Holding on to God's Promises

Elvie (left) at her final vow ceremony in 2015.

by Elvie fcJ

It is my experience that my vocation story is unique.  Why? Because God works in mysterious ways; He facilitated my life’s journey in amazing ways.

This is the story:

When I was still discerning to become a religious sister, I was working in a telephone company in Tagum, Davao del Norte, Philippines. It was very difficult for me to make the decision to leave my family behind because of their financial needs. Before I could consider leaving, I decided to take out loans in order to send the money home to my parents so that they could build a home before I would join religious life. I didn’t want to leave them until they had a good and strong house. Therefore, it took a bit longer for me to resign from my work because I had to pay towards this debt for 2 years.

For 2 years, I had to cut down my expenses:  no new clothes, no new shoes, no new bags, no extra food and no outings with my friends. Imagine:  my shoes were broken, and I had to clean my feet before I’d go to Mass so that at least when I knelt down, people behind me could see my clean feet rather than my broken shoes.   When I’d go shopping, I’d look at the things that I needed, like bags, and just pass them by.   I needed the bag for my Bible, notebook, and other household things.

But God knew what I really needed. One day, somebody phoned me, a long lost friend. I really don’t know where she got my number. She just asked me right away for the size of my feet because she was closing her boutique. Straight away, my tears fell. When the items arrived the following day, there were many things, the things that I needed:   clothes, shoes and a bag which was really perfect for my Bible and other items.

One day, my mom phoned me and asked permission to sell the cow and to finish paying for the house. The cow was pregnant and I felt sad that she would have to sell it. I asked her for the reason.  She said she needed more money for the house to be painted. I told her that I thought there was no need to sell. A week later, she won a lottery that was enough to finish the house. God provides.

Within those two years, I needed to go to Manila for my discernment retreat and for my one month stay with the FCJ sisters. From Davao to Manila, I needed to have P 10,000.00 for a round trip plane ticket plus my allowance. How and where could I find money for these? And how could I get one month of leave from my office? But God again was so generous to me.  From my little business, I got enough money to purchase my tickets to Manila and I managed to get a doctor’s certificate for my one month absence from the office stating that I needed to rest for a month. Everything was facilitated by God who really knows the desire of my heart.

While I was staying with the FCJ sisters for a month, Sr. Veronica fcJ asked me to work with women in Bagong Silangan, where we have a Learning and Community Development Center serving a poor community near a dumpsite. The smell of the place and the traffic between home and the convent was killing my energy. It came to my mind, why should I be forcing myself to join religious life, when in fact in my office I would be sitting in an air conditioned room? But the joy that I experienced working with the poor people cannot compare to the pay from anyone.

I believe that the reason why God facilitated my journey so amazingly is that He called me to this life, to be part of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. And now, He blesses me with much: my ministry, my community and He has even given me more family.  As God said, Mat 19:29:  “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for the sake of My name will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.”  I will hold to these promises. Thank you, Lord!

Elvie (right) at the Thanksgiving Prayer before her final vow ceremony.

The Tagalog translation is available here.


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