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Growing up CODA – Lessons Learned from Growing Up CODA – Part 3

It’s part 3 of our Growing Up CODA series and our season finale. Because of the great feedback from the first two episodes and the request of our viewers, you’ll meet the parents of the David Brothers. They’ll answer viewer questions on how they overcame parenting challenges and how they raised two sons to be God fearing young men. For parts 2 and 3, go to the Making Changes show page.


Growing up CODA Part 3

Aliw Pablo: It’s been a few months now since I’ve met the David brothers, Brother Ronnie and Brother Rowel from our Growing up CODA Series. And you know, I remembered when our team here worked on their story. We wondered, will other people, even if they’re not part of the deaf community, relate to their story? Will our listeners gain as much as we did from their story? Well, turns out, we were in for a surprise.

…what stood out to me is how the parents continued to attend worship service for more than 18 years despite not being able to hear

I’m a choir member, So the fact that there’s no music in their worship…still makes me cry.

Because music, the hymns that we have are basically prayers.

That’s what I thought of because for someone who has been hearing all their life, how many times have I taken that for granted?

There is something for everyone in their story and every bit of it was so inspiring!

Aliw Pablo: For the past few weeks, we’ve heard from a lot of you through text messages, comments and direct messages on social media like these:

Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful and inspiring story

…how move I was listening to your life story

Aliw Pablo: And we get it. Many of you, like us, have been completely immersed in the first two Growing up CODA Episodes. So immersed that some have even told us that you’ve listened or watched the first two episodes a few times. 

The kids watched it first and they told me about it… I’ve watched it a couple of times already and I still cry about it! 

Aliw Pablo: And you told us about your biggest takeaways and how these lessons are making an impact in your own lives. 

…and that showed me how God has His ways of showing His love 

…sacrificing yourself so that your kids could have more, could have better…

Aliw Pablo: We heard you. And honestly, we were just as eager as you to meet their parents. 

You’re listening to Making Changes. I’m Aliw Garcia Pablo. It’s a show about the changes we go through and the life lessons we learn along the way. But always with God by our side. It’s part three of our Growing up CODA Series and our season finale. Today’s episode is like no other.

Hello, Brother Ramon and Sister Raquel!

Aliw Pablo: And yes, today you will meet the parents, Ramon and Raquel David, who are both deaf. The two people who raised Brother Ronnie and Brother Rowel to be the Ministers of the Gospel they are today. And we’ll also be joined by Rose Guillermo, who will translate for us and as you’ll soon learn, is now a part of the David family in a way that only God could have planned. 

Aliw Pablo: Are you recording your video Ka Rose, po?

Rose Guillermo: I think it is on. 

Aliw Pablo: In this episode, you’ll hear from our viewers and listeners who had their own set of questions for the family, specifically for the parents. So many of you wanted to learn more about them, like how do they meet? Or how did they come to that decision to sell the house? And how do they have that kind of faith?

Brother Rowel David: They are very nervous. 

Aliw Pablo: They are doing great. 

Brother Rowel David: That was one of the things that she mentioned. She said, I don’t know what to say. 

Aliw Pablo: So before we get started, you’ll hear a lot of “po” in this episode. “Po” is a term of endearment in the Filipino language used when showing respect to the one you’re talking to. And you’ll also notice us addressing one another as “Brother” or “Sister” or “Ka” short for Kapatid in Filipino. It’s the way we show love for the Brotherhood in the Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ.

Aliw Pablo: Brother Ramon and Sister Raquel so nice to finally meet you, for agreeing to be with us on part 3 of Growing up CODA.

Raquel David: Yes, when I saw the invitation, I’m very happy. And also seeing everybody here, my sons, so I’m very grateful. 

Brother Rowel David: When we first told her about the interview, and that everyone wants to meet them she said, ‘Why us? We’re not the only deaf people. Why do they want to meet us? And you know, but they’re very nervous.

Aliw Pablo: How does it feel, po when you watched the episodes po? How did it feel watching, po your sons and hearing their stories?

Raquel David: When I saw my sons I’m truly, truly touched. Very inspired on how they tell the story. And it made me cry. So thank God, I’m very very happy and very proud of my sons.

Aliw Pablo: Which part hit you the hardest Sister Raquel? Which part touched you the most from the stories they told?

