Young Son Travels Far to Buy Rare Gift for Mother’s Day – Ube (Purple Yam) Cake

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. … (Proverbs 31:26-31)

mothers' day gift food haven cakes

I can’t help but be touched by a young Filipino who came to Food Haven yesterday and bought a whole Ube cake.

They live in Oamaru, an hour’s drive from Timaru where Food Haven is located.

Ube or purple yam is popular dessert ingredient in the Philippines. It’s even a staple food for some Filipinos.

For most Filipinos living in New Zealand, having Ube Cake is a special treat.

There’s no doubt that the son’s mother will be overjoyed this Mother’s Day for her son’s thoughtfulness.

I’m very sure that each and every one of us has his or her own way of remembering and appreciating our mothers.

Happy Mother’s Day to all

Additional information about Ube (Dioscorea alata) from Wikipedia:

Purple yam is used in a variety of desserts, as well as a flavor for ice cream, milk, Swiss rolls, tarts, cookies, cakes, and other pastries. In the Philippines, it is known as ube and is often eaten boiled or as a sweetened jam called ube halayá; the latter is a popular ingredient in the iced dessert called halo-halo. In Maharashtra, the stir-fried chips are eaten during religious fasting.[citation needed] Purple yam is an essential ingredient in Undhiyu.[6] Purple yam is a popular dessert in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. (

How I Wish Everyone Would Just “Love Your Neighbours as Yourself”

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:2
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

Seeing a video on Facebook about how thieves (called ‘sliders’) operate in the US sparked my wishful thinking.

Indeed, when we love our neighbour as we love ourselves, there’s always peace and order in the community.

Committing to this law is much much cheaper than building a fence or installing a state-of-the-art security surveillance system.

Real estate developers in the Philippines try to recreate a neighbourhood and make “peace and order”, “security” and “safety” as their primary selling point. Some would even attach the term “exclusive community”.

A friend in Auckland forgot to close a rear window remained untouched.

A friend in Auckland forgot to close a rear window but his car remained untouched through the night.

We thank the Lord for making it possible for us to live in a community where neighbourhood values are very strong.

A schoolmate who lived in downtown Auckland, parking on the street for the night forgot to close his car window. He was so happy nothing was lost nor his car was ever touched.

Well, we could say he was just lucky.

How about these.

We were living in Forrest Hill, Auckland and we were about to sleep at past 10:00 PM when someone knocked on our door.

It was our Korean neighbour. She apoligised for disturbing us. Then she told us that we left our car door open.

Yes it was wide open because our 7-year-old forgot to close it after getting off the car and we’re just parking on the street.

Living in Timaru now, one of our Kiwi friends noticed how I would unlock and lock the door when he comes to visit.

I told him that it’s been a habit in the Philippines to always keep the door locked even if we’re in the house.

There was a time we get off my car as I parked on the side street. Then I locked the doors. He said out loud, “Oh Jonan, you don’t trust your neighbours?”

I blushed a bit and laughed telling him, “It’s just a hard habit to break, mate.”

Well, these are just bits and pieces of why New Zealand is the safest country in the world.

I do believe when people bind the law “Love your neighbour as yourself” in their hearts there would be much peace and order in the community.

In Timaru, the Presbyterian Home Support provides food delivery and home cleaning for the elderly.

In Timaru, the Presbyterian Home Support provides food delivery and home cleaning for the elderly.

Timaru Lighthouse

Tribute to God’s Awesome Goodness


As we celebrate our second winter in New Zealand, we remember how good our God is.  In June 2012, we were praying and waiting for the job that’s pivotal to our getting residence visa.

Our 9-month work-to-residence visa was ending 10 August 2012, barely two months then.

God’s Mighty hand at work, He moved people, caused events to happen, and guided us to a places where He wanted us to be.

So, we always thank the Father for the things that He has done and for the things He’s yet to do.

Thank you Lord for being doubly good.

We are also forever grateful to our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been with us in our faith journey.

Please watch the video my wife created —Beautiful Sights of Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand


SONG CREDIT: “Doubly Good to You” by Amy Grant

The Glory of God in Jesus Christ Shines Bright in Darkness Always and Forever


Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Isaiah 60:1-3

Darkness may envelope but it actually provides perfect background to see where light is, like this night shot of Church Street, Timaru.

Darkness may envelope but it actually provides perfect background to see where light is, like this night shot of Church Street, Timaru..


I heard someone said there’s subtle persecution among Christians today in New Zealand.

Marriage is threatened by the possible passage of the gay marriage bill.

Teenage binge drinking has become a problem and drunken driving arrests have become common.

Following UK and US trend, the cloud of secularism has been engulfing slowly New Zealand society. Some leaders have professed God to be myth, others even stating openly their unbelief.

St Mary's (Anglican) Parish Church looks magnificent at night.

St Mary’s (Anglican) Parish Church looks magnificent at night.

Is there indeed ebbing of Kiwi faith?

In response to ‘darkness’ that appears to be clouding New Zealand, Pastor John McMullan shared Isaiah 60:1-3. He reflected that darkness might seemed immense but actually it is creating a vacuum in man’s heart, which would lead him or her to search and find the Light of God.

Indeed, atheist may bully believers and sow hatred and mockery against the Great Living God but they will never triumph because the light of God in Jesus Christ will never be snuffed out.

