Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

Growing Up CODA: A Year Of Change

In this bonus episode, we catch up with Brother Ronnie and Brother Rowel David, children of deaf adults and ministers of the gospel in the Church Of Christ. It’s only been a year since we’ve aired the very first episode of this series, but a lot has happened since then. They talk about the unexpected tragedy that their family have had to face, how they continue to deal with it, as well as the perfectly timed blessing that they’ve received.


Growing Up Coda: A Year Of Change




[ Show opens]


Sister Aliw Pablo: Alright, ok we’re all ready? 


Sister Aliw Pablo: Hello Brother Ronnie, Brother Rowell, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you last. 


VO: Believe it or not, it’s been a year since we published the very first episode of the CODA series, where we first met Brother Rowel and Brother Ronnie David both CODAs or children of Deaf Adults and ministers of the gospel in the Church Of Christ.


Sister Aliw Pablo: Ka Ronnie, do you want to sit up a little bit? 




VO: So much has happened with the David family since we last talked. So we thought it would be worthwhile to catch up. And because September is Deaf Awareness Month, what better time than now.  


Sister Aliw Pablo: Hello, Brother Ronnie, Brother Rowel, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you last. 


Brother Rowel David: Hello, Sister Aliw.


Brother Ronnie David: Hello, Sister Aliw.  How are you?


Sister Aliw Pablo: We’re good. How are you doing? How are you both?


Brother Rowel David: Well, doing well, doing well.


Brother Ronnie David: Doing great


Sister Aliw Pablo: We just wanted to check in with you both and see how things are and just the impact and the feedback you’ve gotten from the CODA series, 


Sister Aliw Pablo: Would you say that there are people that you may have known for a long time, and after seeing your stories and hearing your stories, were  there things that they were surprised to learn?


Brother Ronnie David: I’ve had a lot of brethren who from my past local assignments, they texted me, they called me and they said, “I didn’t even know. I had no idea.” Because the thing is, we don’t put this out there. It’s not something that, “hey, hello, my name is Ronnie and my parents are deaf.” For them, one thing that got me was they said, “I see why you did the things The way you did. I see why.


Sister Aliw Pablo: Your story, you know, the CODA series was—is really a family story. And I am so curious to know have parents come up to you? Have kids come up to you? As far as helping bridge that cultural divide, generational gap, whatever gap happens as we grow older?


Brother Rowel David: You know, some are coming up and asking, you know, “what, do you think we shouldn’t do if, you know, this is the situation. You know, my child is going through this, do you think you can help them with this and that?” And so, I feel like because of that video, because of that series, it’s opened up a lot of doors. It’s actually opened, like, in the sense of parents, now seeing things in a different way as well. Because now they’re seeing things that you know, hey, this could be affecting my child, or me not doing this could be hindering them in this way.


Sister Aliw Pablo: One thing too, as far as opening up conversations, I’m curious as far as faith sharing, how has the feedback been from brethren who do have friends who are hearing-impaired and and how have they shared the content with them?


Brother Ronnie David: You know, it’s funny, because I feel like some brethren never thought about inviting a deaf person to a Bible study. They never thought about inviting a deaf person to listen to the words of God. But that’s an option. And that’s definitely happened to us sharing faith now. And it’s brought an—it’s gotten to the point where, even for those of the local I was assigned in, we were having a Bible study, we had about maybe eight or nine deaf there, so brethren are joining and they asked me so you know, Ka Ronnie we actually know some deaf my neighborhood, in my area. Can you do a Bible study over here? And I said, Sure. Exactly what it is. Because you know what? People feel more confident enough to invite people who are deaf now because they see that they have the opportunity also to hear God’s words. It’s even in the sense of learning sign language as well. Because through the CODA series now they’ve seen the other apps and the other, you know, videos that the Church Administration has produced. And now it’s branching out into the—you know, we—I’ve had some brethren come up and say, “yeah, I changed my major to communication,” you know, “to be able to help, you know, to learn more sign language as well.” And so it’s really, it’s impacted a lot of people in so many ways.


