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!