When Relan G. Macam (third child of Yolanda Gayatin and Reuel F. Macam of 39-F Tabayok, Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City) was born on September 17, 1975, his father and mother gradually fell away from the Church, after being members for only three months.
It was a situation difficult to understand. Both were active in the beginning. Ruel expressed spiritual joy to relatives present during his baptism at being born again together with Yolanda. He developed new interest and experienced excitement in reading and pondering upon the Scriptures. He avoided friends who were inclined to passing time with drinking and smoking sessions. Upon the birth of Relan, his life began to change. Sabbath day did not anymore provide him with a feeling of spirituality.
Home teachers called on the family, only to be turned away by Yolanda with the shallow excuse that household duties occupied her time and that Reuel was busy with provincial assignments. A group from the Elders Quorum of his branch paid a special visit, but Yolanda was prepared with the excuse that her husband was still in the provinces on business (he was in fact upstairs, impatiently waiting for the group to leave). As a last resort, the missionary elders who baptized them tried to bring them back to the Church—without success—as Reuel reverted to his old ways of smoking, drinking and carousing with friends.
Not long thereafter, strange occurrences began to disrupt the family life of the Macams. Relan became sickly, and his parents had to bring him to the hospital at frequent intervals. Unpaid bills and household expenses began to mount, and Reuel soon found himself heavily in debt. He, too, looked pale and sickly. The burden of motherly chores also exacted heavy toll on Yolanda, looking after the other kids in between hospital visits to Relan. Life for the two of them began to look like a trail of thorns.
Then, during one evening of soul-searching, Reuel was jolted by a thought in his mind. Could it be that son Relan was protesting in his cradle of innocence over the wayward life of his father? Could it be that Relan, in his guiltlessness, was telling him that turning his back to the covenant he made was not pleasing in the sight of God?
For, Relan had an extraordinary experience while still throbbing with life in his mother’s womb. On June 21, 1975, when Reuel and Yolanda were baptized by Elder Round in the Quezon City chapel, Yolanda was heavy with child, in fact, six months in the family way with Relan. This baby boy was immersed in the baptismal font with his mother even before he was born into this world!
The second day of January, 1977, a repentant father entered the Quezon City chapel. A cry of joy came from one of the members. “It’s Brother Macam, it’s Brother Macam! Welcome back!”
After having been away from the Church one year and three months, Reuel F. Macam returned like the prodigal son—silently nurturing the thought that his infant son, Relan, showed the way back.—P. Ocampo, Jr.
Editor’s Note: Bro. Macam is now Sunday School President, Quezon City III Ward, Quezon City, Philippines Stake.