The Power of Faith
“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” – Saint Augustine
The year began with a literal bang with a volcanic eruption in mid-January. Two months later, the threat of a pandemic became real with Covid-19 cases going up, prompting the government to declare a nationwide lockdown. A few months later, two powerful typhoons swept through the country back to back, leaving various areas under water and destruction in its wake. We are doing everything we can to recover and survive but with crisis happening on top of crisis, we can’t help but feel powerless and vulnerable.
Living through these events takes me back over 30 years ago when I felt the same sense of powerlessness and vulnerability that most Filipinos must be feeling these days.
Six years after my father passed, my younger sister, then 10 years old, was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Dysplasia is a very rare congenital condition, where abnormal development of cells affects the tissues and organs. In my sister’s case, it was hip dysplasia, affecting her mobility because her hip bones were easily dislocated when she moved. Because of this, she had to depend on my brother and I carrying her on our back to get around. She had to undergo an operation, resulting to restriction in her movements because she had a cast from her stomach to her ankles. Everything was very difficult and painful for her, her life centered on trips to the hospital for the next four years.
At this point I was serving in the army, a decision I made to help our family’s financial situation. My other brother and I would take turns taking care of her, with me taking the weekend shift as my weekdays were spent in training. Every Friday night, I’d take a six-hour bus ride to go home so I can attend to my sister’s needs for the weekend. Financially, we were just making ends meet. We were fortunate that the government’s healthcare program allowed us to seek medical attention for my sister without much difficulty. But it was painful to see my sister in this situation and I couldn’t help but feel discouraged that our family was going through another crisis just as we were recovering from the impact of my father’s death. In my search for understanding, I found myself asking God why life is so hard for us and why he was testing us all the time.
Amid the turmoil of these events, I found the answers in Christianity. Embracing God allowed me to see things from a different perspective. I was born a Buddhist but my formative years were spent in a Catholic school where the foundation of my faith in God was built, strengthened when I became a Christian.
Today, my older and wiser self understands. I learned to look beyond the situation, to surrender myself and take things one at a time. The struggles we go through are necessary to strengthen us, to prepare us for what will come later in life. I believe that I was thrust into the leadership role in the family as a 14-year-old to prepare me for what I do now. As a CEO working for one of the biggest life insurance companies in the country, problems can sometimes be everyday occurrences. And there is nothing that can happen today that can intimidate me after I went through the toughest experience of my life as a teenager.
When we are inundated by crises, the only thing we can do is give our best fight, keep going, and surrender ourselves to God. We need to remember that God has a plan for us and while we may not understand it at that time, what we are going though is part of a bigger plan. In moments of weakness, our greatest power is faith, in the belief that there is a higher being looking out for us. When we find strength in our faith, we are able to see things through.
We began this year with a commitment to save 110,000 lives, as part of our mission to race against risk and protect every Filipino family. With less than a month left to fulfill this commitment, we have achieved over 70% of lives saved and almost 70% of basic sum assured.
We took on this undertaking at the start of the year knowing that it would be tough, but we could never have anticipated the tremendous obstacle that was ahead of us. Our goal of saving 110,000 lives amid the pandemic may seem like a huge challenge but I am accustomed to not having it easy, and I knew that with everyone in our team on board in this goal, we had a shot at achieving it. I have faith that as one Philam Group–management, employees, agency and bancassurance—we will come together, refusing to be overwhelmed by the crisis, and keeping the fight to fulfill our promise of helping people live Healthier, Longer and Better Lives.
Follow AIA Philam Life CEO Kelvin Ang on Instagram @keepingupwithkelvin.
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