It was 5 am in the morning and most are still in bed and I was still battling within whether to rise up or not. But, it is a Sunday morning! We need to be in church by 7:30 am for the 8:00 am worship. For this day, April 24, 2016, all the children are involved in the worship team. Jericho (Kuki) is the worship leader; Jeremiah (Pao) is the guitarist; Jezreel (Bambie) is one of the keyboardist and Jemima (Mhai) is one of the back-up singers.

    Finally, I decided to overcome this battle and got out of bed. I still need to prepare a quick breakfast for everyone. Then I realized someone was already taking a shower, it was Jeremiah or Kuya Pao . As usual, we were the first to wake up and he helped in preparing breakfast.

    The worship time was such a blessing! On the final song, I could not help the tears. This was the same song that ministered to me when we were at the lowest valley of our lives and ministry about five years ago.  This was the song that had been playing on Pao’s lap top over and over again. I heard this song every morning and the lyrics always ministered to me. “I call, You answer, and You came to my rescue and I just want to be where You are.” Truly at that time, we needed God’s hand to rescue and lead us through, which He did!

    When Kuki led in singing this song, Pao was worshiping. He was singing as he played his guitar and Nes noticed tears flowed. (It is always a joy for us to see our children worshiping.) After their part on the second service, Pao suggested that we go to Shakey’s for lunch. The Sunday previous, he treated the family for lunch at Max’s. He said, he wanted to eat in a place where it’s cool. We experienced hot and humid temperatures throughout the week. We decided, Shakey’s then!

    We were at Shakey’s by 11:15 am and were discussing what to eat when it happened. I was sitting beside Pao. I thought he was just being sweet when he placed his head on my shoulder BUT he fell directly to the floor. We were all in shock! Pao had difficulty breathing, he was not responding to our call .Praise God there was this lady from the nearby table who helped and instructed the staff to assist in doing first aid until the doctor came. Nes administered CPR as directed by the doctor until the ambulance arrived. Praise God, the nearest hospital is about 350 meters away. Nes accompanied Pao in the ambulance while we walked going there.

    He was directly brought to the emergency area and given all the necessary medications and procedures to keep him alive. The doctor informed us that once his vital signs are stable, he must be transferred to the intensive care unit. He was in coma.

    As I saw my son fighting for his life, I realized I was not as strong as I thought I was and decided to find a place to sit and process the events that was happening before us. Nes sat beside me. We need God’s peace and strength for this was something we were not prepared for. Somehow, the news reached our church and they prayed for Pao during the second service.

    Immediately after the second service, our senior pastor, Rev. Willie Basilio and his wife Edna, went directly to the hospital to see us. Five years ago, Ptr. Willie went through a similar condition but God healed him. They prayed with us and for us.

    Then, one by one, our friends from church, family and closest friends came to inquire about Pao and to support us not only in prayers but through their presence and in finances as well. Throughout the whole afternoon and the evening.  young people, mothers, fathers and even children came to see Pao to express their love and support.  They queued just to see him and to give us hugs. We thank God for His love felt through His people.

    We thank God for Jhong! He is one of Pao’s friends and a member of the worship team. He is a medical student who directly went to the hospital after the service. He informed us, step by step, on what was happening to Pao’s body, why such medicines must be given, why such procedures must be done and how the blockage in his brain has caused the different organs to malfunction. He walked with us through the whole difficult process.  

    As we saw the condition of our son deteriorating, our hearts were hurting and asking God’s clear direction. By 2:30 pm,  Nes & I  went home to kneel before the Lord in prayer. We admitted that He is in Control of everything and is the Life Giver. We have witnessed miracles after miracles in other lives and is asking God for a miracle in Pao’s life. But, we also know that we need to yield to His divine plan and accept it, whatever it may be, in peace and confidence that our loving Father knows what is best. Our declaration as we closed our prayer was, “Lord, whatever happens, we will still serve You!”
    By 6:30 pm, the doctor informed us that Pao will soon be transferred to the intensive care unit. Nes decided to call the whole family and some of Pao’s closest friends to pray with us. Nes prayed and declared that God knows what is best. His will is always the best. If He decides to do a miracle in Pao’s life (which we are asking for), we will truly be grateful. But if He decides otherwise, we will still be grateful. Right there and then, through the pain and the tears, we decided to let go and let God have His way. Then, Nes thanked God for the 31 years of lending Pao to our family. He also thanked Pao for sharing his 31 years of life with us.

    By 10 pm, Pao’s vital signs improved and he was transferred to the intensive care unit. By 11 pm the whole family decided to go home to grab some sleep with the instruction that the ICU doctor will ring us if anything happens. By 3 am, April 25,  the phone rang to inform us that Pao’s heart stopped and they were reviving him. Nes immediately went to the hospital. He rang us after 15 minutes to inform that Pao went home to be with the Lord. He also requested that Pao’s body remain in the ICU until we are able to see him for the last time.