Sister Aliw Pablo: Well, praise God, praise God. And we hope that the wonderful thing about the CODA series and the story of your family is that it’s timeless, you know. That this can be watched five, ten years from now, and the stories and life lessons in your families can resonate for generations to come. But I should also point out, you’re all together today. I know that people may think you’re in the same place now, but why do you happen to be together and were able to do this interview and you’re in the same room?


Brother Ronnie David:  That’s true. We’re actually we’re blessed today to have a special gathering that was approved by the Church Administration for the ministers and not just the four districts that are here but all over the East Coast. So it was also a blessing for us in another way, which my brother and I were able to see each other. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: So it’s been a year and one of the things I never got to ask you both of this, but you know, our Part Three, there were some really profound intimate moments with your parents that you were able to say that you both have said you’ve never said before. And I know that for a lot of our viewers who watched it, that ending for Part Three is what got them. It just tore them up. It just—they just said, “I didn’t expect that at the end. Why didn’t you tell me? I should have had a box of tissues.” And I could tell from the reaction of your parents that they too were really shocked and moved by what you were able to tell them. So I was curious to know after that interview, what did they say to you? Brother Rowel you were in the same room with them.  But what was it like after that interview?


Brother Rowel David:

I’ll say you know… that my parents are people of few words, I’ll say it like that. even though they—my— especially my mother, she can sign away forever. But after the interview, it was more—you know, of course, deaf culture—more on action. We Just went up and hugged. Hugged, and then of course when my mom came up and hugged me, my dad came up, and it was just hugging for a good couple of minutes, saying I love you, this and that. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: No words needed.


Brother Rowel Pablo: No. None at all. It was a good moment. It was a good moment. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: Brother Ronnie, you obviously weren’t in the same room. But what were the conversations like after that interview, but also after they actually watched it? And watched the whole thing put together?


Brother Ronnie David: It’s like my brother said, it was.. it wasn’t only words. You know, my mother called her favorite son and I answered. She just told me she loved me so much. Because you—(laughs) you know what, for her, her and my dad, we don’t talk about our life to each other. We just live life with each other. So for us to confront it and view it and look back, I think that kind of opened all of our eyes. So she told me, she is thankful that we’re all together. And that we’re a family that was blessed to be together by God. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: Brother Ronnie can you repeat what you just said? “You don’t do life together…”


Brother Ronnie David: It’s like we, we never talked about our life together. We Just live life together. And it was probably the first time that we actually looked at each other—our faces, talked to each other and actually had a chance to look back and say, wow, this has been our life the whole time, and imagine the blessing it was to actually relive it with each other. And to see wow, you know, all those things we went through, whether happy, sad, good or bad, it was a blessing in the end because look at where we are now. And I think that’s where all the love came from and the fact that we really took a moment to say I love you to each other in a different way than we ever had before.


Sister Aliw Pablo: Being able to have that time and that moment to be able to do that and to look back a year later, if you can share with us what’s happened in the last year,


Brother Ronnie David: So, maybe a couple of months afterwards, just to go ahead and put it out there, I don’t know why but very suddenly our father passed away. And that was very tough. That was tough. Especially because we just had this opportunity to really open up to each other for the first time ever. I’m 32, my brother’s 30. And for how many decades that we lived life together, right, and for the first time ever we opened up to each other. And then one of us is gone. So like that definitely was… the sadness, the sorrow that was definitely there. And it’s not going to be something that still comes to mind and our hearts. We won’t stop thinking about it. But that’s the biggest trial we’ve experienced since we had done the CODA series.


VO: With no warning, their beloved dad, Brother Ramon David, suddenly passed away in mid April of this year. 


VO: It was here that Brother Ronnie recounted their last moments with his dad. Their parents were in New York, visiting Brother Ronnie and his wife and had just finished attending worship service in a local congregation where Brother Ronnie was assigned to preach. It was on their way home when Brother Ramon suddenly fell ill and later passed away. 


