New Project

My Heart of Stone, My Heart of Flesh

It is true that when you seek God and relentlessly want to know Him and follow Him, He will make Himself known to you. Such is the theme of 33 year-old Martin Afable's life.

Airplane cockpit

Martin is presently known in community as the Branch Leader of Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon Central. He recently married Mara Placino who has just given birth to their firstborn. Mara is also a very active member of Lingkod Central and is the daughter of Aly and Freddie Placino who are very active members of Ligaya ng Panginoon Community. Martin is a pilot by profession. There is a lot of joy, love and peace in his heart at this point in his life. He sees his role as Branch Leader crucial in playing a father figure to a lot of fellow young professionals. He even sees opportunities to evangelize in his being a pilot as he is exposed to many different personalities and keep sporadic friendships. The rhythm of his heart has not always been this way though.

I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh.

The Bible verse, "I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh." (Ezek 11:19) presented to him through lines of a Christian song he listened to one time struck him so much that it awakened him to realizing how hardhearted he had become and how he desperately asked the Lord to soften him.


Like most of us, Martin had his share of difficult times in his youth. There was a time when he deliberately put on a spectator attitude in the things happening around him. He didn't want to get involved and just wanted to focus on excelling for himself so he wouldn't be the cause of any trouble whatsoever. He deliberately deadened as well his emotions even when it came to his friends. He cites a time of being so indifferent to three of people he knew who committed suicide. Instead of feeling pity, sympathy or compassion, he said he told them each in his mind, "How could you be so selfish?" He shared too that at this time of his life, he had significant doubts in his faith. But clearly to him, he was like any typical person. He was pleasant, amiable, able to be so socially flexible that he can relate with people of different backgrounds and personalities. He likewise had a handy checklist of all his good dreams but dreams that did not seem to complete him.

Giving Talk

And so that song came on, in a retreat he once attended at the age of 29. This was preceded by years of slowly being open to searching for the truth about matters of the faith after studying many other beliefs. The search and thirst for God was coming on gradually and even led to a certain desire to be a priest at a certain point. So, during that retreat, Martin was sobbing like a child. Many of us if we were there might not have been struck by such a line in the same way. The realization was too deep not to be expressed in tears. He broke down realizing that putting on a heart of stone was the wrong coping mechanism to the harshness of life. And so right there and then he begged the Lord to turn his heart of stone into a heart of flesh.

Lingkod bros and sisters

The 180 degree turn in his life started more significantly on that very day. He busied himself with Bible study after Bible study even with many different kinds of "classmates." He studied what discernment was and applied it heavily especially in his three-hour coffee dates with the Lord with his Bible in tow. It was the first leader he had who told him to find a community where he would be led closer to Jesus. He eventually fell in love with the Catholic faith through podcasts, Catholic books and most of all, the Holy Eucharist.


He eventually got invited to Ligaya ng Panginoon Community and met Bro Abyong Calo who prayed over him. This is also around the same time when the Lord spoke to him in his dreams telling him to pursue a relationship with a sister in community, Mara Placino. With all the pure intentions in his heart and with the right amount of discernment done in all his long coffee dates, he did listen and pursue Mara. This was an arduous task as he had to make sure he was not just reacting to a painful breakup. These numerous dreams and his openness to listen were God's ways of saying he was meant for the married life even as he was already so content in just having the Lord in his heart. From living a life mostly done on his own terms, he softened to the Lord's question, "Complete na ako, Martin. Your decision will not complete me. Ang tanong ay isasama mo ba ako sa mga decisions mo?"

Giving Talk

The Lord granted Martin's desire born out of painful tears. With his heart of flesh, he now reaches out to people who need them most from his smallest of gestures like marveling at stars with his co-pilots, cabin crew and passengers to evangelizing and sharing God's faithful heart in his ministry at Lingkod.


God meets us indeed at crossroads like how he did with Martin. He can turn our hearts of stone into hearts of living and loving flesh only if we turn back to Him, surrender and search for Him with all our hearts.

✍️ Therese Pelias

Follow Us