BY DR. NEMA VERGARA ALLIC
Blessed moment everyone!
This Pandemic 19 is a horrible event that no one would ever pray for! Yet in every life, unwelcome change intrudes. Why does God allow it?
We may not hear or understand. Right here on earth, God promises us His presence, strength and comfort. He knows what has happened, and He cares.
Even from the most devastating change, we can imagine. He has the power and the imagination to make a gift of it.
Lean on Him through all life’s changes, and trust Him to turn heartbreaks into healing, weakness into strength, and bad into everlasting good.
May I now bring you to my personal testimony on how God showed his great mercy on me and blessed my life?
Great things start from small beginnings
This is probably one of the best catchphrases to portray the victorious journey of my purpose-driven life who once worked as a lady guard, factory worker, pre-school teacher, Avon, Herway, and Tupper Ware products dealer, and even an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) to help support my family’s daily needs.
As a person fuelled with determination, passion, hard work, and perseverance, I am now reaping the fruits of my toil and hard labor with gratefulness in my heart to God and to all who are part of my success.
As I write my memoir and share it with you, I am certainly happy to mention the people who touched my life in positive and meaningful ways. Special people are those who genuinely supported my family and me in many difficult times.
The importance of education and how I started in college
I grew up seeing my father every day doing laborious work in a rice mill. My mother was just a plain housewife. We are financially/materially poor; yet, our parents tried hard to send us to school.
They were always telling us, “Mag eskwela gid kamo sang maayo kay amo lang gid ina ang maipamana namon sa inyo nga kamangaran” (Translation: You should all study well because that is the only treasure we can endow to you.) It was their wish that we could even finish high school education.
We are eight children in the family. Three finished high school program; two stopped during high school days; one stopped during college days because of difficulty being a self-supporting student; one graduated a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering, now a Chief Engineer.
In 1984, I graduated my Secondary Education. My dream is to become a teacher; but, my parents cannot afford to finance my college education.
I worked as a maid in Iloilo City. My lady master, a Stenographer in Court Branch XXIX, Iloilo City, enrolled me to take stenography and typewriting short courses at Dona Josefa Edralin Marcos Foundation School, where she also had a part-time job. I was thankful to her for I finished stenography and typewriting short courses.
My paralysis and how I got healed
I got married in 1987 and have the first child the following year. On my second pregnancy, I got sick of paralysis on both upper and lower extremities coupled with a severe headache.
I was three months pregnant with my second child at that time. My family brought me to the countryside hospital. I stayed for a week, and then the doctor advised my family to bring me to the city hospital.
I stayed at home for many days before they brought me to the city hospital. That time my illness was getting worse. I could not even stand on my bed alone, cannot eat alone, and cannot walk alone because of paralysis. Unknown to me, my whole family was so desperate and cried about my situation.
I cried earnestly to God in prayer to help me and heal me. In solitude, I saw a coffin. A bright human figure dressed in white clothes appeared. I certainly knew it was God. He heard my earnest prayer.
Suddenly, members of the family who were just around the house heard a loud bang. They immediately came inside the room where I stayed and found me down on the floor already.
Their commotion made my consciousness back. They kept on asking me what happened. I was profusely sweating at that time. I didn’t tell them what I’ve seen; instead, I stood up and kept it secret.
Jeremiah 33:3 says: Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not. I was brought then to the city hospital for further treatment.
Thanking my home church who supported me
I knew all the members of my home church – Ajuy Baptist Church that gave much to support me.
I want to mention the very supportive women of God who processed my financial, medical, and even material needs: Jo Rojas Canicula, Alice Rojas Briones, Lynn Rojas Kwe, Neoly Juridico Espinosa, Patria Panes, Smileta Causing, Thelma Libardo, Lina Lumauag, and Juliet Jalando-on. My deepest and sincerest gratitude to all of them.
That fatal illness gave my family worries, especially to my loving biological father, Abundio Vergara, who opposed the doctors’ recommendation of operating on my head.
My father’s faith and my miraculous healing
His faith in God didn’t waiver that he said, “Dios nalang ang bahala sa pag ayo sa anak ko, basta indi lang sya pag operahan sa ulo.” (God will be responsible to heal my daughter; don’t perform any operation on her head.)
So, the doctors had done no operation. I stayed in the hospital for almost one month, dosed with injectable and oral medicines for headaches and paralysis. I went through many laboratory check-ups from one hospital to another.
I was discharged but still under medication and with follow-up check-ups every week for a month and bi-weekly the following month, then once a month to monitor the baby inside my womb until I give birth.
My husband put a garter string on my left slipper to keep it on my foot when I walked. Despite the situation, I was very much eager and happy to attend the worship service every Sunday.
With the great financial, moral and spiritual help from God’s gift of friends to me in my hometown church, I was blessed and normally gave birth to a healthy son.
Miraculously, God fully healed me. I stood in awe of Him preciously granting me another life to live and be used in the ministry of the body of Christ.
Life in Manila
In 1992, I decided to go to Manila to find a job leaving my two children and my husband.
First, I worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant at Intramuros Manila, earning 30 pesos a day. Not so long, I applied as a lady guard and was destined at Goya Philippines in Parang, Marikina.
