That’s what I thought as I looked at this photo of a woman. She is alone, looking burdened, gloomy.
Yes, like me.
Call me Cai. Actually, I am not alone. I am married.
But yes, I was heavily burdened. My husband was a drug addict. He invested in some business, the business failed, and we but drowned in debt. And I didn’t have a job.
We struggled to raise our six children, among them, a pair of twins. Sadly, our twins were born premature, confined in hospital, but passed away. Amid our grief, we agonized over the hospital bill added to our financial burden. Amid our fear that we couldn’t fend for our remaining four children.
That was my dark past. Today, looking back, I realize that actually, it wasn’t that dark. There was a ray of light—as in the Light of Jesus Family.
A co-parent in my youngest daughter’s nursery class introduced to me LOJ’s faith gathering, The Feast, telling me that the main preacher, Bro. Bo Sanchez, gave inspiring, comforting talks. The gathering was being held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila. At the time, we were based in Batangas, so I could only watch replays of The Feast on television. That was in 2009.
We sent our kids to a school in Laguna. As part of their school requirements, they had to watch shows at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). So, we had to bring them there now and then. CCP is near PICC, so, every time we were in the area, we took the opportunity to attend The Feast. This was in 2014-2016.
I must say, this was God’s perfect timing to reach out to me. At about this time, I didn’t know anymore what to do with my problem with my husband— a secret I had kept all those years.
By God’s grace, at The Feast, I came to know about the Light of Jesus Pastoral Care Center, which I learned ministers to the emotionally burdened, conducting one-on-one care sessions. So, I went there for help. This was in 2017.
The care sessions were indeed comforting, and what’s more, the Ministry gave me the courage to find a rehabilitation facility for my husband.
At The Feast, I also found out about the Kerygma Conference, now called the Feast Conference (FeastCon) LOJ’s annual inspirational learning event. In 2018, I attended the conference where there were booths of various LOJ mission and mercy ministries handled by ministry servants ready to provide information and serve the participants.
From Photo to Pastoral Care
At the FeastCon, I chanced upon the LOJ Pastoral Care Center booth and it was here where I saw the tarpaulin with the photo of the lonesome woman.
The tarp was actually a poster announcing a retreat—the Journey to Personal Growth retreat sponsored by the LOJ Pastoral Care Center. I attended the retreat and I experienced so intense spiritual renewal that I attended the Pastoral Care’s succeeding seminars.
And long story short, in 2019, I became an on-the-job trainee and officially inducted as carer in July 2020.
Pastoral Care holds spiritual growth seminars for us carers. In these seminars,
I have learned how to deal with myself, my family, and basically the people I meet. I have found a deeper sense of myself as part of the team. I do not actually handle clients, but I am honored to be able to pray for the carers and the clients in need.
I also look forward to serve more by posting inspiring content on our Pastoral Care online site to give hope to the emotionally wounded and let them know they are not alone. One message I want to share is this Isaiah 41:10 verse that has well encouraged me: “Fear not for God is with you.”
I want to tell those in pain that in their darkness, God’s light will shine, and eventually, they will journey from gloom to grace. Like me.