I was cleaning my old files and saw this. I wrote this on Nov 11, 2011. I believe I was writing to my then local pastors Ptra Noita Olaguera and Pastora Vilma Antigo, two veteran foot-washers whose faithful and selfless service has inspired me to continue seeing the good in people, even if sometimes I get hurt in the process.
Now I’m sharing this to all servant-leaders that God used to touch and change lives.
Thank you. Words are not enough.
From the day I was in Sunday school until I earned my College diploma, I have witnessed your priceless labor in the ministry that God called you. I saw how you selflessly offered yourself in service, without expecting anything in return. I saw how you tried to be the best pastor to each and every one of us in the Church. Yet In spite of all this, some church people still got the nerve to hurt you. I’ve heard their false accusations against you. They called you names, and sometimes even implying you’re more evil than Satan himself. I’ve seen how you stood your ground against back-stabbers and gossipers who tried to undermine your integrity, fighting them with prayers soaked in tears. I watched as you weathered every storm that comes your way. When life throws you lemons, you make lemonades out of them. You are pillar of unwavering faith, a beacon of hope, a model of perseverance.
You were there in every milestone of my life, both big and small. I still remember how you laughed when I told you I had a crush, and how you patiently listened to my puppy love stories — giggling with my stories as if they were yours. But you also know when I need a spanking. Remember when you scolded me for having a relationship while I’m a freshman in National High? Back then, I thought you were such a villain in my favorite soap opera. But when you hugged me as I cry my first heartbreak months later, I realized how you were just like Jesus – wanting only things that will not hurt me, things of hope and of better future.
They say no human is ever perfect, but for me you are the closest match. Not because you don’t make mistakes, but because you are very human to me.
I read a recent study about young people leaving Church, and I’ve seen some of our members come and go. Although as a pastor, you live with the reality that people will not be part of the flock you shepherd forever, but still, I know it must be painful for you. Another pastor wrote in his blog,
“It is inevitable. The hard part for us pastors, is taking it personally. Most people leave with grace, kindness, and compassion, some kick you in the gut on the way out, some just disappear. When people leave our body, they may get a new pastor, but we lose a friend. They move on to the new church, new leadership, and new circle. We pastors are left with a relationship that is gone, as a friend exits our life. I guess that is just the raw honesty of it.”
My dear Pastor, I know I can never repay you. I wish I have the right words just like you do, so at least I can also encourage you. But at least let me try.
Please fight the good fight of faith. Please be steadfast. We need you, although we don’t always say that. Being in spiritual leadership is a privilege like no other. It is very hard at times, but please stay the course! Stay pure before the Lord in heart, soul, and mind. In this world where moral decay is becoming the norm, we need someone like you who will show us that remaining righteous and holy is not easy, but it is not impossible either. And if time comes that you will feel weary, if time comes that you must cry, my ears are here to listen and my shoulders are ready. Allow me the privilege of serving you back.
And yes my beloved Pastor, even if they don’t listen, even if they leave, keep preaching! Know that God has called you to his Body. Whether people stay, embrace the vision Christ has imparted to you, or if they leave your church and your life, stay faithful to your calling! Honor God in the way you deal with those that move on. Bless them and above all, press on towards the goal.