    We thank God for Pao-pao’s life!

    ·      He is our eldest, our firstborn, God’s first gift to our marriage. He is an intrinsically good child. Easy to please and always contented. He was not perfect but knows the value of obedience and love for God.

    ·         He was two (2) when he was confined to the hospital for 14 days due to osteomyelitis. He had a knee surgery. God used this experience to prove that He is our Jehovah Jireh.

    ·         He was about eight (8) or nine (9) when he accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior through the ministry of chalk-talk. Even at that young age, he was sure of his commitment and faith.

    ·         He was nine (9) when he asked to be taught how to play the guitar. And that was the key that unlocked his gift in music. He was never selfish. He taught his younger siblings to play the guitar which opened their lives to the blessing of music as well.

    ·      He witnessed God’s goodness and faithfulness in our family when we resigned from our secular work to follow God in full-time ministry.

    ·         He is a great and loving big brother to his younger siblings. He cooked and took care of them when we were away on ministries, whether local or overseas.

    ·      He finished his course, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. His desire was to create a Christian on-line game that will encourage young people to love God’s Word and apply it in their daily decisions.

    Pao-pao’s 3-day wake is a testimony to the assurance of the eternal life we have in Jesus Christ alone. One friend commented that it was more of a “celebration” than a funeral wake. Yes, there were times that we stopped and cried but then the peace of God that passes all understanding embrace us more.

    A doctor friend commented that God truly loves our family. Normally for such a condition, the result is instant death. But in Pao’s case, God has given us 15 hours to process and to learn to let go! Indeed, God is so good!

    Honestly, losing a son is painful. Even writing this brought back the pain. But this experience cannot stop us in sharing with you the following insights that were reinforced in our family:

    First, our lives evolve on relationships! We are relational beings because we have a relational God. Early in our marriage, God taught us this lesson. We learned to give importance to our relationships primarily with our children. We value creating happy memories with them that they can look back to with fun. We learned that it is much better to “win the relationship rather than win the argument.” God reminded us to empower the connections and to strengthen the relationships.

    Secondly, the family is God-created and God-instituted. The family is where the value of relationship is learned and nurtured. We, parents, are God’s agents to declare blessings to our children. We are God’s partner in fulfilling His divine plan for our children. The family is where the children are taught that they are special, important and loved by God. The family is where the children learn through the parent’s modeling and example on how to love God, one’s self and others. As parents, this is our primary responsibility as stated in Deuteronomy 6.

    Thirdly, the church is the support group of the family! It is the church’s responsibility to teach fathers to be good fathers; mothers, to be good mothers and children, to be good children. It is the church mandate to build up families to be spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally strong through the principles of God written in His Word. 

    Therefore, let us take good care of the family God has blessed us with. Empower the connections and strengthen these relationships through God’s grace and wisdom. Let us always extend the “space for grace” for forgiveness and growth.

    Exactly one month after Pao’s death, we were in Daet, Camarines Norte directing and facilitating a leadership teen’s camp attended by about 123 teens. Nes & I agreed to share Pao’s story, for the very first time, on the last session, “Living for Eternity.” We emphasized the truth that “life is short and eternity is long. The decision we make in this short life will determine our eternity.” We were in tears when we shared Pao’s story and explained that only God knows and holds our future. We have to let God be in control of our lives while on earth to be assured of our eternity with Him. When Nes gave the invitation to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, all these teens stood up to commit their lives to Jesus.  

    As I was writing this, we received a card from a dear friend. It stated:

    In honor of JEREMIAH FLORES, five (5) Bibles will be distributed by members of The Gideons International to help transform lives through the Word of God.

    Pao’s life was never in vain! We are blessed to learn the stories of how their Kuya (big brother) Pao encouraged them to move on even through their difficulties whether in work or in school. We learned how Pao continually connected and encouraged his friend to keep holding on to God. We realized many of the kids in church loved him because he willingly taught them to play the guitar, and the list goes on.

    We were encouraged when a dear friend and mentor wrote, “The choir in heaven must have sounded much better today because Pao is now singing with them!”

    As my father said, “the firstborn belongs to the Lord!” God is the real Owner of Pao’s life! When God decided to take him home, though it was painful and difficult, we learned to let go and let God! 


  1. Oh my dear Beth, your testimony is God glorifying. I am with you in prayers as you go through this with your family. We never get over the loss of a beloved but God helps us through it each day in this temporal world!

  2. miles said...

    Sister Beth, I can't help tears roll down while reading your testimony. Thank you for sharing Jericho's life and what you have gone through. You are a blessing. BIG HUGS to you, dear Beth. You are blessed to bless others. To God be the Glory!

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