"For I know the plans I have of you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
-- Jeremiah 29:11
To answer this question, I got the opportunity to interview Marvin Rodriguez, one of the people I look up to when it comes to walking in faith with Christ. As a brief background, Marvin is a licensed engineer, and one of the respected senior design engineers of Lexmark Research and Development Corp. in Cebu. He is not only a good friend of mine, but also my colleague. Just late last year, Marvin and his wife moved in to a very beautiful house that looks like one of those showcase houses we can see in the magazines (click HERE to see the pics). Not only that, his beautiful house is situated in a very upscale neigborhood where his neighbors are either doctors, businessmen, foreign retirees, and the likes.
How did Marvin and his wife acquire this property considering that he is not an OFW or an heir to a very wealthy family or a full time businessman is a story itself that will help us answer the question, "How to unlock God's promises of prosperity and a bright future for all of us His children."
Raoul: How’s your life right now?
Marvin: It’s amazing. Everyday is a very exciting day for me and for my wife.
Raoul: How is your relationship with God right now?
Marvin: Great! I'm leveling up. My wife and I are serving Him more specially in the Youth ministry.
Raoul: Were you like this before?
Marvin: No, though I was not really a bad guy or something like that. I was not as close to God as I am right now.
Raoul: When did you decide to surrender your life to God, and follow Him? What happened?
Marvin: When I was in pre-school my parents already became Christians so I didn't have the choice that time but I totally surrendered to the Lord about 5years ago after I realized that there is more to life than getting a good job, a nice car, a nice house, wife, kids and a retirement. I just allowed the Lord to direct my path and set my directions according to the purposes He has created me for.
Raoul: Let's talk about your love life, how did you and your wife meet?
Marvin: We were both invited to a Baby dedication in Royal Concourse last 2004 by a common friend but we never saw each other again after 3months when they invited me to join their barkada to Moalboal. It is only during that time that we got to know each other more and started to go out on dates until we decided to commit to each other for good. We were very sure that God's hand was on our relationship even though we only got to be with each other for a total of 4months in our 4years together due to the nature of my work.
Raoul: When did you got married?
Marvin: We got married last December 29, 2007.
Raoul: Before you got married, where did you plan to live right after marriage? Why?
Marvin: We planned to stay in my parent's house after wedding and I was already decided to live there that I renovated the place where we are going to stay already. For me it is also the logical and practical decision to make since we are still newly weds and have not much resources to buy our own house. I also wanted to save by staying at my parents house since we will not be paying any rentals and anyway we only plan to stay for 1 year and hopefully have enough savings to move to our own place after a year.
Raoul: Did you follow your plan? Why?
Marvin: I didn't push through in staying at my parent's house eventhough I have already done some renovations to it. This is after I was pointed to Genesis 2:24 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave (join) unto his wife and they shall be one flesh" in one of the series of marriage counselling sessions we attended in citichurch. I believed that it is the Lord's will for the husband to be the "Adam" of his "eden" and this will not happen if I stay at my parent's "eden". It was difficult for me financially and emotionally to do this but I just know that unless I do what the Lord says I should do, I will not succeed.
Raoul: When did the dream of building a dream house for you and your family take root in your heart? How did it happen?
Marvin: Building a house is I believe everybody's dream and mine started as early as elementary years. I didn't had the chance to stay in what I can call "my own room" when I was still living with my parents. The room I used to have was a basement room who gets flooded everytime it rains which forced me to evacuate to a higher ground and sleep at our living area for years. This situation gave me the dream of having my own house which I myself will build and design.
Raoul: Can you tell me how your dream house look like in your imagination back then?
Marvin: I always wanted to have a house that is always neat and clean or easy to maintain. I've never heard of a modern-minimalist house design but it turned out to be the type of house design I'm looking for, clean, simple and functional but with the modern touch. I also wanted my house to stand-out and would make a statement no matter how small it is.
Raoul: How were you able to find you lot in Kishanta? Did you expected to acquire such a very prime property?
Marvin: I didn't expect that we'll be living now in Kishanta by Aboitizland. I just know that my future house will be on top of a hill or a mountain because I'm already fed up with the flooded room experience :) Buying a lot in a good subdivision is one of the criteria in building our house but I just don't believed at first that this will happen due to several doubts and fears. I believe the lot has been prepared by the Lord for us since this was not our 1st and not even our 2nd choice but some series of events led us to choosing a very interesting location.
Raoul: What were the challenges that you meet in building your dream house? For example, the filing of loan, the choice of architect, contractor, supplier, financing, etc.?
Marvin: There were several challenges that needed a step of FAITH when building our house.
1. My home loan assistance application was turned down due to several reasons sited by our company.
2. We were on our own and had no advisers in all the transactions, plans and purchases.
3. We don't have enough funds and savings to pay for the contractor, architect and workers.
4. We started construction during the economic crisis where salaries are down and prices are high.
Raoul: How did you overcome all these challenges?
Marvin: Despite all the challenges and valid reasons to pull-back from the construction plans, we continued with the original plan and even stepped up by increasing the floor area of the house from the original plan and even chose higher grade materials for the house. For many this was a very stupid move for me and my wife but we held on to Lord's promise that if God's is with you then who can be against you!. We just know we heard from the creator of the heavens and the earth and He will make a way for us even if there seems to be no way... FAITH in the Lord Jesus made it all happen. All glory and honor to Him alone!
Raoul: When was the construction of your dream house finished?
Marvin: The architect and the contractor gave us a finished date of Dec 18, 2009. With all the challenges and difficulties, we were able to transfer into a fully finished house by Dec 19, 2009. Another miracle!
Raoul: Did it meet your expectation or the way you picture it out before?
Marvin: Every thing is way above what I originally planned. Everybody including us were shocked with the outcome. We could not have done this on our own! It took faith and miracles to make it a reality.
Raoul: Do you feel blessed?
Marvin: I feel very blessed but I know everything happened because He knows He will be glorified. This house has been created so others will also be blessed and encouraged that there is still hope in this difficult times. Jesus Christ the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)
Raoul: Can you share to me you secret to unlocking God's promises?
Marvin: FAITH in Christ Jesus and believing that His promises are yes and amen to them who believes. But we need to know His promises first by knowing Him by reading His word in the Bible and living a Christ-like life in accordance to his will and purposes.
Raoul: Any message to the readers?
Marvin: Don't lose hope because what happened to me and my wife will also happen to you and your family if you only obey and believe the Lord Jesus Christ.
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God wants us to dream big. If you want to settle for less then God will honor that too. But if want something better for you and your family than what you have right now, then dream on. As long as you are faithful and obedient to God, and if I may add, as long as your dream is not purely selfish and that it aligned to His will then rest assured that he will reward you...in His time. Like Marvin and his wife who is blessed with beautiful house that is beyond his wildest imagination, you and I can be blessed too. We just need to use the right keys -- faith and obedience.
PS1: Click HERE to see Marvin's straight-from-the-magazine house in Kishanta.
PS2: I planned to post here my live interview with Marvin Rodriguez, so stay tuned.