As Pilgrims · Faith · Life = Hope

No Other Option But to Top

By: Nathanlie M. Baldoza
Health and Home May-June 2012

            Even before he took the nursing licensure examination (NLE) in December last year (2011), he was already called Mr. Topnotcher. The reason is obvious.

            Being the only graduate who earned the highest general weighted average (GWA) in his school’s 59-year history, Jerald Lalaguna Pelayo said he was determined to land on top so as not to disappoint those who relied on what he could achieve for his school. The official results of the exam? Call it a “nice blend of prediction and surprise,” as one musician puts it, because this statement best encapsulates the emotion that possessed Pelayo when news came that he topped the NLE.

            With a rating of 86.40, Pelayo bested the other 67, 094 examinees who took the NLE, which only 22, 760 passed and considered by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) as the lowest in the three past NLEs.

            But amid calls and texts of congratulations and accolades, the news that first flashed on TV called the topnotcher’s school as unknown. Pelayo however reacted kindly to that bit of information. “Now it is known. I am a proud product of Mountain View College (MVC). For on top of the quality instructions I received from it, I consider it  a home where I found and learned the ultimate source of wisdom and true model of excellence – Jesus Christ.”

            Pelayo says his college life was a complex interplay of discipline, responsibilites, faith, and adventure. He had been an active member of a singing group called the Advent Philomels, while maintaining his full academic scholarship. He was part of the debating and volleyball teams of the school of nursing and had represented MVC in various local and national searches for top-performing students.

            “God is my primary motivation to excel. He requires my best. I will be accountable for all the unimproved abilities I am endowed with,” Pelayo answered when asked about his number one motivator to excel. For even when he played tags with his friends, he graduated valedictorian in elementary and high school. And in college, he reset school records made evident by his academic feats at MVC, and just recently his ranking first in the national board.

            Endowed with leadership skills, which were put into good use when he was elected president by both the nursing organization and the senior class, he had been active in serving his church as pianist and student church elder.

            “I try to live holistic. Even when I was reviewing for the NLE, I made sure I did not neglect the other aspects of life,” Jerald said as he began detailing his preparations for the examination. “I answered thousands of questions. I read nursing books. I meditated on God’s words in the Bible. I prayed a lot. I fasted. I took time out to play and socialize with my batch mates. I took the exam ready. I though I had a good fighting chance at the top.”

            However, after shading the last question he said he had forgotten about ratings because he found the test questions tricky. “I felt passing the exam would already be good enough for me.”

            Overwhelmed by the difficulty level of the said examination, he whispered a prayer to God, telling Him that his battle was over and that he trusted in His strength and believed that He could do miracles through him. “God had done amazing things before. I knew He could do an extraordinary work again,” he claimed.

            When one of his clinical instructors called him in the morning the examination results were released, all he could hear were screaming and shouting. Then the line went dead. He was in Masbate, his home province, where cellphone signal was intermittent. His phone ringing again, he next found himself praying and crying inside his room. He made it and with flying colors!

            God granted what Jerald and those who believe in him prayed for.

            “I kept of saying, ‘Why Lord? What have I done to deserve all this?’ I didn’t know why I was crying. I felt so blessed and humbled,” Pelayo confessed, attributing his success to God as the ultimate source of wisdom. “My success is a solid proof of a modern-day miracle. My life is a miracle.”

            His closeness and total dependence to God were results of their early morning worship. “I learned from my parents to put God first in life. My parents practice what they teach us. My father is a good leader. He disciplines us appropriately and accordingly.  He instills in our minds that worshipping the Lord upon waking up and before calling it a night in the evening is an integral part of our family life. My siblings and I were trained to memorize Bible verses, which I believe have sharpened our minds. I lost count of how many Bible verses I have memorized since the day I learned to talk,” Pelayo shared the secret that led him to successes and aspires to pass on to his children in the future.

            “The first Bible verse I memorized is “God is love” in 1 John 4:8. It serves as my guidepost in life. I believe with all my heart that it’s God who has a hand in what’s happening to me now. I cannot thank Him enough for loving me this much,” said Pelayo whose holistic approach to and spiritual motivation in life afford him with no other option but to top.

