“We have but one single response – Lord, we are yours”: Tyrone & Girlie Velasquez’s encounters of the Lord and their daily cooperation to His will give them the strength and joy to journey with families and women going through pain

Tyrone and I see ourselves as sinners who were given a second chance, strengthened by our encounters with the Lord to give more in whatever service we are called to.

Our journeys began in the Philippines where I was raised in a poor family with a dark past. 

My biological father was not actively present during my growing-up years and left most of the responsibilities to my mother. This lack of a protective fatherly embrace and a busy mother who had to support the entire family probably left me in a vulnerable position when I was young.  

As I grew up, I started to build walls and stopped trusting people. I started to find out as well that my father was having affairs which resulted in children outside our family. 

Marked by a broken family and my traumatic childhood experiences, I have every reason to be ashamed of my dark past and refuse to serve the Lord. 

The Lord Reveals Himself Day by Day

My mother, however, never stopped bringing us to holy mass, never stopped reciting the rosary throughout our family ordeal. Family healing, recovery from financial woes and my childhood trauma slowly manifested in our lives.  Our Lord’s divine hand gradually entered our lives.  

Even without asking, Our Lord brought me, Tyrone, who healed my brokenness by simply loving me the way Christ loves. Our blessed Lord came to me in the person of Tyrone who repaid all the inequities I had been through with love. 

In all our 14 years of marriage, I have never heard a single harsh word from him. He prayed for me, patiently waited for my transformation, interceded to God for all our challenges and did not give up. 

Through Tyrone, I constantly encounter the Lord.  He acts on what he believes in, his actions are a testimony of what is written in Romans 8:28 – “and we know that, for those who love God, all things work together unto good, for those who, in accordance with his purpose, are called to be saints.” 

Witnessing to God’s Love

Recognising that we have been given a second chance, and because, we, as a couple, have encountered the Lord face to face through multiple encounters which ignited our marriage and strengthened our hope in life – we have but one single response – Lord, we are yours. 

“The numerous visitations of our Lord in our marriage called us to be more and to do more in whatever service we are called to do.”

We made a joint decision to be active servant leaders of Couples for Christ (CFC) to share our love story of the Lord, to give hope to women who have gone through pains as I had and to be a living witness of God’s unconditional love and mercy.

As we cooperated with His will, the transformation of our faith prompted us to truly desire to give more, do more in serving the Lord, whether it is convenient or otherwise.

Since 2010, Tyrone began serving as an Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Communion at the Church of Saint Anthony, which fulfilled his deep childhood desire to serve at the altar, and I followed suit the next year.

Living Lives of Faithful Service

In living our lives in faithful service, and inspiring others, especially couples with multiple kids, to do more, we receive affirmation from couples in CFC and parishioners that we have a contagious joy and energy in everything we do and say.

In living our lives to the fullest, labouring with joy and child-like enthusiasm in all that we do, we have become witnesses that many ordinary people are able to relate to.  

We have been blessed with the opportunity to journey with a couple who recovered from bankruptcy and cynicism in the faith. I have become a confidante to sisters who have also been through abusive experiences and friends whom we have been able to invite to become ministry members in our parish.

Being blessed with 4 children (aged 3, 5, 9 and 14 years old), we constantly offer in our daily prayer our family vision of being a “Faithful & fun family, fit to live our lives to the fullest through Christ who strengthens us”. We strive to serve as a family – in missions in Mongolia, Timor Leste and South Korea, and in pilgrimages to Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima and Christ the Redeemer. 

Resting in Our Lord

Our experiences through the ups and downs in our faith journey have taught us never to underestimate or contain the power of our Lord because He will use all available faculties and events to manifest His presence.

Whenever we are beset with uncertainties or unfathomable problems, we always go back to our love stories of the Lord, His visitations in our lives to bring us back to the centre of truth and gratitude. 

During moments of desolation, we hold on to each other as a couple, remind each other to be grateful, then we enter a phase of consolation and silence.  This is when we become more aware of God’s promptings – to see Him in nature, in scripture, in the sacraments, in another person’s advice, even in random acts of kindness.

Every time we fail, get tired, lose hope, we will take time to stop and call upon the Lord to give us strength once again.  In Jeremiah 33:3, the Lord says, “Call unto me, my child, and I will show you great things beyond your imagination.”

And He did, He still does and He will. 

 

Our prayer for the Catholic Church’s 200th anniversary

God, Our Father, we would like to praise and glorify you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon Singapore through our Catholic faith and church. We pray for your love and grace for us to fulfil the Great Commission – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Amen.

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