Monday, April 8, 2013

OFW's As Mirror

by Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) scattered around the world is estimated to be over 10 million. With a population of 93 million, this number of OFW translates to over 1/10 of our people. Some have found permanent employment; others are not as fortunate. In Canada alone, stock estimate of Filipinos as of December 2011 is at 842,000, data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

Filipino employees – whether knowledge-based or skills-based – are known among foreign employers for their hard work and professionalism. In many fields, OFWs are top-of-the-mind choices.

Hard work has defined Filipinos.

In our culture, we refer to hard work as “kayod-kalabaw.” Kalabaw or carabao is the Philippines’ national animal because it is the ever-helpful partner of our farmers in their hard work to plant and harvest rice. Historically, carabaos were also the mode by which farm products were brought to the market. The Philippines is an agriculture country.

Meanwhile, professionalism has also been a noted characteristic of our people. The Filipino professionalism is best described by how defines “professionalism:”

“Behaving in a correct way at work and doing your job well.”

Filipinos generally respect their superiors in the work place and are dependable team-players. They work to get the job done.

Hard work and professionalism are Biblical. These are characteristics that are often reminded by God Himself or His servants in the Bible.

Daniel 6:3 (New King James Version): “Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him...”

Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”

1 Corinthians 10:31: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Bangon Pilipinas (Rise, Philippines) Movement continues to salute all our OFWs. They bring with them these values of hard work and professionalism. Outside the country, they serve as the mirrors that reflect the high level of excellence among Filipinos. We continue to hope that our OFWs would be accorded not only the protection that they need, but also the honor that they truly deserve.

Mabuhay, OFWs!

Shalom! Shalom!

Inclusive Economic Growth For 2013

by Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva

The new year literally opened for the Philippines with a bang. While it registered a high record of 33 percent annual growth for its stock market in 2012, as 2013 began, records were broken successively to the amazement of observers. We add the fact that the Philippine peso continues to be strong and has been recognized as the best performing currency in this part of the world.

We have many reasons to thank God for 2012. We have been exceedingly blessed. And they are the same reasons why we all need to work harder together so that the Philippines’ excellent performance last year would not falter, but instead continue in 2013. We cannot afford to lose the gains that we have painstakingly worked for as a nation through the leadership of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

The enormous challenge also is how to translate these positive economic figures into the actual improvement of the living standards of our citizens, especially the poor. Development must always be inclusive. In Filipino, we have two popular words for this: “Walang napag-iiwanan (No one is left behind).”

One way to make sure that no one is left behind is to create an environment that would be inviting for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Just like the small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) significant contribution to the economy of Canada, MSMEs also significantly contribute to the Philippine economy.

Canada and the Philippines also share the same high record of employment generation through SMEs. In the Philippines, from 2011 to 2012, more than 700,000 jobs were created trough programs that assisted MSMEs, according to the Department of Trade and Industries. This is one sure way to open better opportunities with the marginalized.

If we could have more MSMEs, more Filipinos would also have access to better economic living. And with this scenario in entrepreneurship, hopefully, our citizens would be more hopeful, inspired and participative in national transformation. With this, our economy would achieve two things: To be aggressive and, at the same time, inclusive.

While we hope for the best, we remember to thank the Lord for His overflowing grace showered to our beloved country, the Philippines! We thank You, God, for all the gifts!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17, New King James Version)

Shalom! Shalom!

Choose To Be Wise

by Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva

Making a choice is man’s daily staple. The minute we wake up in the morning until we retire at night, we have to choose among many options. What to eat for breakfast, what to wear, what specific work to prioritize in the office, whether to sleep early or watch late night television programs.​

Hence, the challenge we all face daily is to make wise choices.​

The Holy Bible strongly, clearly and lovingly teaches us the value of being wise. Wisdom covers all areas of life: From the way we value ourselves, to building relationships, to enjoying God’s bountiful provisions, to living and dying happy.​

For this coming new year, 2013, allow me to share with you some lessons on wisdom from the Book of Proverbs. They could guide us on making wise choices in life:​
“For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold” (Proverbs 3:14, New Living Translation).​

“Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe” (Proverbs 28:26).​

“Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life” (Proverbs 9:11).​

People from all walks of life believe in the value of making and keeping their personal “New Year’s Resolution.” This list of what we want to change and/or achieve for the new year varies in terminologies from “New Year’s Resolution” to “Prayers for the New Year” to “New Year’s Wishes.” But whatever one calls it, the motivation behind making such a list is to look forward to a better life for the coming year.​

And yet again, the better life is dependent on how wise we become with the choices that we make. ​

In the Philippines, 2013 is another year of making choices for its citizens. The midterm elections will take place come May. As early as January 2013, Filipinos will get to know again candidates who are offering themselves as public servants.​

This humble being filed my candidacy for Senator to offer myself as an alternative candidate for the Filipino people. I am running under Bangon Pilipinas Party, a nationally accredited political party which has been participating in Philippine national elections since 2004. Since then, Bangon Pilipinas’ platform has consistently offered hope for Filipinos. The name of the party itself, translated into English as “Rise Up, Philippines,” believes in the Filipinos’ ability to rise and stand with honor and dignity in the midst of difficult situations.​

In this year of making a choice, may Filipinos be wise in the candidates that they would elect.​
For this new year, I join the rest of the Filipinos in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world in praying for God’s continued blessings for the Philippines! May God bless us all with wisdom in all the choices that we will make!​

And I join the faith of our kababayans in declaring that Jesus is Lord over the Philippines this 2013!​
Happy, victorious 2013!​

Shalom! Shalom!

True Stories Of Impossible Situations

by Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva

Each person will have one moment in his lifetime when he would face one impossibility – an astoundingly impossible situation that would need an equally astounding kind of faith.

We have many of this kind of testimonies in all Jesus is Lord (JIL) churches in 50 countries all over the world. The most moving of these stories are changed lives; many of which are documented through our website, As an example, one person said that he grew up with nothing but hatred in his heart because his father had abandoned their family when he was still very young. This hatred consumed his heart. He grew up with this one big ambition: To kill his father. But later, as he understood the kind of grace given to him by God who loves Him unconditionally, hatred gave way to forgiveness, and forgiveness to love. He has since become an evangelist and missionary, sharing about the love of God to all peoples of the world.

Logic tells us that a heart consumed by hatred will only produce evil acts. But faith tells us that hatred could actually really transform into forgiveness and love.

We also have numerous true stories about miracle healings. And also about miraculous provisions. All these stories only prove one by one what the Bible says about God.

That He is able to change hearts: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; all things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, New King James Version).

That He is able to heal: “For I will restore health to you, and heal you of your wounds, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17).

That He is able to miraculously provide: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

And a lot lot more! He gives freedom. He gives peace. He saves.

And I reiterate that all these are true-to-life stories. They are not fiction; they actually happened.

Just like the story of the parting of the Red Sea in the Bible for the children of God. It actually happened. It was for real.

Exodus 14:21-22 tells us:

“Then Moses stretched out his hands over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”

Logic tells us that it is impossible to happen. But faith tells us that it happened and the same astounding miracle will happen again – because God is able!

If you are in such a situation now – an astounding impossibility, remember that the parting of the Red Sea story is true! Miracles happen. Have faith in Him!

Shalom! Shalom!