Way down north of Iloilo is Sariri, Badiangan, where our ancestors dwell. The great grandfather named Tenyente Boni (because he got a title of a “Tenyente” the equivalent of a Brgy. Captain in our setting now) was the Patriarch of 11 children.
Time came that he had to divide his owned land among his children before he died. Years of events continued, life in the Barrio was so simple and farming was the only source of income among the settlers but some families were able to send their children to school even up to college. Others were just contented of their lives, vast part of land still remained untitled because of lack of technology.
Years rolled by, the Patriarch went to be with his Creator. The 11 children were left to have their respective “pamana” or inheritance, two of them remained unmarried. They were teachers and soon got retired in the service. The monthly pension were not compensating to the ailment that creeped in their old age. They contemplated to sell their inherited land and Eddie was one of the nephews who were offered. All those who are now residing abroad had no interest and same with the “locals” whose profession were in the city, much more farming is far from their thoughts.
Hard as it was during those years where all our children were in College, Eddie decided to buy the land because of sentimental reasons (it was his Lolo’s). Both parties agreed with conditions to purchase in staggered payments. Everything went in place even in the transfer of his name in the documents but he looked back towards the old Aunts who were in dire need of help because slowly they were wrapped with all sorts of “aging” illnesses. He decided to not collect the produce while they are still alive. Not long after, one by one faced their final hour.
Many years folded, took so long for Eddie to have thought of that piece of land he acquired despite regular visits he made in the same place where his parents were. They were growing old then and we had to look after them.
Going back and forth – Iloilo and Manila was Eddie’s regular itinerary, got the chance to have deep thoughts about the acquired land. In his heart marked a real farmer as the siblings were trained by their father when they were kids, the care of the rice fields, the sowing and reaping, even tending animals from goats to carabaos. This developed in him the love of farming and how simple life was.
The thought of coming back to his barrio to do farming was far beyond his imaginations. He got a promising job and a good salary in Manila. He has proven a lot more in his Profession as a Civil Engineer and seem to have reached the peak. He wanted to explore more over the horizons… more prayers, questions in his mind whether to resign from his job or not.
The need of the Sariri Baptist Church Youth to attend summer camp triggered Ed’s heart to desire in putting up a camp. Some churches go to far places to answer this need but the lack of sustainable support is a big question.
How will this be realized? The need to fund is somewhat unreachable. We have to place our grip on the Lord, and seek His will.
In the course of time, he started to plant high value crops, even tending swine a trial and error then later decided to stop production.
The Lord is good! Not later than two (2) years, Ephrathah Farms became a reality. Eddie decided to have an early retirement and returned to his dearly loved, barrio.
Why the name, Ephrathah?
The Lord wanted exaltation from His people, acknowledging Him in all aspects. Found the word, Ephrathah in the Bible during my regular Bible reading. There the Lord impressed upon me a verse in Micah 5:2,
“But you Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come from me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times”
My thoughts brought me to this verse, relating to the small sitio or Brgy. Sariri, where Eddie was raised, the not so popular place, not even heard, where people just simply live.
It took me a lot of prayers before I got to share with Eddie the possible name of the Camp. The Lord revealed His confirmation when he eagerly accepted that we will name it, Ephrathah.
Like a growing infant, started from conception, nurtured by the Lord in our hearts, He blesses Ephrathah Farms to become “Fruitful”.
God will bless the fruit of this land, the grain, the increase. (Deuteronomy 7:13a)