Ten Days: A Week After



Disclaimer: This will be a lengthy one. 

It has been a week. 

Last week, as of writing this, at this time, we were at the renowned Singapore Changi Airport having our late lunch of chicken rice, laksa, Subway Chicken Tandoori sandwich or some muffins. A few hours back in Manila, we had our last Filipino breakfast meal (I remembered having sausages, poached eggg and fried rice that day) then later questioned by the Filipino immigration officer why and where were we staying in Da Nang, Vietnam. (Although with trepidation, I knew, we would be able to answer their questions with confidence! Galing ni LORD, eh!) 

I remembered the feeling of anticipation coupled with excitement and nervousness. But then again, I knew, too even before hand, that God went ahead of us already. He was the One who prepared the way for us. 

It was He who divinely appointed each one of us into one goal — that is, to share His message of great love and hope to the people of Da Nang — without us also realizing that God has His own special mission in our hearts. 

It has been a week of memories being brought back alive by the fact that reality, in truth, bites back. After two weeks of being together, the truth remains that I am a mere government employee; I work an 8am-5pm job and I am a Filipino (I almost dreamt being a Vietnamese, haha!) by nationality and by blood to the core. 

Yet, looking back, only by His grace would have been these things made possible. 

It was He who divinely appointed each one of us into one goal — that is, to share His message of great love and hope to the people of Da Nang — without us also realizing that God has His own special mission in our hearts. 

This journey is a story of many firsts for us. As for me, there are a lot of good memories to look back to 2016; still, this trip will always be a highlight.

Writing this brings tears to my eyes, really. Staring at those photos and then reminiscing what went through behind them makes me realize that I not only have new found friends. In each one of you is a family. Thank you for the time we spent together. It will always be a pleasure serving together with you. 


Kuya John and Ate Joyce, I thank you for your leadership. God is mindful for sending the two of you to lead us in this mission journey. Aside from your leadership, your love for each other will always be included in my #relationshipgoals. I hope, one day, I will also find a partner who has the same, if not, more passion and love for God, for His people and for the nations.  Your testimony, from the time you were both single until now that you are happily married, is a blessing and something I would like to emulate, too in the near future. 

Kuya John, the first time you interviewed me for Ten Days, I knew how blessed am I for having you as our team leader. Your passion for God and His Word always reminds me to do the same. Thank You for your patience with us. I know how trying it might be to have an all-female team. I am grateful for you always never let us lose sight of the goal of why we were called to this mission trip. Likewise, thank you for showing us your “other side” — the cool, adventurous, nerdy one. I appreciate the fact that you never hindered us to be daring in trying out a lot of things in Vietnam — from riding at the back of a motorbike (with proper helmet, of course!) to eating out Vietnamese delicacies (from shrimps to frogs to snails, etc. Sayang! We did not see crispy crickets or locusts. I bet, we tried that as well, hehe!). Thank you for being not just our “Kuya” for two weeks, but sometimes, a “Dad” as well (remember the time you allowed me to travel in motorbike going to Hoi An? You just told me, “It’s okay ; just be careful. Wear your helmet.”). Always being mindful of our whereabouts, it showed how a great father you would be in the future. We are looking forward to see little  “Johns” and “Joyces” in the future. 

Ate Joyce, your administrative skills is noteworthy. From the requirements we need to accomplish to our team budget to finding the most affordable flights and hotel accommodations for our team, you did it with such excellence and grace. I admire you for that. Thank you, too for being an attentive and gracious listener (remember back at Cong Cafe? I almost cried pouring out my heart to you, haha!). Your timely and wise advise  will always be something I will carry in my heart. Thank you for being there when I do not know whom to talk to. I hope I can bond and talk with you more in the future. 


I always thank the LORD for having you, Sheen, as my buddy and room mate for the last two weeks. It was fun being with you almost everywhere. I can see a passionate and joyful woman in you. I know you will make a great campus missionary back home. Thank you for being like a “little sister” to me. Hearing your stories when you decided to go full time in the ministry always serves as an inspiration for me as well. I see your love for the people, your unwavering energy, your practical thoughts in life, your love for your family and your inner beauty (Aba eh, kaypalad ni Inan sa iyo! ). Thanks for always reprimanding me not to eat shrimps, in spite of my anti-allergy meds at my bag’s pocket (I truly appreciate your concern!) I love you, Buddy Sheen! I hope to be in the same team with you some day soon! 


Your humility and your leadership is outstanding, Norie!  You could have as well take the lead in our exhortations for the prayer meetings back in Da Nang, but then you willingly take the back seat and let other people “shine”.  Thank you for showing a different side of you back in Vietnam — your hearty laughter, the not-so-serious one, the lady with thought-provoking questions, the photographer and the actor (naks! Yan, eh after nating mag-photoshoot sa ilalim ng mainit na araw sa Dragon Bridge). Your heart for the people as well as your love for God is always visible with the way you engage with people. I hope to work with you in the mission field again. 


Elaine, you will always be our team’s Miss Harmony. Thank you for sharing your laughter, your love for adventures, great landscapes and photos and your love for life. Your energy and wit is always amazing. Thank you for always reminding us of our schedules (Yes, you may never noticed that but I really appreciate it!) and for always being optimistic about almost everything. Your prayers are always heartfelt. Thank you for sharing a part of your life back in Vietnam. I look forward for more bonding times with you back here in the Philippines, and to be with you on the same team again! 



These photos are not enough to say how grateful am I being with you in this wonderful, unforgettable journey. Thank you for teaching me things in life, leadership, humility, kindness and A LOT in between! Thank you for sharing a part of you. It will always be something that I will carry in my heart and will tell my future children, that once, I stepped out in faith with such great people like you. 


Until our next journey, Team Xin Chao!! 


The Afterthoughts


Dear Da Nang, 

It has been four days since I stepped back to my real hometown. Once again, I savor the usual commotion of the almost long-forgotten Manila noise and traffic. 

Still, the memories, the places, and the people still linger.

I miss all of them. 

It seems like those twelve days I was with you is a dream — one that captured my eyes and my heart — which transpired like fairy dust. Being with you is a bittersweet experience. It was enough to build memories and friendship, but short enough to say goodbyes. It left me longing to be with you and once again, see how every place and people remind me of how gracious the Author of my life and Creator of the universe is. 

You taught me valuable lessons in life, Da Nang. These lessons, which life graciously gave me, were the ones worth keeping. Thank you for opening my eyes to the wonders beyond the comfort zones I know. I saw your beauty in a different light — one that tarried in my heart and mind — which was a diamond waiting to be polished by His Almighty hands. 

Whenever I remembered looking at the vastness of your skies, I remembered thanking God for setting my foot in a land that was – and still is – rich in history, arts and culture yet hungry for His Word. 

I long to see you again, Da Nang but I know, one day, in His perfect timing, my heart will not long for you anymore.

I will, once again, see your blue skies tainted with white clouds, your mountain embracing the vastness of the sea, your people teeming with friendly warmth, your gastronomic cornucopia, your adventures waiting to be discovered, your rich history and culture that felt like my own, your struggles and your victories and everything else in between. 

My heart may be restless to see you now; still, I will wait. 

. . . I know, one day, in His perfect timing, my heart will not long for you anymore.

I will always carry you in my thoughts and prayers. 

I may go to different lands afterwards, yet I know, you, Da Nang, has already etched such place in my heart. 

Until I see you again. . .