My father was a Gideon member ever since I knew life existed, and it brought me many perks, including snuggles from his co-Gideon members (my veterinarian godparents were also from the ministry), and taking Sunday jaunts from one church to another, watching him take the pulpit and make a powerful oration at why the church should support this cause. I guess him and his days at Gideon’s led to this, him now being a minister, taking the pulpit every Sunday, just by the time he reached 60.
I have been to many churches, great and small, rural and urban; the times when he would drive our car to steep platforms and off-road towns, the annual conventions to places (where we’d be squeezed in the ride being Gideon x Auxillary children). My dad would hold THE book and proclaim testimonies at how it changed his life and many others, and how he’d stand at the door at the end of the worship and patiently wait for the pledges people would place in an open Bible. He was, among many others, worked year by year so that Bibles can be placed in many hospitality spaces who would not, if by themselves, provide the book at their rooms.
Why am I rambling about this story? Well, I just realized that ever since I was a child, and even until now, I was surrounded by church people. People who knew my dad or recognized the badge he wore, people who welcomed us warmly to their pews, smiled at us from their backs, greeted us, shook our hand, led us into their pantries, told us their stories. Each church was different. Each person, radiant. But I was thrown into the sea of Christian Life, in which there was sheer joy, patience and toil in service; where old pastors in their barons stood in the middle of their pews for their Sunday School and children hardly listened, where deaconesses chased those naughty nuggets about, where there were youth who were indifferent (just like me) before they were set on fire.
I see it now, and from where I am, I was glad to inhale all those breaths from every church we stopped over.
When we visited Pastor Jay in Palawan last September, I remembered him telling us (over a breakfast at McDonald’s), “Your ancestors tilled the soil for you,” before recalling the names of our lolos and lolas whom he had a personal encounter, back in the old days. And he said, “It’s your duty to the next generation to till for them.”
I saw the wisdom in this. Everything up to now was a tilling of soil, a watering of the ground for God’s harvest in us. Whatever it is, I have absorbed nutrients from my many encounters with many churches, laity and pastors. I am being equipped. Perhaps, not as a permanent part of the pastoral workforce (who knows, I might eat this words), but maybe an important counsel for a special mission God has for me in the future.
I am excited to see what my parents have planted for me. I am thrilled to know what kind of tree I’d grow. Because I promise, I’ll try my best to be good. Because my parents are good trees. x