Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing

The transcript below is from the testimony I shared during our church's anniversary on Oct. 10, 2015.

It's only been three and a half months since my husband Ferdinand ‘Bong’ Ballon went home to his Lord and Savior. Yet it feels like forever since the last time he was with us. Many of you are wondering how the kids and I are doing. By God’s grace we are doing well. Many times Em-j would still cry for Daddy. She also said that it is boring without Daddy (and I do agree with her!). Zek would always say “I wish Daddy is still here. I miss him so much.”  I took a video of him one time and he said “See you in heaven, Daddy”- he’s been used to sending Daddy videos when he is away. Eunice gets my phone and pretends to talk to Daddy. Our wounds are still fresh. Never a day goes by that we don’t long for Bong’s presence. The celebrations and milestones in the kids’ life are not as joyous now that he is gone. The daily challenges of parenting are more difficult to bear without him.

As for me, I’ve been going through moments when I would wrestle with the Lord. I was thinking that Bong and I just wanted a simple life and we desire to glorify Him in every decision we make. We desire to serve Him and be a blessing to those around us wherever He leads us. I feel a sense of entitlement to something better than this hardship.  Yet I know that I am being prideful and self-righteous. I know I deserve Hell yet He gave His Son to be my Savior. This trial is nothing compared to Hell. It’s just difficult. I am not prepared to bury the most precious person in my life at a young age, more so when his passing away is so sudden.

To be honest with you, the spiritual battle is real. It’s easy to be selfish and focus on my pain. It’s easy to just give up instead of persevere through this trial. Sometimes I feel like it is pointless to persevere since Bong is not here any longer. There were moments when I feel like things are meaningless without him. But then again I remember Bong’s reminder for me to keep my focus on the Lord. I’d still hear him say “Trust God more than you trust me. Love God more than you love me.”
I have to accept the fact that it is God’s will for Bong to have a short life here on Earth. As his wife, that is something that is not easy to do. In my perspective, the kids and I need him here forever. I feel sorry for my kids that they will grow up without Bong's wise counsel, protection, love and leadership in our family especially in this evil times. However, I have to remember that God has given me Bong to be my husband, but he is not mine forever.  Bong is God’s and I have to let him go. And that takes away any hint of bitterness in my heart, knowing that God in His holiness and faithfulness does not intend to harm the kids and I by calling Bong home. As Job said “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord”.

That is one reality in life that we all have to face. Our lives are not ours. It is God’s. We cannot live our lives any way we want. The truth is we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy. We deserve hell and yet God in His goodness sent Jesus to seek and save us. Only through surrendering our lives to the Lord that we can find deliverance from God’s wrath. I’d say it once again, if you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, don’t delay. Believe me, tomorrow may not come. Seek Him now! Seek Him while He may be found. Repent of your sins and believe that Jesus died for our sins and He rose again!

That is the same gospel I share with Em-j and Zek when they ask me questions about heaven and life in general. Yet I must admit the challenge is not just with sharing the gospel but living it out day-by-day, moment-by-moment in the midst of pain and sorrow. And that’s when over and over again I cling to the cross and I experience the power of the gospel in my life. I can rejoice and sing:
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, All fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living, Just because He lives!”

Bong is with the Lord now. As much as we want him here with us or better yet the kids and I be with him in heaven right now, we are alive to proclaim and live out the gospel. We have become heavenly-minded. We long for the Lord’s return more than ever. Yet until that day that He comes back or calls us home we need to trust and obey Him.

As I’ve said, the spiritual battle is real. Only by God's grace that I can sleep in peace. Only by God's grace that I can get up in the morning and face each day with hope. Only by God’s grace that I can hold on to His promises that He will never leave me nor forsake me- that this light momentary affliction is preparing for me an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. Only by God’s grace that I can stand before you today, rejoicing and finding comfort that one day I will be reunited with Bong and worship Christ face to face. O the richness of God's grace!! And the same grace he gives me is the same grace He can give you in any situation you are in right now.

I continue to ask for your prayers. Please pray that I won't be fearful and grow weary; that I will stay strong and endure the pain and persevere through this trial; that I will continue to grow and mature in the Lord; that the kids will grow up in the fear and knowledge of Christ our Savior and Lord.

(Thank you for caring for my family. I cannot imagine going thru this trial without the loving and constant support from all of you. This church has been a blessing to myself and my family).

