Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Return to my First Love

Admittedly, the comment or criticism (whichever) of a lay leader about my pastoral identity has pierced my soul. But it was enlightening, rather than hurting. It reminded me of my childhood dream and commitment. Flashbacks of the past were refreshing and inspiring. The impact of the exemplary life of our pastor has fixated my mind to follow his footsteps. My only ambition in life since childhood was to be like him- study theology at Central Philippine University to become a model pastor. Failing to make it after graduation in high school, I did not find other alternative. Instead, under the tutorial of my father, I mastered the gambling profession. No, my father was not a gambler. It was his means of livelihood that raised us 5 children.

It took a couple of years and two motorcycle accidents to revive the dream. Forced by misfortunes and threats, I entered a bible school. But another two years and a couple of critical incidents prevented me to catch it. One year suspension for rebelling against the administration and another year of serious heart ailment (the first major attack), a semester before graduation caused the delay.

Then came the opportunity to fulfill the dream in 1977. Working full time in a church, I gave my best in the ministry, as if I had only one year to live. Literally, because that was my bargain to God during my serious illness. After my term, the opportunity to study in CPU came which opened another chapter of life discussed in previous blog. Still, another delay happened. The cause, however, was no longer illness, but a healthy disposition to take up the challenge of times with willingness to offer my life for the cause of the Filipino people.

Returning to my first love was not that easy. Now, a family man, I could not just leave my employment in the University. As a transition, a week-end work in a local church in Iloilo City became an alternative. In the process, I realized I could no longer recover the lost time and opportunities in working with churches. Hence, the decision to focus on pastors, guided by the belief that whatever developments in their lives will trickle down to the churches.

However, my intention was not taken, without question and reservation. I failed to get the confidence of majority in my first attempt, no matter how clear my platform was. Some were honest enough to express their suspicion on my political leanings. My independent and principled stance also did not get the backing of veteran power brokers in the Convention whose candidate was miserably junked by majority of the pastors in a three-cornered fight in 2001. The experience did not dampen my spirit. My second attempt was wholeheartedly welcomed by the pastors. In an unprecedented event, I ran unopposed and served the association for two consecutive terms.

Next post: Gains and Pains in serving the pastors.

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