TRIBE in Tesano, Tha Song Yang Mae, Tak Province, Thailand 




The hill tribe village




One thing I loved most about this journey was when I was given the chance to talk about what Christmas is really all about. 🙂 The precious chance to talk about Jesus Christ! 


I will miss being with them this coming December. However, I’m too excited to go back to my home country after more than two years. 🙂


I hope everyone’s having a well spent first month of the year!  God bless us!




It is 8:20 PM, Thailand’s time. I have my fingers set on the keyboard of my computer with only the light from the monitor beaming on my face and the little amount of light coming from the phone of my roommate.

I need to extract something from my mind so I decided to turn this device on after washing dishes; whatever it is remains vague for me at this very moment.

I need to write, that is crystal clear.

It is 8:30; 10 minutes have gone so fast, I can feel one of my temples tingling with pain. I hear a cry. It is louder than the instrumental music I am listening to at this moment. I know it is a cry – something worth listening to, I know where it came from and it’s familiar.

It is 8:37; I decided to listen to it for a couple of minutes. Now I know what to write about.

Three hours back, I caught myself almost jumping around for an overwhelming joy. My Other Half just gave me a present! What’s more is that he gave me what I longed to have even before the transition of this year. He gave me journals! I was too happy that I almost forgot about my other journals waiting to run out of pages. The joy was very much comparable to a wave where it reaches the most exciting heights of it where divers or wakeboard enthusiasts would love to bring themselves into.

And then this type of wave comes, stealing the shining moment of joy — so heavy and so deep. The cry I heard is full of longing, full of aspirations and sated with the deepest yearning of that soul to be with her family. At some point, my very soul was moved; leading my soul to feel her pains and reminisce the times when I was the one crying myself over the same thing. The feeling was so vivid that it actually brought my soul almost to the ocean floor. The wave was so profound and deep-seated.

It is 8:57 PM; the stillness of the current wave is here. I would want to blame my brain for causing these ever changing and easily shifted emotions, which I’m feeling right now. It caused me bliss for a couple of hours and in an instant it took away the glee and brought me discomforts.

Amazingly, playing right in my ear is a song that says

“And when you’re tired of fighting

Chained by your control

There’s freedom in surrender

Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held”

(Portion of the lyrics of Just be held by Casting Crowns)

God is just so good to give us this hope. He’s faithful and true to His promises that He will be with us in every way and in all circumstances.