OCEANUS ADVENTURE #1

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

CHAPTER 1

‘It is good to be home,’ thought Jona Quimby.

He had arrived from the states and had boarded a large chopper which was revving up it tandem rotors at a private hanger across from the domestic airport of Manila, Philippines.

The chopper is a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter formerly purchased from the United States Navy by his organization. The usually sparse interior was decked out with a number of comfortable airline seats good for 18 passengers leaving a large space at the rear for cargo which was being loaded with different sized crates.

“Jona? How the heck did you get this navy chopper?” asked his companion as he stowed his bags in an upper compartment.

His name is Tony Hallbright, a marine biologist Jona met at a scientific symposium he attended at Seattle, Washington. Tony was young and was only 2 years in his field. From out of more than twenty experienced marine biologists Jona met with, he chose Tony because he was the most eager and not hampered with the traditional habits.

Jona smiled at him and said, “I have a friend in congress, a retired admiral, who believes in our project.”

“So, where are we flying to now?”

“Well, we’ll fly for about 3 hours going southeast to the Pacific side of Luzon,” Jona said, “… to a protective bay called San Sebastian in the province of Bicol.”

Tony was speedily typing out San Sebastian Bay Bicol on his search engine of his smart phone.

“Aha, is this it?”

Tony showed him a Google map satelite image of the bay on his phone. Jona gave him the thumbs up.

“Relax for a while, Tony. I have to talk to the pilot.”

Jona entered the cockpit to where the pilot and the co-pilot were going over their checklist.

Maj. Jerome Roque was a retired pilot of the Philippine Air Force. Jona first met him some ten years ago during the Marawi City conflict. Jona was a marine officer on a reconnoiter mission about five blocks deep into the city. He and his six man squad were on top of a seven storey structure when he noticed an OV-10 Bronco, an airforce twin prop plane diving straight at them. Jona was rivetted as he traced the trajectory of a single bomb drop. He thought they were dead and he so wanted to punch out that pilot’s lights. But the bomb by passed the building they were in and impacted into a structure across the street from them which to his surprise flushed out a great number of insurgents. Weeks later, he met that same pilot, a Captain Roque at that time, and they became close friends after that.

“Hi Jer, kumusta?” (‘how are things?’)

“You sure took your time getting back,” said Jer as he turned to face him. “You were supposed to be back a month ago.”

“I had to stay a little bit longer,” said Jona. “Our backers wanted a more extensive report and they also took their time to put a delegation together.”

“Another inspection? Don’t they know we launch in a couple of days?”

“They wanted to be there for it. This deligation is going to be with us a long while.”

Jer rolled his eyes up, shaking his head. “Well, I pray they don’t turn this into some kind of publicized stunt.”

“Don’t worry, Jer. Our backers like ourselves do not want to attract too much attention.”

“So, Jona? Who are in this delegation? Is that young guy back there, one of them?”

“No,” Jona snickered. “He’s a young enthusiastic marine biologist I picked up at Seattle.”

“Young? How experienced is he?”

“Well, he’s a little green…”

“What?!” Jer smirked. “Oho ho ho ho… Mae is going to kill you. She is expecting a more experienced guy.”

Jona smiled impishly. Jer’s face lit up with understanding. Laughing out loud, he got up out of his seat. “I’m just going to have a peek.” He peered through the cockpit door at Tony Hallbright then quickly sat back down in his seat, chuckling. “She’s going to have him for breakfast. As for you… you better get off and catch a plane back to the states.”

“Ha ha ha! Very funny.”

(To be continued…)


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.

Sketching HIStory #25

Genesis 24 – Servant’s Journey to Find Wife for Isaac

1 Abraham was now a very old man, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. 2 One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. 3 Swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. 4 Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.”

5 The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?”

6 “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there. 7 For the LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants.a He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. 8 If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.”

9 So the servant took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions. 10 Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. 11 He made the camels kneel beside a well just outside the town. It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water.

12 “O LORD, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. 13 See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. 14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.”

15 Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah. 16 Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again. 17 Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.”

18 “Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink. 19 When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels.

21 The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the LORD had given him success in his mission. 22 Then at last, when the camels had finished drinking, he took out a gold ring for her nose and two large gold braceletsb for her wrists.

23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “And please tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?”

24 “I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah. 25 Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.”

26 The man bowed low and worshiped the LORD. 27 “Praise the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The LORD has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.”

28 The young woman ran home to tell her family everything that had happened. 29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out to meet the man at the spring. 30 He had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said. So he rushed out to the spring, where the man was still standing beside his camels. 31 Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the LORD! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels?”