Brother Ronnie David: …the last thing I think about is, thank you, dad, for that last lesson. You teach a man how to finish his race. That’s exactly what we’re going to do. Because I hope that’s the way I finish my race, too. I’ll be on duty. I’ll still be genuine, genuine faith and love to the Lord God and live my life for God. That’s exactly what I want. So even though it was tough, it was—it was so sad at the moment at the time until now. I mean days later, weeks later, years later, for sure, we’re still going to feel like this, but at the same time, we’ll never forget that. He never had to say anything. He just lived his life to the end and he told us to really finish our race.


Sister Aliw Pablo: I remember Brother Rowel we were texting, I think it was just the day after your dad had passed away and I remember that your text was… the first thing you said is, “God is so good, because I got to see him just a few weeks ago and he got to see my brother. And I remember thinking at that moment that you both had, have had such a tough childhood, just struggle after struggle. But the fact that your mind, your heart automatically goes to the good with even the most painful situation, that that’s the first thing you think about a day after your dad had passed is such a testament to what your parents have taught you both. You know because that’s not something you learn overnight, you know, to be able to do that, to to be able to train your brain to go to where—to find a positive and everything, that is a lifestyle. That is a  lifestyle. And the fact that you both said that your father still taught you a lesson even the day that he had passed away—Sister Rose had actually sent me a picture—you know sister Rose and I were texting days after that, she had sent me a picture and it said and I don’t remember Brother Ronnie you can confirm, but it seem—sounded like your parents were with you, you had a Bible study with some deaf students? Was it that same week? So was that the same trip?


Brother Ronnie David: That was the exact same trip actually. Can you imagine the day before that we had a Bible study? And for some brethren they thought it was kind of late, it was at 9pm but we were there at chapel going over God’s words, going over the lessons. It’s amazing. All the deaf had so many questions and the beauty of it was that my parents were there. They were able to witness, they were able to mingle a little bit. And it was so nice seeing my dad talking to them, asking, “What do you think? What did you think about it?” And you never hear him say stuff like that. I’m sure the CODA series plays a big part in that because he is like wow, this is something that needs to get out. So maybe he felt the urge to do my part or that’s what he thought about it, and it was  great. It was great to see. We had about I want to say almost ten, ten deaf visitors and you know what, almost all of them are Bible students actually, currently right now.


Sister Aliw Pablo: Wow.


Sister Aliw Pablo: We saw that at the funeral of your father, there were some beautiful flowers there from the Executive Minister. Tell us a little bit about that.


Brother Ronnie David: You know, it was so overwhelming to get the kind of support we had. On an emotional level it was amazing to see so many brethren reach out. Brethren that talked to us like we were family.


Brother Rowel David: There were so many people that came out, from all over, we didn’t even expect them to come through. Just to show that they’re family..and actually there were even those that we didn’t even know, but because of the CODA series they came out to support. 


Brother Ronnie David: And probably one of the best things ever is to know that God is comforting us. Once you make that corner and we turn in, and you see all these flowers right there, right beside where my father was flowers from the Executive Minister, and it’s like such a great reminder that Ka Eduardo does think about all of us. Doesn’t matter how many people join the Church, how many members there are. So many, he is still thinking about all of us. And that’s why when I saw that, I said, you know, this is what it’s all about. The Church really is united. People say what they want but the Church really is united. And you can see how our Executive Minister, it’s amazing what he can do. That out of his time, out of his busy schedule and all that he still made time and showed love to us. That’s just another, like, everlasting reminder that God will take care of us. 


Brother Rowel David: our Executive Minister, he does this for the entire Church. And yet still, he can reach out, and he can show that love. It meant, it meant the world to us to know that he’s, he’s taking his time to make sure, to let us know that he’s there helping us, that he’s there supporting us. It really did mean the world. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: Witnessing your mom firsthand go through something so painful, losing the love of her life, what are the lessons that you’ve learned, continue to learn from your mom today? And how to deal with loss but also what true love really looks like and feels like?