I got a chance then to let my family come and stay with me. I transferred as a lady guard at RADICO Enterprise – a shoe factory adjacent to my first workplace in Parang, Marikina. I was then given a chance to work as a factory worker in the said enterprise.
Going back to our home town
In 1995, we went back to our home town. I was glad when Mrs. Neoly Juridico Espinosa told me that I would be the one to teach little children starting June, the school year 1995, in the church she and her family built, and simultaneously, at the Kinder school, Espinosa Rice Mill Learning Center.
In November of the same year, I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst found to be like a three to a five-month-old baby in a womb after an ultrasound.
I was immediately scheduled for an abdominal operation. I didn’t have money to use because my husband was just a laborer.
God is really gracious to me. With the full support of Pastor Felina Silencino, Neoly Juridico Espinosa, Jo Rojas Canicula, and Aida Rojas Espinosa, treatment was made possible.
I continued serving the church and as a pioneer teacher of the young children in Espinosa Rice Mill Learning Centre for five years.
Pursuing my college education
Mrs. Neoly Espinosa, the learning center founder, encouraged me to pursue my college education. I wanted to become a professional teacher.
June 2000, I started my first year of studies with Mrs. Felisa Rubrico and Honorable Ramon Rojas Espinosa as my sponsors. Mrs. Neoly Juridico Espinosa heartily gave full financial, spiritual, and moral support to my family and me during my second year in college until I graduated with the degree Bachelor of Secondary Education.
I was very thankful to God for answering my prayer to let me pass the Board examination in the same year. I was then 38 years old at that time.
Right after graduation in 2004 until December 18, 2005, I started teaching at Ajuy Christian Development Learning Center (ACDLC).
My OFW experience in Hongkong
On December 19, 2005, I went to Hongkong as Domestic Helper. I didn’t prosper working out there because I got a typical female Chinese employer mistreating me.
She wanted to get my phone so that I couldn’t report her abuses. I resisted, and we wrestled until it dropped on the floor and broke into pieces. I quickly got it, ran to the kitchen, and locked the door because I saw her coming with a bleach container.
I saw knives and wanted to get one to stab her, but something hindered me not to do so.
I survived with God’s guidance, and with the great help of Marylou Borlado, a social worker and wife of Pastor Dan Borlado in Hongkong, I came home safe and sound to the Philippines in May 2006.
Seeking a job in Manila and starting anew
I talked to my husband, and we agreed that I would go to Manila to seek a job. I will bring our two children.
As a janitor of the Ajuy Christian Development Learning Center (ACDLC), he will follow at the end of the school year. However, he came to join us in Manila earlier than expected.
In 2007, God granted my husband’s birthday wish and prayer to be accepted in Marikina High School, where I applied as an English Teacher.
As a newly hired teacher, things expected from you should be good in every employee’s sight. No worry for me because I grew up in a hard life and put it always in my mind to do my job to the best I could with eyes watching on me or not.
A year after my service in Marikina High School, I already had put up a small house to be our home; however, no less than a year, typhoon “Ondoy” devastated our place and washed away our house. The toilet bowl was the only thing left to us.
I cried hard, yet; no more tears coming out of my eyes. Alone and had no sleep ‘till dawn, I cried out to God. “O Lord, we don’t have a house anymore. You know I’m the only one working. Please hold me still and help me to rise up whatever the cause.”
That was again a hard cry I made pleading God. I cling to His promises, not to leave me nor forsake me. Life must go on!
Rebuilding from the ruins of Typhoon Ondoy
Yes, it was so difficult on my part. We only built our barong-barong house (informal house) using the trashes thrown by wealthy families in the nearby subdivisions, which I, my husband, and my two children retrieved.
It was ironic on my part, though; I am a taxpayer; yet, I didn’t receive any help to at least lighten my burden that moment. Again, life must go on!
Achieving my graduate degree
I dedicated my life to work and pursue a graduate degree after the typhoon “Ondoy.” Round the year for seven long years, I continue my graduate studies. Difficulties daunted me to stop; but, I cling to God’s wisdom and guidance.
God is so good and wonderful through the years, giving me another channel of blessings thru a church family under Pastor Abraham Nam of Good News Mission Church to mentor and guide me spiritually.
Pastor Ock Soo Park and Pastor Abraham Nam always tell us to have faith in God’s words. (Manalig sa salita ng Dios). My faith grows deeper as I get involved in church activities.
In 2016, despite tantamount difficulties and hardships that sprawled around, I triumphantly got my Doctorate Degree: Doctor of Education major in Educational Management.
My promotions and awards
This gave me a break to be promoted and embraced opportunities of going to another side of the globe like Japan in 2016 and Singapore in 2019.
Much more of God’s showers of blessings bestowed on me were the distinct awards I garnered from the Leadership in Education Academy and Development (LEAD Philippines) and Globe my Business as National Excellence Award as Master Teacher Outstanding Global Educator award.
The International Mind Education Specialist Training Institute and the mentors of Good News Mission Church contributed much to my receiving such awards.
It was a significant day for me! And today, it is a glorious day sharing and testifying the greatness and magnanimity of God, our creator who guided me and blessed me this far. “From Worry to Glory”!