A strange thing happened

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Dondi, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Ok, I will first have you all know that I debated and prayed and debated some more over whether or not to post this. It is of a personal matter, one that has sent my emotions all kind of directions, yet it is so out of the realm of the ordinary that I feel compelled regale it. Some of you will find some logical explanation of what happened to quell that certain uneasiness that this defies reason. That's ok, you are free to think as you wish. But so far, the only explanation I have is the one that I shall give. It is rather lengthy, but please bear with it.

    So here it goes (takes a deep breath):

    My wife is from the Philippines. Having met her some 17 years ago while deployed in the Navy, we married and have two daughters. Now if you know nothing about Filipinos, know that they are very family oriented. My wife has 8 siblings (six brothers and two sisters) all living in fairly poor conditions in a small fishing village.

    We very recently took our first trip as a familly to the Phillipine Islands (hencefore will refer to PI), due to a sudden turn of the degrading health of her father, who is 81 years old. Many of our friends, family, and fellow church members joined us in prayer for his recovery. We had assumed the worse would happen and quickly made travel arrangements to fly over in early August and stay for about three weeks. Papang, as we call him (meaning father in the native language), suffered from an enlarged heart, high blood pressure, and liver sclerosis (from years of drinking in his younger days. He doesn't drink now). And though his condition looked dire, he actually came out of the hospital just before we began our trip, but was in weakened condition. We expected that he would be bedridden and gaunt and sickly from his illness. But when we got there, Papang was sitting out on the porch, looking healthy as ever and even got up, came over and gave us a tear-filled hug. Well, prayers were answered. But that's not the strange thing....

    One of my wife's uncles, whom I'll call Tatay (respected name for an elderly man), was saddened by the fact that his wife suffered a stroke a few days prior to our arrival. Nanay (as I'll call her), was laid up in a local hospital there the next town in a comatosed state. She was not moving at all and pretty unresponsive, except every once in a while she'd open her eyes for just a few seconds and then close right back up. We decided to visit them at the hospital the following Sunday. When we got to the hospital, we met with the family to inquire about her condition and the proceeded to her bedside.

    Now since my wife is more familiar with Nanay, I had her speak to her first, in her native language, telling her that we came all the way over from the States to see her and chitchat like that. Then she motioned me over and asked me to speak to her, though I only know English (most Filipinos are able to understand English, even if they don't speak it well). So I told her that we are praying for her recovery and that Tatay wants her to come home.

    I don't know why, but all of a sudden Nanay opened her eyes as I was talking to her, and she started staring right at me as I spoke to her. Then my wife began asking in her language if she understood me, and she nodded her head yes, but could not speak. And as we continued talking to her, she began moving her legs around. The rest of the family we as startled as we were that this was happening. She responded to more of my wife's questions and seemed aware of us. Since we just came from church, I decided to sing to her "Seek Ye First", which we sang that morning, and as I was singing, she began to tap her hand on her stomach to the beat of the song. And it occured to me to pray for her salvation, so I started praying for the Lord to save and as I prayed, the more she moved around. Then we asked her if she wanted to be saved and go to heaven, and she nodded yes, so we prayed a prayed to invite Jesus Christ to save her. Then we asked her if she understood what she did, and she nodded yes.

    Well, it was time to leave the hospital and said our goodbyes to Nanay and her family. We told the family to keep stimilating her senses, that perchance she could come out of it. But we later got report that she went back to her comotose state almost as soon as we left. She never responded in like manner again.

    A few days later, Nanay passed away.

    My only explanation for what happened is that God saw Nanay's need for Christ to enter her life. And that God opened up a window of opportunity for us to share the Gospel with her while we were there. Why did He use us? Maybe because no one else told her about salvation through Jesus Christ, and we just happened to be available.

    But that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
     
  2. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Dondi,

    I am glad that this brings you some sense of peace and meaning, but it's fallacious to assume that applying logic is automatically a reaction to the sense that something defies logic and it is certainly not the case for me. I simply notice different tendencies and possibilities as a matter of course just as I would with much more common situations. But I understand you may have a need to reject possible logical explanations ahead of time to strengthen your ability to hold onto the meaning you find in the situation and I respect that. Meaningfulness can be a wonderful thing, like finding just the right seasonings to enhance the flavor of a meal.

    There is a fascinating human tendency to notice that which defies the norm, to take no note of the mundane, such that when something happens that appears out of the ordinary we attribute special meaning to it even though it may very well be within the normal unfolding of events, perhaps even calculable if enough variables are known. We also can have a tendency to attribute causality where there is no clear causal relationship. If I open a book and at the same time the lights go out I might ascribe a special relationship, it may indeed feel like there is one, but that doesn't make it so. It is more likely that it was chance or, as you noted, she was responding to sensation. The fact that she didn't respond to other sensation does not then mean that something else was going on. It only means she was more responsive for a particular window of time.