Raquel David:  You’re just going to make me cry.  Well, I can still feel the reality of our stories and how my sons grow up. And I’m deaf you know, and I cannot believe it, that they are now Ministers. And this is really God’s gift. I know that God helped my sons and where they are right now. And this really made me happy and very proud. So I really thank God for this. So I know that God will always take care of my sons and their family. He will never forget us. And I truly, truly love God. 

Aliw Pablo: Truly, truly love God. This is a statement that their mother Raquel said over and over again, in this interview. Her deep love and respect for God is truly undeniable. And that alone explained it all: how the boys were raised, how she worshiped, and how she lives her life every day, with no excuses, and with no fear.

And then it was time for them to answer your questions. And because this special episode is for you, our listeners or viewers, I wanted to start with what shocked many, if not all, who listened to part two.

This question is from Jan. She’s actually one of our producers here at INC Media, and who helped us in this recording.

Jan: My question is, when we found out that you sold your house, po, what were your prayers like? What made you decide, okay, we have to sell the house and what were your conversation with your husband? Like, was it easy? Was it an easy decision? Was it a hard decision? Because I cannot even share my french fries with my family, but you sold your house. So tell me how, how did that come about, po?

Raquel David: It’s a lot of stress. It worries me a lot. I know how difficult life in the Philippines is not having enough food. So that came to mind. You know, with Rowel, he got sick, too. He did not tell me that he got sick when he was in the Philippines. He was hospitalized. And I didn’t even know. Nobody told me. How would you feel? You know, I’m the mother. And so I have a niece who told me, you know.

I asked her basically what’s going on in the Philippines. And I’m asking her why I’m feeling this way. I cannot sleep at night. And so I’m asking them, you know.

And finally she told me, but my son being in the hospital. That worries me a lot.

So as soon as I got home, I prayed more. I know, we don’t have a lot of income to support my sons. And so we came to the discussion, we have to sell the house.

And so I continue to encourage my sons to just continue with their studies. I wanted them to continue to become a Minister. And that will make me happy. And we will just be patient. We don’t want to do anything that will ruin their studies. And so I constantly ask for help. So we decided to just move in with my sister and sell the house. That way, I’ll be able to save some money and you know, find ways and means on how we can support my sons. And now they’re doing very well. Thank God.

Aliw Pablo: You know, I must have heard the story about Raquel and Ramon’s decision to sell their house at least a dozen times while we were editing the story. But just like you, I’m still so moved. But let’s back up a little bit. And let’s learn more about Raquel and Ramon before they became parents. Here’s another story that so many of you wanted to know.

Denise: What is your love story, po? How did you meet? And how did you fall in love? That’s all, thank you again.

Aliw Pablo: Before we start we just wanted to mention one thing we learned while producing this episode, which is that both mom and dad were actually not born deaf. As kids they had both taken medication that caused them to lose their hearing. Mom Raquel was a few months old when she lost her hearing while dad Ramon was six years old when he lost his hearing. But anyway, back to their story.

Raquel David: So initially Ramon wanted to be friends with me. And I turned him down right away. He asked me if he can be my boyfriend. And I turned him down right away because I’m an Iglesia Ni Cristo and he’s not a member. So I walked away. I kept on turning him down and I refused to have any relationship because I’m an Iglesia Ni Cristo.

Aliw Pablo: What was it about Sister Raquel that you saw and you like? Why did you like her?

Raquel David: Yes, answer why?

Ramon David: Well, she’s a woman who’s very religious. And I liked that better than the other girls that I saw. She always goes to church.

Aliw Pablo: Eventually, Raquel transferred from a deaf school to a hearing school. Then one day, a knock came at the door.

Raquel David: So before visiting my house, he kept on asking our friends and classmates where I live. And so he got accompanied by someone to visit me at home. And while I’m at home studying, you know, for my homework, my niece answered the door. She saw someone at the door. Saw someone who was very handsome, and told me that there’s someone, a guy who’s at the door.

