what i miss most from my philippines trip, which is probably the highlight of the trip was meeting perze’s family. no joke.
i’m really blessed, not only to be a part of a loving and extremely close family, but to be in a family who have really reached out their way to include me as their own, without even knowing me or me having to prove myself to them. the fact that perze chose me was surprisingly enough for them to accept me into the family, and they’ve really shown that to me while on our trip there. from the time i stepped off the plane to meet them, they’ve treated me without making me feel like an outsider or uncomfortable.
i’m blessed because i know that a lot of times, people don’t like their inlaws, or people aren’t that close to them. but i feel very at ease when i’m around perze’s family, as if they were my own. i’ve even really come to genuinely admire my mother and father in law.
one thing that i’ve witnessed that i’m so awed with, and have realized has truly shaped who perze has become, is their great love for God. every morning while we were there, and what has been a joyful routine to their family, is their DAILY early morning family devotion time, and i mean EARLY. we’d wake up at 6am to sing some praise songs led by perze’s younger brother, then we’d all recite the family verse, Romans 12:1-2. Then nanay would read something out of the Daily Bread before tatay read the corresponding bible passage. Then everyone would take turns sharing what they’ve learned from the devotion.
the time during each of these devotions really made me want to get up early. imagine, they did this as a family since they were young. it just challenged me in a way to also want to leave that legacy w/ my children. the first day they did this, even with perze’s stories to prep me, i was caught off guard because instead of reciting the family verse, they went in a circle to share individual memorized verses. like a deer in headlights, i kind of froze and had to search for a life verse, without having to use the more common verses- like “jesus wept”…haha…but the experience made me more alert in what verses i wanted to share.
i remember one early evening, i was so tired, so i took a nap with emma upstairs. somewhat dazed, i heard singing from downstairs by a big group of people. it was a familiar praise song and it just really made me feel nostalgic and deeply thankful and familiar to a simplicity of that old praise song. no drums, no bass guitar, amps, just a guitar and my husband’s voice leading praise. i crept towards the stairs to find that the students from the university campus were there having their service at my inlaws’ home. tatay holds a campus ministry for the students and they normally hold their services there in their living room. it made me remember why i fell for perze initially- leading praise with his guitar and voice. his brothers were helping him lead, which made me realize how Nanay and Tatay have really raised them to love ministry. i just stayed on top of the stairs feeling very blessed…really appreciative of the simplicity and genuiness of the moment. Tatay led the devotion and ended having everyone participate with prayer time. He even called the whole family to be introduced to the campus group, asking them to lift us up in prayer. It was just very heartwarming and seeing the family in their ministries, AS a family, really encouraged me.
during our trip, we also visited a lot of families, so i met a lot of new people. whenever people would talk to me about perze’s parents, they would really explain how integral they were in witnessing to so many core families, who ended up comprising a lot of churches/organizations. And Tatay, who is now sporting the ripe age of 65 continues to go on mission trips to minister to southern tribes of Mindanao. it humbled me knowing that i don’t challenge myself enough during numerous occasions when God gave me chances to evangelize to people who come my way. hearing so many stories from other people about perze’s family just made me very thankful to be a part of that legacy they’ve left. during the trip, it made me learn so much more about perze- the part of his upbringing that really shaped him, and it really made me appreciate his parents for raising a man who learned to love God because he really saw how much his parents loved God.
in such a few days, i’ve really grown to admire and love perze’s family. i’m really blessed with my inlaws, and i’m glad that i have a great relationship w/ each of them. now i have more brothers and sisters, and parents, in addition to my brothers, sisters, and parents in my own family who i’ve ALWAYS also genuinely admire and love.
i’m just really thankful and encouraged to be perze’s family who will continue to lift us up in prayer, and who lives their lives for God. even in our conversations, you are just encouraged knowing that you can comfortably discuss what God is doing and what God has done…it is something i want to continue in my own family. no wonder i fell for perze…i was drawn to something that was already there even before i met him- embedded in him encouraged from his family- his love for God. it was a trait that was a priority for me, and one that i never compromised when i chose to start a relationship w/ perze.