Brother Rowel David: I remember when she left New York, she flew into Georgia with Ka Rose. And I was blessed to be able to be there and pick them up from the airport. And when we were driving, we stopped over to grab something to eat. And I turned around and I looked at her and I said, “Are you okay?” And she said, “I miss dad.” And I told her, I said—because I know her—and I said, “Mom, it’s okay for you to cry.” And she said, she looked at me, she goes, “No.” She said, “People tell me I have to be strong, I have to be strong.” And I get that, you know. And I’ll say that that’s one thing that I took from that is that, yes, we do have to be strong. But of course, when it’s just us. I told her I said, “Yeah, that’s fine.” I said, “In front of everybody else you can be strong.” But I told her I said, “Right now it’s okay for you to cry,” and she just, she let it out. 


But even then, like I said, she was showing us— and it’s what we preach as well, we know that—and our Executive Minister has said it before: to die as a member of the Church Of Christ is such a great blessing. It is. I mean you know we talked about, just like what Brother Ronnie said earlier, we’re going to experience sorrows. We’re going to experience pain because we’re still here on earth. You know. Dad doesn’t have to go through that anymore. Dad doesn’t have to experience that anymore. The next time that he’s going to open his eyes, the Bible says he’s going to be in heaven. He died as a member of the Church Of Christ. It’s a blessing. And so we preach that, you know, yes, be strong. But that’s something that I took is that, man, even though she’s going through that heartbreak, she’s still upholding what we preach in the worship service, that you’ve got to be strong. And that’s, you know, that’s, again, she really leads by example. She leads by example.


Brother Ronnie David: Especially the day after it happened. No one got much sleep that night. And the thing about it is, I know it must have been a shock for her. It must have been so surreal that this happened. Then, I remember she was saying, “Okay, look you need to be strong now,” which—those were very nice words to come from a parent, especially when something tragic happens. But those words, I play in my head when I need it. She was crying when she said it. She was hugging my arm when she said it. I really think about it now when I need it. Those moments where I do feel sad about it. So that’s one thing we’re definitely getting from her that she doesn’t have to say it, she just shows it. And regardless of what’s going to happen, she will be strong. She does that by showing us that she’ll continue serving God, performing her duties, and fulfilling what she’s always been doing, being a good number inside the Church.


Sister Aliw Pablo: With your mom, what, like you mentioned earlier, that she’s always just moving and doing and serving. How do you think her being activeness and continuing to do her duties in their Church that is helping her in her healing and her grieving at this time?


Brother Rowel David: Most definitely, I would say that it’s helping her remaining active in her duties inside the Church. We’re seeing her, she is—and she recognizes it as well, that she turns to that for comfort. She does. And you know, we’re so thankful, of course, to our Almighty God and to the Church Administration for having all of these different activities going on back to back to back. We’re thankful because it gives her the opportunity to involve herself in those things. She’s able to stay busy doing those things, doing the things that she loves, and then it keeps her mind away from thinking about those moments of being sad. Because of course, just again, the human in us, we’re going to be sad for years to come. But the fact that she can be able to make herself busy in those things that she loves, which is her services in the Church, it really does do her well. It does her well. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: How about for the both of you just on a personal note how tough it must have been to do the first worship service preach the first worship service after losing your father? And guiding brethren to be strong during the midst of challenges and experiencing it yourself in the middle of your own pain and in your own grief? How were you able to—were you able to stand up in front of your congregations and do the same?


