Life is a mystery. It is full of surprises. There are times when we ask ourselves, why does this thing happen? What is really the plan of God for me? How does He reveal His plan to us?
Many times in my life, God revealed his love through the people who cared for me. The gift of life that he gave me, the joys and pains I encountered, strengthened my faith in Him. In the depths of my being, He continues to inspire me through His words, “When you were in the womb of your mother I formed you to be my own and chose you to be the sharer of my kingdom.”
I felt his call when I was still a child. I was very active in the religious activities in our community chapel especially during the month of the Rosary in October and in May during the Flores de Mayo. My parents are very religious. Every evening we had our family rosary together and I believe this particular religious observance served as the seed of my lay vocation which grew during my high school years. This experience was further affirmed when I involved myself in the parish choir and in the school vocation program.
With such exposures the desire to be more active in the life and mission of the Church grew within me. I remember during those times I prayed intently to God to know what His will for me is. He answered by sending someone, a friend who led me to know the answer of my desires and prayers. I got accepted, with God’s grace in a four year training program on catechetics at the John XXIII Catechetical Center in the Archdiocese of Davao. On December 6, 1987 I was commissioned as a lay catechist in the Parish of our Lady of Fatima, my first parish assignment. I was assigned there as head catechist for two years and as a parish pastoral program coordinator for a year and a half.
As a new graduate from the training, I experienced early in my work both acceptance and rejection from the people. Some people thought that I don’t have enough experience that would qualify me for my position. There were also those who expressed high expectations from me. There were times when I also experienced persecutions from the group whom I am working with. But during those times I used to say to myself, “Don’t quit!” and continued to fight and hold on, offering only my best in my task. I always prayed to the Holy Spirit for his inspiration and guidance. And I know he guided me as he is guiding me now to persevere in my task.
Came 1990, and I was transferred to my own Parish in Sasa in Davao City. I worked there as head catechist for a period of four years. I was so happy that I was serving my own family and community and I got involved in the activities of our Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC). There I witnessed first hand the beauty of community life and from that experience my desire to share it with others who have not experienced this new way of being church also grew.
One time a symposium on vocation was conducted in our parish and I was challenged by the priests in our parish and some lay people in that symposium to help other communities undergoing renewal as envisioned by PCP II. The Philippine Lay Mission program (PLMP) updated me of their activities in the field. They informed me of the help they extend to local churches in facilitating the building of BECs. The interest grew but I was not so sure of myself. And so I kept on praying to God to sustain my desire to help other communities to clarify it for me so that I could make a mature decision. Finally after much though and prayers, I gained the courage to decide to leave my family and enter into the seven month training program given by the PLMP for would be lay missionaries. I took the final step and I am grateful to God that He sent someone who could replace me in my work in the parish.
Presently I am now working as a volunteer lay missionary in the Parish of Jaro together with Bong Ang. We started last January 23, 1995 and we were assigned in Brgy. M.H. del Pilar and Benedicto which serve as pilot areas for the building up of BECs in the parish. To build a BEC in the city is not easy and it is full of challenges. People here are busy coping with the needs of their families. Yet I believe that nothing is impossible to God if He wills it. In many of our experiences He continues to touch the lives of the people through His Word and in the Eucharist. And He is able to open their hearts to listen and to live his word in the community.
A month ago, I experienced trials in life. I got sick and needed some rest. Every time I experienced troubles and trials, it is always a turning point for me whether to keep on going or not. This time I realized that God lightened my load and strengthened my faith in Him, through the people who inspired and cared for me and through my constant prayers and communion in the Eucharist. I am very grateful to Him for guiding me to live as I ought to live. I know it is He is who called and it is He who keeps me going, sustaining me in serving him and His people as a lay missionary. With Christ among us . . . we could always go onward.