August 2, 2015
At 21 years old I lived for a week in a remote town in Bukidnon with a fellow Jesuit novice and five 7 year old boys. The Jesuit missionary in charge of the place, left us alone to go down to Cagayan de Oro for work. My partner, Louie, and I were in charge of his small shack and the communion service or whatever pastoral needs the small community had. One day into the assignment, five kids unexpectedly showed up to stay with us for the next three or four days. By the evening of day two we only had enough food for one more meal.
The small town was called Bendum. To get there we had to walk two hours from the largest town in the area called, Zamboangita. To get to Zamboangita, you had to ride for 2 hours from Malaybalay — which was another 2 hours from Cagayan de Oro. There was a small sari-sari store in Bendum but all it had left was some Tanduay Rum. The neighbours probably had less than us.
We felt help was not coming anytime soon and that we were the ones in charge — and we didn’t know what to do. This is how I remember the conversation with Louie that night as we were trying to figure things out:
“What if we ration the food over the next few days Jake?”
“The kids are hungry now and I can’t imagine going three days being constantly hungry. That’s just going to be miserable.”
“So what do you think we should do?”
“Louie, why don’t we eat our last good meal tonight that way we all get a good nights sleep and then figure out what we do tomorrow.”
“Sige Jake. Bahala na si Lord sa atin.”
When Louie woke up the next day, he found a sack of sweet potatoes right outside the door. We went around that morning asking the neighbours who gave us the food. No one knew.
Up to this day, this pattern has held true in my life. What I need shows up when I need it. I was a freelance producer for four years and every time I needed another contract, it would just come. Just the other day, I was worried about how to cover a shortfall in the company when I received a phone call asking us to do some work and that would cover what we needed.
A spiritual director and good friend told me once, “Jake from your life story, I can tell that God takes good care of you.”