And I still refuse to see who said that door. And when I saw it’s Ramon, I told him, ‘I don’t have feelings for you. And I don’t want to be in a relationship. I just wanted to continue with my studies. Go home. I don’t want you.’ And he insisted on knowing me. And I told him, I’m a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo.  A long time ago, this is the sign for Iglesia Ni Cristo. And he did not understand what Iglesia Ni Cristo is. And he became very curious about it. He wants to know more about the Church. And I told him, ‘Well see for yourself and find out for yourself. Look for it.’ Please go home and look for it. So I basically did not help him to find this. But he’s the one who searched for it. I don’t even know what he did. But I think he just did it on his own looking for the Church.

Ramon David: Yes, I actually wanted to go to the Church, you know, because I wanted to be blessed too.

Raquel David: So he went through the doctrinal lessons and he was baptized. And then he came back to my house, knocked on the door and told me that he was baptized.

Aliw Pablo: I thought she had no clue. She had no idea that he was doing Bible studies on his own.

Raquel David: Well, when he knocked on the door and told me that he was baptized, I did not believe him. I thought he was joking. And I asked him, where did he get baptized? And he said, ‘in the Iglesia Ni Cristo. There was a man, a Brother in the Church Of Christ who invited me and you know, guided me and I got baptized.’

I came here to see you. But I still did not believe at that time that he was baptized.

Ramon David: I got baptized in Templo Central in Quezon City. 

Aliw Pablo: And he did. A former Catholic, Ramon began attending worship services in Templo Central in Quezon City, Philippines. He had Bible studies and was eventually baptized. And soon, his dad also joined the Church. So from there, Raquel, now welcomed to being courted by him, and eventually, they got married.

Meanwhile, her parents had petitioned her to come to America. And then it was her time to go. But she was two months pregnant with her first son, Ronnie.

Raquel David: I was very concerned because I had to move to the United States. And so I decided to always pray for help, for guidance when I leave the Philippines for the US. 

Aliw Pablo: What did you pray for? 

Raquel David: I was worried about my worship service. How am I going to get to the worship service if I’m here in America. And you know, that was my concern. I was relying on my parents. Where will we go to church? 

Aliw Pablo: Once Raquel arrived in America, she and her family would travel to Charleston, South Carolina, for worship service, a five hour drive. But with her persistence to be able to worship consistently, Raquel found a way.  

Brother Ronnie David: They were able to find other members across Middle Georgia. And then they decided to have it there in the house in the beginning, and eventually moved on to a YMCA when they grew bigger and so on, so forth became Atlanta, then South Atlanta, North Atlanta. But yes, po it did start there in our house. 

Aliw Pablo: So Sister Raquel was an instrument for the Church to basically have worship services in the whole state of Georgia.

Faith can truly move mountains. The brothers even talked about when their mom first came to America, not knowing yet where to worship. She would still get dressed on Sunday mornings and be in her room and pray. Or when she first had Brother Ronnie as a baby, she would leave the house and walk just keep walking, just wanting to be out looking for the nearest Iglesia Ni Cristo House of Worship.

Her faith was so deeply rooted that no one could pull it, change it, or weaken it.

So a lot of questions, a lot of people.. this is the comment that we got a lot of… is how in the world did both Sister Raquel and Brother Ramon…how in the world did they, did they stay so strong in their faith for 18 years?

Number one, first not having a place of worship when they first arrive, but also not having an interpreter? How do they stay that strong in their faith? And not you know, get lazy in their services or get complacent? Why? Why were their faith so strong all those years? 

Raquel David: Because I always felt that I always wanted to go to church, and I don’t want to miss any worship services. I always go to church because I know that God is the only one who can make me feel better. I don’t want to just miss any worship services and be complacent. I want to go to church and do my service because I really, really love God. Ronnie and Rowel, you know, my family will tell them to stay home and I said ‘no.’ They’re gonna be with me to go to church. They are still my sons. And they will follow me and they will go to church. And so we were always together going to church.

Aliw Pablo: Where does her love for God come from? How did she become like that? How did she become so faithful?

Raquel David: I think this is a lot of respect for God. I feel that deep inside me I always dream about God. It’s just that I feel He’s always by my side. Regardless of what trials and difficulties I am experiencing, that’s how I always felt. That’s always been my feeling. 

Aliw Pablo: It was at this point that I realized while listening to Raquel and how she passionately talks about their deep love for God without saying a word. Perhaps it’s because living in a silent world and often in a lonely world, all her life, that God has been her constant companion in her thoughts, in her dreams, and in every breath she took. Being an outsider in a hearing and unpredictable world, God had been the only one she could rely on.