Time and again, many powerful leaders tried to cut God but they all have failed.

In fact, the Gospel of Christ has always been so alive and active since the Holy Spirit came to the apostles on that memorable Pentecost day.

As God created man to see and feel, it won’t be a wonder when “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” as darkness tries to envelope the earth.

Indeed, “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples” but we see the glory of God in Jesus Christ rising and shining always and forever.

Please strengthen other’s faith by sharing this post through Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites.


PHOTO CREDIT: Jade Mark Jarbadan

Remembering God’s Goodness – Our Trip and Arrival in New Zealand

‘Daw kahapon lang’ (It seems like yesterday) we said goodbye to our family, relatives and friends in Iloilo, Philippines.

On 10 November 2012, we reached one year of living in New Zealand. Moving and traveling to a new country and starting a new life is one faith journey that we will always remember.

On the one hand were the hardships that went with the transition. It is always given and expected.

On the other hand is God, His loving kindness, His Mighty hand, continuously guiding and showering us with goodness and grace.

Traveling to a foreign country for the first time as a family is really exciting and enjoying.

Exciting because you get to experience many “firsts” and you just enjoy laughing at all the “miscues”.

Of course, it’s always good to ask when you’re in doubt.

So, we were inside the old Manila International Airport. I was pushing our trolley full of baggage towards the Malaysian Airlines counter. I approached a Chinese-looking guy wearing Malaysian Airline uniform and spoke to him in my best English only to be responded to in Tagalog. He’s Filipino.

What really gave us priceless and immeasurable joy was seeing our daughter enjoying the trip, cheering and smiling all along, unmindful of what lies ahead in our New Zealand sojourn.

We left Manila on 9 November 2011.

The three-hour flight from Manila to Kuala Lumpur was quite smooth and on time.

Because our connecting flight was still three hours away, we hanged out at the KL International Airport. We also got to know other Filipinos bound for Auckland.

Wi-Fi Internet at the airport enabled us to contact home and update our family.

Finally we left Kuala Lumpur at almost 10:00 PM and with 11 hours flight, we slept and took much-needed rest.

At Auckland Airport, Boyet and Sharon Quimba met us. They’ve lived in Auckland for six years.

We are so grateful for Boyet and Sharon and their family for providing shelter and valuable guidance as we started our new life in New Zealand.

We thank all our brothers and sisters in Christ who consistently pray for us.

We thank our families and kin for your love and thoughtfulness.

We thank the Lord God Almighty for the safe trip and most of all for making our New Zealand living possible and successful.

Claiming God’s Faithfulness – Moving To Timaru

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

Talking about God’s faithfulness, what comes to mind right away is one of my favourite hymns, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. Indeed, we have the faithful God who really fulfils His promise.

Jesus’ statement in Mark 11:24 is a very powerful statement. He is telling his disciples to have faith. For me, there’s no greater power than praying and believing that Jesus Christ will faithfully deliver what you are asking for.

The verse is not just a simple positive statement that is designed to encourage someone who’s in dire need. There is power to the statement because first, Jesus Christ said it and second, what Jesus says is true.

Our recent transfer to Timaru is one faith journey full of answered prayers. As there are plenty of stories to tell, let me just share two instances of answered prayers.

The Filipino “good Samaritan” of Lincoln

When David Brown, one of our home group leaders, volunteered to take us to Auckland airport. We really appreciate David’s offer, which is also another answered prayer. He asked who would pick up and drive us from Christchurch Airport to Timaru.

I told him that when we went to Timaru on July 31 for my wife’s job interview, we met a Filipino couple at the Auckland Airport. When they learned that we’re moving to Timaru, they volunteered to pick us up at Christchurch airport. They live in Lincoln.

On August 13, as I was helping Pastor Colin and Tony in loading our furniture on the trailer, my mobile phone rang. It was the Filipino “good Samaritan” of Lincoln. He affirmed his commitment to take us from Christchurch Airport to Timaru. I told him that our flight is on Tuesday.

Towards late afternoon, Jewel got a call from her employer that they have arranged a car rental for us. I phoned our kababayan (fellowmen) about the development and thanked him for his offer of help.

I thank and praise God for His overwhelming support and provision.

A favourable car switchover

While on the plane to Christchurch on 14 August 2012, I can’t help but think about the number of baggage we’re bringing.

After learning that our bulk of things will arrive to Timaru a week later, we brought along things we need upon arrival at our rented place.

As the car rental reserved a subcompact car for us, I’m pretty sure that we would be fully loaded. Well, I just prayed for God’s travelling mercy and resolved to drive very slowly and surely.

In Christchurch Airport, with our two trolleys of baggage, we approached the Avis Car Rental desk and asked for the car reserved for us.

We were much surprised when the Avis woman asked is it okay if we take a Toyota Highlander to Timaru instead of the subcompact reserved for us.

She explained that the Toyota Highlander needs to be returned to Timaru. She assured us that we will just be paying the same rate and there would be no more return fee for the car.

I could only utter my thanksgiving and praises after realizing how the Lord God Almighty facilitated our specific needs in moving to Timaru.

Indeed, great is your faithfulness O Lord! We bring all our prayers to You, asking and claiming your great faithfulness

Again, to our brothers and sisters in Christ, thank you very much for all your prayers and support.

Do you have a testimony to share where God lift you from worry to glory? Share it to us by posting a comment below. Thank you.