“12 The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (From Psalm 92 NASB)
I expounded verse 14 to our seniors a few months ago in our Senior Moments fellowship. Thanks be to God that it holds true for all of them; they are still alive and kicking, actively serving the Lord.
One of them celebrated her birthday yesterday–in fact, her 85th! God has given her a loooong life. We call her Mommy O, the most senior member of our church. How could I forget her birthday? It’s the same as my mom’s (who went to be with the Lord in 2011). My mommy would have been 83 yesterday. She and Mommy O were very close and dear friends. In fact, Mommy O would often shed tears when memories of her friendship with my mom would come up in conversations.
Though a Bulakena like my mom, Mommy O was really born and raised in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. The family moved to Bulacan only after her graduation from elementary. Her father hailed from San Miguel, the northernmost town of Bulacan province near the boundary with Nueva Ecija. She would spend her high school years in San Miguel and excel in track and field in her school.
College would bring her to Manila. She began her tertiary education at Arellano College but would wind up graduating from National University (NU). At NU she would show a talent for softball and would become an athlete-scholar. Her active involvement in sports would have long-term effects as she continues to be trim and energetic even to this day.
She graduated with an elementary education degree in 1956 but she would not become a teacher. Rather, she would be employed for more than 22 years at the Philippine Veterans Office Auditing Department. She would be in charge of administering education benefits for veterans’ families. She would retire in 1979.
But sports was not her only love. She also developed another love at her alma mater, NU. A man named Francisco, five years her senior, who hailed from Pampanga, and who himself was a baseball player in high school, was working at the accounting office in NU. Francisco courted the young student and one day proposed to her by writing the words “I Love You” on a tissue paper which he handed to her inside the NU library. I am thankful that Mommy did not have a cold that day! But it all started there and it blossomed into a love relationship that would end up in marriage. They would tie the knot in October 1957.
Ultimately, Francisco would find opportunity to work abroad and be employed at an oil company in Libya. Unfortunately, he would meet an untimely death in 1987 while away from his family.
Not long after the tragedy of her husband’s death, God in His kind providence brought Mommy into contact with the church. One of our men who happened to work in the same office as Mommy’s daughter, Bang, would invite her (Bang) to attend worship at MCBC. It would not be long when it was Bang’s turn to invite her mommy. She would begin attending MCBC in late 1987.
Since then, Mommy would be a regular of MCBC. But it was only after three years of faithful attendance that God would open her eyes for her to truly understand the gospel. No amount of clear explanation of gospel truth both formally, in preaching, and informally, in conversation, would make her see the folly of her works-righteousness and idolatry until God opened her heart. She was baptized as a Christian in 1990.
Ever since, Mommy O has been a testimony of God’s grace. She fits the description of the godly person of Psalm 92:12-15. She is a very diligent, hard-working woman despite her age. She is very active in the ministries of the church, entertaining visitors, encouraging fellow seniors, doing kitchen duty, and being a very good example of faithful attendance of all of the stated meetings of the church. She greatly enjoys the sweet fellowship of God’s people and everyone in MCBC loves and respects her.
May the Lord give her strength of body and of soul and keep her faithful to the end. She is a woman of love and virtue and a shining example of faithful persevering devotion to Jesus. May the younger generation take note.
Happy birthday Mommy O!