And as she spoke, we can see how deep faith carried over to her children. Here she talks about how prayer has been a staple in their home, and how she began to tell her boys that God has big eyes.

Raquel David: I know there’s a lot of things going on in school. I don’t want them to copy whatever’s happening in school or any peer pressure. So I always remind them not to listen to bad things. When they go to school, cover their ears. And you know, don’t use bad words. I keep on reminding them, advising them that God is always looking at you. And so don’t ever do that.

And so, later on, what I did, I just constantly reminded them that God is almighty, that they can see him everywhere they are. And so I constantly advise them to always pray, and God will take care of them. So they better be good. So even if I’m not watching, I know that God is just all over. Because I know they’re very young when we started praying to God. And you know, we always have that as part of our lives.

You know, with Ronnie, he inspired me, Ronnie probably is about one year old.

And that night, you know, I told Ronnie, I have to kneel and pray.

And Ronnie was just looking at me. I was on my knees, and he was just watching me and trying to copy me. I didn’t know that he was copying me when I said, Amen. And I looked at Ronnie, he was still praying. And he was holding his hands. He was praying. And it really gave me goosebumps, inspired me to see him praying together with me. And then we slept. I did not teach him, he was just doing it himself. That’s a big inspiration for me to see. So I continue to really, really ask God for help in everything that we do.

Aliw Pablo: But at this point in the interview, we wanted to go back to that life changing moment they had during the 95th anniversary.

What it was like to see you Sister Rose is to see an interpreter for the first time

in America, in a worship service, what was that like for them?

Raquel David: Well, I was just trying to be part and participate in the event.

My husband, Ramon keeps on telling me there’s a sign language interpreter right there on the screen. And I did not see an interpreter. But then my husband, you know, told me to just watch the screen. I did not actually understand a lot of American Sign Language. It was not as clear as before. However, I was just grateful.

Ramon David: So when I saw the interpreter and I saw her on the screen, I decided to get closer to the interpreter. My wife is very shy, and she doesn’t want to go in front. So I went to the front.

Raquel David: I’m not shy. I was with my friends and my sisters sitting down with all my group in my local. You know, we sit together and we talk.

I am shocked. I felt like I’ve been wanting that for so long. I had to sit and really, really pay attention. I did not pay attention to anything. It was a beautiful interpretation. I just love watching. I could envision the church having an interpreter everywhere I go.

Ramon David: Well, I know I’ve been waiting. I’ve been needing a sign language interpreter. So I’ve always wanted to see one. During the 95th, I cannot see from afar, so I had to move forward to see the interpreter right in front of me. That’s what I did. 

Aliw Pablo: I was also really curious about Rose’s version of this pivotal moment.

Rose Guillermo: Yes, 95th is one of the most memorable moments of our lives.

I do have my deaf friends and my parents that I was inviting. They were not members yet of the Church. And one of the reasons we requested for interpretation because I have a lot of dear friends who wanted to go to the 95th living in Washington, DC. 

Aliw Pablo: So just when you think that the story of this family cannot get any more special. Well, you see at this point during the 95th anniversary, the Davids didn’t know Rose, the ASL interpreter. She was from New York while the Davids are from Georgia. What they did not know is that Rose is also a CODA (Child Of Deaf Adults.) She had been trying for over two decades to share her faith with her deaf parents and her friends in the deaf community. And so every chance she could, she would always sign and translate for them in church activities or Bible studies or worship services. And as you’ll soon hear, the way that the lives of these two families will now be intertwined forever is proof that there is no such thing as coincidences.

Rose Guillermo: So we have like, probably about 10 deaf visitors. And it was, it was a moment wherein I told myself, I’m gonna rest a little bit since the main event is over.

And I’m going to sit. So I walked away from the camera, and I saw an empty chair. And there’s a man who, a Brother who was just standing right there with the chair holding on to the chair, but he was not sitting down. He was just standing there and holding on to the chair. So I asked the Brother, Brother, you know, he has the ribbon. When you have a ribbon, you’re a member of the Church. So I said, Brother, are you going to use the chair? And then this Brother started gesturing. So, I said, what? You’re deaf? And then he said,’ Yes.’ So right away, I got my goosebumps knowing that we have a Brother, who’s deaf. I’ve been dying. I’ve been dying to see deaf people in Church. Primarily, my parents were not members at that time. And it’s here on the 95th anniversary. And then he started saying (sign language). When he did that, I started crying because I’ve never seen a Brother, who’s a member, (has the ribbon) and also a deacon at the same time. Who was deaf. That was the first time we’ve ever met. And I said, Where’s your family? Oh, my wife is back there, back there. Bring her over, I’m going to introduce you to my parents. And that’s when it happened.

