Part 5: Isang Gabi ng Pagalaala
Isang Gabi ng Pagalaala (An Evening of Remembrance)
After a much needed and refreshing nap we got ready to leave for dinner where we’d be meeting some very special friends. Once again, the traffic was insane so we decided to walk to our destination. Thankfully the rains held up and we arrived safely and dry! As we entered the mall known as ‘Greenbelt’ my eyes were popping out of my head as I saw a mall far superior to any mall at home in design and content of upscale stores. Nothing like this existed when we lived here and it was blowing my mind. We arrived at the restaurant ‘Max’s Chicken’ where Pabie and Emy were waiting for us. After exchanging very warm greetings and hugs with them Emy immediately shared with us how thankful she had been as I came alongside during her first pregnancy and coached her during her labour and delivery because Pabie was in Saudi Arabia working. And I also assisted her as a new Mom in caring for Timothy. Pabie in turn shared that I was their spiritual mother as they had both come to Christ after I shared the gospel during our Evangelism Explosion training. My heart was overflowing with joy and thanksgiving for this incredible blessing as we shared together. Soon after, Zennie arrived and we hugged warmly as my heart filled with thanksgiving for her. Zennie joined us as our ‘katulong’ (househelper) when we moved to Makati and was a tremendous help to us as a family. In our second term, she joined our family again to teach Katherine grades 1 and 2 in which she did an excellent job and again became a part of our family. Zennie was a very capable young woman and with help given to her she was able to study and secure a good job in later years. She also went through the heartache after we left of her husband being murdered and being left with a 13 month old son. Janet arrived and after warm hugs of greeting I heard more of her heartbreaking story and as we all shared a delicious meal together it was as if 35 years of absence fell away and the warmth of our friendships enveloped us as we laughed and cried together. We were ever so thankful that these dear friends, travelling 1 1/2 to 2 hours to meet us, had taken the time to spend this evening with us. As we said goodbye to each other, I couldn’t help but think that this may well be the last time I will see them this side of heaven but my heart was overflowing with joy for this privilege and blessing of being together again.
As we made our way back through the mall to our exit we were greeted by a downpour and we plunged into it as there was no choice. Once we got to the other side of the road we hoped to get a taxi but had no success. Traffic was at a standstill so we plodded on, sloshing through puddles and rivulets but at least having some protection with the help of umbrellas. We eventually gave up hope of getting a taxi and made our way to the hotel thankful to be out of the rain and though wet, not totally soaked. And there is no doubt that we arrived much sooner than had we taken a taxi. What an incredible evening we had enjoyed - an evening filled with wonderful memories, joy, laughter, tears, thanksgiving and the warmth of friendship.