To our dear readers:

This is a repost from the published article in Health and Home, as published by the Philippine Publishing House (PPH). No copyright infringement intended. It is our hope, however, that this article may reach and bless more people, that the testimony of God’s unfathomable love may be made real in our lives as well.

God bless everyone!


Jerald and Ardys


© TandeMD

As Pilgrims · Sabbath Joys


The last time, we talked about our FROZEN state. Today, we’ll share how we have learned to T-H-A-W our frozen hearts.

So let’s take it one at a time. 🙂 

take Christ

We remember our favorite line from the Frozen movie which went on like this:

“Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.” 

We found this line meaningful, but we felt it lacked something more so allow us to rephrase it this way:

“Only God’s act of TRUE LOVE can THAW OUR FROZEN hearts!”


For GOD so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” ~John 3:16

Indeed, sending Christ is God’s act of true love for us. When we take HIM with us, we shall live with a heart that is able to serve our one true God!

Let us not choose to remain frozen. Otherwise, like Job 37:10 (NIV),

“The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become FROZEN.”

…if ever God breathes upon us and we freeze, nothing else can thaw us.

The ice that binds about souls that are frozen up with selfishness, needs to be melted away, so that every brother shall realize that he is his brother’s keeper. Then every one will go forth to help his neighbor to see the truth, and to serve God in an acceptable service. Then those who profess the name of Christ will aid others in the formation of a Christlike character. If every one would work in Christ’s lines, much would be done to change the condition that now exists among the poor and distressed. Pure religion and undefiled would gleam forth as a bright and shining light.

God’s love in the heart would melt away the barriers of race and caste, and would remove the obstacles with which men have barred others away from the truth as it is in Jesus. True religion will induce its advocates to go forth into the highways and byways of life. It will lead them to help the suffering, and enable them to be faithful shepherds going forth into the wilderness to seek and to save the lost, to lead back the perishing sheep and lambs. {RH December 10, 1895, par. 5}

Jesus never fails to thaw a frozen heart as long as that heart chooses not to stay frozen!

 Help much

A once-frozen-now-thawed heart is always ready to help!

“Let it not be that the sympathetic cords, which should be quick to vibrate at the least touch, shall be cold as steel, frozen, as it were, and unable to help where help is needed.” ~OHC 184.5

The thought of generosity reminds us of Achee’s Father.

Lending a hand to the ones in need. Generosity.


(Achee’s account)

My father is, by far, one of the most generous man I’ve known. Thus his example well defines this word. Give him 5 shirts and he will leave only 1 to himself and give the rest to his less fortunate friends. 

There was one incident I distinctly remember. I was on my way back to Manila, and being the only daughter that I am, my parents decided to accompany me to the airport.  It takes about an hour from the city to the airport, so while we were in the taxi, Father told me and my mother of his co-worker – a heavy equipment driver who went financially unstable. His co-worker had to pay for the cost of a shunt surgery that his 2 month child with hydrocephalus had to go through. He never anticipated this situation nor did he have enough money or time to prepare to cover the costs. The total hospital bill cost him tens of thousands.

What my father discreetly did utterly surprised me. We needed money now more than ever (ever since I started med school, believe me, it was a financial struggle, and it still is) but our need didn’t stop him from helping others.

When their salary came, he especially set apart a small amount and encouraged his other co-workers to do the same and altogether, their money amounted to a few thousands, which they wholeheartedly gave to this co-worker in need. This simple act remains inscribed in my heart, and will forever be an example worth emulating.

Keep the fire burning 

It has been said in Leviticus 6:13:

“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.”


We should all cultivate an amiable disposition and subject ourselves to the control of conscience. The spirit of the truth makes better men and women of those who receive it in their hearts. It works, like leaven till the entire being is brought into conformity to its principles. It opens the heart that has been frozen by avarice. ~Testimonies for the Church 4:59 (1876). {1MCP 319.2}

But under pressing calls many feel the deepest who have not had their hearts frozen up with selfishness. They have conscientiously kept their means flowing out to advance the cause of God. Their whole being is stirred by the earnest appeals made, and the very ones respond who may have given all that their circumstances in life would justify. {3T 409.2}

The energy of your faith should be poured forth in torrents of fire upon the world’s frozen hearts.



