Stewardship: His Promises and Our Faith

Written by Jepoy Meneses on . Posted in Sharing

Testimony of Mae Delmo of CFC SFL Dallas
Written by Liberty Joy Demol

Financial Stewardship

Let me hold your hand and lead you back to my freshman Religious Education class over a decade ago. Of the two semesters I spent in this class, one of the things that I could not forget was the lesson about being stewards of Christ. “Give, but give until it hurts,” this line still reverberates in my inner thoughts from my college professor who said was according to Mother Teresa. He backed it up with a story on how it hurt him so much to give away his most prized and favorite polo shirt to the victims of fire in the nearby barangay. Consoled by his wife, he was reminded about God’s abundance in his life through his family and career.

In 1 Timothy 6:17-19, God said, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” God revealed His greatness by providing us all that we need, and He directed us to share His goodness to others so that we can claim His promise of a true life.

One testament of Christ’s goodness is a CFC Singles for Family and Life sister, Mae Delmo. Ate Mae, as she is fondly called, has been with the ministry for many years and has been a witness and has had bountiful experiences of God’s promises. Ate Mae shares the fruits of her stewardship through her seven miracles.

My Seven Miracles

I’ve been with this singles ministry long enough to say that God has blessed me in ways beyond my comprehension and expectation. Joining a Catholiccommunity is actually the best thing that has happened to me because I am able to experience the Lord’s goodness and love and witness to others how He has worked miracles in my life through Mother Mary.

I first accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior with a Catholic covenanted community in the Philippines called Elim before I was called to serve in another Catholic community, Couples For Christ under its singles ministry, a year or two later. I did not expect my journey with the Lord to be smooth sailing. However, I believed that with God on my side, the journey would be smooth sailing on rocky paths because in the end, the Lord would always pull me through. Without those rocky roads, the Lord could not work His miracles and wonders in my life. For years and years, the Lord has been trying to prune me (and is still is), and allowed me to experience things that would strengthened my faith and trust in Him even more.

As a grateful witness to God’s greatness, I would like to share the miracles He has granted me to show that what we have is a God who cannot be outdone in generosity, love, and mercy. I would call these the “seven miracles” in my life although being able to wake up everyday is already a miracle in itself. Incidentally, seven is my favorite number. Nonetheless, the path might not be easy, but I still welcome and look forward to an 8th, 9th, or 10th miracle from the Lord… who wouldn’t?

Miracle No. 1. Coming to the U.S. in 2008 as a special education teacher is one big miracle for me. I resigned from my work in the Philippines to embark on a new career (teaching) which I felt the Lord was leading me to. All my life, I’ve never wanted to come to live and work in this place which they call, the “land of milk and honey.” For me, it’s more fun in the Philippines. But some not so pleasant circumstances back home made me decide to try. I believe it was God’s hand working in my life. It wasn’t easy at first, but the Lord just facilitated everything for me blocking all kinds of obstacles. Every time there was a stumbling block, I would go to a church in Cebu which is considered the home of the image of the miraculous Virgin. Almost always, the following day, I would have my answer. It was also a day after I visited Mother Mary in this church that I found the job that would bring me here in the US. I could just wonder in awe how the Lord was working everything for me including the biggest stumbling block, my finances. I didn’t have the money to pay for the enormous amount of placement fees and all incidental expenses which needed to be paid in cash ASAP. But believe it or not, I got an unexpected windfall from the business which I also gave up to prepare myself to come to the US which was more than enough to cover all my expenses. When the Lord wills it, He can move mountains if we have the faith.

Miracle No. 2. My first teaching experience in the US was in a Native American reservation in Arizona. With God’s providence, everything went well for two (2) years until nearing the end of the school year, the school district, because of budget problems, decided to let go of the foreign teachers — that includes me! For us foreign teachers, it meant finding a new sponsor for our H1B visa ASAP or go back to the Philippines as soon as the school ends. The last one was not an option for me. It was a scary thought but then during that time I just felt God’s peace. Surprisingly, I wasn’t worried. It was more of just a feeling of missing the place and the new found friends. I went ahead with the rest of the displaced teachers to apply in other states trusting that the Lord will not forsake us. And true enough, the Lord led me to Texas — the very place where a few months back I spent Christmas and New Year when I was invited by my former CFC-SFC couple Chapter Head in Cebu (Kuya Neng & Ate Yndae) who are now based in Dallas. I even told myself that time that someday I will work in Texas… not knowing then that it would be that soon. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for me to land a job just like that considering there were thousands of applicants and in a school district which we were told was off limits for us. It was providential that I just missed reading the email from our agency prior to flying over for the job fair. But then, with God on our side, nothing is impossible. There are no limits or off limits if He wants to bless you.

