The Pencilmaker

Let me first share what the “Pencilmaker” told his pencils these important lessons. Said he: “1st – Everything you do will always leave a mark; 2nd– You can always correct the mistakes you made; 3rd– What is important is the lead inside; 4th– In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings that will make you better pencil, and later become the best pencil that you can be; 5th Most of all, you must allow yourself to be held by the hand that holds you!”

My dear friends, the above lessons made me embraced the thought of strengthening my Christian Faith, as I always believe that Jesus, our Saviour is the “Pencilmaker”. And thus, I always allow myself to be held by His loving and caring Hands, in whatever I do, wherever I go. And when He is near, none shall I fear!

I admit, coming to New Zealand and staying here for good with the whole family was never a dream, nor a plan. But God never failed to make His plans realized by each and everyone of one of us being His instruments of Love and Peace. I first arrived in NZ by myself on 31st Dec 2007 on a 6-month WTR (work to residence visa). Just like most of the new migrants, I was then not aware that my patience and faith will be tested. When I flew to NZ that time, I never had any idea of what will happen. I never realized how difficult it will be to find jobs, and most of all with the affliction of solitude being away from my family. I did not know if my knowledge, skills, and work experiences back home will be enough to be accepted and considered by any employer. I was also of course wondering where to stay and with whom, as I did not know of any relatives or friends before. But through fervent prayers, I had the strength and courage to travel alone and faced every challenge that crossed my way. I brought nothing, except, in my heart Jesus, our Saviour. In fact, my confidence was amplified with the little Santo Nino image that I brought and always kept in my carry bag. From then on, I lifted my daily life here in NZ to Him. Whenever I have a job application to be sent, I always whisper to Him some words and asked for guidance. And every time I had a job interview, I sought for His wisdom and asked Him to go always ahead of me. I even entreated Him, through the Holy Spirit, for the “Gift of Tongue” so I may speak to the interviewer with clarity and quintessence.

A few days upon my arrival, I first heard of the Sinulog Celebration here in NZ in January 2008. A sister in Couples for Christ community whom I first met in Auckland Airport invited me to the festivity, but I gave priority to my part time job at that time. The following year, January 2009, I had the chance to attend the Sinulog in Mangere, Auckland. I was truly amazed of the celebration, it being my first time to experience a different festive occasion. Likewise I was so glad to watch it, by that time, together with my family and my Mom who arrived in Auckland a month ago. Then, in January 2010, my family and I again joined the Sinulog at the same location. The following month, I was blessed with the right employer and a very supportive boss. In January 2011, I decided not just to attend the Sinulog fiesta but to complete the nine days Novena in honor of Sto Nino that was held every night in Good Shepherd Parish Church at Balmoral. I had then the opportunity to learn the dance and knew its meaning. There, we began not just offering whatever petitions we desired for, but also asking Sto Nino that we will always be surrounded by the Holy Trinity and its Divinity. After the Novena and Masses, my family and I still continued to attend the main Sinulog Sunday Celebration held in North Shore Events Centre. We started off with a procession followed by a concelebrated mass. I offered every moment and every dance that time for the granting of a permanent skilled job and NZ residency. Lo and behold, a permanent accounting job was offered to me when I went to work the following day. After a month, with the same supportive boss, our residency was granted on 3rd March 2011. God is really good all the time, because He granted our prayers in His most precious time as our work visa was about to expire on 21st March 2011 that time.

My dear friends, my gratefulness to the Little Infant Jesus (Sto. Nino) is immeasurable! Thus, I conclude that, Faith is the pencil of the soul that pictures heavenly things. All I have seen and underwent teaches me to trust God more for the things I have not yet seen. And he who believes is strong. He who doubts is weak.

Pit Senyor. May God be praised.

-from Hilda Ortiz