Thursday, May 17, 2012

A New Heart...A New Lease of Life (Part II)

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

Another blessing is the coming of my niece from Iloilo City who is a nurse. She came at the time when I needed someone who can provide personalized nursing care while in the hospital and in the home after I was discharged. Imagine, she was called upon in the morning by my sister to come over to Manila. She arranged her work schedule and immediately bought a plane ticket and arrived late in the evening of that same day. “When God is at work, things just fall into place.”
Pastor Joshua with  youngest daughter, Jay.

Another miracle was how the big amount of money was raised in less than one month.  “God provided in some delightful but untraceable ways.” Instead of us underwriting the full amount, God provided our needs through local churches in Western Visayas, different Christian organizations, ministerial fellowships, friends, and relatives both here and abroad. The beautiful and the most touching thing was the outpouring of love and blessings that came by way of rummage sale, sacrificial giving, personal gifts, corporate contribution like what ACM-CBN Asia did and the local churches’ Sunday’s special offerings. One of our relatives graciously loaned money to us. Another thing that touched our hearts and sustained us in those dark and critical hours of our life is the prayer of faith of the throngs of saints in many places in the Philippines, and some parts of the world, and that includes you.
 Pastor Jimena shares his testimony
at Faith Christian Fellowship. The first time,
after his  successful open heart
by-pass operation

On the day of my admission in March 5, we actually had some hitches. My wife & I, my sisters and my in-laws, pulled all our available funds together that day to reach half of the package price which is P370, 000.00, only to be stunned by surprise when we were asked to sign the contract and give a down payment of P406, 300.00. We were short of P36, 300.00 and we’re told to be ready to pay the possible excess. Since, I was admitted and already inside the room, pulling me out would not be a good option. Instead, we “bite the bullet” as they say! With earnest prayers and tears, my wife and my sister decided to step on the water by faith and waited for the salvation of the Lord like what Moses and the people of Israel did when they were faced with the Red sea while their enemies were inching closer to them. Praise God! He honoured their faith and provided our need that day.

Eight days later, on the day of my discharge, again they took the bill and it was another stunning surprise.  The itemized hospital bill ballooned to P995, 261.71 and the doctors’ fees amounted to P332, 800.00. Thus, the total cost would have been P1, 328, 061.71. This figure is far beyond and above our family’s ability to pay. It was impossible for us to make it because the total available fund we have (all the gifts, contributions and loan combined) was more or less P850, 000.00 only.

But as the sage would say, “man’s extremity becomes God’s opportunity” turned out to be a reality to us because again our miracle-working God surprised us. This time it is no longer a stunning surprise but a pleasant one. How? Since we opted for a package, all the items were discounted by about 16%.  Another pleasant surprise was our cardiologist waved all his professional fee of P83, 000.00 and the rest of the doctors gave us 15% discount across the board from their professional fees. Thus, our total bill was only P 846, 585.51. Indeed, “God works in mysterious ways! His ways are higher than our ways; and His thoughts are wiser than our thoughts.”

Looking back, I realized that submitting oneself to a multiple heart by-pass surgery is like a literal "passing through the dark, dreadful, dreary and chilling valley of the shadow of death." Anything can happen to you while in the valley. In my case, it was on the operating table and while at Cardio Care Unit of St. Luke's Hospital, Quezon City.

But God removed fear in my heart when I was brought to the operating room. He assured me that He will be with me as I go through the surgeon’s knife. I was sent to sleep and left unconscious for more than 8 hours. The surgeon cut my breast 10 inches long and opened it; bore a hole on my left side and on my stomach; bore a small hole on the right side of my neck. They made 3 two-inch long cuts on my right thigh and another 4 two-inch long cuts on my left thigh where they took the veins they stitched on my heart.

But God was so good to me. He made me understand that the threat of death is only a threat, for it is He who gives and sustains life. And when the anaesthesia was injected into my body, the Lord flooded my soul with "peace that surpasses human understanding, guarding both my heart and mind in Christ Jesus." Moreover, our Lord who is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His works promised that "He will preserve all who love Him" (Psalm 145:17, 20). I held on to that promise when they sent me to sleep. The Lord did what He promised - He preserved me. For that, I give glory to His name!
Family Celebration at the Enchanted Kingdom
Today, I have now a new heart and a new lease of life. I guess, the Lord is setting me ready to traverse mountains and cross rivers again for mission trips. Certainly, God orchestrated everything to extend my life and to bring to pass His plan and purposes for me. Moreover, God honoured your faith and answered your earnest prayers for me and my family. Your words of encouragement and moral support also did wonders. I don’t know if we can thank you enough for what you did to us. But we pray that God will mightily bless your kind and generous hearts in return and in manifold portion. From the bottom of my heart and of my family we say, “Thank you . . . thank you . . . thank you! And may God bless you!”


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

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