Miracle No. 3. When I came to work in Texas, I finally joined the community which I left in the Philippines. So I came to realize too that it was also God’s plan that I’d go back serving Him through this community, I guess the reason why He brought me to Texas. To backtrack a little, prior to my interview with the school district, Ate Yndae asked me if it’s a “Yes”… referring to going back to the community. I remembered saying “Yes” right after she asked me and so the rest is history. My third miracle was during my first few months here in Texas in 2010. I received the devastating news from my sister in the Philippines that my mom had only around 3 or 6 months to live as what several doctors told them. My mom was very sick, abruptly lost weight that she was reduced to skin and bones, and was in pain. My sister and her family in the US had to go home that summer to spent time with my mom. I couldn’t go home because my work papers were still being processed having changed employer. All I could do was pray for healing for my mom. It was summer, so I was able to attend mass daily for that intention. I also asked my family in the Philippines to undergo healing of the family tree. Then God sent a healing priest to Dallas, in the person of Fr. Suarez. I’ve already heard of the many healing miracles that were performed through him. I attended his healing mass as a proxy for my mom. The only strange thing which happened that time was that despite the huge number of people asking to be prayed over, Fr. Suarez came to me twice to pray over me. I just didn’t understand why he had to come back to me to lay his hands again on me when he already did that. I was thinking that time that the first one was for my mom and the second one was for me even though Fr. Suarez didn’t know about my mom. Truly, God is always faithful to His promises. A week later, my sister emailed me to say that the doctors were amazed because they couldn’t find anything wrong with my mom. She was scheduled for surgery but the surgery had to be cancelled. Since then, my mom has been doing well and has gained back her weight. The Lord granted her a miracle healing.

Miracle No. 4. Two years working in a High School here in Texas, I encountered some problems in school. I wasn’t happy with my work anymore. Although I didn’t say it, the Lord knew what was in my heart. Then something not so pleasant came up which made me transfer to another school. This also entailed a lot of risk because if I can’t find a new school before the school year starts, I would be out of status and forced to go home. I had no one to lean on to except my God and of course prayers from brothers and sisters in the community and my family back home. I started to pray the 2000 Hail Marys. Before I could even end the 2000 Hail Marys, I got a call from a school informing me that I was scheduled for an interview and they set the date for me which was a few days later. After the interview, I said another 2000 Hail Marys for a positive result because I was already desperate. I was running against time. Lo and behold, an hour after my prayers, I got a call from the principal who interviewed me that I was scheduled for a final interview. This time the assistant principal interviewed me and told me after that I will know the result the following day. The next day, I again prayed the 2000 Hail Marys. I finished praying at around 4 pm but still there was no call. Another hour, still my phone didn’t ring but I still held on to my faith that the Lord will not let me down. At 5:30 p.m., my phone rung and it was the assistant principal who interviewed me apologizing for calling so late because something came up. He then congratulated me for I got the job. Truly, the Lord is full of surprises. Now, looking back, I realized that the Lord allowed that to happen because He was preparing something much better for me. Now, I love my new assignment and my new school and forever thankful to God for leading me to this.

Miracle No. 5 With all the moving I did, I almost maxed out my 6 years allowed stay as an H1B visa holder and my petition wasn’t moving. The first time it was filed, it was audited and eventually got declined together with the other SPED teachers’ applications because according to the HR then, he forgot to do the required recruitment activities. After it was refiled, I had a chance to talk to the lawyer and her words to me were, “You better pray for a miracle that your labor application (PERM) won’t be audited and declined again because you are pressed for time.” It was my last chance and here I was again running against time. And so I stormed the heavens for a miracle, nothing less than that. I prayed the 2000 Hail Marys and continued to be positive about it despite the negative talks circulating around. Then I got my 5th miracle last December 2013, several months after it was refiled. Among the five (5) SPED teachers whose PERM were refiled, I was the only one whose certification was approved and the rest were audited. I can now progress to the next step if the district would allow it. Despite all the controversies affecting the school district and the foreign teachers, the district approved the filing of my I-140. They had to file for premium processing because I have very little time left. A week after it was filed, my I-140 was approved without me shelling out a single cent because the district paid for it. It was photo finished for me. The Lord may delay his answer to our prayers, but He is never late.

