July 1, 2017

God’s Wonderful Picture

By Edwin & Jeg Ocampo as told to the Testimonial Ministry

Jeg: I planned for my husband’s entrapment! Two years ago, the amount of time he will be spending with us when he came home occasionally became a guessing game for me and my three children. His drug paraphernalia were all over the house as he did not care to hide them from us. I felt time was running out as I stared at my husband who had become a bag of bones. I did not know it then, but God was already giving me a glimpse of the picture He was drawing for my family.

Edwin: Early on in our marriage, we already had a flourishing business, we bought our own house, acquired expensive cars, sent our children to the best schools. We were the envy of our friends and neighbors. Little did they know that the more we became materially wealthy, the more our family drifted apart. My wife attended a lot of ballroom dancing activities with her socialite friends and I was happy with my golf buddies. Money was abundant. I went to casinos to gamble almost every day with my wife. Then my “friends” led me from one vice to another – women, alcohol, then drugs!

Jeg: We have two sons who were already at the peak of their careers at that time and an only daughter, Sophia May who came 12 years after my youngest boy – a gift from our Lady of Perpetual Help. We were a picture of an ideal family! But, Edwin and I became so engrossed with our business. He was constantly away and I felt empty. I thought my ballroom dancing and his golf events were our ways of relieving stress and a must to enrich our network. We toured different countries but always separately because one of us had to be present to run our business. Our family would go to church only to live up to the picture of an ideal family. When we go to Mass, Edwin stays outside the church to text his girlfriend/s or peers. Eventually, our family became unmindful of the Mass.

Edwin: I admit there were more important things to me than the Holy Mass then. Despite my being raised by parents who were devout Catholics and my solid Bosconian background, I took away God’s picture from my life!

Jeg: Edwin started coming home whenever he pleased. When that happens, all hell would break loose as fights between us ensued. There were unexplained withdrawals of large amounts from our bank account and when I’d ask him, he’d deny any knowledge of them. When our savings ran out, he sold his valuables. I thought he was just into gambling but I was wrong. Through my prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe, I found out from his friend he was living in with another woman! It was painful enough to know about my husband’s womanizing but salt was rubbed into my wound when I found out his relatives knew about it. They hid it from me and seemed amenable to it. It was heart wrenching! After a series of relationships gone wrong, Edwin showed telltale signs of drug dependency. He lost a lot of weight, his gaze was always dazed and could not carry a coherent conversation. That was when I thought of getting him into rehab. Our once happy family picture became blurred and distorted!

Edwin: I believe everything happened for a good reason. In the midst of our success, we forgot about God and that was when everything went wrong.

Jeg: While Edwin was in rehab, my children and I went through a healing process as well. Our daughter sent her dad a beautifully written letter which was read over DZME on Easter Sunday four months after he was captured. It was a letter of questions, of expectations and a letter of love to Edwin despite what happened. I was told no eyes were left without tears in the rehab.

Edwin: Life in rehab was difficult. I missed my family! My only comfort was the regular catechism held there. Then, came my daughter’s letter. I asked myself, why did I let this happen to me? What did I do to my life? I promised the Lord if He would allow me to get out of that place and go home to my family, I would change and make it up to them.

Jeg: I was surprised one morning when someone knocked on my room’s door. It was Edwin, which was impossible! Security in the rehab was tight. He did not have money on him yet he was able to come home. We hugged and he said sorry. His first request was for both of us to go on a retreat. Our children were apprehensive. They believed he was not yet fully recovered. My husband begged me not to return him to rehab and let him rest awhile, to let him eat the food he missed. Naturally, I granted my husband’s request. I believe only God could return Edwin to us like this.

While going through those tough times, I felt I needed a diversion, otherwise I would lose my mind. I attended Zumba classes with Joy Cancio, our instructor. She had been inviting me to the Feast but I always had a reason not to go. Edwin was already home when Joy invited me to the Lux Retreat batch 7. Only two slots were still available and, remembering my husband’s request, I did not hesitate. Lux retreat was one of our greatest blessings. Afterwards, we were welcomed to the Feast Bellevue by Arun Gogna, who was incidentally my son’s Theology professor at De La Salle. It was time to complete the picture God wanted to show us.

Edwin: I felt God’s mercy and forgiveness! I am a sinner but He never stopped loving me. Going to Mass and to the Feast became something my wife and I looked forward to every Sunday. We experienced God like we never had before! Jeg and I decided to serve at all future Lux Retreats with the hope that other couples will also encounter what we experienced.

Jeg: Forgiveness? It wasn’t easy, but as I prayed the Our Father “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…” I thought, if God forgave, who am I not to? I feel our marriage and our family’s relationship was strengthened. The Feast is now our family bonding time. I strive to be a better wife and mother every day and Edwin puts 101% effort in making it up to us.

Edwin: Jeg and I changed a lot through the Feast. We found true friends who brought us a lot closer to God and who pray with us and for us. If I were to give one advice to couples who are going through a rough journey, that is to make God the center of your marriage and of your family. He will direct you and bless you with everything you have hoped for and more.

Jeg: To wives who are going through trials with their husbands, I say – hold on and pray without ceasing. You may not understand why you are going through something ugly and painful now, but I am certain you will someday. Just allow God to break through. ONLY GOD can paint this colorful and wonderful picture of our family today!

To God be the highest glory!