Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Journey of Faith: A New Heart . . . A New Lease of Life

Guest blog post by  PASTOR JOSHUA G. JIMENA, JR.

Pastor Joshua undergoing rehab after the
successful open heart by- pass operation
What I want to share with you is about the amazing work of our Master Designer and Director who orchestrated everything - both people and events that led to my unplanned major surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital on March 6, 2012. Unplanned because we did not think or imagine, much less prepare for it when my wife and I left Bacolod on February 5 to attend the emergency Asian Center for Missions (ACM) Leadership Summit in Makati on February 6-10.

Originally, my team was scheduled to conduct Kairos Course in Patnongon, Antique on February 6-15. But I have to cancel it because all ACM staffs were required to attend the Leadership Summit.  At first, I objected to it because it was not in our calendar of activities. But little did I know that God was positioning me in a place where I can easily avail the best medical service when I would critically need it, because during that time the tightness of my chest and the shortness of my breath were getting severe after more than two years of putting up with it. In fact, I could hardly go up the stairs without first taking a rest and catch my breath. Had I travelled from Bacolod to Patnongon, Antique with 40 Kairos books to carry plus my bag of clothes for 10 days plus the rigors and the demands of the training, I don’t think I will be able to make it physically. And the worse could have happened. This is what the Bible says that “many are the plans in the heart of man; but it is God’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

Through the continuous nudging of my fellow ACM staffs, I finally but reluctantly went to the nearby hospital in Makati. After a series of cardio tests at the Makati Med on February 8 & 9, from ECG to 2D Echo, Treadmill and Angiogram, the alarming result came out and showed that I have 7 blockages in my left and right arteries. The intervention cardiologist explained my condition to me. With hesitation and deep concern, he told me that I was like a walking time bomb ready to explode anytime.  The following day, my wife and I checked out of the Makati Medical Centre. We were both stirred and stunned of the result but we chose to trust the Lord to carry us through. Our hospital bill was P115, 000.00+. Good only it was covered by my health insurance.

My wife, as scheduled, left for Bacolod on February 11 to be with our children. At the advice of the National Office I was made to stay because they find my condition volatile and too risky to travel.  I stayed at the Mission House in Makati, not sure of what to do and not certain if I will be reunited with my family. It was one of the dark and dilemmatic moments in my life because while I see the urgency for me to be operated but I don’t know where will I get the money. Thank God, while in the mission house I met different people who visited and prayed for me. While there, Operation Blessing, the humanitarian arm of CBN Asia referred me to a Christian cardiologist at St. Luke’s Hospital although that one didn’t materialize.

On February 16, my sister and her husband, Pastor Boc Laurico picked me up from the Mission house to stay with them in Antipolo City. They suggested to me to see their Christian Cardio friend. Incidentally, he was still out of the country in Dubai and Milan giving lectures and would be available only on February 21. Five days were quite a long delay but nonetheless, I waited patiently.

Pastor Jimena, during his confinement at St. Luke's  Medical Center

On February 21, Pastor Boc and I met Dr. Edward Magsombol- a nuclear cardiologist at St. Luke’s, to ask his opinion and advice. Upon looking at the photographs of my angiogram, he recommended that the best revascularization procedure for my case should be open heart by-pass operation instead of angioplasty because some of the vessels are already 90 to 99% occluded and it would be dangerous to put a series of stents into those vessels. But he told us, that should we decide to avail his services, he will only be available either March 5 or we have to wait for him to return from America on April 13 which would give us ample time to raise the money for my operation. He told us that the package cost of the procedure would be P740, 000.00 and he promised to assemble a reputable team of St. Luke’s doctors to attend to me.

In spite of the shortness of time and the shortage of funds, the Lord guided us to make a crucial decision of having me admitted on March 5. Why crucial? Because my 2D echo result taken late that evening showed that my heart was already very weak and ready to give way anytime. Possibility of fatal heart attack was not far- fetched. Had we waited for another two or three days, much more wait for April 13, the unlikely could have happened. Here we see that “God’s timing is always perfect. He is neither late nor too early.”

Also, I am very grateful to the Lord that He provided me the best team of doctors assembled to attend to me from admission up to my discharge.  The nurses attending to me both male and female were oozing with confidence in the performance of their job but filled with compassion and tenderness in the way they took care of me. Moreover, St Luke’s has state-of-the-art facilities that in spite of my profuse bleeding during the operation still it turned out successful in a little less than 5 hours. Unlike other hospitals, St. Luke’s does not ask you to procure blood for the operation which would have been a big hustle and a big headache to us since we don’t know that many people in Manila to donate blood and at the same time we were unconsciously running against time because of my condition. St. Luke’s, instead supplies the blood as part of the package. And in my case, 29 bags of blood were prepared. Indeed, “God knows what is best and He does not withhold it from His children.”

(To be continued)


Pastor Joshua G. Jimena, Jr. is  Field Operation Manager of the Asian Center for Missions - Western Visayas, Philippines.

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  1. The Life of Pastor Josh is a blessing to me. May God continue to use him. Praise The Lord for his recovery.

  2. What a great testimony of hope, faith, and love. God is indeed great and never forsakes His faithful servant. Thank you for sharing your testimony Pastor Joshua. Kamusta gid sa imo!