by Danny Tariman

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together… but encouraging one another” (Heb 10:24-25)

It has been quite a while since I last saw my cousins.

A day after I arrived in Manila, I, together with my family, traveled through roads and seas to Virac, Catanduanes in Bicol.

In this progressive town in the province, I had once again met my only sister and her family, and a few cousins from the Tariman side — Pablo, Lawrence with his wife Marites, of course Manoy Junior’s family, and some friends.

I had mixed emotions. Happy because after many years of not seeing them, I had the opportunity to re-connect long lost connections.

We had a good share of laughter with my Manoy Pablo who got the right timing to crack jokes. It was really fun. My family enjoyed those moments of laughter.

It was also a good opportunity to re-establish the bond with my only sister Nene Del. Wow, I loved those food especially prepared for me—the laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream), suman and latik (glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves served with cane syrup), the full breakfast, and the things she did — both small and big — to make our short stay memorable.

While I enjoyed those moments, the weekend has brought me to tears. Because the main reason for our coming to the town is to mourn for the death of a close first cousin — Manoy Junior. His only brother said of him: “I can describe my brother in a hundred of ways, but I’d like to remember him one statement: he is a loving brother”. Indeed, he is a loving cousin.

A month later, I got a text message asking for prayers for another departed cousin.

This time it is was a cousin from the Adique side.

It was another opportunity to meet another clan! Indeed I met a number of cousins I haven’t seen in many years: Sony & her husband Rolly, Nonong, Amy, Babes & husband Bot, Agnes, Monching, and of course — Pedring’s family. I also had met an aunt whom I haven’t seen for many, many years—Tiya Gloria. I saw also a lot of younger generation Adiques — my nephews and nieces.

The afternoon seems too short to share stories — on family, on livelihood, on places visited.

I had a long chat with Ate Babes & Kuya Bot who, like my family, had traveled to Northern Luzon. We had shared many wonderful stories on this trip — the Pagudpud Beach, the windmill farm in Bangui, the beautiful places in Paoay, and so many others.

This meeting with Ate Babes continued in the next weekend, with my family visiting her home. Wow, we got many orchids and other ornamental plants courtesy of Kuya Bot.

I am just wondering, can we not meet more often, not waiting for someone to die to get together?

The Bible says “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together… but encouraging one another”

It is my hope that we will have many happy reunions coming soon!

Not Goodbyes But See You Soon

“When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city.” (Acts 21:5)

My friends Paul and Agnes saw me at the airport when I was checking-in. They stayed with me to see me off — back to Manila.

“See you in August”, both expressed their hope that I will be back in the city very soon.

When the couple was just about to leave, my friend Monj arrived at the airport, to catch up with me before departure. We had a good snack at the airport’s cafeteria while waiting for my departure. During this time, Monj’s lovely wife Bee wasn’t able to join us, but she is with us in our thoughts.

When I arrived in Manila, my friend Rommel called by long distance from Port Moresby to express his and his family’s best regards.

Another couple-friends, Nestor and Amee, came to join us for a dinner get-together before I left the city.

I somehow felt how St Paul feel when he left the community in Ephesus to go to Jerusalem as the story in Acts 21 says.  It was a very touching moment.

But while I was deeply moved by the show of affection of these friends, I decided not to let my tears roll down, as was in my last departure. The last time, many people hugged me and cried as they throw their arms around me. And I can’t help but let my tears flow too.

But this time, I said, “I don’t like to cry.”

Yes, these friends were the very ones who helped me spread the Good News. They were the ones who helped me organise the building of a church community. They were the ones whom I had shared my thoughts, my experiences in the ministry and the blessings we had received from the LORD.

We ate together, almost every week. We shared our joys, our pains, our convictions. Yes, we shared our victories! We shared our reflections on Word of God.

They have touched me, they have touched my life with their love and support.

But because I have this hope in the LORD that we will continue our ministry in Port Moresby, we said not goodbyes, but “See you soon”.

May the LORD keep you and bless you my friends. Until we meet again in Port Moresby!