    Just the other day I was washing dishes to prepare for shabbos and noticed that the mixer in my hand resembled a crown of the Torah, keter, yom kippur which is very near. When I looked at the fork in my hand it occurred to me that it one point extending out until it becomes four prongs, which I immediately grasped to an association with the olamot. Then I noticed all of the sewer caps say BSD as I was walking to shul, which I had not noticed before. BS"D is used as an abbreviation for b'siyata d'shamaya, with heaven's help. Now I might from this assume a message that noticing myself readying what appeared to be a crown and that moment with the fork had something more than a subjective meaning, that somehow it was... with heaven's help. Or perhaps I might think that despite my girlfriend's not feeling well midway through the walk, feeling actually as if she might vomit and becoming quite dizzy, that her recovery and ability to walk the rest of the way with little difficulty was with heaven's help. But there is no demonstrative relationship between these events, only my seeking out meaning and finding what I am seeking for, my weaving together the moments of my life into a tasty story.
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    It is a choice we make to see spirit in everything or see it in nothing. At times the simplest things are highlighted to us...and to the person standing next to us they see nothing...

    Dondi, I honor your memory of the happenings during and after your visit with Nanay, and know that she was appreciative of your presence, thought and actions.
     
  4. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Miracles happen everywhere everyday Dondi. I am so glad that you shared your family moments with the rest of us. I'm sure that Nanay was aware of what was happening to her and all those around her who cared for her. Thank you.

    flow....:)
     
  5. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    wil,

    do you consider perception to as a matter of course reflect Truth? What about when two people perceive the same thing differently as you have mentioned? Is it only perception that is not founded in rational analysis that reflects Truth for you to resolve the potential for conflicting absolutes? Is it the person who perceives something that is not objectively verifiable who is more correct? Does a schyzophrenic have more ready access to Truth than someone who does not hear voices or see that which others cannot?
     
  6. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Not saying that there wasn't a logical explanation for what happened. All I meant by that comment is that all too often people are quick to find a logical explanation because they dismiss out of hand the possibility of something else just because it doesn't fit their paradigm. And, I might add, even if it were something else, that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a logical explanation to it.

    Was it a coincidence? Perhaps. But it certainly wasn't an ordinary coincidence. And it did have a purpose. But I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Besides, if that we the only bizarre thing that happened on my trip, I might be inclined to agree with you. But there was more...
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I see perception as a matter of course to reflect a truth...how could it not? Please note I like the word reflect and perceive in the statement as it allows the statement in my perception...

    Is this wall real, is there a reason that I think I am writing one thing one person perceives it one way and is overjoyed another another way and is pissed off....and both may be valid...a matter of perspective.

    In Dondi's case with Nanay would I guarantee that she understood everything he said because she nodded or said yes? um no. But do I feel that she felt an incredible compassion and caring from him and his family during that moment and that both excited her enough to be more lucid than she had in days, her niece and her family from across the water were here, that she felt a completeness and that it was ok to surrender...yes. I've been there a couple of times, it gives me goose bumps thinking about it, as it did when I read the story Dondi related...and I'm glad he's stickin to it!

    And your little notions of manmade objects and happenstances during a stroll representing spirit...do I think they do? Sure...does your thinking have to match mine or the person standing right next to you, or your own thinking from one moment to the next?? NO, but that doesn't preclude that they are not true...in that moment, from that perspective...and that there exists an infinite amount of more of the same that can be gleaned between each one....or nothing.

    Dondi, I await the next chapter...
     
  8. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Dondi,

    I understand what you're saying now. I don't think it makes sense to dismiss something like that either, nor that much could be gained by doing so unless the experience itself suggests something destructive like a voice urging homicide. When I read what you said I thought you meant more that it can only be explained on the terms that you understand it and that the attempt to understand something logically is by default a reaction to something logic cannot explain. I wouldn't begin to suggest that logic definitely can explain it as logic makes its own assumptions, but rather that it's another possibility.
     
  9. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Wil,

    when you say a truth I think you mean truth with a little t, that is, subjective truth, as opposed to truth with a big T, what actually is, that is you are not talking about what reality is but the way it is perceived. if we use the story of the blind men and the elephant, it sounds like you are focusing on the fact that all of the blind men are touching the elephant, while I am pointing out that they are each only touching a part of an elephant. I don't see any fault in claiming that the trunk is a part of the elephant, but only in claiming that the two are synonymous, removing subjectivity from the equation, disregarding that we each see with a lens and lenses by definition distort light.
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Now I know this is the lounge and hence the earlier concern for location of this thread...but as some of us are believers...I find it interesting to think that we could think that it be logical that G!d/Spirit was not involved...