Aliw Pablo: Even though they didn’t know it yet, this would be the moment that God took their paths and joined it together, making their lives completely intertwined forever. Meanwhile, eventually, Raquel followed her husband, Ramon, and found a seat in front of Rose.

Raquel David: And so in the beginning, like I said, I did not understand fully well, American Sign Language. However, you know, we’re in constant communication with each other. And so I kept up with my ASL skills now. So finally, it’s an open communication for us using this language. 

Aliw Pablo: Now, before we go into the details of how both our families became one big family, let me tell you about our awesome ASL interpreter Rose, who up to this point, had never met another deaf church member. Well, she has her own story to tell.

Rose Guillermo: I’ve experienced so much persecution from my parents. And it’s very difficult when there’s a barrier when it comes to communication. So I have to keep up with the skills of signing. So that one day, they will also be part of the Church Of Christ. And so seeing someone who’s deaf and a member and who’s a deacon, that means my parents have hope. They have hope of getting saved. They have hope of becoming a member too one day. And they did.

Aliw Pablo: And because she’s a CODA herself, she related to the brothers instantly.

Rose Guillermo: But if you have deaf parents, the bonding of the children, the hearing children are just there. We share the same feeling, you know, when you’re…

sometimes you have to explain again and again to our parents what we are trying to say. And we might have our facial expressions, but that’s actually just, you know, explaining it further for them to understand. It’s part of being CODAs. It’s a bond, you cannot just take it away. It’s just there. And so the minute we met each other, it was just that. And ever since then we’re just supporting one another.

Aliw Pablo: But here’s the thing. Rose didn’t meet the brothers till a week later over a video call. In fact, according to the brothers after the 95th celebration, their parents didn’t even tell them they met the interpreter. Meanwhile, what both sets of parents did not know is that their kids had actually met each other at a youth group or Kadiwa gathering the day before the 95th anniversary without knowing how their two worlds would eventually be joined as one. 

Rose Guillermo: I have four daughters. Brother Ronnie and Brother  Rowel met my children. From my understanding, they were bragging, they were so proud of their parents that my daughter said, ‘Oh, yes, my mom is the interpreter in the Church.’ And Brother Rowel said, ‘Oh, yeah, that my mom is deaf.’ So it’s, I don’t know, from my envision it’s happening all at the same time I met the parents while my children met each other. 

Brother Ronnie David: And then it wasn’t about a week later. That’s me and my brother, we were at home. I see my mother she’s talking on… They had this TV phone for deaf people. And I see my mother just going off talking. She’s all excited and all that. You see, like guys come here, you meet this person, in this family.

So then we go over there. I believe Ka Rose is doing the same thing saying, Hey, you guys, get over here. Get over here, you guys. And when we all showed up on the screen, I’ll let my brothers take the rest.

Brother Rowel David: I mean, that’s basically it. We all saw each other on the screen. And we were like, ‘Hey, we met.’ And then the parents were like, ‘No, we you know, we met as well.’ And you know, it just happened this show… 

Aliw Pablo: Okay, we’ll cut to the chase. Brother Rowel, actually ended up falling in love and marrying Rose’s daughter, Crystal. They’ve been happily married now for four years.

Sister Rose is now your… 

Brother Rowel David: My mother-in-law. Hello, Mom 

Aliw Pablo: Your mother-in-law..

Rose Guillermo: I don’t know what God’s plan is. But I’ve always wanted my daughters to just marry a Minister. 

Aliw Pablo: Did you really?

Rose Guillermo: Yes.

Aliw Pablo: Oh, wow. Look at that. Oh, wow. 

Rose Guillermo: It was… we always say it was really meant to be when Brother Rowel finally asks for this. I was like waiting.

Aliw Pablo: So you were… she was waiting more than her daughter was. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful story. So really all around everyone’s prayers were answered. 