Wake up


We have been commissioned:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19, 20


Truth, precious, essential truth, will open before all who will keep their souls in the love of God. Duty and sacrifice will be precious to them, because of their love for the purchase of the blood of Christ. Human beings upon whom they would once scarcely look now assume a preciousness in their eyes. Once they had no interest in them; now they are united with Christ, and they are bound up in love with His heritage. The heart once frozen by icy selfishness is now melted by the influence of the Spirit. ~Manuscript 17, February 26, 1901, “Neglected Duties.” {UL 71.6}

God calls upon His people to arise and come out of the chilling, frosty atmosphere in which they have been living, to shake off the impressions and ideas that have frozen up the impulses of love and held them in selfish inactivity. He bids them come up from their low, earthly level and breathe in the clear, sunny atmosphere of heaven.   ~{5T 607.2}


Our FROZEN Challenge for all of you then is this:

Now while mercy lingers, be in earnest. Make no delay, lest it shall be forever too late. The slumber of the world-loving men and women is deep. It will require a powerful effort to break up this frozen state of things and thaw out souls. May God help you to help yourselves. ~{PH039 13.2}








© TandeMD

As Pilgrims · Life Rx · Sabbath Joys


The cold December breeze fills the air and what better word to associate it with than this –

Frozen 2

Now, perhaps the Disney movie crossed your mind before anything else when you read the word “Frozen”.  We remember our cousins singing the movie’s songs at the top of their lungs almost every day for about a month, as far as we could remember. They especially loved the songs from this movie. But we go beyond the frozen movie and understand the word in a different context.

Here’s a trivia first. We’d like to see who believes the word FROZEN appears in the Bible (NIV and KJV)? If it does, then how many times? Go ahead, take your guess and see if you guessed it right in the next paragraph.

To answer you, we did our own research. Thanks to digital copies of the Bible today, searching for a word in the Bible is made easier!

The word actually appeared twice in NIV in Job 37:10 and 38:30 and once in KJV, in Job 38:30. In total, only 2 verses.

1. Job 37:10 (NIV) “The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become FROZEN.” and in

2. Job 38:30 (KJV) “The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is FROZEN.”

This tells us that the frozen concept appeared even in the Biblical times!

Now, there was a very, very rich and greedy yet sickly old man who spent most of his money and time finding a way to immortalize himself. He was suffering from an incurable disease at present. Greedy as he is, immortality to him was the answer to keeping his riches all to himself beyond his supposed “lifetime”. To him, beating death was never beyond what his money can’t buy. And there was one particular method being extensively researched which he thought was the answer – cryonics. This method was meant to keep his body FROZEN to an indefinite time in the future. However, his waking up in the future depended on whether advances in technology will learn how to bring back life to his FROZEN body and hopefully, the cure to his disease would have been found- an ambitious and impossible quest isn’t it?


Cryonics in medicine is being used in the operating room mainly to preserve a particular organ’s function during an operation like a transplant yet this was never meant to freeze man to immortality. This rich mortal’s quest simply cannot be. However, there is one thing we’d like for us to learn from this man. Even while he was still alive, he lived the last few months of his life as if he was already frozen. His greedy heart, though slowly failing by the minute, was undeniably already freezing cold towards his wife, his friends and to everyone around him. His selfishness somehow froze the life out of him. Terrible isn’t it? Freezingly FROZEN!

Now you may wonder, why talk about being frozen when we’re already suffering from global warming? Well, it seems to us that though global warming is happening, people are getting colder, like the rich yet cold man we knew. It’s pretty ironic that this global warming resulted from cumulative efforts of FROZEN people.

Global Warming under Frozen Hands

Looking back at history, as far as the 1920s or even way before that, we seem to have embraced much of this frozen concept. Throughout our existence, we’ve found a way to freeze things to prolong their usability. Much of today comes in frozen packages. Fresh frozen plasma, frozen chicken, frozen veggies, even frozen body parts ready for transplant! (or frozen bank accounts perhaps? haha)

Frozen Goods

We are in the age of FROZEN goods – goods kept frozen in the hope that their value might last a little while longer than they’d normally be when not. For most of us, freezing somehow proved to serve its purpose quite well.