    In my world miracles are both logical and natural and will be explained eventually by science and G1d will be involved..

    (I'm really liking using the explanation point as when I miss the shift there is still a ONE there and there is a metaphor waiting to be explored in regards to what the shift is from 1 to !....)
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    But how can we discard our lense? Is it not truth with a big T that he feels the tusk (or the sea is ice) and he feels the the tail ( the sea supplies), and he feels the trunk (the sea is a resort)?

    Is it not ok and TRUTH that we only have part of the equation and can't we be satisfied with that if we don't have the opportunity to get to the other part of the elephant? Is G!d choosing not to smile on the farmer when I get dry days on my vacation?
     
  12. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Dauer,

    You comments are duly noted. Logic is a perception also, no? What may seem logical to one, may not be logical to another.

    wil,

    I'm not sure whether or not I want to write another chapter. Maybe, I haven't decided. I'm wondering if it will provide another piece of the elephant.
     
  13. greymare

    greymare New Member

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    dondi, old mate, here is my thoughts. You asked/prayed and it was responded to. Simple as that. Dont doubt what you already know. remember, not everyone gets a private glimpse of the power that happened in that hospital in the phillipines. You should not be surprised really, you of anyone should be nodding your head and saying, yes, well , here is the proof. I am still searching for my faith. You and your wife and family have had yours confirmed. I am happy for you and I bet Nanay is too.


    Dauer, if your girlfriend is feeling ill after a bit of a walk, maybe she should see a doctor.

    love the Grey
     
  14. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Good for you?
     
  15. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    What a great post! Not that I'm any authority on the matter, but surely God works through His devotees (i.e Dondi).

    Best wishes,

    ... Neemai :)
     
  16. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Next chapter:

    Our original intention for our trip to PI was to see my wife's father, presumably before he passed on. (At this writing, he's as healthy as a bull and his latest checkup shows normal heartbeat and blood pressure, pretty much a good bill of health, thank God). But since Papang was healthy, we were now better able to enjoy our visit as a regular vacation.

    During the first part of the week, we met with the Pastor of the local Baptist church, which has had a long history dating back to the 1950s, in which my wife’s family was one of the founding families (Baptist churches are a bit of a rarity, owning to the fact that the Philippines are about 95% Catholic.) Then I got a shocker when that Pastor told me he wanted me to preach the next Sunday. Me, preach? HA! I’m just a layman. I’ve never step behind a pulpit before. I’ve taught Sunday school classes and conducted Bible studies, but preach? Well, I tried to tell the Pastor that I wasn’t really qualified to preach, but he insisted. So out of respect, I took to the challenge. But I must say I felt an awesome responsibility on my shoulders. I do not take lightly the preaching of the Word of God and prayed that I might rightly divide the word of truth. I sought God for the right message during the week.

    Since I didn't know a lot of Tagalog (the official language of the Philippines), I often felt left out of the adult conversation. So I ended up hanging mostly out with my wife's nephew and nieces. Well, I guess they are my nephews and nieces as well, since I married into the family. But anyway, they all spoke fairly good English and I got to talking with them and playing cards and chess. One day, we were stuck sitting around the house due to a typhoon and the kids were sitting on the couch and they began to sing Bible songs in English. So I asked them if they learned them in Sunday school, which they replied yes. Then my wife and I taught them some more Bible songs, most notably “Noah’s Arky (Rise and Shine)”. The song basically goes through the story of Noah. But when I asked the children if they heard of Noah, I was surprised that they said no. So I conducted a little Bible study right then and there. Oh, I tell you, these kids just ate it up! They wanted a Bible study most every day. And then they wanted to learn more Bible songs. And I had them memorize several verses, notably John 3:16 and Romans 6:23. Boy, you should have seen then grab the Bibles we brought with us and sit down to memorize those scriptures. They had such a hunger for the Word. But from these verses I had to explain the Gospel to them, for they hadn’t really heard it (What were these children learning in Sunday school, anyway?).

    Another song popped in my head, namely “Seek Ye First”, which led me to make the theme of my sermon, based on Matthew 6:33. So I taught the kids the song and told them they will sing it Sunday morning, along with citing the memory verses, before my sermon. They were hesitant, but I assured them they could do it, and not to be embarrassed to go up.

    Since the Bible study with the my nephews and nieces were doing so well, we decided to have another Bible study during a family reunion that was planned to commemorate the death of my wife’s mother, who died on August 11, 1986. Every year, my wife’s family gathers together to remember her, and is the biggest gathering of relatives during the year. Weird that we happened to be there just at that time. Coincidence maybe? At any rate, we had 80 kinfolk show up. I gave a Gospel message and as a result, 12 children (virtually all my bible study lids) and 1 adult (my wife’s sister-in-law) received Christ as Savior. Praise God!

