A LIFESAVING BALIKBAYAN DAY
I was 5 years old and I had seen the inside of my doctor’s office for blood tests, just as often as I’d go to church. I was diagnosed with Hemolytic Anemia, a sort of cancer of the blood, I forget if it was my white or red blood cells that were depleting, but my blood cell levels needed to be monitored often.
At the time, there was no known cure for Hemolytic Anemia. Doctors suggested blood transfusions and moving to Seattle (from Hawaii) to live in the Ronald McDonald house to see a specialist. My parents felt helpless, they weren’t sure what to do, but they did the only thing they knew would help. We had devotional prayers and weekly anointing of oil. I remember there would be some days I would walk in on them, just praying on their own, on their knees, with their hearts speaking louder than their words.
Before my 6th birthday my parents decided to take the whole family to the Philippines so we could get a chance to see Brother Erano G. Manalo (Ka Erdy) at Balikbayan (Homecoming) day… they hoped to ask him for some advice. When we saw Ka Erdy my mom spilled her heart to him. She told him about how I was sick and the doctors presented all these options, and she asked him what we should do. Ka Erdy looked at me, put his hand on my head and told my parents “gagaling na yan” (She will get better).
Weeks after we returned home, the doctors revealed that my blood cells were returning to normal and that I didn’t need to get blood transfusions, I didn’t need to live in the Ronald McDonald house. The doctors called it a medical mystery, but my family and I call it a blessing!
It’s a blessing because even though I was young, I had already understood who God was and how he was an active participant in our family because my parents would always remind me about this second chance at life, they remind me of how great God’s love is and how awesome the power of prayer is. It’s especially a blessing because It was the foundation of my relationship with God.
<— Jan Valerio is a staff producer at INCMedia who moved from Hawaii to the Northern California Bay Area,and occasionally still likes to wear slippers even when it’s cold.