Thank you so much and to God be the glory.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ferdinand Ruiz Ballon


Ferdinand Ruiz Ballon
April 2, 1975 - June 20, 2015

A constant figure in the church, barrel chested- necessary for his stout heart, he is a pillar, a leader wherever he stood. Ferdinand Ruiz Ballon now finds himself standing in the presence of his Master and Savior. Although his presence can no longer be seen it is felt, especially by those who have been graced to have known him well.

Bong, as he is fondly called by many was born to Felix C. Ballon Sr. and Israelita Ruiz Ballon (deceased, ’78) in the city of Olongapo, Philippines on April 2, 1975. He grew up in a large family with six other siblings: Firman Dale (deceased, ’90), Felix “Jun”, Imee, Irene, Jerahmi, and Faye.

In the early 80s the family migrated to America. Soon after graduating from Lakewood High, Bong joined and served the Marine Corps as a member of the Marine Security Forces and as an infantryman. While stationed in Japan, Bong went home for a much needed vacation. During his brief stay he heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ from his siblings. He attended several Bible studies and church services. Even in the mall random people came to him to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Hound of Heaven was on Bong’s trail. Before he left for Japan, Bong surrendered his life to Jesus and went back to his unit station with a new heart, a purpose for life, joy and peace.

Upon his discharge from the Marine Corps, Bong devoted his time and energy to the local church serving in International Baptist Church, Alliance Bible Church of Downey, and Calvary Presbyterian Church. Not only did he make friends in these churches but discipled a number of them, many of whom still fruitfully serving in local churches. To further his knowledge of the Bible and of ministry he enrolled at the Los Angeles Bible Training School and eventually to The Master’s College, where he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry. While studying at the college, Bong invested greatly in the growth of South Bay Christian Alliance Church, where he was an elder. While serving the church, Bong also worked full-time at Union Tank Car Company for 15 years, a job where he was known to be reliable and dedicated. He constantly went above and beyond work expectations. This job was God's provision for him to be a faithful servant in the church and allowed him to serve on several mission trips overseas.

In one of his earlier mission trip to the Philippines he met Romina Dizon, a young woman whose beauty and character caught his attention. He would have to wait five years to marry her and like Jacob and Rachel in the Bible, Bong faithfully waited with gladness. They are blessed with three children: Emily-Joy, Ezekiel-John, and Eunice-Faith.

Bong was many things to many people. He was firm, faithful, stable, wise, and strong. These attributes have left an impression on everyone that has crossed his path, whether great or small. Bong has faithfully used these strengths to advance the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. A fitting welcome receives him in heaven as the Master speaks “Well done good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:21).
*Cover made by Tricia Catan and brief Biography written by Felix Ballon Jr.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

When God said "No"

"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 29:29

"He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He." Deuteronomy 32:4

Tonight while Em-j was reading her Bible, she said "Mommy, when Paul was preaching, a young man seated on a window sill fell (Acts 20), he died but Paul healed him. How come God did not heal Daddy?" I was stunned by her question. I was speechless for a while. I dread the time that she will ask me this question and I did not expect it to be this soon. I was not prepared. I know that was an honest question coming from a daughter who missed the Daddy she loves so dearly. She then started crying and calling for Daddy. I know I told her "God did not heal Daddy here on Earth but remember there is no more pain in Heaven, so Daddy is healed in Heaven". I tried to console her some more but then I started crying with her. In my effort to console her, I must have said some other statements that did not make sense because honestly, Bong's early passing does not make sense to me. We want him here with us. We were supposed to help each other in raising the kids. He still has so much to teach them. He still has to discipline Zek because he listens to him more than he listens to me. Eunice is so young and I feel bad that she won't get to know Daddy as much as Em-j did.

When Bong was brought to the hospital by the paramedics, the kids and I knelt down before the Lord. We asked God to take care of him. While I was getting ready, I told the kids that I will be back with Daddy or if he cannot go home soon we will all visit him in the hospital. Few hours later, we found out he did not make it. My life was shattered. I cannot believe it. My first reaction was "God, why did you say no to our prayers!? What am I going to tell the kids when they ask for Daddy?"

