Show Love for Bibien

What does love look like?  Today I was looking at a picture of a loving couple sitting on a bench.  I believe it was taken by their daughter, catching a light moment when Dad surprised Mom with a kiss.  Then, on Facebook, was a second picture of the same couple celebrating 27 years of marriage and as loyal partners in missions and church ministry.  Bibien, the woman in the photo had a glowing smile as both held each other close while sharing a colorful bouquet of flowers.  A beautiful photo of two people in love.  Two soul mates who have shared a life together and have proudly raised two daughters.

The man in the picture was my friend Honorio, also lovingly called Pastor Jong to the members of Grace Bible Church in Nagtahan, Manila where he is also the Assistant Pastor.  He was standing beside his wife Bibien as they both held each other and their anniversary flowers.   What brought tears to my eyes was that this photo was just taken yesterday, beside Bibien's hospital bed where she was being monitored and treated for Stage 3 multiple myeloma.  It has been a lengthy journey of faith -- more than 11 years of various surgeries and chemotherapy.  With an upsurge in recent symptoms, Bibien is back in the hospital, awaiting funding - from somewhere - for a new procedure that will give her another chance at life and love. She has to endure chemotherapy again, and even possibly other procedures depending on the result of her MRI on Monday.  It was hard not to be emotional with Pastor Honorio, as he shared with me how the cancer is spreading to Bibien's skull.  He asks others to pray with him, and to entrust everything to the Lord.

The initial cost of the medical procedure was estimated at PHP 300,000 or about $6,000 USD. 

I attended Manila Science High School with Honorio. True to his name, I’ve known him to show and share a lot of honor – that’s the honor of serving God by ministering to people.  Both Bibien and Honorio have been faithfully serving God and helping others -- ministering to the sick, the unwanted, and the wounded.  They go wherever God leads them.  Honorio, together with his Senior Pastor Carlos, are usually the first people I think about when someone I know in Manila needs help -- a visitation, an encouragement, or an emotional  boost.  Bibien’s heart was the same way – she was always involved in church ministry and caring for others.  She also did extensive research on the 14 unreached people groups of the Philippines which resulted in the adoption of these unreached groups for community transformation engagement, and which has also lead to a church planting movement. 

In 2003, Bibien was invited to do missions research called “Reducing Missionary Attrition Project II of the World Evangelical Alliance” through Philippine Missions Association (PMA).   After completing that project, she stayed with PMA as a Missions Researcher officer, Admin officer, Mobilizer and Mobilizing Event manager, Missionary trainer and Deployment Director for tentmaker missionaries.

At the same time, she also helped Pioneers Philippines as a pre-field coach for field-bound workers for unreached areas.   These were all ministry works with faith-based missions organizations and hence, have been non-salaried work.  Bibien feels blessed that God has always provided for their needs. They were always thankful for their church, and everyone who continues to pray and support them in their ministry. 

I was moved to set up this GoFund Me Page after my friend Honorio asked me to pray for Bibien.  I also quietly met with people who knew Bibien and Honorio. ALL of them had wonderful things to say about Bibien. This lady has a lot of gratitude and praise in her heart.  She's  just glowing with God’s love even when she is in pain, or wearing a hospital mask or has an IV inserted into her arm. The glowing smile is the first thing you will notice, and underneath that is a big heart for God.

Her cancer treatments have been a long journey rife with challenges, and yet you see that genuine thankfulness in Bibien’s face. She continues to live her life, thankful for how the Lord has maintained and sustained it. In return, she gives it back by loving her family and taking care of others.  She talks about her Savior and His forgiveness with joy, she cares for her daughters with pride, talks about her love for travel, and her love for her friends. When asked to pray for her, she also includes prayers and support for others who are also in need of healing.  And yes, she loves, loves her "Tweety", as she fondly calls her husband Honorio. Honorio is her very patient husband who has kept her alive, and continues to encourage her to never give up. He loves her. He truly does. I want to do what I can to give Bibien every fighting chance. Please let’s pray and support them.

Please pray for Bibien, Honorio, and their daughters Sophie and Chesedel. Let’s show them love as they have selflessly poured out their own love, and given to others. 

Their family thanks you in advance for all your love and support!  May you and your family also be blessed in many ways!

I would like to share and leave with you a part of the caption in that recent anniversary photo of Bibien and Pastor Honorio.  In the midst of her pain, Bibien's sending us this wonderful and encouraging blessing:

“May the Lord complete His transforming work in us making each of us a beautiful masterpiece for His Glory. Lot's of love beside this hospital bed with kumikirut na bongo  (my aching skull).”

Lots of love, Bibien.  Let’s send her lots of love.
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Glei Apolinario 
Lancaster, CA
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