Miracle No. 6. The costs of filing for H1B extensions and eventually filing for permanent residency could leave a big dent on a teacher’s paycheck and could even leave us with more debts. But for the sake of having legal status here, I was prepared for the inevitable. Nevertheless, I was praying for resources when the time comes because I believe God will provide for us as He always does. I have always claimed this, including those other previous challenges that I had encountered, from my tithing. Back in the Philippines, I had experienced many times and have heard/seen others experienced the power of tithing (and I mean 10% or more). I have cling on God’s promise in Malachi 3:10 where the Lord says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” I couldn’t forget what one of the speakers in my former community said that that this is the only promise in the bible where God asked us to test Him. He further mentioned that we can actually claim anything from our tithes. And so I did! And true enough, despite all the negative controversies surrounding the district with the recruitment of foreign teachers, one good thing came out of it. The school district declared that we will be refunded of all the expenses related to the processing of our papers. They also decided to even pay for the cost of getting our permanent residency which they weren’t even required to do so. All these are unexpected blessings which the Lord alone in all His goodness and generosity can pull through if we continue to obey Him and be faithful to Him. Isn’t our God amazing?

Miracle No. 7. My seventh (7th) miracle is actually a miracle in progress. But I believe in faith that it is already a miracle already accomplished by my awesome God, hence, my 7th. So whatever is the outcome, I know it’s the best miracle I will ever have because I believe that the perfect place to be is at the center of His most perfect will. As “Singles”, we are always discerning for our vocation, whether for the religious life, married life, or single blessedness. For the longest time, I have been doing that. And with all the many failed relationships, I have come to terms (after trying to haggle and struggle with the Lord) that maybe the Lord wants me to be single all my life (What’s wrong with being single? Am I still sour-graping?). I also didn’t want to get married for the sake of just getting married. Maybe, I’ve set my standards too high. I was actually ready to move on to “Handmaids”. I also heard that many single “Handmaids” were getting married here. But that’s not the reason I was ready to move on. Then something happened. Last fall, the SFL planned for a CLS in Garland. I was asked to co-team. I was hesitant at first. Did I not plan to move now to “Handmaids”? But I told myself that since this would be my last service with the “Singles,” I might as well end it with a bang! I accepted the task. But when the Lord calls, He blesses. Before our CLS ended, the Lord allowed me to meet someone…my knight in shining armor (just kidding!). Actually, He allowed me to meet a normal guy with all the qualities I didn’t want to compromise. My standard is this (take it or leave it): I really don’t mind if he’s rich and good-looking (just kidding!) for as long as he is Catholic, God-fearing, has good sense of humor, smart, but most importantly, would love my God more than he would love me. You can hardly find these all in one guy here in the US. And there was one thing which made it harder, if he sent me a red rose (my St. Therese novena) then he’s the one. He actually did. With all those signs, I would consider him a heaven-sent miracle. We’re now on our eighth month into the relationship and going strong. We are still praying and need prayers. There might be some challenges along the way but there’s nothing which our God cannot handle. It’s easy to rush things… but we want it to be in His time and in His ways. May God be praised!

Being stewards of God entails a lot of human sacrifices susceptible to tangible pains and sufferings. Giving, whether it be time or material possessions, with the uncertainty of getting something in return is one of the most difficult task to do especially when you are giving to someone you do not know. Faith is a major element of Christ’s stewardship, for it is only with great faith that we can fulfill His will and claim from His promise. Like Mother Teresa, who even on barefoot, continued to perform God’s goodness on others. Her unwavering faith had blessed her with support from different organizations who believed in her cause. Finally, God sees our faithfulness and sincerity in fulfilling our purpose and that is why He provides for all that we need. Hence, Ate Mae’s seven miracles are just few among the many Divine Providence.

In 1 Peter 4:11-19 the Lord says, “Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

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