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Holding on to Hope in Dealing with Loss

Despite losing his daughter to a serious illness, a father from Caloocan City shares how God's words guided him and his family to never lose hope.


Richard Etac: We noticed that our child’s condition wasn’t normal. We quickly decided to bring our child to the hospital. There, the doctor told my wife, “Your child has been sick even while still in the womb.” They said the child’s condition was difficult, but they would do their best. We didn’t give up. We spent months in the hospital. 

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An Executive News presentation 

In association with 

Christian Era Broadcasting Service International, Inc. 

Richard Etac: I am from Agusan del Sur, a province in Mindanao. 

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Richard Etac

Grace Park, Caloocan City 

Richard Etac: I am the youngest of seven siblings. My parents truly lived a hard life. We were only renting farmland. My father farmed the land, and my mother assisted him. My mother also sold rice cakes for extra income. When I was still in elementary school because my parents were devout Catholics, I became an altar server. My parents supported my studies when I studied in college. During my 2nd year in college, my parents struggled with our livelihood. A strong storm came and destroyed all the crops. Nothing was left. I felt so sorry for my parents. So, I made a decision and told them, “Mom, Dad, I will quit my studies.” 

I decided to work as a security guard for one and a half years to help my parents out. I then decided to quit as a security guard and told my mother, “Mom, I will go to Manila to find good fortune there.” It was truly difficult. I was living with a friend. There were times when I had a high fever, and yet, I had to pull my own weight and help out with the household chores. I had to do it to repay him for feeding me even though we weren’t related. 

With God’s mercy, I found work at a can factory. That was my first job in Manila. I kept working even though it was difficult, and I would often get cuts. I couldn’t afford to give up. I got paid every 15 days. I would set aside enough for me to survive the succeeding 15 days. I would send the rest of my salary to my parents. My parents would receive most of my salary. At that time, life in Manila was truly difficult for me. 

There were times when I almost gave up but I would remind myself that no one else could help my parents. All my other siblings have families of their own. After my contract with the can factory expired, I looked for another job. Once again, I worked as a security guard. That’s how I met my wife. She has a sister who is a member of the Church Of Christ. It so happened that there would be an evangelical mission of the Church Of Christ in the Local Congregation of Malabon. Her sister asked me to attend. Because I highly regard her and her family, I accepted her invitation. “There’s no harm in listening,” I said. 

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Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: What was purchased by the Lord? The Church Of Christ. What is the Church Of Christ? This is God’s people or nation from the ends of the earth. What is the trait of the Church Of Christ from the ends of the earth, or this Church which we belong to? God will not forsake us. God will be with us no matter what we encounter because His promise is not only so that this work will succeed but also so that each one of us will also succeed no matter what hardship we encounter in our lives. Brethren, we should firmly believe this. Because God never falters in fulfilling His promises. Thus, neither should we falter in holding on to His promises. No matter what we encounter, we are sure to overcome all of them because our Lord God will not abandon us. 

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Richard Etac: What caught my attention was the teaching about only members of the Church Of Christ will be saved on Judgment Day. It was truly proven by the Bible, and that convinced me. I told my sister-in-law, “I will continue to listen.” My wife and I decided to enlist as doctrinal instructees and we were both baptized on March 20, 1999. My parents were so angry when they found out that I became a member of the Church Of Christ. My mother told me, “Don’t expect that you still have a mother.” My oldest sibling asked me why I decided to join the Church Of Christ after growing up with Catholic beliefs. I answered, “One day, you’ll understand why I joined the Church Of Christ. I believe that on the day of salvation, only members of the Church Of Christ will be saved.” That’s what strengthened my faith and made me steadfast. 

