PADAYON was the word that capped the successful conduct of the 68th National Assembly of the Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA) on January 25, 2009. Inspired by the overwhelming responses of pastors on the CBMA leadership and governance, as well as the advocacies on changes in the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) politics, systems and governance, I was looking for a punch line/ clincher to sustain the momentum in delivering the concluding remarks.
Then came the message from my *Ihado when the worship leader innovatively asked the participants to write on the provided piece of paper, message to a particular person of choice. All of the notes I received have common message of encouragement to “keep up the good work.” My ihado gave me a note with one word which captured all other messages. Subsequently, I used it to officially close the National Convention of CBMA: PADAYON
The second time I received the word was during my 55th birthday celebration when this same ihado sent me text greetings. It was just the time I was looking for a title or a framework of our life journey and the title of my dream book.
PADAYON encompasses life’s story
Padayon is an Ilonggo term which means continue. In deeper sense, it connotes moving/going on (or never give up) despite adversaries or adversities. In this blog, PADAYON serves as framework or acrostic of my life’s experiences and the lessons learned from life. Each area or sub topic will be discussed in details in the succeeding blogs.
Antipodes of life’s journey
After undergoing the process of ordination which culminated, as a personal gift, on my Golden birthday on May 27, 2004,I committed myself to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven, no matter what. Indeed, it was a golden year. On the 7th month that followed, I was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Social Workers of the Philippines. For me, it was a vindication of the awful experiences in coping up with life’s struggle when I first committed myself fulltime to the cause of Filipino people which dramatically changed the course of my life. It was my last semester in the seminary in 1984 when I decided to stop schooling and dedicated myself to the service of the struggling Filipino people for freedom from the shackles of the dictatorial rule. To what extent will remain a precious and lasting memory for me and my former comrades on the beauty of service and God’s abiding presence in protecting His people.
Doing God’s will is dangerous to your health
Engrossed with my study of the Lord’s Prayer vis-à-vis its relevance to our lives as far as development issues are concerned, I found myself in stressful condition and got sick. Realizing that the prayer is not essentially Lord’s Prayer but a model prayer (for the real Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17), I started to put it into practice in my relationship with God and fellow human beings. Just as I prayed “…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I made myself available for their realization. I tried to seek & do things in proper way; be on the side of the truth and stand for it without fear or favor; advocate and work for that which brings or gives life, not destruction. That is where my trouble started.
Adversities: Stepping Stones towards wholeness
It was when I was confronted with adversities beyond my control that I have learned painful (yet wholesome) lessons in life which ushered me to a new holistic well being. There appears to be a pattern in my health condition every 17 years. In 1975, I was seriously ill causing me to be completely bedridden for 3 months before gradual recovery which lasted for a year. It recurred in 1992 when at the peak of delivering lecture in an evening class, I experienced short breath and almost collapsed. But the worst came in the last quarter of 2009 when the attack took place in a remote area while doing volunteer work.
Yardstick for all of life is still the Bible
Yardstick has been used metaphorically to refer to anything which serves as a test or standard of measurement, comparison or judgment. It serves as a reference point against which other things can be evaluated. For more than one year of struggle and suffering due to my health condition, the only companion that never leave me is the bible. And in my daily reading and reflections (sometimes almost the whole day), I learned lessons I have never seen before. In succeeding blogs, I will give the details on how the bible is the yardstick for all of our life.
Opportunities come in the fullness of time
No matter how I console myself, as family, friends and colleagues do, that God is just preparing me for something big through the illness (and subsequent rest), I seem not to enjoy the thought. Not until recently I realized that opportunities, indeed come in the fullness of time.
Networking: Essence of the Church as Body of Christ
Having experienced the interplay of our body’s subsystems in causing sickness and wellness, I become interested in studying the mechanics of our body. I have learned how every cell contributes to the body’s functions and dynamism and its capacity to heal itself naturally, as designed by God. Relating this to my study on networking of NGOs (my masteral thesis), I see the beauty and relevance of the biblical comparison of the church as body of Christ. Ironically, it is the business world, information technology, development advocates that maximize the benefit of networking which should have been the forte of Christians in their ministry.
*Ihado is an Ilonggo term referring to wedding godson
Article first published as The Journey Framework on PADAYON. The author is in the process of transferring posts from other blogs to converge on this official website.