February 12, 2008. It was my 25th birthday. Since i was far away from my family, i would really like to celebrate it with the people whom i have considered as my family. I have planned my day so well: Go to mass, a breakfast with my church friend Jorge, go to Cartago and just spend the morning in the Basillica, go to San Jose to make phone calls to Philippines, spend the afternoon in a park reading a Paulo Coelho book then cook Filipino food for our SFC household that night. I was so excited, that every spare moment that i had, i’d really think of how i will celebrate my birthday. But God has other plans.
When a tio told me i’ll be going to a province to have the KFC training for coordinators and it will fall on my birthday, it made me sad. I was telling God that i’m so far from my family and i just want to spend that day with the people close to me. But my God told me “Just go. And you will have the most memorable birthday ever.” And even if the stubborn me didn’t want to, i obeyed then went.
Puntarenas is a very hot province. It was a 360º turn of weather for me since where i am based is so cold. So the first day i was there, i got sick since my body hasn’t adjusted yet. I arrived on Sunday to attend an MPC activity, and then Monday i had a meeting with the coordinators. It is always a family custom to wait for the start of your birthday to pray, so even if i was tired and sleepy, i waited till the clock ticked fro 12:00 a.m. of Feb 12. i prayed, giving thanks to God for a ne w experience to celebrate my birthday in a new place, a new family and in mission. I just asked God to allow me to celebrate my day according to how he wanted to celbrate it.
So when i woke up, my host family told me that they planned to take me to Puntarenas centro to spend my day there. They gave me a tour of the centro, went to a municipal museum then walked on the beach. We even saw one football national team and had a picture with one of the team’s star. We went to a nice spot to watch the fishermen and talk to them, and wait for the sunset. After watching the sunset, my anfitrion David and i went to a Liturgia (it’s an almost-mass but celebrated by a delegado if there’s no priest) then went to a chinese store where we found SIOPAO (which, by the way is my favorite chinese.pinoy food and my first time after 9 months). Then went home.
When we arrived, i was surprised to see the unit head of the CFC-Puntarenas in our house. They told me that they and the other head will be attending the first session of the Corrdinators’ training so i started to prepare additional materials for one of our activity. We’re supposed to start at 7:30 p.m. but it was already 9:00 p.m. when everyone arrived. So i started teh song teaching when my anfitriona started singing “Feliz Cumpleaños” with a cake! I really didn’t have any idea that everyone was there because they have a surprise party for me! (And there i was, so tensed of how to do the training since we started late…)
Our God is a God of surprises. Yes, i did hope for manyt things for my birthday. But He never answered any of them; He gave more than what I asked for! i asked for a rainbow and He gave me the sunset. I asked for an afternoon in the park and He gave me the beach. I asked for flowers and He gave me wonderful creations around me. And i asked for a meaningful way to celebrate my birthday and He gave me the most wonderful birthday i ever had.
I may be far from my family and the people i love but God has given me people to treat me as part of their families. I may have celebrated it with new people but God used them to make my day so special. I may not have celebrated it the way i wanted but God has better way of doing it. Saying yes to God means allowing Him to do wonders for you. And I just obeyed and He really made my birthday special.May God be praised.
*for everyone, thank you for making my day special. J