For Ka Tenny, Ka Angel, Ka Mark, Ka Lottie and their loving families
As my subconscious slowly gains senses, I force my eyes upon the dresser clock reading 2:30 AM. I pull myself up and groggily check my wife’s side of the bed. Suddenly I hear, “Mahal, gising ka na?, kailangan maaga tayo ngayon!.” She was coming out of the bathroom with towel in tow. Oh yes I thought, Ka Erdy was scheduled to officiate our church services this morning. I looked again at the clock and yes it was now 2:45 AM. My wife was a Choir member and I a deacon. I always grumpily asked myself why did it have to be so early in the morning – why not just be there during regular worship hours? I dragged myself to the bathroom and submerged myself in a cold shower.
As we closed our door behind I noticed that my in-laws had already left for the chapel. My wife a little hysterical now noticing that her brothers and sisters living in the compound were also gone, cried out, “Ang bagal mo kasi! ayon naiwan na tayo!” For God’s sake it was only 3:15 in the morning! She rushed out and I of course followed suit – just a fifteen minutes walk to the chapel.
The main lobby door was closed as the compound was already full with eager brethren. We took the side door. After our panata the mangaawit, diacono’t diaconesa took their places and the main doors were finally opened to accommodate all the waiting brethren. It took less than five minutes to fill the chapel halls including the aisles. The time was 4:00 AM. The choir sang their hearts out and seemingly in cue the brethren and maytungkulin followed in chorus. Slowly the chapel filled with tears and hope in anticipation for Christ’s message by our beloved Ka Erdy.
It was 4:30 AM. The sound of gates opening, the rustle of cars, and the soft sound of car doors closing. He had arrived. A few seconds more and Ka Erdy entered the tribuna followed by Ka Ramos, Ka Sandoval, two more ministers, and our Head Deacon. From the main hall Ka Tenny and family walked towards the front row where they quietly sat down. He looked so noble and dignified in his dark blue suit and maroon/gold tie. But it was not that which separated him from the rest. The feeling of awe, submission of self, and the tug in your heartstrings in his presence could be felt by everyone. The choir continued in its hymns while sobs of joy spread throughout the chapel in anticipation of the opening prayer.
But Ka Erdy remained seated while Ka Ramos and Ka Sandoval impatiently waited for his cue for the opening prayer. Ka Erdy remained unmoved. It was past 5:00 AM when he finally advised Ka Ramos to start the service with an opening prayer. Ka Erdy then delivered his homily and somewhere in the middle he explained the reason for the delay.
“Mga kapatid, siguro ang ilan sa inyo ay nagtataka kung bakit hindi ko agad tinayo ang pagsamba kanina. Habang ako ay patungo dito sa inyong kapilya may napansin akong tatlong bulag na akay akay ng isang babae na naglalakad sa kalye. Tinanong ko sa kasama ko kung bakit sa ganoong oras ay naglalakad ang mga bulag sa kalye. Sinabi sa akin ng kasama ko na sila pala ay mga kapatid at papunta po dito upang sumamba. Yon po ang dahilan kung bakit hindi ko agad tinayo ang pagsamba – hinintay ko silang makarating. Lahat tayo ay sabik sa kalinga ng Diyos at lalo na sila mga kapatid ko. Sa kabila ng kanilang kapansanan nagawa pa nilang tumungo sa kapilya, sino ba naman tayo para hindi sila antayin.”
Who wouldn’t be touched by such compassion, such love, such concern for the flock he was entrusted to care for. And it didn’t end there. After the church service, we asked him if he would pray for all the maytungkulin for the last panata. He obliged (and this was really rare, usually he assigns Ka Ramos or Ka Sandoval to lead the closing prayer). He came out of the prayer room minus his tie and led the panata. If God would choose to listen to only one person among His chosen ones it would definitely be Ka Erdy. The way he calls out to God and to Christ is so overwhelming that no heart so cold or bitterness so stubborn would not be swayed to submission and forgiveness.
The brethren crowded him afterwards – he smiled back shaking their hands in the process but his eyes continued looking for someone. Then the three blind brethren appeared before him. You could see the joy in Ka Erdy’s eyes as he took their hands embracing them in front of all the happy brethren. Our locale was one of the favorite of Ka Erdy – Project 4 in the late seventies. Ka Tenny could attest to that I’m sure (smile).
My wife and I miss him so much … we all do.
Thank you Ka Tenny for having taken very good care of our Ka Erdy who had given us so much hope and inspiration in an otherwise insensitive world. To your wonderful children Ka Mark, Angel, and Lottie, for teaching us the value of humility. We shall all continue to pray for you and your family.