    More to come….
     
  17. cavalier

    cavalier New Member

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    Just read your original post. I'm not sure what I think about it, but am very pleased you posted it, and that I read it.
     
  18. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Dondi...IMHO you are being "called" to do something. Only G-d knows what that might be...and only you can discover what it might be by especially looking into the "weird coincidences" that seem to be popping up in your life. And trust me, when it comes to this sort of stuff...there are no coincidences.
    Just my two cents.

    flow....;)
     
  19. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    I do get that "CLICK" feeling. Like a lock whose tumblers are lining up as the key is being pushed in. Seems things are falling into play in most pecular ways.

    A caveat to my story: While I was there in PI, it just so happened there was older retired U.S. Navy 20-year veteran (a Filipino) in the same town, who used to be classmates with my brother-in-law. And he heard that I was there and that I was a fellow retired U.S. Navy 20-year veteran as well, and so he came to visit me. (Now you first have to understand that this village was small enough that you'd probably would expect too many U.S. citizens to reside here, let alone Navy vets. Most vets if they do retire in PI usually are in Manilla or around Olongapo/Subic Bay area or some other highly populated area. So, to have a U.S. Navy vet in the same village is rare).

    Now let me back up a little and say that my wife and I had previously discussed the possibility of retiring to the Philippines, perhaps after the kids had finished school. But I was under the impression that if I was a U.S. citizen, I would have to return to the U.S. every six months and then come back to PI. That I would have to cycle back and forth between the two like that. (I wasn't that up on immigration laws).

    But when I talked to this fellow that visited me, he told me that I could get a permanent resident visa in PI for a five year period and not have to travel back to the States at all. And I could still retain my U.S. citizenship. And he showed the fairly simple process in obtaining one and offered whatever assistance I needed should I chose to apply for it.

    So I am asking myself why I am meeting people who would just happen to be the right people I need. I, too, am wondering if I'm being "called" to the Philippines somehow, perhaps as a missionary or some such.
     
  20. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

    I believed that God led me to choose “Seek Ye First” due to the fact that I was to preach before a poor fishing village. Most of my brothers-in-law are fishermen, who spend long hours day and night in banca boats trying to catch fish off the coast of the village. It’s hard during the rainy season and the typhoons, for the seas are too rough to ride and the normally clear waters too murky to see the fish. Often they are not able to fish, or when they do, they net little. Still, there is always rice. As God provides, my wife and I try to help them financially. But it is my firm belief that if we would seek the Kingdom of God first, and His righteousness through Christ, then He will provide for all our needs. I’d like to see my brothers-in-law come to church more often. More importantly, I would they see for themselves the mercy and greatness of God, if they only learn to trust Him. But that Sunday, after the sermon, I saw three people get saved, and many more make a commitment to put God first in their lives.
    I did go fishing with two of my brothers-in-law, for I wanted to experience for myself what how they fish. So one clear day we set out in two banca boats, one with a large net, one without, and rode out to the open sea. I was in constant prayer for a good catch that day, though one of my brothers-in-law was not so optimistic. The waters were still murky after the recent storm. They usually spot fish by diving under, but now they had to fish blind. But I was determined to pray for a good day of fishing, hoping God would honor my prayer to exceed my brothers-in-law‘s expectations. I really wanted to show them that my sermon wasn’t just talk. We stopped in an area about 15 kms out, the other boat floating some distance away. The boat I was in trailed a long line that had small water bottles tied as certain intervals along the line. The bottles kept the line afloat, but I think they must have had bait along the line also, for the boat made a wide slow circle to attract the fish. When it was felt the bait was doing its task, we veered over to the other banca boat and let out our net over to them. We separated from the other boat again, letting the net out in a huge circle coming back around to the other side, so that the net would encompass a large area. The net floated on the waters by buoys attached at certain intervals along the net. Once the circle was completed, divers swam to the middle of the circle to scared the fish outward to catch them into the net. Then the net was slowly drawn in. I really didn’t do much but pray.

    I kept remembering the time the disciples were fishing and having a dismal day, and Jesus called out to them to cast their net in a certain manner. But how the disciples were skeptical of Jesus for they had been fishing all night. Yet they obeyed and caught so much fish that their nets could hardly bear it. So I prayed for a similar thing to happen, trying hard not to waver in faith.

    Well, we didn’t strain any nets with an overabundance of fish, but we did net than they had expected to get, considering the blind circumstances, which I thank God for being faithful. So we headed back to the beach and had a great grillout.

    Sometime later, my niece (a daughter of one of the brothers-in-law I went fishing with) came up to me and told me that her father had been reading the Bible every night. Maybe I'm starting to reaching them...

    Still more.....
     

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