With your abiding presence, I gradually overcome the ambivalence. Having recovered from isolation and subsequently return back to the mainstream of normal life, I make it a point to be cautious in my involvement. I even deprive myself of any involvement that may associate me with the past controversies. To compensate my unquenchable commitment in service, I become active in our social work professional organizations and volunteer groups which later I lead.
You have blessed my endeavors with success as I start to regain my confidence in leading organizations from local to regional and even reaching the national level as board of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc ( PASWI) and National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI). I can still recall the experience of going to Manila for a regular monthly board meeting taking the first flight early morning and catching the last flight back home in order not to miss the night with my wife and growing kids. I learn to balance my involvement with family life.
You know how glad I am when elected to head the network of welfare and development non-government organizations representing our social work association. It gives me opportunity to link with former friends and partners who are now engage in development endeavors. Again, I have maximize my commitment for service, as it were, while enjoying the new –found partnership with the government which we look at with enmity before . You have blessed this new engagement with breakthroughs. You have even broadened my perspective when I get involve in the Provincial Development Council, as well as the Regional Development Council. I learn much from such experience as I widen my network which later become useful when I return to my first love.
Yes, my first love - the pastoral ministry which unkind circumstances take away from me. Amidst success in my work, something bothers me. There is a guilt feeling of having contributed to the development of the outside world while neglecting our community of faith. Returning to my first love is not that easy. I can 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 noble intention fails to erase questions and reservation from some ministers. I fail to get the confidence of majority in my first attempt, despite my clear and convincing direction of leadership. Some honestly express their suspicion of my past political leanings.
The experience never dampen my spirit. I continue my commitment to serve in some ways. Taking cognizance of my sincerity, I get their overwhelming confidence when in an unprecedented event, nobody dares to challenge my second attempt to leadership and serve the association for two consecutive terms. Having been deprived of the opportunity to serve by circumstances, I give my best. The best years I have ever given to a particular cause in my lifetime. Years that witness the commitment and dedication surpassing my other endeavors, paid or likewise voluntary in nature.
It pleases you to bless our efforts with unprecedented breakthroughs in the organizational life and in projects and programs that galvanize our solidarity. I focus on improving the association. However, during my second term, the harsh realties in the politics of our larger body confront me . The young ministers who possess the idealism once we share in our youth challenge my deep-seated principled stance on some issues. Alarmed by the extent of mistrust on our leaders due to their experiences, I find myself on their side just as I always take principled stance in the past. Yet, my position as national leader of the pastors' association constrains my full participation to their struggle. Yet, the challenge never ceases until I join the politics of our larger body as independent candidate.
God, you know very well, what transpires in the dirtiest and expensive election that ever happened in our denomination. But you let me win to bring the pastor cause in the attention of the policy making body. The experience in election and the political dynamics while sitting in the board have reawakens my sense of justice. With the built-in trust of our association, I advocate the pastors' cause taking principled stance on issues affecting the organization and Convention. This does not sit well with the ruling group. Having neutralized leaders and personalities, and coopted some oppositions, they have an upper hand in the leadership, policy and decision making. They tend to lead by the tyranny of numbers quelling any attempt to block their way. Hence, I become their easy target. More so, when we frustrate their devious scheme in many instances. Unable to cow me in various attempts, they start looking for weakest link in my personal life and even in family to hit me in launching their systematic attacks.
The stressful situation has compounded the pressures in me. Apart from my employment and responsibilities in voluntary organizations including our pastors association, I open extension centers in various provinces for pastor’s continuing education leading to masteral degree in socio pastoral ministries. There, I hold classes together with some volunteer during week-ends and holidays. Eventually, my body gives in to pressures. I become seriously ill but you snatch me from death, dear God. Thereafter, the renewal of spiritual ambivalence in diverse form and varying degrees.