And as only fate and God’s plan would have it. These two families are now one big happy family. Oh, and there’s more. Brother Ronnie is currently the resident minister in Bellmore, New York, the same local congregation that Rose and her family are in. Coincidence? Nah, always God’s plan.

Rose Guillermo: One thing Sister Aliw I can tell you is that I am the first one in my whole side of the family to become a member of the Church of Christ.

My only prayer is to have my parents become members too because of their disability. That was the first thing that was on my mind. And now that I have the David family, as part of my family, then it made me more inspired. That I’m not alone. You know, that God did not abandon me in this endeavor for the deaf people because we have the David family who’s going to be there to advocate for what we want to do. It’s something that I believe that God gave us to do, a responsibility for us to do. Sister Aliw, until now I don’t know if I’m making an impact. But seeing my parents being in the church after 27 years of persisting on inviting them and turning me down so many many times, turning me down many times more than when they said yes to doctrinal lessons.

Aliw Pablo: 27 years. Wow. What made you keep going, what made you keep going?

Rose Guillermo: Love for them. Love for the deaf. That’s why I continue to be a professional interpreter because I know whatever I’m feeling for my parents right now I’m also feeling it for the deaf community, for my deaf friends. It’s the only thing I can offer them. And so whatever I gain I already made a promise to God whatever skills I have right now, I’m definitely going to be sharing it with everyone because it is just to share my faith. That’s the main goal to bring more souls into the fold, whether they are deaf or hearing. They should also have the chance they have souls, they should have a chance to also hear God’s words.

Aliw Pablo: Both of Rose’s parents were baptized into the true Church Of Christ, and are also as much of a part of this extended family. Hearing Rose say, ‘I’m not sure if I’m making an impact’ is such a testament to the kind of heart she has of wanting to serve and help.

What started as simply translating for parents in 2005 has now evolved to being a Certified ASL interpreter or translator. She’s the pioneering member of CSD or Christian Society for the Deaf here in the States. Today, she teaches ASL classes as part of the New Era University Certification Program. 

Rose Guillermo: My cultural background with the deaf community helps a lot, po when it comes to that. And so the Church Administration’s advice was to still study. Get certification, get the experience needed, and move from there. So we God’s help, po I was guided properly, and finally got that approval from the Church Administration allowing me to be an interpreter in the Church. Because they already saw the need for the future for the deaf community and for those people who really wanted to be saved.

Aliw Pablo: In the end, God heard the prayers of Rose and Raquel. These two women whose mission and goal were always to help save people and be of service all for God’s honor and glory. He heard, He listened, and He answered.

Sister Raquel, your sons had mentioned that you had told them that you wanted them to be Ministers so they could help the deaf community. When you see your sons on the CSD app, we saw them… when you see how your sons are not just preaching the gospel, but are also able to help save the souls of the deaf, you know, in the deaf community, how does that feel like for you? 

Raquel David: Yes, I’m more excited to invite my deaf friends. I don’t have much, but I wanted to invite more because of that. I want my deaf friends to be saved too.

Aliw Pablo: So your sons told us Sister Raquel, that you have no fear.  You will invite the deaf, you will invite the hearing, the speaking. Where do you get that bravery? Why are you so brave and so courageous and you never let being deaf hold you back from sharing your faith?

Raquel David: Well, I want to show them a good example. So I keep on inviting. It’s just the way it is. And at my job, you know, I also know I also invited them you know…7 of them actually, I invited. They’re not deaf, they’re hearing. Constantly inviting. I just want to ask them you know, I mean even if they refuse my invitation. It’s OK. And the next thing I do is I invited my deaf friends using my video relay. I will invite them, call them you know, just listen to Bible studies.

Aliw Pablo: At this point in our interview, I think Brother Ronnie and Brother Rowel would like to say something to you. First, Sister Rose.

Brother Ronnie David: You know, Ka Rose, ever since the 95th and just knowing that my parents were getting interpretation, it was already a big thing back then.

But to see that it just kept on going, and it never stopped. You kept on interpreting.

If I could share Sister Aliw, even after we, me and my brother will come back on breaks. There was one time even Ka Rose visited, she surprised my family, her daughters and she was able to interpret in the worship service in one of our breaks. And I just remember that it meant so much to my parents. Ka Rose I just want you to know it meant a lot to us too. We need to see that because even for us that first year, our prep year in school was very tough. And you need all the inspiration you can get.