Brother Ronnie David: Personally, and this is from the both of us because both of us admitted it to each other. I mean, we don’t have decades of experience inside the ministry. At the end of the day we’re still our parents’ children, and for us to still perform our duty, like we were talking about, still lead in the worship service, those are moments too, where you feel like how am I gonna do this? How am I supposed to do this? I mean, I know my head’s not in the right place, my hearts all over the place. How am I supposed to lead in the worship service? And you remember your mom and she is grabbing on your arm crying, “You have to be strong, you have to be strong.” You know what, it really makes you… I don’t want to say that you need someone to pass away to lose a loved one to feel closer to God. I don’t want to say that’s necessary but I want to put it out there, is that those moments actually are such a positive because it makes you—it really does make you feel closer to God. It really does. And [the Bible] says, it reminds you this life isn’t perfect. This life isn’t everything to us. What we’re supposed to do in this life is what we’re about to preach right now in this worship service, which is we’re supposed to let everybody know, remind everyone that this is what we need to do right now in order for us to get right here, which is our salvation. So, to tell you the truth, the worship service, you feel more deeper, you feel more entwined with the lesson. You definitely feel the emotion, but of course, you keep your composure. But at the same time it’s almost like you understand life a little bit better now.  We have a better way of saying it right?


Brother Rowel David: Yeah, I know in the first worship service that I officiated after it happened, that was one of the applications that we used in that worship service, which was for the parents. The only time that you have to teach your children is now because there will be a time that you won’t be there anymore. But you want to make sure that your children are okay. For the children, it’s important that you listen. That you listen to what they’re teaching—and you notice what they do, so that you can be able to follow that example. Because just like what he said, what we always preach, you have to do now  in order to be able to get to where we want to be, which is that eternal life that is salvation. 


Sister Aliw Pablo:  And how is your mom doing? How is Sister Raquel doing?


Brother Ronnie David: You know, Sister Aliw, it’s like you’re asking us a question that you already know the answer to. I’m only saying that because what she’s doing now is this—don’t be surprised—she’s going to worship service, she’s going to Bible studies, she’s going to the general cleaning of the place of worship that they have, she’s going to all the functions, and the activities and then she ends her day by texting us what she did at Church today. 


Brother Rowel David: There was one day she called me on FaceTime and she says randomly, she says she had just come from a general cleaning. And she said, “See, even though I’m by myself, I’m still going to do what God wants because that’s what God wants us to do.” And I told her I said, “That’s good.” I said, “I’m glad, I’m proud.” Because she hasn’t stopped. She won’t stop.


Brother Ronnie Pablo: You know if I could add to it.  But we won’t make her sound like she’s not human, alright? She definitely does have her moments. She texted us the other day, “It’s me and your father’s anniversary today.” And obviously there’s this type of feeling that she has and the feeling that we have about it, and we try to keep our heads up, we try to keep our chin up, try to focus on the good, focus on the positive and focus on the happiness and the love. But there are moments where she texts me, it really breaks my heart. Few words you know, just simple words like “Cry. I’m sad.” You know what, it’s amazing because she texts me this, obviously it breaks my heart. I’m sure she sent the same to my brother, it breaks his heart, and we both feel sad at the moment. But there’s a very spiritual aspect about this that really came to light, is that, I mean we’re supposed to feel sad. And we’re supposed to feel sorrow, sadness and all that. We’re supposed to, it’s biblical. Because the only time that stops is like what it says in Revelation is 20:1-4; the only time there’s no more sorrow, the only time there’s no more pain, and the only time that God will wipe away our eyes is when we get to heaven. And I remind myself that—that’s what this has all been about. So we got to go to heaven. We have to make it to heaven. This really isn’t our true home, is it?


Sister Aliw Pablo: Despite the hurt and the pain of losing your dad, but knowing that a few months before that, you were able to say what you did to him—things you weren’t ever able to say at all growing up—what does that say about the importance of saying what we need to say to people we love?