But much more than frozen goods are frozen words, frozen characters and even frozen relationships. Just how much of this frozen age are we embracing in our lives?

Frozen words, when we keep speaking of them, become our character (frozen character at that). With a frozen character, we become frozen to the needs of others and start entering frozen relationships. All too freezingly cold isn’t it?

 Frozen words

What do we make of frozen words? How does it affect others? It breaks people rather than build them. It hurts their self-esteem.

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsel; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” Proverbs 26:22 

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 

Frozen character

It freezes. It ceases to grow. It becomes cold, indifferent to the needs of others. It is selfish. It is nothing close to empathetic. It demands. It destroys.

Ezekiel 32:2 like the pharaoh “You are like a lion among the nations; you are like a monster in the seas thrashing about in your streams, churning the water with your feet and muddying the streams.”

Many who profess to be Christians become excited over worldly enterprises, and their interest is awakened for new and exciting amusements, while they are cold-hearted, and appear as if frozen, in the cause of God. {1TT 231.3}

Frozen relationships

Proverbs 25:18 “Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.”

Let not our relationships be buried in the face of the deep as in Job 38:30 (KJV) “The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is FROZEN.”

Now, imagine an ice sculpture. Have you ever noticed how fragile that frozen sculpture is?

Now imagine yourself to be like that of an ice sculpture. What happens when you remain in a frozen state? Medically, our bodies work optimally only at certain temperatures. Anything below freezing point at a longer duration of exposure, our bodily functions start to gradually cease. In freezing conditions, our bodies try to shunt blood into the vital organs – our brains, our hearts and our lungs. Less blood goes into our skin and what happens is that our extremities start to become cold, then becoming necrotic. Eventually, this becomes gangrenous. It’s like getting a frost bite in a generalized sense.

At some point in your life, or maybe even now, you must have been or must be FROZEN! We admittedly have been a little frozen for awhile. But how do we defrost ourselves? Or unfreeze our frozen hearts?

Learn about how we defrosted ourselves in our next part.

God bless everyone and thanks for stopping by!

Stay #TandeMD with God to keep from being frozen – that’s definitely one of the ways to defrost ourselves! But there’s more in the next FROZEN article so keep posted!

(And by the way, your computer screen’s not broken so don’t worry, it’s just snow flakes falling – to give you that frozen feeling! 😉 Enjoy!)

With much warmth and love,

Ardys and Jerald


© TandeMD

As Pilgrims

The Experiment

By Criscel Leo Garilva

You would never look twice at Jerald Pelayo if he took his seat four chairs down and two rows to the left of you in any class. It was easy to overlook the shy teen from the central Philippine island of Masbate.

Jayboy and His Bible

Jayboy, as friends called him, was way smarter than he was shy. But it was only in college that he discovered freedom from slavery to excessive studying, while amazingly increasing his mental output. “Actually in high school, I read my Bible, but I hadn’t discovered its real effect yet,” he says. “It was just a dry routine. The same was true about my first several years in college.”

To keep his college scholarship, Jerald was required a set unit load every semester. Running out of credits to take, he and several other nursing majors, almost as an afterthought, enrolled in a theology course! In that course, Don Leo Garilva, a dynamic teacher who taught the basic Christian disciplines of Bible study, prayer, and witnessing, became a mentor to him. That class would forever reshape his perception, and mine too, about the power of God’s Word.

The teacher required us to journal our daily devotional time with God, and Jerald started to discover the impact that daily time spent with God had in his life. He found new joy in searching the Scriptures and hearing God’s voice through the written Word leading and guiding him. But the best was stillto come.

Year three meant nursing internship. “It was so hectic, I thought it would be impossible for me to get good grades there,” he says. The requirements were so physically and mentally demanding that no one had ever kept a full scholarship through nursing internship. Better students with more time to study had tried to keep their scholarships and failed. But besides studying and directing a choral group, Jerald was class president. Doubts started nagging. But haunting memories drove him along, memories of having to borrow ill-fitting uniforms just to enter classes. His only real solace was in studying his Bible. “I did that every morning, literally crying out to God: Lord, please help me, I cannot do it.”