And see when in terms of my parents, that was just another reminder, that was just something else to tell us that we need to keep on going. And to see that everything is keep on doing for the Church. Until now, you still are interpreting in the worship services. Even later, after this podcast, we’re going to be having a study of God’s word, an Evangelical Mission sponsored by the Christian Society for the Deaf, and we already have confirmed guests, and we’re excited to see them, it just blows my mind that until now, we can still work together like this. And God’s allowing it, you know, even for me myself to be in your local as your Resident Minister, you as my Head Secretary. And we can go out there in the field, and we’re just trying to bring in as many souls as we can. It’s just, it’s amazing that we always talked about this before. And then we’re finally doing it. So Ka Rose, thank you so much. And also thank you for helping my parents. To go so long without receiving the words of God. And what little spiritual advice he could give us, which was more than enough for a little spiritual, or religious or Christian or biblical knowledge they had, has expanded tenfold, because of the way you were able to help relay the words of God to them through interpretation. So not only did it develop more for me, my brother, but even for my parents, thank you so much, Ka Rose, it means a lot. 

Brother Rowel David: Just like what Kuya Ronnie mentioned, that inspired us as well. Until now, you know, for me, I thank God all the time, because He’s allowing my brother to be able to be there with you in your local congregation. I’m thankful for that because I know that there, I know that the work they can do together, will be able to help so many more people like our parents. And so thank you so much. And of course, you know, I can’t, I have to be able to say thank you as well for accepting me to be your son. It’s a blessing, it is how much you’ve inspired us. And then now to know that I can be able to call you mom, it means a lot. So thank you.

Rose Guillermo: I’ve been looking for a son. So sometimes my children are very jealous that I am very much into my sons than my daughters. So thank you for taking one of mine. Thank you, thank you, you are an inspiration to all of us.

We did an interview with Brother Ronnie and we were just talking about that. Time flies. He was just a student before, before we met him, he was not in the ministry yet. And now he’s a full-fledged Minister taking care of our local congregation. So we’re very, very blessed. So praise be to God. Thank you so much.

Aliw Pablo: Of all the local congregations of the Church in the world, we’re talking 1000s. And God placed brother Ronnie, in your own local congregation, Sister Rose. There is no doubt that there is work that God really wants you both to do together. So that’s so beautiful to see.

And, you know, before we end this Brother Ronnie and Brother Rowel, can we just say thank you for sharing your parents with us. Because we know they’re your biological parents. But we feel like watching the stories you’ve told us.

I know a lot of members in the church that watch your story feel like they are being raised by your parents too, because of the lessons that they gave you that are sticking with people that have watched you that you may never meet in person ever. But they know your story and your life story and how God has worked

your  life, your challenges, all for the good that you know that we’re obviously seeing today? Is there anything Brother Ronnie, Brother Rowel that you would like to tell your parents? I mean, now that you know, your stories out? And is there anything that you’d like to tell them in hindsight now that you are full-fledged Ministers and grown adults and grown men about just the impact that they’ve had on your life as far as raising you the way that they did?

Brother Rowel David: Would you want me to go first Ronnie, are you?

Brother Ronnie David: You go first.

Brother Rowel David: Well, first I just want to say before I think then I just want to say thank you to the Church Administration and this podcast, because it’s giving us this kind of opportunity. You know, growing up, we being children of deaf adults, we don’t always have someone that we can, you know… that communication barrier is tough. And so we don’t always have that opportunity to be able to express our feelings and emotions. But then through something like this, you’re giving us an opportunity to be able to really say thank you. You know, we’ve never really done this,

when it comes to our parents, until it means a lot to be able to actually do it. And so for Mom and Dad, thank you. Thank you for the example that you gave us.

You know, that one of the questions that the brethren asked earlier was, you know, how was it that you were able to raise two boys to be able to become ministers? And I know, you know, for everyone that’s watching, you know, if you notice my mom, and dad, they didn’t really answer the questions directly. But that’s just because that, you know, even when it came to raising us, they never raised… I guess, I guess we’ll say they never raised us directly. It was always indirect with what they were teaching us. You know, it was always that example, that example about prayer. It was when we were young, we were one, two years old. That’s how we were all… she was already teaching us that, that example that she gave us. So you know, if there’s anything I could say, it’s just really thank you for being the best example that we have.

