Category Archives: FAMILY


Today, we celebrate my son’s 9th birthday!  When he was born, he changed my life forever because he helped me understand the two statements below which caused us to give him his name.

Misrepresented as a stern judge waiting to execute judgment, God in the Old Testament is often times dismissed and ridiculed.  But when I contemplate the plan of salvation and what He and Christ have done for me and my family, I bow my head in solemn worship.  To even posses an imagination to produce the plan of salvation requires love beyond comprehension.  I admit that there are limits to the greatest acts of love that I’m capable of.

But God’s love knows no limits.  Unfortunately it’s radicalness is too-often eclipsed by what we feel Christ has done for us.

Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life’s peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.

The heart of the human father yearns over his son. He looks into the face of his little child, and trembles at the thought of life’s peril. He longs to shield his dear one from Satan’s power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, God gave His only-begotten Son, that the path of life might be made sure for our little ones. “Herein is love.” Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth! — Desire of Ages, 49

This is what “Immanuel: God with us” means.  To assure us that He will provide us with help in every difficulty, God gave us His son.  He didn’t let us borrow Him for a moment, a lifetime, or even through the entire history of redemption.  He didn’t lend Christ to us momentarily as a gift to be returned.  This act of love would be enough to make any thoughtful person eternally thankful.  But God’s love is beyond human comprehension.  It cannot be understood, it can only be beheld.  “God with us” also means “us with God.”

God so loved the world that, when sin marred His purpose for mankind and justice demanded a debt of sin that seemed infinite, God literally changed His nature.  Rather than letting go of humanity, He brought humanity into the trinity through the person of His Son.  One third of the Godhead is human!  Forever!

By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe. It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isa. 9:6. The I Am is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Heb. 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love. — Desire of Ages, 26-27


On October 10, my brother went to the hospital suffering from severe pain in his abdomen.  The medical staff diagnosed him with Severe Acute Pancreatitis.  Early Sabbath morning, my mom called me with the news that my brother was critically ill.

Thanks to the help of a close friend, I was able to book a flight home using his personal air miles.  Timing was crucial.  When I arrived at the ICU where my brother was being cared for, I was greeted by a doctor who informed me immediately that my brother was critically ill and that according to medical tests used to measure his condition, Juan faced a 100% chance of death.

Immediately, I was able to visit with my brother, speak to him about his walk with God, and hear what was on his heart.  Other members of our immediate family also spoke with him.  These moments have come to be some of our most cherished memories with him — moments that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.  Moments that will surely carry us through difficult times ahead.

The doctors of the Riverside County Regional Medical Center cared for my brother with diligent humanitarian care.  Dr. Benjamin Tabibian was his first attending physician and aggressively took steps to keep my brother alive.  My brother took small steps forward, but the journey ahead of him was very long.  And many times, forward progress was offset by challenging declines.

Although surgery was determined to be the last resort, the time came for Juan to undergo surgery in order to keep him alive.  His internal body pressure had become dangerously high.  At this point in Juan’s condition, it was uncertain that he would survive the procedure.  But he did.  With the pressure released from his abdomen, his lungs began to slowly work on their own.

Thanks to the thoughtful care of Dr. Walter Klein, a pulmonary specialist, Juan began to make slow, but steady progress.

The doctors were not the only ones providing the best kind of care for my brother.  Many nurses attended Juan, giving him dialysis, graciously caring for him, and cheering him on.

Every day that Juan lived during his severe illness was itself a miracle.

The time came when Juan’s progress was steady and sure.  Although a long road was expected for Juan’s recovery, he seemed to be coming out of the most critical stages of his illness.  His kidneys began to work, his blood pressure held its own, and he was beginning to respond after months of sedation.

However, in the last moments of last week, he took a turn for the worse.  Perhaps, due to an infection, Juan’s Pancreatitis returned and within a few days, ended my brother’s life.

On December 14, 2014 at 12:18 local time, my brother ended his battle with this vicious illness.

My brother did not lose the battle.  The Bible gives the assurance that death is a defeated foe.  If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even those whom also sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him (I Thessalonians 4:14).

My brother’s life ended with a fight to the very end.  Dr. Aaron DePew and others did everything humanly possible to keep him alive and together with Juan wrestled with all of their might towards this end.  But Juan’s body needed rest.  Rest from the struggles, pain, and sin in this life.  Rest from sickness and disease.  And although Juan’s life has come to an end, in the eyes of God, he is only asleep.  “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them…and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:18).

We are assured of the blessed hope and soon return of Jesus Christ when “death is swallowed up in victory” and God’s children will declare with Him: “O Death, where is your sting?  O Death, where is your victory?” (I Corinthians 15:54-55).  The promise of God is certain and true: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

In the meantime, we hold on to the words of Jesus Christ when He overheard the sorrowful news of the death of a young woman.  To the remaining father and to Juan’s loved ones the words of comfort and hope are: “Don’t be afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).  Don’t be afraid because even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we can fear no evil — for He is with us.

