My Sydney Village Story
I have been here in Australia for 3 years and 8 months. It was a struggle for me to come here. Hindi ko po pinangarap na umalis ng Pilipinas dahil ang paniwala ko doon po ako tinawag para magsilbi. I had a comfortable life in the Philippines. I worked in one of the established companies and my whole family was there including my parents, brothers, cousins, close friends, my church, ministries and small groups. In short, may village po ako sa Pilipinas na ayaw ko pong iwan.
I left because God called me to minister in Australia. Even before I got married, the Lord had clear instructions that I will be spending the next years of my life in a place unknown to me. It was the Abraham journey. So, I gave up everything to come and live here with my husband and son who was 1 ½ years old at that time. It was difficult for me to uproot myself and leave everything behind. Hindi po naging madali ung paglipat para sakin lalo na’t wala po kaming kamag anak dito na pwedeng makatulong sa adjustment namin.
I am thankful that the church is here. Sila po ang naging pamilya namin. They became our village. They helped us with our adjustment, lalo na po ako. My husband came a year earlier than me and my son to find work and get settled. It was the church who encouraged him and prayed with him during this arduous time. It took a while before he was able to find a job and when he did, the church celebrated with him as well. The church was there during our highs and lows. The day we, my son and I, arrived here in Sydney, yung mga kasama po namin sa church ang una naming bisita. They stopped by to bring food, left at once to give us time to rest. For me, it was very thoughtful and sweet and it made me feel welcomed.
The challenge of living in Australia continues. Hindi po uso dito ang yaya, I had to stay at home and look after my son; that meant giving up my career for a while. Yes, there are child care facilities here but I am not comfortable leaving my son to strangers who do not speak our language and had a different culture. I wanted my son to be with someone who can teach him our moral values and pass on to him our culture, like our relatives and yayas in the Philippines. Since wala po dito, that had to be me. I was not used to staying home and just doing household chores and playing with my son. Nakakaloka po yung walang kausap maghapon. My church community helped me to adjust and made me feel that Australia is home. Madalas po nila ako kumustahin at ayain lumabas para malibang at makipagkwentuhan.
It went on until I gave birth to my second son and my youngest daughter. Giving birth here is different in giving birth in the Philippines. Malakas po ang support group satin dahil andyan na agad ang magulang, mga kapatid, mga kamag anak sa ospital bago ka pa manganak. At babantayan ka nila hanggang makalabas ka. Here, it was just me and my husband. Alagang alaga po ng mga doctors and nurses ang mga bagong panganak satin, talagang complete bedrest para sa bagong mommy para makarecover. Dito po, since walang ibang gagawa for you, kelangan bumangon na agad after manganak para maligo at mag ayos dahil ikaw na din magbabantay kay baby, kasama mo na agad sya sa kwarto. Ang nursery po dito ay para lamang sa mga baby na may sakit. May visiting hours po dito, and even the husband is not allowed to stay overnight, kelangan din po nyang umuwi. For me, it was really very different from when I gave birth to my eldest son in the Philippines. But I was no longer surprised when I was giving birth here dahil na orient na po ako ng mga nanay sa church na dito na po nanganak. They prepared me on what to expect kaya medyo naging madali na po sakin. Sila po ang naging support group namin dito. In both instances, they took care of my other children when I was giving birth because my husband was with me. When we got home, some of them visited to help with the chores. Ipinagluto po kami at ipinaghugas ng pinggan. Para na rin po kaming nasa Pilipinas na may mga kamag anak na nag aalaga sa bagong panganak.
The church’s support did not end there and it continues to this day. For me, the greatest help they give our family is looking after our children from time to time and helping us raise them in a godly community. Indeed, it takes a godly village to raise a godly child. .
MY VILLAGE STORY
Isa siguro ako sa masasabing malabong Christian sa Pilipinas, laging present every Sunday services and midweek services pero walang mission o laban sa buhay. Masasabi kong isa ako sa mga mediocre Christian at maaring maikukumpara sa isang fig tree na hindi lumaki at nagbunga.
When we move here in Sydney, sabi ko sa sarili ko maximum of 5 years lang ang stay ko dito at uuwi na ako sa Pilipinas. At that time na compute ko na sa isip ko na meron na akong mga earthly things or yung mga tintawag nating “ Yaman sa Mundo ”. I bet in that five years nakabili na ako ng bahay, lupa at Kotse sa Pilipinas. Nandun lang ang mind set ko. At ang akala ko nun un na ang tinatawag na “fulfilled life”. All of my plans are just for myself and maybe will extend only up to my family.
Everything changes after God changes my perspective in life. It all started after the opening of small group in the Church. God allows people in church to help me Journey in my life. The church gives us the opportunity to restore my mistake.
I started my life here in Sydney by a mistake, I entered through a Fiancé’ visa and we got married by a marriage celebrant for me to get a faster visa approval without even considering what would be the outcome of that decision. We made this decision without consulting anyone. But the church encouraged us to correct our mistake, to receive the grace of God and start again. Then, we decided to get married in the church by the help of our Coaches and Church mates.
After that we experienced the Bigness of God and how to be His son. The over flowing blessing from God is incomparable, From the aspect of family, church and work. Especially to the our emotional baggage, mas nakahinga kami ng maluwag dahil wala na kaming tinatago at God gives us a peaceful mind and He washed away all the guilt in our hearts.
God gave us our first son Nathan and blessed us not just a stable job but a far better job. God allows us to meet the couples in the small group so we can learn how to respect and love each other. He allows us to learn how to raise a child by the help of the families in the church. Lalo na dito sa Australia na malayo ang family na tutulong except sa church family. Dahil din sa Iglesia mas madali kaming nakapag adjust dito sa Australia, hindi namin na-feel ang homesickness dahil mas nag-concentrate ang buhay namin sa mga laban ng iglesia, para sa Kingdon ng panginoon.
God journey with us even on the difficulties in life, he prepares everything from finding a house close to church, and my wife getting a job near home. God has showed us how He loved us from small things like sending people from the church to rescue us when we got stuck on the road and someone to take care of our son since both of us are working. Little by little without even noticing my perspective in life is changing dramatically, I am starting to walk with a mission and vision in life. Making my life more meaningful and fruitful.
The church gives me a wider reason why I exist. The church teaches me to give love to others like how they loved me. How to give grace to others like how God has shown me grace.
The church give me the exact timing and the best way paano ako makakatulong saking mga kasama sa iglesia at sa mga kapwa Filipino. The church I have is my “Village”, and it is just right to say that we need each other. We need a Spiritual Village to bear fruit spiritually. It teaches me how to be courageous, wise, strong and to dream big without forgetting the great principle in life which is to be a brother’s keeper of one another.
Now, because of the village I have and even we know Christian life is impossible, I can live my life with a purpose and a joy in my heart because I know I am not alone in this journey. .