Because everything we do now, everything we are, it’s because of the example that you gave us. And so thank you. You know, even though we’re in the Holy Ministry and we may not always be able to be together. But just like what you always taught us, we know that God is always taking care of you. So I just want to say thank you for always teaching that. Thank you, mom.

Brother Ronnie David: Hey mom and dad, thanks for letting me be your son.

You know, it’s funny. Yeah. Hi, mom. You know, it’s funny. This is me talking to you right now mom and dad. Our life has been so simple this whole time, just to remind you how simple it was. She just wanted to see us. And I know my mom, she wasn’t mad at me that we weren’t spending time. We went a whole week together. And we ate together one time. Not even at home, we didn’t have dinner or breakfast or anything. We went out one time to eat because I was just so busy performing my duty. That’s exactly what she wanted to see. She’d never complained the whole time.

Even though we’ve seen each other nowadays is once in a moment, you can even say once in a lifetime. And even nowadays, whenever I’m preaching, I always think about the younger ones. And I want the Kadiwa and Binhi, the younger generation to really, really take our membership seriously. We only get this life once. We only have one chance. And whenever I preach, whenever I think about them, I always think about what my mom would say to me, what my dad would do for me. Because it really did stick in my heart. And for some of them that are going through problems with their kids, or problems with their parents, and my families come to me and say we’re having problems with each other. I tried to tell them just take it back, take it slow.

You got to sit back and realize God is doing something for you. Because even till now, even though I’m a full-fledged Minister, even though I have my own local, I’ve been part of the district. My mom still takes her time to message me every once in a while and say, ‘Hey, did you eat anything today?’ Did you get enough sleep? Did you get a drink? And my mother, I just want to say thank you so much for teaching me that.

I’m so thankful that I can live my life inside the church. And that it could have went bad really fast. It could have went the wrong way. And I’m growing up now where I see a lot of my friends aren’t with me. They don’t hold on to their membership. Unfortunately, some of them let it go. And their parents said everything they could to them and they didn’t listen. I’m so thankful you didn’t say that much. And I’ve never forgot. And I just hope I can be like that to my kids one day. Because sometimes I’m scared when I see this life has to offer to younger people. And if younger people are already going through such a hard time. How can I take care of my kids? What if I don’t have the words to help them get through what they’re going through or even stick to their faith but you mom, dad, like you need to say much. But here we are now. And I hope I can be good parents that you are to me and Rowel. And I beg God to He’ll continue to strengthen you too because until now, you’re still my inspiration, mom, dad. You still remind us of what we need to do. I thank God that He blessed us with parents like you. 

Raquel David: Thank you very much. Thank you for telling all these stories. I’m truly grateful and very happy that my sons are also here today, being together with them.

I know I’m gonna cry again. God bless both of you. God bless. You stay strong, and we’re very proud of you. Thank God

Aliw Pablo: This was one of those interviews where we just didn’t want it to end. It’s an interview I’ll never forget.

Special thanks to the David family for this life changing experience for anyone who has been moved by their life story and immovable faith. Thanks, Rose Gullermo, our ESL  translation. And for still patiently helping us in this whole CODA series. And a special shout out to Jojo and Diana Gallevo who are the voice dubs for Ramon  and Raquel David.

Well, we hope that you enjoy this episode and please share it with anyone you know who could use some hope and faithful stories like this today. That wraps up Season 2 of Making Changes. Thanks for listening and watching and just being part of the story with us for this Growing up CODA series. We’ll be back in a few months with a new season. Meanwhile, be sure to follow us on our making changes podcast Instagram account, and we would greatly appreciate it if you could leave us a review wherever you get our podcast. 

Making Changes is hosted by me and co-produced and co-written with Michelle Beretta, edited by Mike Bigayan and Christine Affenir.  Original music by Lauren Santos and Daniel Quitalig. Graphic design by Jason Salazar and Doctrinal guidance by Brother Joe Velazquez. 

Thanks for listening, and may your change uplift you.


Available downloads

Growing up CODA – Lessons Learned from Growing Up CODA – Part 3