A Personal Testimony by Sis Hedy Coruna, BCBP Cagayan de Oro
Our sister Hedy believes the Lord hides great things in nothing. She shares with us her search for what the Lord had hid in her heart; she found it in His service in the BCBP!
A year ago, Aug. 13, 2010, I received a text message that said: ”The Lord hides great things in nothing. He hides a tree in a seed. He hides a king in a shepherd boy. He hides a savior in a baby. Aren’t you excited to see what he’s hiding in you? Be prepared for the big blessings that God will provide. Just believe.”
If I had received this kind of text message before we joined the BCBP, I would have deleted it right away. But being with the renewal, I started thinking about what the Lord is hiding in me. Definitely not a Queen or a President! As I reflected on the many different experiences in the journey of my life, I believed God is hiding in me something far greater than these. And so I began really searching for His hidden gift in me.
Being born at the time when there was no RH bill yet was a great blessing. Much more so being born to a mother who was a nurse and who had served her fellowmen well, and to a father who died for his country after experiencing the infamous “death march” in Capas, Tarlac. I am Hedy Lima- Coruna. I am an internist, an obsessive-compulsive person, married to a psychiatrist who at the time of our union did not know that I was an OCD. We have three children, two of whom are doctors of medicine. Our eldest Cathy is a Family medicine specialist, our second is Jojo, who is undergoing specialty training in Psychiatry. The third our youngest is a nurse. We have six grandchildren, 3 girls and 3 boys.
I spent my early childhood with the parents of my mother who are Aglipayans. From them I received strict moral values and their emphasis on education. Due to strict childhood training, I became an OCD and developed the Fear of Dirt; I could not open a door without a tissue protecting my hand.
At age five, my mother brought me to Bacolod City to join the rest of the family. A graduate of the U.P. School of Nursing with a 2nd degree of Bachelor of Laws, our mother was a strict disciplinarian who trained us to be independent, assertive and honest. Although my brother and I were baptized as Roman Catholics because my father’s family were devout Catholics, we were sent to Silliman University for our high school education where my strict upbringing was reinforced.
Looking back, it seems now that the Lord was preparing me for something although it is hard to see exactly what! There I was, a baptized Roman Catholic, reared by Aglipayan grandparents, studying in a Protestant school. I even had myself baptized as a Protestant.
Then at age 15, I was sent to U.P. Diliman for my college education. I was set to take up foreign service but my mother insisted that I take Pre-medicine. Although a practicing Protestant, I would also attend mass with my Roman Catholic schoolmates. I decided to return to the Catholic faith after experiencing a near-death experience due to Sleep Apnea. I had an Out-of-Body experience and saw Jesus in white and red robe.
I was accepted in a medical college in Quezon City that was located right next to the Immaculate Heart of Mary College which has a dorm for female medical students. Having no family in Manila I decided to stay with the nuns for safety. There for the first time I learned to pray the rosary religiously and to venerate the Blessed Mother.
Life in medical school was hectic, however I adjusted. After passing the medical board exam I went into specialty training in our medical center hospital. It was at this time that I met my husband-to-be. It was not love at first sight. I saw him taking breakfast at the hospital canteen , pouring coffee into his rice, mixing it with sugar and how he relished eating it with dried fish. How unhealthy I thought. I WAS TURNED OFF! However, six months later we were married in a Catholic church since Father Groll, the officiating priest, told me that I need not be baptized again as a Roman Catholic, for having been baptized before, I would always be a Roman Catholic.
Our marriage was not perfect but workable. We were nominal Catholics attending a ‘30 minute mass’, praying for something as needed and not thanking the Lord for blessings received, We shared marital bliss that later turned into Marital Blisters. My husband began spending much time with his drinking friends, playing mahjong and playing around. I became depressed.
The prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 30:20-21 spoke to me: “when the Lord has given you the bread of anguish and the water of distress, He who is your teacher will hide no longer. Your own eyes will see Him and your ears will listen to His words behind you. This is the WAY, walk in it.” God in His goodness found a way to bring us back to Him.
My husband dragged me to the BCBP. To humor him, I attended and listened to the talks (unsa na sab ni ang iyang pakulo). But the talks impressed me. What bothered me was the “beso-beso” part because I did not know the medical history or background of these people and I could not wash my face right away. Anyway, we finished the BCLP, Brotherhood Christian Life Program and three months later, we joined the BCMR, Brotherhood Christian Marriage Retreat in Cebu City.
For the first time I found peace and I wanted others to feel how it is to have a personal relationship with the Lord. We invited other doctors, about twenty of them to the BCBP. We immersed ourselves in the BCBP’s mission activities going with the Cebu, our mother chapter’s mission teams who opened many provincial outreaches. I resigned as medical training officer of the NMMC just to be with the Mission Team. We continued teaching in the Xavier University College of Medicine where in 2003, we retired after 18 years.
In our twenty years with the brotherhood, we have had happy times and sad times in our marriage. I cannot claim full spiritual maturity, but I struggle to keep the word of God and accept whatever trials he gives us. We support the BCBP advocacy of “Be Honest”; we do not have second thoughts when we submit to the BIR the real gross income of our business hoping that the taxes that we pay will go a long way to help others in dire need.
Five years ago, my husband and I decided to take a leave of absence from the BCBP so we can relax and be contemplative. That Christmas, Peping gifted me with a book entitled “Streams in the Desert”. I was bothered by the title. Exactly one month later, I got cross-eyed due to paralysis of the muscles of my right eye. I underwent an MRI at the Cardinal Santos Mem. Hospital in Manila. The findings were normal and I was advised by my neurologist to avoid STRESS and my eyesight would be normal in due time.
During this time, my husband never left my side and every night my family would pray for me. I realized that, after all, suffering is not a curse but a blessing. I was in a desert during those months but the Lord provided streams of Living Water for me through the care and concern of BCBP brothers and sisters so I would not get thirsty. I felt the love of my family and the BCBP members who prayed for my fast recovery. Three months later I got my eyesight back. God is Good!
We continue to serve the Lord in the BCBP in whatever capacity we are asked to. I am supportive of my husband in his responsibilities as the CDO Chapter Head, then as RCD and now as member of the National BOT. Through these BCBP activities I have found what the Lord hid in me. He hid in my OCD heart a worker in his vineyard and an heiress for I am his daughter as we all are His children. The resulting blessings He has showered us with are just too many to count!
In closing I leave you with God’s promise in Joshua 1:9: “Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident. Do not be discouraged for I the Lord your God will be with you.”