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Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: The Bible teaches that God is the One Who will bless His people with peace. Thus, we will be given confidence in life even when there are troubles around us. I reiterate to you, brethren: You should not be overcome by depression. Even if depression does set in – and that really happens to people – but, brethren, we have God on our side. A servant of God should be able to recover from depression because God is ready to give him an unyielding and impenetrable strength. Why then should you feel weak and lose hope? You can surmount all those things because God Himself will give you the ability to do it. Thus, it is necessary for a Church Of Christ member to hold on firmly to his faith and never let go of it. By doing so, all of God’s promises will be fulfilled in each of us. What does the Bible tell us? Why should we never despair or be upset? Because we can expect God to act. Therefore, God will grant the solution to our problems. “Put All Your Hope In The Grace That Will Be Yours.” Because God will never let His servant fall down, lose hope, or be defeated by the things that are happening in this life, for our Lord God wants us to reach our true home with Him when Judgment Day comes. So, let us hold on tightly to these promises of God. We will never fail. 

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Richard Etac: When my siblings moved to Manila, I invited them again to join the Church Of Christ. With God’s grace, one of my brothers and my nephew from one of my sisters, joined the Church Of Christ. It took us almost three years to conceive a child. I was overwhelmed with joy. I doubled my efforts to achieve my dreams. I don’t want my children to go through the same hardships I endured. 

And most importantly, I will raise my child having strong faith. Sometime later, we noticed that our child’s condition wasn’t normal. We quickly decided to bring our child to the hospital. There, the doctor told my wife, “Your child has been sick even while still in the womb.” It would be difficult, but they would do their best. We didn’t give up. We spent months in the hospital. 

When my daughter was in the hospital, whenever there was a worship service, my wife and I would take turns in looking after our daughter. On Thursdays, I would attend worship service in the morning so that I could watch over our daughter in the afternoon while my wife would worship. Neglecting the worship service never crossed our minds because it’s there where we ask God for help whenever we experience difficult trials

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Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: Brethren, whatever we encounter, let us not separate from our membership in the Church Of Christ. Whatever may come into our life, let us never stop serving God. Whatever may happen around us, let us still cherish this divine election we have received. Why? We would not receive God’s mercy, compassion, and kindness if we were outside His nation. Perhaps you have friends, acquaintances, relatives who are still not yet in the Church Of Christ. Why don’t we do all that we can possibly do to invite them to join the Church? In this way, God’s promises won’t be wasted because each one of them will also receive them. Then, come Judgment Day, they will receive the promised salvation. And even now in this life, no matter how severe the trials that they will face, they can overcome them because they have the help of God when they are within the Church Of Christ. For us, we should love our membership in the Church Of Christ. We should not let go of it. 

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Richard Etac: The time came when my daughter’s illness worsened. That’s when she passed away. We struggled with the loss and it hurt us, but we never lost hope. We didn’t think, even for a moment, that God had forsaken us. That is my conviction even now. Whatever tests of faith I had to endure strengthened me in my conviction and faith. I believe that God knows the good plans He has for us. So, despite the difficult trials, I never stopped worshipping God. In less than a year after what happened, God showed His kindness to us. We held devotional prayers, asking God to bless us with another child. 

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Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: Our drawing near to God is important. That’s why, you’ll notice that in our worship services, what are we constantly reminded to do? To hold our personal prayers. If we have been doing that before, we should keep doing so even more now because these are unusual times. 

We shouldn’t let our prayers become an ordinary ritual; rather, we should pray more sincerely. Why? So that we can ask from God our needs. Brethren, no matter what you encounter, whatever situation you are in, be steadfast in your Church membership. Never let go of it. 

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Richard Etac: God is so good – He blessed us with a son on April 14, 2001. And in 2004, my wife got pregnant again and gave birth to a girl, our youngest child. As parents, we were overjoyed. I am so thankful to the Almighty God because He blessed us with children. Due to the pandemic, I was laid off from work. However, because of God’s mercy, we are still receiving income from our small store. We have even began to rent out four of the rooms in our house. Even though I was laid off from work, I’ve been able to find some extra work in construction, which has helped me to support the daily needs of my family as the head of the household. 

Currently, I am a deacon in the Local Congregation of Grace Park. Our two children were choir members in the Children’s Worship Service, and now that they’re older, they perform as choir members in the worship service for adults. Me and my wife are very happy to have been able to raise our children to be obedient, and we instilled in them the importance of having the true faith. All of these are because of God’s help and mercy to us as active members inside the Church Of Christ. 

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© Executive News 2020

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Holding on to Hope in Dealing with Loss