32 So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man and the camel drivers to wash their feet. 33 Then food was served. But Abraham’s servant said, “I don’t want to eat until I have told you why I have come.”

“All right,” Laban said, “tell us.”

34 “I am Abraham’s servant,” he explained. 35 “And the LORD has greatly blessed my master; he has become a wealthy man. The LORD has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants and camels and donkeys.

36 “When Sarah, my master’s wife, was very old, she gave birth to my master’s son, and my master has given him everything he owns. 37 And my master made me take an oath. He said, ‘Do not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. 38 Go instead to my father’s house, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son.’

39 “But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’ 40 He responded, ‘The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. 41 Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from my oath.’

42 “So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O LORD, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. 43 See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” 44 If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,” let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son.’

45 “Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ So I drank, and then she watered the camels.

47 “Then I asked, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, and my grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists.

48 “Then I bowed low and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham, because he had led me straight to my master’s niece to be his son’s wife. 49 So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.”

50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The LORD has obviously brought you here, so there is nothing we can say. 51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.”

52 When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed down to the ground and worshiped the LORD. 53 Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her brother and mother. 54 Then they ate their meal, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight.

But early the next morning, Abraham’s servant said, “Send me back to my master.”

55 “But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.”

56 But he said, “Don’t delay me. The LORD has made my mission successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.”

57 “Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.” 58So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her.

And she replied, “Yes, I will go.”

59 So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her. 60 They gave her this blessing as she parted:

“Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies.”

61 Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and went on his way.

62 Meanwhile, Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had returned from Beer-lahai-roi. 63 One evening as he was walking and meditating in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming.

64 When Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted from her camel. 65 “Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?” she asked the servant.

And he replied, “It is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil. 66 Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done.

67 And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.


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Sketching HIStory #24

Genesis 23 – Death and Burial of Sarah

1 When Sarah was 127 years old, 2 she died at Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron) in the land of Canaan. There Abraham mourned and wept for her.

3 Then, leaving her body, he said to the Hittite elders, 4 “Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.”

5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 “Listen, my lord, you are an honored prince among us. Choose the finest of our tombs and bury her there. No one here will refuse to help you in this way.”

7 Then Abraham bowed low before the Hittites 8 and said, “Since you are willing to help me in this way, be so kind as to ask Ephron son of Zohar 9 to let me buy his cave at Machpelah, down at the end of his field. I will pay the full price in the presence of witnesses, so I will have a permanent burial place for my family.”

10 Ephron was sitting there among the others, and he answered Abraham as the others listened, speaking publicly before all the Hittite elders of the town. 11 “No, my lord,” he said to Abraham, “please listen to me. I will give you the field and the cave. Here in the presence of my people, I give it to you. Go and bury your dead.”

12 Abraham again bowed low before the citizens of the land, 13 and he replied to Ephron as everyone listened. “No, listen to me. I will buy it from you. Let me pay the full price for the field so I can bury my dead there.”

14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, please listen to me. The land is worth 400 pieces of silver, but what is that between friends? Go ahead and bury your dead.”

16 So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price and paid the amount he had suggested—400 pieces of silver, weighed according to the market standard. The Hittite elders witnessed the transaction.

17 So Abraham bought the plot of land belonging to Ephron at Machpelah, near Mamre. This included the field itself, the cave that was in it, and all the surrounding trees. 18 It was transferred to Abraham as his permanent possession in the presence of the Hittite elders at the city gate. 19 Then Abraham buried his wife, Sarah, there in Canaan, in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre (also called Hebron). 20 So the field and the cave were transferred from the Hittites to Abraham for use as a permanent burial place.

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BIBLE Q & A with Johann – #13

Obedience to Government or to God?

Acts 5:29
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men…”

There are times that I get arguments that the verse above gives us liscence to not obey the government (usually around April when it’s time to pay taxes). Of course, for some, I suspect that their motives has nothing to do with obeying God either. Nevertheless, it needs addressing.

Let’s start with a clear statement of the Lord’s will.

Romans 13:1-7
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Now, I understand that this is a hard pill to swallow especially in these problematic times when people feel betrayed by those in government. For myself, I take comfort in the words of Jesus when he said, “The truth will set me free.” And the truth is, all human beings make mistakes including those in government. So, I tend to be forgiving. Why? Well, my take on Romans 13:1-7 is that I give much credence to those in office because I trust God and leave the outcomes to Him.

1 Peter 2:13-17
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

How about the Apostle Peter’s statement above, ‘We must obey God rather than men’?

