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Saturday, July 10, 2004

It was 9:03 p.m. and I was in the middle of eating dinner with my mom, sister, and brother at this Tuna place in San Juan when I received this text message in my phone:

Marj Ho's (p0werpuffgirl) wake starts tonite at bonifacio chapel inside manila memorial park along sucat paranaque. patxt po wen u plan 2go. sabay ako. pls ack.

I was very stunned to say the least and I didn't understand the message at first. So I replied and asked what the person meant with that message (plus I didn't know at the time who was this person sending the message). I got another message after a couple of minutes:

abi of vcf gale, n pexer, too. m referring 2 marj whose username in pex s powrpfgrl. rmmbr her? she died 2day of leukemia.
Marj was one of the few friends I first met online. We first got to know each other in the PinoyExchange.com message board three years ago. She was still living in Vancouver, Canada and over time we and a couple of others took our chat beyond the confines of the site and would often have an online conference yakking and chatting about the mundane and the profound. She barely got out of high school at the time and had to defer going to college for a while due to financial constraints. In the meantime she took a job in one of the fastfood joints and supported her younger brother's schooling. We often encouraged each other and she would often open up and discuss matters of the heart which was lolling between infatuation and friendship towards another close friend we also met online. She would often tell us that she's reading Josh Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye and in between gushing how cute the author was she told us the impact it was having on her life. Then one day she told us that she has decided to remain friends with him and pray that God would lead him to open his heart and receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. It was a big step and a brave one at that but more importantly she told us she had no regrets with her decision. Those days were a big trial for her as the journey often lead to a steep uphill climb but it was her faith and fervent wish that he would be where we were someday.  
 
About a year after that, she went here to stay for good since she felt she was being called on a mission trip to minister to her family. She went to school in De La Salle University and attended the VCF Church in Alabang, then Galleria. We finally met in one of the EBs organized by the PExers (netizens of PinoyExchange.com) and again in the succeeding outings by Christian PExers who wanted to organize a regular Bible study. We drifted apart after a while and didn't get to see much of each other online. Last month Abi sent me a private message to inform me and a few others that Marj was in the hospital because of Dengue but she was feeling better and the nose bleeding had stopped. She was asking for prayers for Marj's full recovery. I did pray for her but I thought nothing of it. I know healthy adults like Marj could survive this bout of Dengue. That was the last I've heard about her until tonight. Honestly I'm a little envious of her right now. Not because she already left the cares of this world behind, but because of the fact that she's enjoying the company of the Savior she loves. I know it's weird but I wish i could ask her right now what Heaven looks like and what she did she do when she first arrived there? How does food taste in Heaven? What's the smell of Heaven? There's a million and one questions I want to ask you right now but I guess it would be better for me to see it for myself one day.
These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God's] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country). If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it. But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (AMP)
Thanks Marj. Be seeing you!

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