Beth Sabado

From Fear to Friendship

By Beth Sabado

Beth Sabado, hiking in Hong Kong

The author recently finished a three-year term in Hong Kong as Coordinator of the Lay Missionary Central Leadership Team and is currently awaiting a new assignment.

My pilgrimage in, indeed my conversion to, interreligious dialogue started even before I learned the meaning of the word dialogue. Both my parents were from Luzon in the northern Philippines, but in 1946, soon after World War II, my father decided to migrate south to Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur. At the time the town, which became a city in 1969, was predominantly Muslim, according to my father. My mother had a similar migration story and so my parents, even though neither was born there, met and married in Mindanao.

Where is Home?

By Beth Sabado

The author, from Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines, is a nurse by profession and has worked as a Columban Lay Missionary in Taiwan. She is currently based in Hong Kong as Coordinator of the Lay Missionary Central Leadership Team (LMCLT).

The Sabado Family home, Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.

I had the chance to watch a stage play in Birmingham Repertory Theatre entitled ‘Refugee Boy’. A story about a fourteen-year-old boy born of an Ethiopian father and Eritrean mother and because of a violent civil war back home his father made a heartbreaking decision to leave him in London. The boy woke up one morning and his father was gone. As described, ‘Refugee Boy’ is a story about arriving, belonging and finding a home.

Back: Telesforo, Pacita, Felix and Gondee. Front: Beth and Patboone (died 1981).

‘A home is a place where I can unpack my luggage down to the very bottom’. This is how one of the refugees in the play defined a home. Her definition stayed with me from then on.

When Dad passed away on March of 2008 I remember consoling myself with the thought that Mum was still around. However on one gloomy afternoon of February 2013, I received that dreaded phone call from my brother telling me, ‘Beth, Mum is hooked up on ECG but the traces are a flat line’. After a few minutes, with the convenience of modern technology, I was connected to my sister in the USA and my brother in the Philippines at Mum’s bedside praying the prayer of commendation online! Virtual and posh, I thought, but Mum passed into eternal life with God in whom she believed passionately and wholeheartedly.

An Ordeal - then a Miracle

By Beth Sabado

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).

Marveling at the beauty of God's creation with my cousin Marley.

I was granted a single entry visa to Canada, all we needed to fulfill the plan to drive Montreal and Quebec City. This was a post-birthday present from my sister Gondee and her family, an unexpected yet highly appreciated opportunity to be with my cousin Marley Dacanay who used to be a Columban Lay Missionary in Taiwan. Marley is now a Lay Associate of the Foreign Missions Society, formerly Prêtres Missions des Étrangères (PME), and was preparing to leave for Brazil the Tuesday afternoon we arrived. We were amazed at how our visit came just in time to give her our family support. We felt nothing but wonder at the very favorable weather, the breathtaking scenery, as it was the peak of the autumn foliage. We also became the beneficiary of a free parking pass for a day to the most coveted parking area in Old Quebec City from a stranger. Our hotel accommodation was also beyond our expectation; everything was working out for us!

Will It Still Be The Same?

By Beth Sabado

The author is from Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur, and before becoming a Columban Lay Missionary was Chief Nurse in J. Cabahug Hospital, Pagadian City. She has been in Taiwan since 2003 where she worked at the Hope Workers’ Center. Recently she was appointed Coordinator of the Lay Missionary Central Leadership Team and will be moving to Hong Kong.

One evening a friend invited me out for a walk and a drink in one of the shopping places in Pasig City, part of Metro Manila. The structural design, the different artistic expressions, the ambiance and other features of the place were surprisingly and overwhelmingly beautiful for someone like me who sees art as an expression of the soul. Exploring the place for the first time made my brain cells do ‘multi-tasking’. We moved to explore the place, but my eyes spotted a giant chess board situated in the middle of the park. Walking closer, both of us agreed to play a casual game, thinking that it would be exciting. The last time I had played chess was with my brother Patboone in the summer of 1981. Soon after his death in December 1981, the family chess board was put away with his other stuff in our underground storage. Since then, I had never had the chance to play chess again.

A Life Well Lived

By Beth Sabado

Beth Sabado is a Columban Lay Missionary from Pagadian City. A registered nurse, she is based in Taiwan where she works at the Hope Workers’ Center.

beth sabadoOne of the highlights of my stay in Pagadian during my home vacation in the Philippines was the regular gatherings I had with my high school batch-mates. I definitely consider this group to be my second family because of the friendship that we’ve established through the years. With them, I feel comfortable enough to share both the easy and tough times, and just be myself. One day, we agreed to visit a classmate. I was so excited to meet him after 26 years. But just before the visit, some of our batch mates who regularly visit Jovito said, ‘His situation is really unfortunate. You might cry in front of him. Heaven forbid, don’t’.

Most of us have significant dates we remember. For priests and those in religious life religious it would be the dates of their ordination and final vows, for most people their birthdates, for married couple their anniversaries, and so on. These dates are well remembered and observed mostly with a special meal or a celebration. But there are also those who remember significant dates because of a misfortune, a disaster, a loss. Either way, one event in one’s life can mark a new beginning, a new unfolding, a change.

taiwan mission unit
Beth (at the center) with her high school batchmates

Walking With Overseas Workers

By Beth Sabado

The author is a Columban lay missionary working at the Hope Workers’ Center in Chungli City,Taiwan.

Working in the migrant ministry, I get used to all the ‘hellos’and‘goodbyes’ from migrant workers coming and going. Before leaving, some share their excitement to be home with their family, their anticipation of playing with their children and handing over their mga pasalubong. Others share their worries and fears, what to do when their little savings will all be spent, how to relate to their children, concerned if the kids would still recognize them, how to deal with an unfaithful spouse, how to handle a sick family member. Others promise not to return. But after a while they’re back again.