A Year in the Life: Recounted with Thanksgiving for God’s Faithfulness through Many

It has been a record year in the life of the Espiritu household at New Castle, Indiana. Much has gone on in our lives together as a family that is worthy of time spent for shared reflection in retrospect toward preparing and propelling us forward in faith with renewed zeal, fervor and vision for the glory of the Lord our God in Christ.

 

On 9/11, 2010 marked the passing of my father Mariano G. Espiritu. Six months later on March 13, following an intense bout with cancer, my wife Melissa would go on to be at home in eternity with the Lord. On what would have been Melissa’s 50th birthday weekend in July our family celebrated our youngest child Sara Joy’s 7th birthday near the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay area where Melissa and I had spent some wonderful times together early on in our marriage. And on the 23rd anniversary of our wedding in August afterward, our six daughters and I remembered their mother upon our arrival in the capital of the Philippines where I was born. These are among the milestones and memory markers we have been enduring through our shared journeys of faith over the past year.

 

During our time this month in the land of my birth, we visited a museum honoring some recent martyrs for the cause of liberty and justice through peaceful democratic reforms opposing a previous dictatorial regime’s human rights abuses. One of the names listed on the memorial stone wall there was that of my mother’s older brother. My uncle Francisco, an outspoken leader for freedom in his township, had been tortured and killed when abducted by some henchmen of one of the Marcos regime’s political cronies on the eve of the snap election(s) that had been apparently rigged in favor of the incumbent dictatorship a few decades ago. It was at this place of honored remembrance that we found another, for us, notable name recorded among the earlier vocal leaders speaking out against the then emerging dictator’s crimes against humanity. At a time when other ecclesiastical leaders among the clergy in the Philippines were silent, the Rev. Cirilo A. Rigos voiced opposition against the oppression of what would later manifest as martial law.

 

Before Melissa and I ever met, this Presbyterian pastor who ministered to my sister and me and our parents during my early childhood in Manila had also ministered with Melissa, her parents and sisters while having had his training in ministry at their childhood church in Rochester, New York. Upon reading of his justice work in the plight of the Filipino people, we so very much sensed the Lord’s Providence in our lives together through the generations as God’s will continues to be worked out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

 

Not unlike I would imagine the greatest generation’s remembrances of seminal events in the North Atlantic theater of World War II might be along the beaches of Normandy and elsewhere in Europe, our family spent significant times toward the end of our last week along the shores of Subic Bay and the island of Corregidor remembering the remarkable events of WWII in the theater of the South Pacific among the waters between Asia and Australia. After touring an old lighthouse and presiding over a brief memorial service at an old Spanish mission’s island chapel, it was there by the dock at the end of the pier on the south side beach of Corregidor that we were blessed to share in solemn solitude the spreading of my father’s ashes upon the wind over the waters at the mouth of Manila Bay near the South China Sea. It was more heartening for me than I had expected or could ever dream for us to experience honoring the memory of my father and his service during WWII in this way at this time and place. We were blessed with such good weather and people with us on that special day among all the days of our travels.

 

Thank you, Beloved, for your prayers and support of our family in the work of grief and faith this year. In the words of General Douglas MacArthur, not only “I shall return,” but we are glad to have returned home. In God’s Grace and Peace, with you and yours, together we continue

Pastor Rex

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~ by prayersForMelissa on August 18, 2010.

One Response to “A Year in the Life: Recounted with Thanksgiving for God’s Faithfulness through Many”

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