Guiding Them To Choose Life

The process of teaching couples to adopt Natural Family Planning methods is long and time-consuming, but the prospect of saving lives - the mothers' and their babies' - makes all the effort worthwhile.

Linda, the Lifesaver

Linda Pangilinan – Ate or Tita Linda to most of us - has devoted 12 years of her life to teaching couples about Responsible Parenthood and Natural Family Planning (RP/NFP). For her, fulfillment comes in the form of aborted abortions, women freed from the contraceptive mentality, and lives touched by lessons on the value of each life.

Hand-picked for the job

Linda's “vocation” started in 1989 when her parish priest in San Felipe Neri, Mandaluyong hand-picked her to attend an NFP Training, after which she became the parish's official NFP teacher at pre-Cana seminars. It was during the same year that she and her husband Danny attended a Christian Life Program and became part of Couples for Christ.

Two years later, Linda was called to join Buhay Pagmamahal, a larger NFP team for the Archdiocese of Makati. For 50 pesos a month, she conducted seminars and made house-to-house calls to teach NFP. “It was hard work,” Ate Linda recalls, that eventually caused her health to deteriorate. In 1997, she went on indefinite leave following her doctor's advice.

It was during this time that Lily Perez, whom Linda had met at Buhay Pagmamahal, invited her to help out in the four-month-old FEED (Family Enrichment & Education) Ministry, which Lily and her husband Rene headed.

Fearful but faithful

“I had a lot of fears about taking on this job. I worked my way through high school and one year of Education units, but poverty eventually caught up with my family and I was forced to stop studying.”

Nevertheless, Linda's capacity to love and willingness to share more than make up for her lack of degree. She fondly recalls the time she was tasked to conduct an NFP seminar for delegates at the FEED International Conference. Because of her anxiety at conducting the seminar in English, she begged to be replaced. Not having her way, she asked members of the service team to sit beside the delegates and translate what she was saying. Talk about God making a way for those who serve Him faithfully!

Once a victim, now a savior

Linda's faithfulness to her work partly stems from her being a victim herself of the contraceptive mentality. “I used contraceptive pills for 11 years since I was not aware of NFP methods. In addition, the pills were free and conveniently provided by the cigarette factory I worked in.”

Sadly, most couples today are still ignorant of, reluctant to adopt, or entirely opposed to NFP methods. They do not yet realize the harmful effects contraceptives can have on both the mother and the children she can later have.

A call to younger couples

“My dream is to see younger couples continue the work that we are doing at FEED,” says Linda. Most of the NFP teachers, even outside FEED, have been at the job for several years. There is no commitment among the younger couples, who are themselves immersed in the contraceptive mentality.

“I have been with FEED for five years and I see myself doing this work for many more years. There is no joy that compares with saving the lives of the born and the unborn.”

A Woman in STMA

After eight years of practice, I quit lawyering in 1996 as I sensed being in the path of a career hurricane that will certainly throw me off my spiritual course. Then came the call for the CFC (Couples For Christ) Lawyers' League, and I thought this was a chance to get together with other lawyers and learn how they are coping with practicing the profession in a Christian fashion. The League had evolved into the St. Thomas More and Associates Ministry (STMA). The Legal Aid Program (LAP) was established, where my husband Rod (also a lawyer) and I were led to serve. I felt, however, that I was incompetent to give the service since I had been professionally inactive, and because most cases being referred to us were criminal in nature, which field I didn't have much exposure in. Many times in prayer, though, the Lord would assure me that He would direct me in my LAP and other cases. Indeed, He has been truly faithful as He has blessed, and continues to bless me in my work. In fact, the Lord has allowed me to band with five other STMA LAP attorneys to form a law partnership (Velasquez Rodriguez Respicio Ramos Nidea & Bustos Law Office) and we support each other in our struggles as Christian lawyers.

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