Brother Ronnie David: You know it’s so tough because yeah, you wish we could have been saying this our whole lives. We wish we could have been open like this to each other. And some people may say it’s unfortunate that it was only then that we said it. But like I said earlier, like what we believe: we just said what we were already doing. It was nothing new to us. It was just nice to be able to look at each other and reflect on it. But being able to express your love for your loved ones, I mean, obviously, we take it so much more seriously now than we have ever had before. I mean yeah, there were times where we do a whole day’s work. We do office work, we do Bible studies, chapel, we go to worship service. It just takes a few minutes or a few seconds just to know with a text. Text mom, “I love you.” We don’t need to start a conversation. I just want you to know, how are you doing? Did you get some sleep? Are you drinking water, you know. And you know what? One of the things that really hit us both is it really made us have a realization. Because for some people they may say, you know, it really was unfortunate that just now that you guys are really admitting this to each other But the way I look at it is, it was actually really hard at first—and this is us being completely human right now—it was really hard at first because we couldn’t take it. It’s very harsh on us because it’s our dad. We just had this CODA series. Because even for us we’re thinking the same thing, like why did we just now just say something, like why didn’t we just now open up to each other? And then you know what? The hard thing is like when we  pass, we start thinking the most human feelings ever like, “Why, God why? Why now? Why did it have to happen now?” And then you remember, us God-fearing people, God never makes mistakes. He never makes mistakes. And for some people that hurts. That hurts to think that. So my parents had to die or my loved one had to go. God never makes mistakes, it’s true. And You know what else, God has our best interest at heart. God really loves us. God cares for us. And when we really think about it, there’s a reason why it happened. It is all part of God’s guidance and at the end of the day you start realizing you know what, I need to trust God because know what, God never makes mistakes. There’s a reason why it had to happen. 


VO: “God never makes mistakes.”– He’s right, it’s a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over again, as well. But it’s also a lesson that’s hard to learn if you’re only focusing on the challenges you’ve had to face. So Brother Ronnie reveals a special blessing their family was given, as well. 


Brother Ronnie David: And if I can go ahead and mention it, I was, I mean I want my brother to mention it—but just for me on my part my father passed away in April, my nephew was born in May. And it means so much because… and I would text my brother—me and my brother, just to let you know we don’t even text like that. I know he’s busy doing his duty, he’s busy fulfilling his ministry, I’m over here doing my ministry. We don’t text each other. We don’t feel the need because we know love will always be the same. But I remember texting him, you know, I’m just glad that at least we have someone come in when dad leaves. Because God loves us. He doesn’t want us to hurt that long. He doesn’t want us to go through that much pain. He is going to give us a little bit of comfort too. He is going to take care of us emotionally. That’s when—that’s when my brother—


Brother Rowel David: Just you know that’s… that text message he’s talking about is something that I hold on to, something that I tell other people about all the time you know, dad passed away, a few weeks later, Timothy comes into the picture. And a lot of people they—you always have those people that say, oh, it’s sad that he wasn’t able to meet his lolo. It’s sad that he wasn’t able to meet his grandfather. But what I always say, I always go back to that text message, it’s that—”but it’s okay.” You know, yes. You know. And I’ll put this in as well. God is so good because right before our dad passed, we were together. I was able to be with him because of, you know, different worship services. I was able to go visit him. And then a few weeks later or two weeks later, he’s able to be with Ronnie. And so, he was able to see both of us. He was able to be with his family until the end. And that’s what we’re thankful for. That’s what we’re grateful for is that even after the CODA series, he knows how we feel, we were able to talk about it. And then he’s able to be with us multiple, you know—and again, we don’t see each other all the time. And yet we were able to be together because of God’s plan and God’s graces, and He let my dad go at the end of that. He was able to experience it. And then yes, a few weeks later, you know, we’re still hurting, we’re still grieving. Until now we still are. But it’s just like what he said, God sees that and God comforts as well. I think his—what his text message was was, “Timothy came at a perfect moment, the time when we needed him the most and we’re able to find that love again.” And yeah, I, you know, I hold—I’ve never told him that. This is us again, expressing ourselves in front of the camera, in front of you, and not to each other.


Brother Ronnie David: We should do this more often.


Sister Aliw Pablo: I think this is a pattern here.