Let us look at the context of Acts 5

Acts 5
12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all together in Solomon’s portico…
16 The people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together as well, bringing people who were sick or tormented with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.
17-18 But the high priest stood up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public prison.
19-20 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and leading them out, he said, “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple area the whole message of this Life.”
21 Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple area about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, that is, all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison for them to be brought. 22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison… 25 …someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple area and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).
27-28 When they had brought them, they had them stand before the Council. The high priest interrogated them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this Man’s blood upon us.”
29-32 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Every Christian will stand on a crossroad where they will have to choose between obeying God or the government that want you go against God’s will. I pray that we choose right regardless the circumstances.

To Him be all the glory.

WORD Sent Forth #18

The Sign You’re on the Right Path

As Christians, what sign can you look for to see if you’re on the right path?

To answer this, ask yourselves, how does the world treat you right now?

Jesus illustrated that if we are to follow Him, we must walk the path that the world would not take. The world would always take the wide and easy route, but that way leads to destruction. The path that Christians should take is narrow and difficult. [Matthew 7:13-14] It is the same path that Jesus took himself and it led to the cross. What point am I trying to make?

John 15:19
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

The verse above is a gauge that will show you whether you’re on the right path.

Before we go on, let me say that I am NOT saying nor implying that Christians should outright declare war with the world. On the contrary, reach out to the world as witnesses of Christ, but do not be too surprise if people reject you and even persecute you.

1 John 3:13
Do not be surprised… that the world hates you.
2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…

Take heart, though, when you walk this part, you are in fine company.

John 15:18
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

By the way, blessings are found on this path.

Luke 6:22
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!
Matthew 5:10-12
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
1 Peter 4:13-14
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

I really hope we can have a conversation. Please contact me here at Facebook MESSENGER by audio from 3-5pm Monday to Friday. Scheduled small group chats can be organized as well. Or send me a message HERE.

BIBLE Q & A with Johann – #12

Would you face the truth about yourself?

In the first letter of John chapter 1 verse 9, we are asked to confess our sins to the Lord. There is a purpose for this. So, that we can be cleansed from all unrighteousness. Cleanliness for us mean true freedom and we become an even better instrument for the Lord’s purpose in this world.

But because of our sinful nature which will continue to encrouch into our Christian lives in this world, we will falter in sin. Thank the Lord for 1st John 1:9. However, we all have succumbed in the miry sludge of sin to a point that we don’t exactly confess everything. And we need to truthfullly confess everything. Why? Imagine you are running in a race, but you fall into a deep hole filled with wet cement. You rinsed yourself but not thoroughly. Even just a little of that cement hardenning where it would cause chaffing, could cost you the race.

Hebrews 12:1
…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

Some sins are not so easy to shed like pride, for instance. In my observation, the sin of PRIDE is the sneakiest one among Christians. Like worms burrowing in skin, pride can easily get in through our egos and delve deep. But that is not the worst part. I have both heard of and known those people who are so visibly and undeniably prideful but yet seem to be unaware of it. Well, whether they know it or not, this sin is both damaging and hardest to get rid of… by themselves.

What is impossible for man, though… is possible for God.

Do you desire to be truly free? Then, before you confess, ask the Lord for help. Pray these words and mean it.

Psalm 139:23,24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

Then wait on the Lord…

POST ADVENT Story Revealed part 18

RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN

We come to the hardest part of the Christmas story. It is rarely told around the Christmas tree for it depicted a dark event. But I believe it should be told, the reason for which I will explain later.

So, let us take a closer look at Herod the Great.

Though Herod was king of Judea, he was not a Jew. He was actually a puppet-king of Rome. Herod was not loved by the Jews but he gained their grudging respect mostly because he rennovated their Temple. One other thing about him was that he was extremely power hungry and not willing to share it. So, when the Magi from the east came looking for the new King of the Jews, the despot in him wanted Jesus dead and he’ll do anything to get it done.

Now, the Magi found the Christ child and we will pick-up the story from here.

Matthew 2:12,16
And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.
Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

This horrendous event was actually foretold.

Matthew 2:17-18
Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.”

Ramah, by the way, is the area of Bethlehem.

Anyway, what happened to Jesus?

Matthew 2:13-14
Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.

So, let’s get back to why I believe this part of the story should be told around the Christmas tree; yes… even to little kids. How can kids and adults really appreciate the light unless they realize that darkness affect them.

What Herod did was an aftereffect of the original sin. Our history is filled with it. We are constantly surrounded by the darkness of sin.

One thing about darkness though, it cannot stand up to light. And Jesus, even as a child, escaping to Egypt is a big light piercing that darkness.

For that child grew and 33 years later, He said…

John 8:12
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Christmas Season is over again but the light of Jesus is there. All you have to do is walk in it. How?

B E L I E V E