And help him God did. Now he tells everyone about it: “That was the first semester of my third year of nursing. I was already in the clinical division (internship), and had a two-part exam on oxygenation. For part one I studied from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 next morning, the hour the exam was scheduled. I only read my Bible and prayed for about 10 minutes total because, of course, I was in a hurry to finish studying all of the diseases and indicators. The results came out and they were good. My efforts did pay off.”

Part Two

As the second exam approached, Jerald kept remembering Dr. Garilva’s advice: Do not lean on your own understanding. Spend time in prayer. Spend time with God’s Word. “I did some self-evaluating,” he says. Am I too confident in my own efforts? Do I think that I can do it by myself just because I did my best and topped the first set? “It was then that I decided to try ‘the experiment’!”

Jerald decided to spend time reading and meditating on God’s Word and then sleep at 10:00 p.m. “I said, ‘Lord, I want to try this out and experience it for myself.’ So immersed was I in reading and meditating on Scripture passages that I lost track of time. The next day’s exam took last place in my mind. I focused on being asleep at 10:00 p.m. I meditated and read my Bible for about 30-45 minutes. And after that I just read my class notes, but no textbooks. I was really tired from going on duty. I was in bed at 10:00 p.m. I awoke and took the exam at 5:00 a.m. the next day. I felt happy and confident. I didn’t regret what I had done. My score was incredible, far outstripping part one when I had slaved so hard at studying! Since then I have never gone back!”

“I still study, but health comes first.” Jerald now has more time with family and friends, more time to enjoy life, but primarily, more time in God’s Word. He now spends quality time studying God’s Word every evening.  “When I study the Bible, I have goals. Every night I read at least two chapters. I read the stories and the promises, and apply them directly to my life and to the lives of others. And I also pray hard. I pray for other people, very specific people. Then I end by meditating in silence.”

His Testimony

“You’ll be amazed!” Jerald declares. “Activities you set for 3 hours, once you read God’s Word, you can finish in a half hour with full efficiency and accuracy!” About the Bible he says:  “There is this power that (we) haven’t valued, this greater power! [I keep wondering why] I was so confident in the lesser power that I had!”

Jerald kept his responsibilities and his scholarship, graduating as class president and most outstanding senior with the highest GPA in the college’s history (3.97 on a 4.00 point scale). He used the same principle when he studied for the national Nursing Licensure Examination in December of 2011. He finished in first place, something none of his teachers had ever done.

As he enters one of the country’s top medical schools (he just finished co-authoring a book, too), the boy who used to wear borrowed uniforms continues to dedicate his life to God. His continued prayer is: Lord, use me so that through whatever gift You have endowed me with, I can tell the world about You, about the power of Your Word, about prayer, about faith. “It should never be about me,” he explains, “or just about academic success, because for me it’s more of a spiritual nature. I could never have done it on my own. I don’t understand how it could have happened. So this was my promise to God: Place me where You wish, and I will lift You higher! And I believe that God has answered my prayer so that I can tell the world through this experience.”

It strikes me that the psalmist seems to have Jerald in mind when he exclaims: “I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes” (Ps. 119: 99). I think too of words penned more than a hundred years ago: “There is nothing more calculated to energize the mind and strengthen the intellect than the study of the Word of God. . . . If God’s Word were studied as it should be, men would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose that are rarely seen in these times.”*

Jerald’s experience has revolutionized how I perceive the Scriptures. It has created in me the thirst to drink deeper drafts from the fountain of God’s Word. More important, it has drawn me closer to the Author of that Word. You see, I’ve heard stories about the power of the Bible. But they were always in some far-off time and place. Can God work His miracles where I am? We’ve all asked that question. Apparently He can. Sometimes as close as four chairs down and two rows to the left of you.

* Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, p. 249.

Criscel Leo Garilva is a graduate of Mountain View College in the Philippines with a degree in theology. This article was published September 20, 2012 in Adventist Review – The flagship journal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church..