People strengthened validated by kindness

‘No man is an island,’ they say, and it cannot be any truer for all of us who has gone through difficult times, especially during the pandemic. These individuals featured in the June 5 episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan showed their selflessness, faithfulness, and kindness to each other, and these uplifted their lives immensely.

Julia Chong is a legal management student, who has a Chinese father and Filipina mother. And their cultural differences became a huge factor in their separation. Julia would only see her dad on weekends, and that’s the only time they would get to bond. But she learned to hold a grudge towards her father when she saw her stepmother and stepsister. She questioned how her dad chose his other family and not them.

Growing up, Julia wouldn’t be very open to her family, especially to her mom. She felt like she would just be judged if she shares her problems with her. That’s why she would usually open up to her friends. There were times before when Julia would hurt and blame herself for the mistakes that she committed. One incident would almost make Julia give up on her life, but would eventually change her relationship with her family.

After attending church service, Julia, her brother and their churchmates were supposed to hang out and bond. They left but told Julia that they would go back again. However, Julia’s brother told her that they were in a far area that’s why she decided to just go home by herself. However her mom got angry at her instead of putting the responsibility on her brother who lied to her. That’s when Julia had a serious breakdown because they made her feel like it was her fault. Julia almost took her own life because of that incident. What was worse for Julia was that they did not bother listening to her, thus making her feel invalidated.

After the incident, Julia already went to consult with a psychiatrist and she was diagnosed with bipolar 2. It was devastating for Julia but it also led to her family, especially her mother, understanding her more. She even had a better relationship with her dad whom Julia has forgiven already after she healed from the trauma in the past. But someone whom Julia felt was really there for her during her lowest times was Ark Mamuric, a community missionary from their church. Julia felt how Ark really cared for her mental health and well-being. He was the one who really became interested in how she was doing. Julia gave him hiking sandals as a simple gift of appreciation towards the genuine concern that he has shown.

Ark originally came from Naga, Camarines Sur and growing up, he didn’t experience having a complete family. Both his parents already had their own families. Ark wasn’t treated right by his grandparents that he experienced not having his own food allowance when going to school. When his grandfather died, he was forced to find his mom because he was already told to leave the house. That’s when Ark found out that his mother was physically abused by her partner during that time. Ark never let his mother return to her partner since then. When his stepdad came to his dormitory to see his mother, a commotion happened and he even heard a gunshot that’s why he left immediately. They went to Manila and Ark was able to land a corporate job. That was the time he earned a lot and did everything he wanted with his money. But Ark was blinded by the material things in front of him during that time. That’s when he also learned to have vices.

But his neighbor helped him to have a closer relationship with the Lord. Ark eventually realized that if there’s one thing that he’d do even for free, it’s sharing the word of God to other people especially to children so that they can also experience His love. And Ark succeeded in becoming a campus missionary. Eventually, he decided to leave his corporate job and become a full time minister and counselor. And he is most thankful to the person who supported his missionary journey, Wena Maschmeyer. She supported him financially and spiritually and for that Ark is very grateful and thankful for. He gave Wena a simple gift, a mug which symbolizes everything that he learned from her.

Wena grew up with one dream- to be able to marry an American citizen. Her parents were farmers and ever since she was young, she would help them make both ends meet. Her grandmother was the one who actually inspired her to have that dream of marrying an American in the future and spending life with him. People would not take her dream seriously but Wena knew that it was what she wanted.

Because her family did not have enough money for her to fly to the U.S., Wena decided to work as a househelper and while doing so, she continued talking to Steve, her penpal from the US. They exchanged letters for more than three years and one day, she didn’t expect that Steve would actually ask her to marry him. Wena couldn’t express how happy she was as she was finally reaching her dream. She immediately told her family about it and Steve asked permission from them very respectfully.

Eventually, Wena and Steve got married and moved to Indiana, U.S. There they built their family with their children. Although there were challenges that came along the way, Wena was very blessed and thankful to have Steve support her all throughout. Both of them even studied Nursing together. However, before graduating together, Steve passed away because of a blood clot. And that became the darkest time in Wena’s life. She almost wanted to have the same fate but her children made her realize that they should move forward. But apart from her children, Wena had a friend who helped and guided her in moving on from one of the most heart-wrenching times of her life, her good friend and business partner Razel Repatacodo. She was the one who guided Wena when she was down and depressed. And with her, Wena also learned how to give back to Filipinos. Wena gave her a bracelet which signifies gratitude towards everything that she has given her.

Razel has been a direct seller and network builder for the last 13 years. Life wasn’t easy for her and her family because they didn’t have enough resources to live a comfortable life. Razel even had to exert her own efforts just to be able to continue her studies. She would always excel in school and whenever she would have academic achievements, she’d see the joy that her father would have. Because of perseverance, Razel was able to finish her studies. But she wasn’t expecting that she would get married too soon. She got somehow disappointed in herself because she still wanted to be with her parents during that time. But her responsibilities as a partner and as a mother didn’t get in the way of her hard work. Instead, it became her motivation to work harder and achieve her goals.

But the most painful event that occurred in Razel’s life happened when she lost her main source of inspiration, her father. But that made her dream even bigger. She found success in sales and with hard work coupled with persistence, Razel was able to succeed in her business. She had the luxury of time while earning a huge amount of money. That’s when she appreciated and valued her financial freedom more. She then was able to build her organization and when she became the global marketing director, she was able to give inspirational talks all over the country.

Razel’s fulfillment as a successful business owner made her share her blessings to a devastated Wena, who found purpose in the initiatives they shared. And this motivated Wena to guide Ark to follow God and serve others as a full-time missionary. Ark’s strong faith allowed him to help a struggling Julia achieve a sound state of mental health and well-being.

This chain of kindness that has uplifted lives is what Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, features every Saturday at 7pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.