We did not get to kiss Daddy goodbye as we always do when he leaves the house. The night before, when he put Em-j and Zek to bed, the kids must have told him "Good night Daddy. We love you. See you in the morning". That was their last good nights and I love yous to each other. They did not see each other the next morning. They woke up to a house full of visitors. Yet at the end of the day, Daddy did not come home. That happened on a Saturday- a day we always look forward to because finally Daddy is home with us the whole day. That weekend was also extra special because it was Father's Day that Sunday. But he did not make it to Father's Day. When Em-j is sad and crying for Daddy, she'd say "we did not get to give Daddy his Father's Day gift". She'd also say "Daddy will miss my come he only get to live up to 40 years old?" I do not know what to tell her. I usually end up crying with her and together we yearn for Daddy's presence. I would cry to the Lord to comfort Em-j and to give her joy.  I'd hug her so tight and tell her I love her so much. I wanted to tell her I'm always here for her. But I'm scared to say those words because I'm not sure what tomorrow brings. I'm scared that I won't be here for her tomorrow. I would earnestly pray to the Lord to give me long and fruitful life. I wanna be here for her and Zek and Eunice tomorrow and the next day and each and every day of their life. I wanna see them grow and mature in the Lord. I wanna be here for them every step of the way.

When Em-j finally stopped crying and was in a happier spirit, we were able to read again, talk and sing and pray. I told her that whenever I ask Daddy tons of questions about life, he would say "I do not know everything Tyaron, but God knows everything. Trust Him more than you trust me. Love Him more than you love me. We'll keep praying and trusting God". So I told Em-j the same thing- that I do not know everything. I do not know all the answers to our questions but we can trust God because He is wise and He does not make mistakes. She smiled and said, "Mommy, I am ready to sleep now".

Then I realized God did not really say no to our prayers. We asked Him to take care of Daddy and He did. Daddy is safe in the presence of the Lord. He is absent in the body, but present with the Lord. He is truly healed.

I know that more questions will arise as we go thru this trial. I pray that we will be like Job who did not sin or charge God with wrong (Job 1:22). Maybe that day will come when we will fully understand the reasons behind God's plans. Or perhaps when the Lord comes back or He takes us home, all our questions won't matter anymore because all we would desire to do is worship Him and enjoy His glorious presence. O how I look forward to that glorious day!!! My heart cries, "Lord, come quickly!". Yet until that day comes, the kids and I will share and live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With the Lord's help, we will let this pain be a platform for His Gospel and we will testify of God's faithfulness. As difficult as it is, we will submit to His will.

To God be the glory!



Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Letter For You

My Dear Friend,

I miss Bong so much. That is actually an understatement. My heart longs and aches for his presence. I've been wanting to write about this new chapter in our life. I just have not mustered the courage to do so- until now. I know this is going to be difficult since I need time alone to write. Yet when I am alone and start thinking about Bong, my tears well up and I feel like my heart is going to explode. I don't wanna be alone. I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and think about Bong. That is when the emptiness and the pain is so profound. I'd rather whisper a quick prayer and force myself to go back to sleep and wake up when the kids are awake. Waking up with them revives my soul. I cannot wallow in grief and sadness since they need me. But I realized I need this time alone to reflect on God's goodness. I need to write to share the lessons God is teaching me. I need to write to share you my struggles so you know how to pray for me and my family. I need to write to remind you to always pray for us. I'm desperate for your prayers because I know it is impossible to go through this trial without God's mercy and grace.

Part of my struggle is having regrets. Regrets about the time we did not get to spend together as a family. I wish Bong did not have to travel a lot the past few months. I wish I bothered him more about seeing the doctor regularly and finding a new one when we moved. I wished I forced him to take that well deserved vacation from work. I wish he had enough reason to say no to the new work assignment.  I wish we knew his life will be this short. We could have cherished our last few months together. I know there's no point thinking about the what ifs and what could have been. I cannot prolong his life. No one can. I know Bong is in a better place now. He believes in Jesus as His Lord and Savior. God has saved him from eternal wrath through Jesus' blood. Jesus is eternal life and Bong has eternal life in Jesus. I just cannot help but think that it could have been better if he was terminally ill, at least there was enough time to say goodbye. Maybe it won't be this painful. Maybe. 

I know God has a purpose for this pain. I know that this affliction is momentary and it is producing for me an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. There are many Scriptures that the Holy Spirit brings to mind regarding pain and suffering and its benefits. Yet I struggle with accepting the truth. It is so difficult to think of the end result when my heart is wounded. It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when my eyes are covered with tears and my feet cannot bear another step through this tunnel. But then again I realized Christ is my light in the darkness. He is with me thru this trial. My head knows the truth but my heart cannot accept it. Now I understand better why the heart can be deceitful. I have to cling onto the Lord. I cannot lose hope. I cannot rely on my own understanding. I cannot lose the lessons He is teaching me. I can grieve with hope and I can glorify Him thru this suffering.

Those are my struggles. I covet your prayers. To Him be all the glory!

In Christ,



Thank you for always praying for me and the kids. I want to share with you my new favorite song:

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed

© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).