This video I took of a woman looking after a homeless man.
[This photo I took from the internet is of Savina Dawood, an Assyrian. Her face looked similar to the one I met in Baghdad]
In 1988 I was in Iraq when my father died!
One afternoon of July that year , after my siesta I saw a brown butterfly inside my room in Nassiriya Saipem Base. I wondered why!
Later I would receive the news that my father had passed away.
The main Office of Saipem in Baghdad asked me to come and I immediately did.
There, I was told that the Philippine Embassy has conveyed the message of my father’s death.( My brother-in-law , the late Romy Millan has sought the help of the Consulate because at that time communication was not that easy. Cellphones did not yet exist!)
I wanted to get home but thinking that no one at that time would cover my duties I decided to stay.
Meanwhile, I passed by the lobby of a hotel coffee shop to buy me some sandwich.
A strange thing happened that I would never forget!
A young beautiful girl in the queue talked to me. She asked if I were a Philippine. I said yes and responded with a question.
” How did you know ?
You look like one, she said.
But what about you?, I returned.
I am an Assyrian!
After that very short conversation I left but could hardly forget her pretty face.
For a few days she had occupied my mind. I had forgotten my father had just passed away.
Years later I would realize that Assyrians are natives of an old known civilization in the northern part of Iraq. To note, even our father Abraham was an Assyrian too! Interestingly they speak Aramaic, the same language our Lord Jesus used.
So was that girl I saw in that July of 1988 in Baghdad, Iraq an ordinary person or was she an Angel?
Whoever she was or whatever it was, what I could be happy about was that I felt so blessed to have seen Iraq and witnessed an ancient culture having met in real life an Assyrian!
Castoro 10, an Oil Pipelaying Vessel was towed from Curacao to Congo on the 6th of August 2014. It was a month-long journey cruising the Atlantic Ocean and a great experience crossing the Equator too. I was on board together with sixty-eight others.
There were mixed feelings , perhaps, when the trip started. We were travelling on a vast space of nothingness but still I have seen the beauty of life! A pair of doves was with us!
One morning before sunrise, the brown bird joined me in the helideck where I have started the day praying the rosary! Amidst the blue skies, floating white clouds, and the bright orange sunrise on the horizon of the dark blue ocean I realized it was a perfect day acknowledging the Author of the beauty of Creation.
It was so refreshing to feel the seabreeze and the splashing of the waves on the side of the ship made me felt really close to heaven. I could only thank God for the new day, another experience of His great love. He is indeed real and for the moment I knew with faith that I was sitting on His great Hands. I had so much joy!
My wife and I decided to pay our tithes (to donate 10% of earnings to support the Church)not just because we thought the Lord wanted us to do so but also to thank Him, the Source of all good, for the blessings we had been receiving . It may have looked strange but the Company I had worked with ( Saipem) had recalled my services after 3 years of being out of work.
As a blessing in disguise, just a few moments after we decided to offer our tithes an unfortunate thing happened in 1997 in the office on board “Israfil Guseinov” , a Pipelaying Vessel in Azerbaijan. I had an argument with one of the Inspectors regarding his complaint about his lost luggage at the airlines when he arrived on site. I would confess that I did raise my voice during the exchange in opinions and that made the other person lost his temper and patience and hit me straight to my face. I was surprised!
At that time, I was on a very high morale, perhaps due to the fact that we had finally committed ourselves, my wife and I, to the Lord by way of tithes. And so the punch was not able to jar the spirit! I did not fight back. Revenge did not play a part. I prayed silently inside of me. I started to talk to God. How could this happen after one has finally returned to accept Him? And before I could even hear an answer the second punch hit my face again and finally a third strike. So much of a test of faith! At that instant the Purser next to me , a colleague of mine, stopped the man for further proceeding with his brutal act. Some blood gushed out of my bleeding nose. Dr Milorad Prso attended to me in the medical clinic.
An hour later when things pacified the man approached me to ask for forgiveness. He explained that he had just received some bad news that his wife abandoned his family and so he lost control of himself. He was so sorry. He wrote his apology in a piece of paper and at the end of the line he promised on his own accord to pay me $3000 for the mistake that he had done. The trial was over! I passed the test! Forgiveness triumphed and I knew God smiled. I thought I heard Him said, “ Well done my faithful servant!” Humanity has inched forward a bit.
It was not until another 3 years later when I discovered that giving tithes is the most rewarding thing one could ever do in this life. John Huntsman of America was interviewed in the CNN while I was in Nigeria and I could remember him saying that in the Bible, in Malachi Chapter 3, we are obliged to give part of our income in order for the Church to be able to perform its responsibilities.
But why 10%, one may ask. For me it is comparable to someone purchasing a piece of property. Isn’t it that a down payment is necessary to show the commitment? Well, likewise with tithing, setting apart the 10% of our income proves our real trust in the Lord. It’s the best litmus paper test to see what is inside the heart and soul. Moreover, doing it consistently shapes one’s character making him detached in material concerns keeping the closest relationship with the Almighty.
I believe this is the key to human happiness! We need to connect to Him! We need to commit! We need to show our trust! We need to live with Him. Feel Him as He touches your heart while reading this story. Hold on to Him. This is true. The experience is being shared for you! He has been waiting…..
Since then, my family and I have been seeing the mighty works of God, Opus Dei. Life has become more beautiful and so meaningful! Eureka!
“10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
By Jeba Angeles. Please watch an inspiring video on how God works to show His might and power.