God never promised a life without death and sorrow.  Instead he promised freedom from the fear that makes these experiences too hard to bear.  He promises that the valley of death is a valley that we pass through, not dwell in.  And he promises that He will be with us.

So I take comfort in the thought that God is with us.  The Emmanuel remembered during the Christmas season is the same God with us in times of death and loss.

I have lost my only brother.  But God gave His only Son.  The love of God is incredible!

My brother’s life was one of constant giving.  He was intuitively attuned to other people’s suffering because he deeply understood pain.  For 34 years of my life, I was a beneficiary of his constant selflessness.  And I am forever grateful for him.  He is my hero.

My brother has taught me that:
A life is never lost when it has been lived for others.

I will see him again.



The month of September was so much fun because my sister, Julie, was here visiting from Guam.  We finished a 10k Mud Run together, our family all played in the Korean Independence Day Sports Tournament, and we bid our brother, Justin, farewell as he embarked on his new journey to dental school in Loma Linda, California.  We also spent a lot of quality time with our parents and this was one of the most memorable experiences!

Can’t wait until our next family get together!  <3


I was staring up at the drop ceiling lights for some time.  “Don’t worry,” she reassured me, “sometimes it takes a while to find it”.  I knew that wasn’t true.  At least it wasn’t true for me.  I had gone through this exact same routine at least 20 times over the years.  It doesn’t take this long to find a baby’s heartbeat.  I lay there on my back for several minutes as the nurse slowly and systematically moved the doppler across my lower abdomen a few times.  Then she called in another nurse who did the exact same thing.  I continued staring up at the outdated ceiling tiles as the thought kept going through my head, “This can’t be happening.  This isn’t happening.”  I tried to hold on to any glimmer of hope that was within me.

I was ushered to the dark ultrasound room.  I laid down and immediately fixed my eyes on the screen.  My neck was craned in an awkward position but I couldn’t take my eyes off my baby.  I just remember the tech honing in the baby’s heart and clicking on it.  A flat line ran across the screen and no sound of the heart beat.  She repositioned the doppler and tried again.  Nothing.  She did it one last time.  She took the final measurements and she was done.  She wiped off the gel and helped me sit up.  The frantic part of me wanted her to try one more time.  The rational part of me slapped myself across the face and I was overcome with emotion.  My baby was dead, all hope was gone, and my heart broke in pieces.

You can never be prepared for sudden tragedy.  It was supposed to be a routine OB visit.  One that I’m usually in and out within 20 minutes.  As I sat there in the little side room, I went into emotional shock. My body turned numb and my vision was foggy. I felt like I was going in and out of a dream. As my mind came back to focus, we were still there and the doctor was still talking to us and explaining our options. This was really happening. I held my belly that carried our lifeless son and wept.

That was Friday, February 21, 2014. We decided to have our son delivered on the following Monday. We could have scheduled it earlier, but we decided to wait. I needed time. I wanted these last few days, this last Sabbath, this last weekend with him. I wanted to carry him a little longer as I sorted through everything that was happening. I spent a lot of time in prayer and claiming promises in God’s Word. That dark weekend, I found renewed hope and courage in God. I knew He understood my heart and He gave me hope that this wouldn’t be the last time I’d be near my son. As I carried him for the final time, I asked our Almighty God to carry me. He drew very close. In my moment of deepest despair, I put my trust in Him and I found peace.

Our fourth son, Seth Aaron Ramos, was born on Monday, February 24, 2014.  I carried him 19 weeks and he quietly passed away a few weeks prior.  As a memorial, we made a small memory book for baby Seth.  We included his ultrasound pictures from when he was alive among other things.  Each of the boys made a special card for him.  It is a little book that we, as a family, treasure.

By faith, I know I will get to hold our youngest son again. However, I recognize that getting there won’t be an easy road. It hasn’t been easy. Grief comes and goes. This life is filled with a myriad of trials and temptations. As we are nearing the end of time, Satan is attacking with full force and he will use anyone and anything to bring us down. But through this experience, I get a taste of God’s undying love, because He created us and we are His own. I understand a glimpse His desire to carry and protect us until we are made whole. And by faith I know Christ longs to be reunited with His children. It is a Love worth trading our selfish, sin-sickened lives for.

So, as I go on life’s sometimes difficult journey, it is my desire to ask God to carry me each step of the way.  No matter what I lay at His feet, I know I will never be a burden to Him and I am confident He will never let me go.  I believe His love is enough to take each of us through even the roughest, most painful trials of this life.  In the end, it will be worth the wait.

IMG_6096“…I have made you and I will carry you: I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4