|Imelda and her partner Noeme receiving their OJT money.|
The Mystery of the Projector that Disappeared
as written by Jaime Aguila, an elder of Manila Center SDA Church
"November 8, 2013 marked the start of the PAFCOE On the Job Training (OJT) for students of Evangelism. My wife Imelda Aguila, was one of those students and she was assigned to the adult class together with her partner, Noeme Antiga, who was assigned to the children’s class, and together they served in Plaza Noli, Manila, Philippines. To make their evangelism OJT more effective, they borrowed a brand new projector from a church member, Josie Santos. The evangelism went on as planned and was well attended. On the last day of their presentation, something mysterious happened. The church van was fully packed with attendees, gifts for successful attendees who completed the course, and with the usual gadgets like computers, microphones and of course the projector.
Upon reaching the venue, it was noticed that the van was not properly closed, and that the projector was missing! This troubled me a lot, first because it meant the meetings will have to end with no visuals, second, because it meant we are responsible to compensate the owner for the lost projector. It was but natural for me to be angry and suspicious as to what happened to the projector.
The first thing that went on in my mind was that somebody got interested in the projector, and took it. I came to this conclusion as the projector was of the latest model and quite expensive. Moreover, it was the only item that was missing. I wondered why the nicely wrapped gifts, or the old laptop did not get lost, but only that projector.
Immediately, I went to the area headquarters to inform them of the lost item and they told me portions of the street leading to the venue had CCTV, but since the driver was not sure where the item got lost and since the Church was more than a kilometer away from the venue, I did not bother to check the CCTV.
After about a week after the event occurred, I was still perplexed, and angry at what happened. I was still very suspicious as to what really happened to the projector, even though the owner was not charging us for the lost item. To calm my suspicions, I included in my morning prayer that God show me if the projector got dropped off the vehicle or if someone really took it, as I was beginning to imagine scenarios as to what transpired. I asked the Lord to show me in a vision what really happened!
About lunchtime that same day, a Sunday, I attended a children’s party with my family, at a restaurant in Quezon City about 7 kilometers away from where the projector was supposedly lost. I was seated at a long table for guests, when somebody, Mr. Chris Balbuena, started talking that they were able to pick up a projector on the street.
I inquired about the details of the found projector and discovered it was of the same brand, Samsung, and model of the lost projector. I got suspicious it was the very projector we lost, so I described to Mr. Balbuena the contents of the projector bag which included a lapel and microphone. Mr. Balbuena confirmed such were really the contents, so he believed my story that it was the projector we lost.
He related to me the details of how they found the projector. He told me he owned a car wash shop, Hella Stance, located about a couple hundred meters to where the evangelistic meetings were being held. They saw a bag drop off a vehicle which they thought was trash. Then, a couple of cars ran over the bag, but the bag bounced, probably because something solid was inside. They got interested, so they picked up the bag and opened it. They saw it was a projector! They tried to operate it and it still worked despite it having a broken casing as it had been run over a couple of times. In short, Chris believed my story, and told me he would give me back the projector. Before the day was over, Mr. Balbuena was kind enough and sent me the projector.
Looking back, I realized that the odds that I would meet the very person who found the projector were quite impossible. What were the chances that the two of us, the one looking for the projector and the one who found the lost item, would sit at the same table, be at the same restaurant several kilometers away from where it all happened, at the exact time and occasion. Considering how many people are in Quezon City, how many restaurants are there in this city, how many events were being celebrated that busy Sunday, the probability we would meet is absolutely zero! No one can orchestrate such event but God himself. I acknowledge God’s hand in all of these, and am thankful that God heard my prayer and made a miracle. This is proof that God is in control even in seemingly minor events as this, and that he works miracles if we simply put our trust and faith in him!"