Brother Rowel David: But yeah, no, I’ve never told him that, but I hold on to that text message so much, because it’s so true. I was having that conversation with my wife just a couple of weeks ago and I told her I said Timothy couldn’t have come at a better moment. Because it really was at a moment where we really did need him. And at this point, we’re able to be together and he was able to meet his uncle. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: So, you met him for the first time on this trip? So that was yesterday, right, because you just saw each other yesterday? Can you tell us, because I just get a kick out of his name, what is your son’s name, Brother Rowel?


Brother Rowel David: Timothy King David.


Sister Aliw Pablo: That’s so cool. 


VO: And while the deep pain and grief of losing their dad is still there, the presence of joy of the newest addition to their family cannot be denied. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: Brother Rowel, now that you’re a dad, what lessons are you going to pass on to your son that Brother Ramon had left with you?


Brother Rowel David: You know it’s great because I mean, first and foremost, of course, all of the things that my dad did for us, I want to be able to do for him. Because I—and you know, our Executive Minister reminds us as ministers all the time—that we have to be able to lead by example. That’s exactly what you know my dad did for us. It’s funny because now that I do have Timothy, I find myself waking up earlier. And I’m the one that does this and does that, puts this into the van, and does this and does that. And I think about it and I’m like, my dad used to do that. And I’m doing it because I saw him do it. He took care of us without us knowing. Just did it. And I, for sure, that is something that I want to be able to show, you know, yes teach of course, but teach it by showing him that this is what you do. For—you know, especially as you know, I want to say I want to be able to teach him how to be a man in the sense that we take care of our family of course first and foremost, I’m going to teach him, you know, that just like your granddad, you will have to continue to put God first. You know, that was something that our dad always did—us living two hours away from the chapel, he would always wake up early. You know those cold mornings when you have to make sure that the car is heated up—


Sister Aliw Pablo: The East Coast with snow and everything.


Brother Rowel David: You would wake up early and he would make sure that the car is clear that he would turn on the car so it would heat up, and this and that and. So that we could be able to leave on time. Or has it my mom, we always left three hours before the time we have to leave, he would do it. And it’s because we’re talking about God here. God is always first and that’s something that I wanted to teach. And that’s something that we took from our parents that one hour isn’t enough to be early.


Sister Aliw Pablo: September is Deaf Awareness Month and having heard the feedback from listeners from viewers and also having lived as CODAs, what would you like for people to know about the community?


Brother Ronnie David: You’re looking at the community right here. I think, you know, they can really benefit from this. You know, there are people, they want to share their faith. So just putting out effort to try to communicate or even trying to learn a little sign language here or there, it really helps out. And even if you meet someone who is CODA, you know, they’re talking and they’re chatting to their parents while you’re sitting and all that, even showing you know a little sign language there is a great impact because for people who are CODA like myself and my brother, I mean, just seeing other people who give effort to want to be able to speak to our parents, that means a lot in itself, too. So the fact that it’s going to come out in September or we’re going to be able to show people this is in September, it’d be really nice if everyone gave some type of effort towards it. There’s a lot more deaf people around than people think. Not that they are trying to hide. They don’t say much. But go and put the effort in to try to say something to them if you do see them.


Sister Aliw Pablo: Now that the Church is, you know, we have CSD (Christian Society for the Deaf), we have the app, we have a website, to know that your father left when he did. He went from, right, the 95th anniversary where there was nobody and he was just floored to see one person, Sister Rose, signing. And to know that he had finished his race at a time when he saw, when he could see the progress of the Church when it comes to the deaf community, how does that make you feel as his sons?


Brother Rowel David: I’d say for lack of a better word, happy, because you know, you saying it just brought back, just brought back a lot of memories. The fact that our dad was so happy to see one person signing. We don’t, we don’t get that a lot from our, from our dad. We don’t. And then to know that he was able to see how it is now, it—you just know that he was happy and that made—I’m trying to say it for both of us.


