This was the statement of a 12-year old boy whose father died last January.  I did not know his Dad and his Mom very well because I only met them once at a Couples’ Dinner  hosted by a local church.

This pastor and his wife were the hosts for the whole evening and they entertained the couples by singing some very romantic Filipino love songs.

When I visited our congregation in Antipolo last sunday, I was informed that this pastor had passed recently.

At the funeral, his eldest child, uttered the statement that I quoted above. “Please pray for me – so that I can be a pastor someday like my dad…”

I drove home thinking about that grieving family.  They lost their father at a very young age.  And the grieving wife will still go through the grief work in the coming months.

Everything after his death will be processed primitively according to this:

1. When he was still alive

2. After his death.

Please pray for this very young family who just lost a husband, a father and a pastor.

May God tenderly wrap them in His embrace when the tears come and the sadness surround them.

Thank you Lord for the beautiful life and what this pastor shared with the flock.  Please take care of his loved ones.  They are very special in your sight. She is now a widow and the children are now father-less.

Not even death could separate us from your love.

Please surround them with your loving grace.

I surrender them in your hands, where they are most loved and most taken care of.

Amen

He was executed last Tuesday in Saudi Arabia by beheading.

The news of his beheading did not reach the Filipino news channels until today.

He had an odd sounding name for a Filipino male – but the story behind his stay in Saudi Arabia and his execution was very gut wrenching.

His name was Jenifer Bedoya.

He was so happy, thinking that he was going to be released.

He was so happy, thinking that he was going to be released.

In 2005 after working in Manila, (he was from Mindanao) he was able to find work in Saudi Arabia.  And like thousands of Filipino men working there, his safety and well-being had always been threatened by the prurient interests of the Arab men.  I must have heard countless number of stories from men and women who were sexually threatened with rape – and those who succeed were never brought to justice.

In Dumaguete recently, a sister narrated how common it was in Kuwait, for Kuwaiti young men to prowl around the posh villages, waiting for the Filipina maids to throw the garbage.  These domestic helpers would be grabbed by the men and taken to the desert where they will be gang raped.

In the Middle East, our Filipino men and women are facing different forms of harrassment.  They are literally in “harm’s way.”

Jenifer Bedoya, approx 22 years of age, resisted the rape attempt of a Saudi man.  He fought.  And in the fight, killed the Saudi man who raped him.

He was immediately jailed for that.

The pictures of Jeniper flashed across the TV screens tonight, showed a good looking young man who just wanted to help his family.  He was able to talk to his mom and Dad last Monday and it seemed that no one knew that he was going to be executed the following day. Not even Jeniper knew it was his last time to talk to his parents.

While in jail, he still wanted to be able to send money home. He would wash clothes or even offer to do reflexology so that he would still earn some money that he could send home to his parents.  His jail mates indicated that last Tuesday, Jeniper was even jumping for joy. He was ecstatic because the prison cell was being opened for him.

He thought he was being set free.

Instead he was walking toward his execution.

The grieving family now told the media that they signed a document sent by the DFA – for them to keep the case confidential.  Jeniper was a casualty of the callousness shown everyday by the powers that be.

No one knew that a young man was languishing in jail. No one knew of his execution date. The family of the Saudi national who tried to rape Jeniper did not want to make any settlements. No blood money.

And now we will see the finger pointing that will take place. The vague and confusing explanations that the government will try to give.  In the end, another Filipino who defended himself from being raped, ended up losing his head.

I feel my anger rising.  My anger is directed toward a culture that sees sodomizing the helpless guest workers as “just one of those things…”  Toward societies or cultures that do not defend the defenseless and the innocents. Or the governments that may declare them “heroic” but would not lift a finger to care for their “heroes.”

We have seen way too many grieving families. Families who send their loved ones overseas, only to welcome them in their caskets.

Lord God, when will all these stop?

My heart broke  as i try to imagine his last few moments.  Who was with him when it finally dawned on him that he was not being set free.  Who did he talk to last?  Did he cry?  Did he beg? My heart breaks for him and countrymen like him, who all died so far from their land and their loved ones, often because they just wanted to be safe from evil men.

Lord God, you saw him there in jail.  Lord you saw Jeniper walked to his death.

I trust Lord that you comforted him.  He was so young.

Lord, there is no flag big enough to cover the body of those whose innocent lives were taken from them.

Only YOUR blood could cover the life of the innocents and the guilty ones.

Only YOUR blood could cover the loss of a young man’s life at the hands of evil men.

And only YOUR blood can cover the life of that Saudi national who tried to rape him.

Lord cover us all with your precious blood.

AMEN

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/pinoy-migration/10/17/08/ofw-executed-saudi-thought-he-was-be-freed

I was amazed at the growing interest at the article I wrote https://compassionateconsiderations.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/deliver-us-from-evil/.

The slain RCBC personnel have all been given a poignant funerals in the last couple of days. Stories were coming out about the lives of these people. It is truly heartbreaking because there are more than 10 families grieving right now.

One of the victims was a recent graduate of the same Law school where i took the exam recently. He was supposed to take the Bar exam this coming September. An 8 X 11 post about him with his graduation pic were posted on several bulletin boards across the campus. The lady who interviewed me noticed that I was reading one of those posters inside the room after the written exam and she commented “he was a very, very nice person…. we really feel bad about this loss…”

Let us continue praying for the families who are grieving right now. There is no need to click on the pictures of the slain victims inside the bank. There is no need to even pass these images. Let us give the grieving family the support and dignity that their loved ones deserve.