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Nellie Sonido Feng

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by Nellie Sonido Feng   
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Last edited: Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2004

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A true account of God’s faithfulness and mercy. In time as an Ash Wednesday ( February 25, 2004 ) offering to Our God Who is Worthy of All Praise


My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, my shield,
the horn of my salvation, and my refuge ;
You are worthy of praise. ~ Psalm 18

A true account of God’s faithfulness and mercy. In time as an Ash Wednesday ( February 25, 2004 ) offering to Our God Who is Worthy of All Praise

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
Copyright February 23, 2004 Nellie Sonido Feng

Pangs of sadness assailed her as she started rummaging for the sealed packet of stainless acupuncture needles bought on March 1991 when she first visited Shanghai, China. There were two sets actually, one set she gave to her then 82 year old father while the other set she stashed away somewhere for remembrance. She just needed to unearth it amidst the clutter accumulated for almost 13 years ( Today being already January 31,2004) !

Her father, old that he is, still manages to ease his arthritis by self- administering the acupuncture needles on his knees. It is very important that she find and send the needles to him, soon ! Her father has been without his own set ever since the disastrous First Friday 6 P.M. fire on December 5, 2003

As she continued searching , her thoughts wandered…
The fire incident was so sudden. Nothing was saved from their provincial home and business site. It was totally razed to the ground. The goods for sale in the store, the narra furnishings, the acupuncture needles, the Chinese herbal medicine books, the important documents, photographs of her long departed mother and the ancestral pictures, the mementos of her maiden days … even her father’s false dentures … her older brother’s medical books , medical apparatus , antique collections and exotic masterpieces of preserved flora and fauna … the wooden sculptures of Jesus, Mary and the saints painstakingly commissioned by her eldest brother and younger sister …. the bride’s maid gown of her sister AND all of her siblings’ worldly possessions …all completely reduced to ashes… so much loss … so much pain…

Before falling into the abyss of self-pity, she consoled herself…even though her ailing father escaped the disaster with only the shirt on his back, the family are eternally grateful to God that no one was hurt, that no life was lost, that it was not raining , and that it was not in the wee hours of the night, so, her older brother, the doctor, was able to evacuate their father without causing any health trauma despite the catheter and all. It was also a blessing that her youngest brother have his own abode. The rest of the family are now sheltered in his home. What’s more, those who cared from near and far , were there to show their sincere concern . They generously gave of their time and resources to alleviate the sense of loss and hopelessness…

Still lost in thought while opening cabinets here and drawers there, what did she find aside from the sealed packet of acupuncture needles? Not one, nor two, but three cookbooks . These would be very helpful for her seaman brother , now stranded on land for want of a bigger foreign vessel to work on. His last stint was working as the chief cook on a small vessel. The whole employment period was spent on sea cooking as well as combatting seasickness . “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENTH ME “ was his constant prayer as inspired by their very good Jesuit friend. With God’s mercy he was able to set aside some of his earnings. He decided to start constructing a modest one storey, three door building last September 8, 2003. His ultimate goal was to settle on land. He hopes to earn his keep from the rent income that the two doors would generate. Meanwhile he would eke out a living by selling cooked rice and viands…

Of all her siblings, he was the most devastated by the December 5 fire. All his belongings bought from his hard earned income as a seaman were burned down. His documents namely: his seaman book , his passport, his training certificates, his birth certificate were devoured by the merciless conflagration. His spirit was crushed. The uplifting melody of gospel music which he used to prefer over the noisy rock music ever since he embraced Jesus does not appeal to him anymore. He stopped attending mass saying that he was too busy in the construction. He could not bring himself to openly complain to God so he spent most of his evenings drinking beer to numb his loss. His building is yet to be finished. His fund was slowly drying up… The closest thing that he did in going back to the Presence of God was when he agreed to accompany her to the exposed Blessed Sacrament during her visit with the family last Christmas ...

Finding the acupuncture needles and the three cookbooks before the clock struck 8 that Saturday morning really raised her hopes. Maybe, just maybe, it might rekindle her brother’s interest for seafaring as an acceptable option.

On Sunday, February 1, 2004 , her only sister updated her about the leak in their father’s catheter. It was either defective or maybe their father’s enlarged prostate was turning for the better. She also reported that although the stall of their seaman brother was not yet finished, he has started selling food. His crewing agency have called him for a possible seafaring job but he was not so keen on going to the capital for the interview. With his work documents gone , he has no intention in spending his last money on reconstructing his burned papers. Besides, the job is not certain and he has to undergo training. He never liked the pressure of the job at sea too. The sad thing was, he only have US$2000.00 left from his savings and would now want to convert it to Philippine Peso so that he could have his car repaired. He plans to turn down the job when the agency calls again on Monday. Her sister told their brother that whatever he decides, the decision should be his. This way there would be no regrets.

Reason dictates that working as a seaman would help her brother finish his building, it could also mean a more secure future for him. The task at hand is to help her brother own the decision to brave the open seas once again. Why were the cookbooks only uncovered and sent the day before? Clearly , this must be God’s way of telling him there is yet work for him at sea ! How many seamen have languished for years on land waiting for job placements? Her heart skipped a beat , could this be an opening for her brother ? She proceeded to send a text message to her sister informing her to check out the courier company on Monday for the package she sent containing the cookbooks and the acupuncture needles. She concluded the message with : GOD HAS ALL PLANNED. WE TRUST.
She also sent this text message to her brother : CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR GOD’S GUIDANCE AND BLESSING IN ALL YOU DO.

