Meeting Russel and Airyl

What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.

A friend once asked me what I would save if my house was burning down. It led to a talk about what our most prized possession was. Hers was all her legal papers of properties she bought. Mine was my passport.

My most prized possessions are not material things but lives I have influenced through God’s grace.

These girls went home with me on my first night in the Philippines.

AIRYL is my cousin. Her family lived 3 towns away from us, so we grew up always seeing each other. I have always felt a certain connection towards her not just because we have the same high cheekbones but because we share the same interests – books, writing and journalism.

When she graduated from high school, she chose to study in a university near us and lived with my family. During that time, I was forming THREADS, a Christian theater group for young people. It did not take a lot of convincing for her to join. She conquered her fear of the stage and soon became one of the best mimers in the team, better than me, I can say.

Russel Airyl (3)

The first time I met RUSSEL was during one of THREADS’ summer outreach in the mountains. We were performing from one place to another. She was a young high-schooler who volunteered to be our crew in-charge of water bottles, props, stage sets and cleaning up.

After her high school graduation, she became the recipient of the first university scholarship under my father’s name. She came to live with our family and eventually became part of the team.

Russel Airyl (8)

Russel and Airyl met and became inseparable. They went to the same university, pursued the same track of Bachelor’s Degree and took almost the same classes together.

I treated them the same way I treated my younger sisters. I helped them in any way I could, counseled them during their low times, cheered for all their accomplishments, scolded them when they became hard-headed and constantly prayed for them.

When they finally graduated, I was bursting with pride. For the first time, I felt a hint of how a mother would feel during graduation day.Russel Airyl (4)

They both became my wedding planners, assisted me during my most-stressful times. On my wedding day, together with the whole THREADS team, they danced so gracefully for the opening of my special day.

Today they are both professionals, working in the metro as online English Instructors. What makes me prouder is their involvement in one of the biggest-growing church in the Philippines.

Their success was not a surprise for me. There was one character they both shared that set them apart from the rest: Obedience. No matter how hurt or confused they were, they listened to Godly counsel and they obeyed.

Russel Airyl (6)

My one night with them was not enough. Even if they had work the next day, we stayed up all night talking about heartbreaks, joys, goals and plans.

At dawn, the doorbell rang and my family who traveled all the way from the province arrived! All the kids ran to me and to them, screaming and shouting. The way the kids hug them in excitement is proof of how these two showed love back to my family, the same way we cared for them.

Russel Airyl (7)

Airyl and Russel are testaments of how God could transform two children who grew up in remote tribes of the mountains into young beautiful women who are touching lives in the big city.

Russel Airyl (2)

If my house was burning and they both were inside, I would definitely save them. And my passport.


5 thoughts on “Meeting Russel and Airyl

  1. wow ate viong ko nice blog i love this one. naiyak ako….. sana may ate din ako noon na ganyan. talagang love na love kita, dahil maalaga ka nakong sa mga taong mahal na mahal ka. alam mo ba na lagi kang binabangit ni florence marie na pupunta daw sya sa u para bisitahin ka nya. si athena naman lagi nya ask kung kailan ka raw nya ulit makikita. love u viong ko, hwag kang magbabago nakong ng pagmamahal….umwahh


  2. Now, I’m crying:( 😦 No matter how joyful and painful the experiences we had, I still thank God for giving a loving ate like you who is always ready to listen to us especially during our tough times.Though you are far from us, you never make us feel that you are. I always believe and obey you because you follow Christ. Thank you for your unending kindness and love for us. I always pray for you and Kuya Sam:) I miss you ate:(


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