The blessings of honouring

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Dina Delfino at 60.

“Honour is a gift that you give freely”…Craig Groeschel

Every year, my ministry in grief and bereavement increases. During funerals, people express their deep love for their deceased through eulogies. However, I hope that those beautiful thoughts could have been said while the person was alive, for them to hear their inspiring impact on those around them. We all want to be acknowledged, not because we want to brag, but sometimes it allows us to measure how we have been travelling in our pilgrimage on earth. Are we sending materials to heaven while we live our daily lives? Have we changed over the years? Have we become a beacon of light to others? Is there room for improvement? Every day we toil and race towards the finish line.

In our family, we have started an “honouring” system during birthdays. After singing the birthday song, we go around the table and ask each one to say a positive word or two about the celebrant. Not only does the celebrant get greeted with love, warm wishes and presents, but also with an acknowledgement of the qualities that inspire the people around them.

On the 20th anniversary of our prayer group, Our Lady Help of Christians Servant Community, Narre Warren, I was surprised by an honouring made for my 60th milestone birthday. I am sharing them not because I want to boast of what I have done so far, on the contrary, I am truly humbled by how others see me. Fernando and Luz de Larrazabal shared about my servant’s heart – how as a person I always make myself available to help, joyfully and without much complaining, walking the extra mile and seeing a project through to fulfilment without much fuss and how I am able to “tap” on the talents and gifts of others to participate and encourage them to shine.

The following are from friends and community members my sister Tes gathered. I have maintained their address to me as sis Dina as it is such an affectionate greeting and makes me so connected to them in the Body of Christ.

Sis Dina too is very enthusiastic and a loveable person. She is likewise a doer who “infects” others with her joy. Always concerned about others, she “walks the talk”. My family only wishes the best for her. –Danny and Rosanna Jumunong

I was invited by George Gregorio to be Editor-in-Chief of The Philippine Times when Dina needed to focus on her health and ministry. So I have known her for 17 years now. I have high respect for her since day one. In my job in the community newspaper, I deal, on a daily basis, with people who have different personalities and agendas. During my most trying times, I only have to think how Dina would handle unreasonable and difficult individuals and I would end up being more open and forgiving. Her soft heart, sharp mind and religious beliefs inspire me to be more understanding and spiritual in my work and personal life. – Alice Nicolas, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, The Philippine Times

What I can say about our dearest Sis Dina – She is a great blessing to our prayer group, to your families and my family too, and also, to others. She is very helpful, kind-hearted and a very intelligent woman. I wish her a blessed birthday full of love, joy, peace, happiness and good health forever and ever.  – Carol de Guzman

Sis Dina, you have truly been an inspiration to us. Your love, friendship, leadership, organisation skills, writings, constant love, gentleness, forgiving nature, love of family, love of church and love of the Lord have all been qualities that we admire in you. Our most enduring memory and learning experience for us has been how you dealt so generously with love and concern when faced with the news of the pregnancy of Jess. Your total acceptance in line with the teachings of the Lord through His holy church and the love shown to Jess, her baby and Justin has been an inspiration to us. Your dedication to the prayer group and community despite such hectic schedules has spurred us to love you even more. May the Lord and His blessed mother always be by your side, guiding and blessing you abundantly. Lots of love on this celebration of your 60th Birthday. – Tina and Roy Baker

Though I have been following Dina’s column at the Philippine Times for a while, it was not until we worked together on a book project for The Philippine Times that I came to know her better. She is just as inspiring in person, and always willing to share thoughtful philosophies gained from her own life experiences. I am grateful to know Dina, and wish that there would be more opportunities for us to sit down together and share our thoughts. Happy birthday Dina! – Asther Creo

I have known Dina from the early days of my arrival in Australia from 1998 to the present. I was a part of the OLHC Ministry then. From that time to this time, our friendship had blossomed. I commend Dina for her enduring faith and commitment to the Words of Christ. She had become a faithful servant working to share her time in the service of the Church. Such commitment is not easy. I join others in celebrating her 60th birthday with a wish for love, peace and joy to reign forever in her life. -Naureen Norico

I am glad to have known Dina for over 10 years now, ever since I first started attending the praise and worship at OLHC Parish. I have always known her to be welcoming, friendly, loving, caring and very compassionate. Dina always has time for those who need a comforting word, a prayer or for those who ask for God’s healing grace. She has this wonderful gift of healing which I have experienced on quite a few occasions. It could be on the phone, in person or if necessary if she has to travel to a hospital to pray over the person who needs God›s healing grace. She is always there for you and always finds the time if she is needed. She only sees the good in people even if they hurt or challenge her; she is noble in her response to them. She loves entertaining and as we are all aware, quite often she is master of ceremonies in our parish celebrations and is very good at it though she drives me nuts with the quiz competition she always has to have. I love it when she cracks a joke or says something funny and laughs first before we could. I love you, Dina and wish you a very happy birthday and all God’s graces and blessings on you and your family always and May He guide you in all you undertake.  – Barb Leeson

I have known Dina since 1987, through family friends, Pampangueño Club and community meetings. What I like about Dina is her faith in God, her passion to help and serve the community and her commitment to extend her help to the needy ones. I wish her all the best on her 60th birthday with lots more health, happiness and long life. – Lydia and Eric John

What touched us most about Sis Dina is her loving and gentle nature.  She is very reliable and always showing compassion to anyone in need. Dina uses her God-given gifts well, to enrich the community and is always ready to assist in all circumstances. We have been blessed for having had Sis Dina in our cell group for over ten years. Her inputs and sharing were always interesting and uplifting, and we learned a lot from her. She demonstrates all the qualities of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. We would like to wish her a blessed birthday, and pray that the Lord continues to bless her with many spiritual gifts and keep her very close to His most sacred heart. Thank you Sis Dina for being you…. and for all that you have done for us and our family. May God bless you always. – Arianne and Lindsay D’ Argent

Happy birthday, Lola Din. Thank you for everything you’ve done for this family. We all very much love and appreciate you. I personally want to thank you for always being there for me when I need you, and always finding a way around things.
– Liz Halili

Dearest Dins, in you and through you, the Word of God in John 15:5 is alive. Jesus says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is the centre of your life. It is your personal relationship with Jesus that empowers you to know, to love and to serve Him in ways that you do through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that He has blessed you. As a sister, you are the best. Mom had passed on but she has been alive in you. As a friend, you are my only one. You have always been my shoulder to lean on and cry on. Being 60 poses challenges but I know that the Lord will always be with you to guide you and bless you with all that is needed for His greater glory. Our grand wish for you on this birthday milestone is for the Lord to bless you abundantly in all areas and to give you more strength as you do His work. You have been truly living the Gospel of Love in its purest sense. May the Lord bless you and keep you. Happy 60th birthday. Love and prayers – Tes and Nol Halili

Dearest Mum,
Thank you for being you. You continue to inspire us each day to be the best people we can be. Thank you for loving and supporting Dad, Justin, Eva, and me unconditionally. Thank you for showing us how to love others. We love you so much and thank God each day for having you in our lives. – Jessica on behalf of Boy, Justin and Eva

Charisma Magazine writes that we desperately need to create a culture of honour in our families, communities, churches and organisations. By doing so, we truly release the glory of God.

When you honour someone, you release them to trust you.
When you honour someone, you release them to bless you.
When you honour someone, you release them to serve you.
When you honour someone, you release them to honour and celebrate you back.
When you honour a person, you encourage them to remain true to their calling to serve God and become the best they can be.
Thank you for honouring me! I am fully blessed.

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