Brother Ronnie David: I mean, it also makes us happy to know that they’re not the only deaf inside the Church because throughout the years, you know, she sees an interpreter then you find out okay, she has parents who are deaf, they eventually became members. I remember thinking about the time that my parents both took oath as deacon and deaconess looking back at it is like wow, that really was something because they’re signing back the oathtaking to my cousin who was interpreting for them during the oathtaking.


Sister Aliw Pablo:  Let’s go back to your mom. How is she as a grandmother, Brother Rowel? How is his sister Raquel as a lola, as a grandmother?


Brother Rowel David: She’s happy. She’s happy. She’s one of the first things she said was that she knows that dad would have been happy and dad was excited to see Tim. And I guess for me, of course, I would love for Timothy to have met my dad. But just to know that he was excited. My mom was telling me that apparently he was telling everyone in their local area about Timothy, how he was excited to see his first grandson, this and that. And that’s all she would say in the beginning. You know, of course she’s not close to us right now in the distance but she’s always asking for that picture and that photo of the baby, you know. She is always asking just to be able to see him. She’s happy. She’s happy. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: And lastly, to wrap up our interview, brothers. Thank you again for taking the time. We know you have a long drive back for both of you but just to close our interview, Can we get—can we meet little Timothy King David? 


Brother Rowel David: Yes, of course.


Sister Aliw Pablo: And his global debut?


Brother Rowel David: He was here earlier before and then he was sleeping  and then we took him off, and he woke up. And we were like, oh, he knew, he knew he was gonna be on camera. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: He’s like, “let me be camera ready”. Oh, I see his hair. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. 


Brother Rowel David: This is Timothy King David.


Sister Aliw Pablo: Hi, Brother Timothy King David! Can we zoom in on him? What’s the best part of being a dad Brother Rowel?


Brother Rowel David: You know, after a week and a half being with him, someone asked me that. And I really thought about it for a second and having Timothy has been the closest feeling I’ve had to the Ministry. The feeling I get in the Ministry, you can’t compare it to anything. It’s a different feeling that God gives you when you’re helping in the holy Ministry. And I think after those late nights, you know having you know having to take care of Timothy and everything, closest thing I could feel. the closest to that fulfillment feeling, you get it whenever you’re taking care of him. Yeah. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: And your heart just melts no matter how tired you are.


Brother Rowel David: Always. Always.


Sister Aliw Pablo: Always. 


Brother Rowel David: Crying, and in the moment you get the bottle to him and he stops and just looks at you? Enough. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: So at what age would you start teaching him sign language?


Brother Rowel David: You know, we’ve actually already started looking into it. And we’re wanting to go ahead and start.


Sister Aliw Pablo: He’s like, you’re too loud, dad, you’re too loud. 


Brother Rowel David: Yeah, no, we’re looking—we’re already starting to look into it and I’m thinking I think around six months is when we’d actually start trying to implement. But for sure, we want to be able to teach him sign language and honestly my mom is already trying.


Sister Aliw Pablo: To teach him. 


Brother Rowel David: Already trying. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: I bet he’ll be a fast learner. He’ll be your interpreter when he is older as you‘re preaching, Brother Rowel.


Brother Ronnie David: It’s in the blood, po, he’s doing it right now. There you go. 


Sister Aliw Pablo: He is doing “I love you”? Aw, look at that stretch.


VO: And there’s no better way to end this episode than to see the hope and love a child brings to a family. Timothy may not have met his grandfather but we hope one day,  this CODA series will help him know who his grandfather was and the legacy of faith he left behind.


Special thanks to Brother Ronnie and Brother Rowel for taking time out of their busy schedule to sit down with us and of course, to Sis Rose Guillermo, Timothy’s other grandmother for doing the ASL translation.


If you haven’t seen the CODA series, log on to, or on the INC Media app or anywhere you get your podcasts, to listen or watch the 3-part series.


On behalf of the Making Changes team, thanks for listening  and may your change uplift you.



Available downloads

Growing Up CODA: A Year Of Change