Monday morning of February 2,2004
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
She was able to sell her brother’s $1,000.00 at P55.90. She also called him up long distance and encouraged him to trust in the goodness of God. Her brother told her that he will turn down the offer . She could sense that her brother did not want to hope too much. He was also concerned that he would not qualify for the job because he was already 43 years old and the age limit was 35.

Overwhelming sorrow bordering to despair engulfed her after the phone conversation was ended. She cried out to God because she wanted to help her family some more but there was no extra fund from her end too… the heaviness stayed with her the whole day…until close to 4PM in the afternoon, she gradually felt God’s Gentle Presence in her heart . God flooded her understanding with so many things and among them was this :

“ I will look after ALL your needs,your father, your siblings included.
You will be free to serve Me, unfettered by worldly concerns.
I will look after EVERYTHING.
Let that be your consoling thoughts
in the mornings and in the evenings
all the days of your life.
People will listen to you because you have known
what it is like to wait and trust without knowing what is yet to come.”

She did not know how these events would come to pass,
but she was consoled as over and over she repeated …
Like the refreshing cool waters , it was soothing to her aching heart.

Late in the evening , news came from her brother . He said the crewing agency called him up past 5PM and encouraged him to process his papers, take the interview and aim for the job. He brought up the age limit of 35, he was told that even if he was already 43 he still have a chance. This gave him new hope. The agency also asked him to wait for their call because they will verify about the age limit. Her brother was encouraged but he was also wary that maybe it was the evil one’s ploy to raise his hopes only to dash it to the ground. She assured him of the family’s prayers. She also told him that she will be enlisting their spiritual friends to pray for God’s plan to manifest in his life.

February 3, 2004 Tuesday evening , her brother sent her a text message that the agency did not call anymore , maybe he was not included in those lined up for interview because he was over-aged but he said it’s okay with him. She told him to continue to pray for blessing and guidance from God and to seek His will in all areas of his life. She also reminded him that God knows what is best for him. So if the job is for him, God will surely make a way. She exhorted her brother to continue to trust God.

February 4 ,2004 Wednesday
She woke up with an expectant heart, she felt something beautiful will surely happen today. True enough ! Her brother updated her in the evening that the agency called . He was asked to be in the capital for the job interview by February 9. Her brother said that if he does not pass the interview he would come home to the province right away because he does not want to use up his remaining funds. Again, she assured him of prayers from those who cared. She told him it absolutely is okay to go home if he does not make it in the interview. All the while “ ALL IS WELL WITH THE LORD AT ALL TIMES” has become her consoling thoughts in the mornings and in the evenings.

February 9, 2004 Monday
She learned that her brother qualified for the job overseas. If his new seaman book and passport as well as his other related documents are ready before the end of February, he will be able to leave for work by March 2, 2004

February 12, 2004 Thursday
Her brother got the new seaman book and the authenticated certificates from his training school but his passport would take13 days before it could be released. He feared this would be too late for the March 2 schedule. The agency stepped in and requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to release his passport earlier.

“GOD , YOU ARE SO GOOD!” was all that she could happily say as tears of gratitude welled from her eyes.

February 18, 2004 Tuesday
Her brother’s passport was released today. He asked for prayers from the family that he would pass the complete medical (physical )examination . After this, he would be eligible to undergo a three day training ending February 25 then he would finally be set to leave for work on March 8.

February 21, 2004 Saturday
Her brother passed the medical examination , he leaves for training on February 22. He plans to go home to the province to say goodbye to the family , specially their father, on February 28 and he would leave for his new job as an assistant cook by March 8 , 2004.

Listening to her brother confidently talk about his schedule was a far cry from her very same brother who told her on the evening of February 4 that he would go home if he does not qualify in the interview.

With Divine Providence gently nudging him every step of the way, he could not deny that it was God’s hand all along that slowly helped him reclaim his self esteem . It was God Who sent him people that gradually built-up his self-confidence. At last, he has finally owned the decision to venture on a seafaring job again.

His promise has come to pass. He took care of her father and He took care of her brother , not by her own merits but purely through A Great God’s grace and mercy.

Writing her thoughts down as the events unfurled chronologically, she fervently pray that it would give hope.Yes, hope to those who still wait on the Lord’s will in their lives . Hope that would sustain them to continue trusting in A Faithful , Loving and Merciful God. For as she , her loved ones and their spiritual friends have experienced first hand, truly , ALL IS WELL WITH THE LORD AT ALL TIMES !

Solo Deo Gloria
Copyright February 23,2004
Nellie Sonido Feng

Reader Reviews for "ALL IS WELL"

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 4/12/2004
enjoyed the read
Reviewed by Jay Driskell 3/1/2004
This is a wonderful homey fanily type of writing that gives such a wonderful insight into the workings of GOD into daily life. All of us have had similar ups and downs, but Nellie had used words so well to express all of this.
She is right -

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