By Ria Fernandez
Helping other people, especially the poor and the needy, comes in many forms.
For Marielle Pagalan, 26, a former teacher, and Jeremiah Garcia, 33, a financial manager, service to others is one of their ways to share their blessings.
Whenever people go to Pagalan to ask for something, she said that she never hesitated to go out of her way and help, even if she had limited financial resources.
“Kahit wala akong pera tapos kinontak ako na kailangan ng teacher sa orphanage, ‘can you volunteer?’. Sasabihin ko, ‘sige pwede pahingi na lang ngtransportation’ (Even if I don’t have money then they contacted me if I could volunteer as a teacher in the orphanage, I would say yes and just ask for transportation),” she said.
“Kumbaga (It’s like) it’s not your ability but your availability. Are you willing to step out to do things for the people na hindi mo kakilala (you don’t know)?,” she added.
Pagalan said she realized how hard life was at a very young age when they became financially drained, and subsequently fell heavily in debt after her father acquired a rare kind of lung disease while she was in high school.
But she said God guaranteed her that she could make it through the hardships by using other people as His instruments – such as her teachers and friends who helped finance her studies and her father’s medications.
“[Ginagawa koi to] kasi syempre (I am doing this because, of course,) [with] how God changed my heart, my perspective in different areas of my life, gusto ko ma-experience iyon ng mga tao (I want other people to experience that),” she said, adding that we only need to be sensitive with those around us.
“Hindi mo kailangan maging mayaman (You don’t need to be rich) just to help other people. You just need to be sensitive to help the people around you.”
Meanwhile, in the case of Garcia, a feeling of emptiness despite having all the mundane things in life, made him seek his purpose.
“Sabi ng mother ko (my mother told me), ‘don’t waste your life.’…dapat hindi na ako mapapanganak after my mom’s pregnancy sa akin nagkaroon siya ngectopic pregnancy. Sabi sa kaniya mahihirapan siya manganak (I was supposed to be not born due to my mother’s ectopic pregnancy. She was told that giving birth might be difficult for her). Kaya niya ako pinangalanang (That’s why she named me) Jeremiah kasi sa (because in) Jeremiah chapter 1 God said, ‘I formed you. I knew you. When you were still in the womb, I already had plans’,” he said.
Like Pagalan, Garcia chose to serve the people by going to communities to conduct activities for the youth and parents and preach the word of the Lord.
“Serving is not easy. There are times that service brings you inconvenience kasi (because) there are times na (that) instead of resting on a weekend you need to wake up early in the morning…[but] at the end of the day, all sacrifices are worth it, especially when you see people [that they are] getting to know Christ,”he said.