15 years ago, I said “YES” to God’s calling to be a pastor.
I still remember that Friday afternoon: June 14, 2003. 4:30pm.
With confidence and pride (more of pride), I called one of the most prestigious telecommunication companies in the Philippines to follow-up on a guaranteed job application. In my disappointment, the company filled this “sure-in” position.
I was devastated.
Humbled, for sure.
The time of running from my calling ended: Two-and-a-half years.
At the loft of our then-rented home, I prayed this prayer:
“Lord, I surrender to your will. I give my dreams to you. I give my plans to you. Beginning today, your dreams are my dreams. Your plans are my plans. Your hopes are my hopes. Your will be done.”
Right there, something ended, and something began.
And what an adventure it was.
In my fifteen years of being a pastor, I have worn many hats.
I became a Chaplin of a Christian school – what I consider as my boot camp to ministry.
I preached to different people, at different places, at different times, using different languages, under different circumstances.
I started and led different ministries that molded me for the challenges ahead.
God let me put on each hat. For a time, He allowed me to wear it. And in time, He removed it only to put another one on.
But there was one hat that I never dreamt of wearing.
Believe it or not, never did I aspire to be a Senior Pastor of a church. I was satisfied to be the “behind-the-scenes” guy, a team player, or the designated pastor (such as Designated Survivor – Google it) when there was no one else to take the assignment.
I was happy to serve in any capacity.
But God had other plans. And I did tell Him that His plans will be mine.
With a vision in my heart and a heavy reliance on the Holy Spirit, we started The Rock Church – a church where people in different seasons of life’s journey can come and know Jesus personally.
And my ministerial life was never the same.
The highs and the lows, the victories and challenges, the tears and triumphs; in all these, God’s grace continues to flow.
I boldly faced the unknown. I learned from the mistakes. I moved on.
15 years later, I am still here. Just a few years older. A lot more hair strands grayer. A whole lot wiser.
And for this, I am grateful.
To all who ever listened to me preach or teach, I pray that I spoke life to you and help you be closer to Jesus, our Savior.
To all whom I had the privilege to lead or train, I pray that God is using you mightily in where He has placed you.
To the church that I love and pastor, God has used you to confirm and solidify the calling I received 15 years ago.
To my family who has given much love, patience, and support, I pray that what you have given me will be returned to you exponentially.
To my wife, Aida, and my son, Rafa, who is my first ministry, thank you for the great opportunity to be husband and father – an honor I so humbly receive. I love you both!
To my Lord and Saviour, JESUS CHRIST, whom I will NEVER stop praising, NEVER stop preaching about and NEVER stop loving. All glory is yours, forever!
15 years of triumphs, disappointments, mistakes, and learnings.
Only by the Grace of God.
And it is only the beginning.
15 years, Lord. What’s next?
Are you ready?
Photo courtesy of Au Ancheta (instagram: @iamsilentkisses)