Jakarta: Ms. Cecilia at Bogor Botanical Gardens (A Story of Faith)

The red bridge at Bogor Botanical Gardens

The red bridge at Bogor Botanical Gardens

I love it when God surprises me with travel presents here and there. And when I say presents – they are really quite surprising. This is one of those travel presents that entail a different kind of unwrapping.

Last January, two of my friends spontaneously invited me to go to Jakarta, Indonesia. Having no definite travel plans this 2014, especially to go to Indonesia; I was more of hesitant about the idea. Until I was reminded about how God open doors. He open doors of opportunities for us, but often times do we really make the step to go through those doors? Sometimes, we’re afraid to do so, right? Not me! Just kidding, yes I’m one of those people.

That time, I felt super excited but at the same time, I knew that I needed to unwrap such gift with faith. Faith to believe that the Giver is not just able to make us IMAGINE the gift, but He is able to let us OPEN it, EXPERIENCE, and SEE the fullness of it. I just needed to trust the Giver that He can take care of me as I do my part ~ to make that step in unwrapping the gift.

Unwrapping in faith…

Passport – renewed ✔

Flight – booked (thanks to my Mabuhay Miles points) ✔

Gears and luggage – prepared ✔

After four hours of travel with different colored people (he he), airplane food (set lunch, tea, nuts, and ice cream), and a long power nap, I finally arrived in Jakarta! The feeling was so weird! The Indonesian weather and people (plus traffic) made me feel like I was still in Manila. But what was more weird was when you see people who looks like you, sounds kind of like you, but still speaks a different language. I felt at home but not really at home. Ha ha.

When I stepped outside the airport, I saw a familiar face. It was my friend Cecilia who was waiting for me. I finally felt at home. She then called her chauffeur, got assistance with my luggage, and off we went to her apartment.

Did I say her chauffer and her apartment? Oh yes, I did. She’s one blessed woman. She has her own chauffer and her own 2-bedroom apartment in Jakarta. But what amazed me was not the chauffeur nor the apartment, but how God is able to restore, bless, and really deliver what He promised in Cecilia’s life. And that was something praise-worthy.

I remember years back, I was walking with Cecilia in Serendra one sunny afternoon. It was one of those days when we had our “silly” conversations. You know the kind of conversations when you start creating your own future and ideas, you make a “silly” prayer, and for you it’s silly but still, you’re hoping God will seriously listen and consider your “silliness”? That was one of those days.

I remember Cecilia telling me, “Next time when you visit me abroad, I will let my chauffeur pick you up and you shall stay at my palace…”. We imagined things, spoke them, prayed “silly” prayers, hoped, prayed some more, and waited even when we still don’t see “it”. She was still in Manila back then, her work was here, and she was in the middle of a transition.

It’s funny that sometimes, we’re the ones who doesn’t take God seriously, when in fact He takes every word and thought that we have VERY seriously. He is mindful about us. He’s always been.

“The LORD remembers us and will bless us.” Psalm 115:12a (NLT)

Philosophy’s moisturizer tube (Hope in a Jar) says: “Where there is hope there can be faith. Where there is faith, miracles can occur.” 

Indeed, miracles occurred in my friend’s life. And I was one of the fortunate recipients of the miracles in her life. More than the visit in Jakarta, the food, the people, the comfortable lifestyle, the photography work, it was the way that God lead me to see the miracle work of His hand that really inspired me. I was sent there with a purpose. And that was to capture the MIRACLE. :)

I love opportunities to capture real people! I like getting to know them, their stories, and to experience their “lifestyle”. I feel so privileged to be a vessel in “immortalizing” a season and special phase in their life through my eyes and camera.

Cecilia’s own words about her “dream photo shoot”:

“It was surreal to have your photo taken non-stop, all the attention on you when you have focused on giving yourself to so many people for so many years. I had worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross for 9 years and you think about the plight of the people affected by armed conflict each day. Yes, I had seen so much human suffering and had suffered with the people. You forget about yourself because you live for others. The spotlight was on me for a change. Just me. No titles, no position, no worries of this world, just the barefaced me.

Amazing photos captured by an artist’s eyes. The ordinary became extraordinary. I’ve never seen myself depicted like that before. My photos were like a mirror to my own self: that I am God’s beloved as his beautiful bride. I like to see it as the height of femininity with beauty, brains, and blessings; you can have everything when you walk with God and live in the center of His will because He has created us to be victorious. His blessings will follow you and even overtake you when you live in His covenant.”

Thank you Cecilia for letting me CAPTURE the MIRACLE in this season of your life. I am grateful. :)

The Bogor Botanical Gardens is located in Bogor, Indonesia. It is 60 km south of Jakarta, just a few hours of drive from the city. Visit this vast 80 hectares of garden if you want to unwind and be in touch with nature. :)

GO and make the step in unwrapping your presents today. 

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