Apple and I got engaged last February 9. Just to explain, in Chinese tradition, there is something we call ‘Ting-hun’ which is how we celebrate a betrothal between a man and woman. It is a grand ceremony involving a reception, jewelries, exchanging of food, goods, and other respects between families. This is my story behind all that God has done leading up to our engagement ceremony.
I basically grew up in a family that is in the middle-class. I praise God for my dad who is a great provider. We never lacked any necessary thing – food, shelter, clothes, you name it. I praise God for my mom who is a great supporter and wife to my dad. The deal was for me to be ‘on my own’ after I graduate. Since I didn’t do too well at school because of my addiction to computer games, ‘on my own’ came in a little too early in my life.
I remember there was a point in my life when I ate Skyflakes (a brand of crackers) everyday for lunch and dinner while I was working in Ortigas area (I live in Las Pinas area by the way). It wasn’t because I enjoyed eating Skyflakes so much. It’s because I had no money and a bunch of Skyflakes would cost me only 18 pesos.
I commuted from Las Pinas to Ortigas every day. I would walk outside our village, ride 1 trycicle, then a jeepney, then a bus, then the MRT, then I would walk around a good 20 minutes to work. Going home was not much different – I would walk to the MRT, ride it, ride a bus, ride a jeepney then the trycicle then walk back home.
My shoes were with me for 3 long years – the soles grew thin to the point of my feet being able to feel pain if I stepped on a small rock. I couldn’t afford buying new ones. I was paid a salary of 6,000 pesos a month for working sometimes from 6am-12am.
I told myself that if I were to get married to a girl, I would look for a girl whose family had less money than we had – so that I wouldn’t have to provide for a Ting-hun and a huge wedding. I told myself that I wouldn’t be able to marry by my dream age of 25 but I’ll still try to work hard so I could.
I met Apple in a Singles retreat in our local church. Big 5 retreat. There were 1,130 attendees during that retreat. I was in that retreat for one purpose alone. I accompanied my friend – a baby Christian – to attend Module 1. I usually facilitate a Module 2 group, but that time I attended Module 1 with my friend. I wanted to give that time and money (I paid for my friend’s retreat fee) to God – to help my friend know more about who God is.
Apple was about to go back to her room on the last night of the retreat. I was getting to know people – introducing them to this blog (yes, I was already blogging in God and You during that time). Our eyes met, and as I did with everyone else, I also approached her and introduced this blog to her. We talked about philosophy, we talked about ourselves, we talked about God. It was a good night.
I started courting her but in the middle of it all, I just wasn’t her type of guy. And God decided it wasn’t the right time. I got busted.
I’m not going to hide it from you. It was awfully painful. And I couldn’t understand it then – but God had a wonderful plan going on.
During that time I was working in HP (based in Ortigas – again), and it was at that time that God led me to start an SEO business (which I practiced here in God and You blog).
It was at this time that I completely enjoyed being single – helping out in ministry, going on adventures scuba diving (for free since I had a scuba diving company for a client), and being able to buy real meals and new shoes! God is so good!
God brought me and Apple back in touch when I served in an event of our local church at Shang-rila hotel in front of the HP building where I worked at. I met her dad there as I ushered people in the event. We talked about their company website and SEO – and he asked me to talk with Apple about it.
I was heavy-hearted because honestly I didn’t want to do their website anymore but my friend (the baby-Christian whom I accompanied in the retreat) encouraged me that I should. He told me to keep my word.
So I did. I met up with Apple and I asked if we could talk. God opened the doors for us again. And the rest as they say…. Will be blogged for another time.
What I want to point out is, I never imagined these things would come to pass. Only by God’s grace. Looking back, everything that happened in my life with Apple – our love story – is written by the hand of the Lord. There were a lot of close-calls, a lot of impossibilities and miracles.
You see, before our Ting-hun happened, I had a client who has failed to pay up for more than 10 months. That was a considerable amount. Apple and I prayed that if God really wanted our Ting-hun to push through, the client would pay up.
God told us that it was time. At the exact moment, the client paid up – and I was able to use that money to provide for all the expenses of our Ting-hun.
Before, I never imagined that I would have my own Ting-hun. Today, that event has passed.
Looking back, everything I have lifted up to God – whether it’s money, time, effort, goals, dreams, etc. God has blessed me back – in grand ways that I could not even begin to imagine.
It is such a joy to share this story to you. A story that is impossible without God. A story that is truly God’s work. And as astounding as it seems – a story that Apple and I can call our own.
All glory, honor, praise and recognition be to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am excited for what is to come!