Recently, I have been to a recollection where the facilitators lead the participants in a game called “The boat is sinking with a twist”. The facilitator told us that he will be saying how many captains will there be and how many people will be saved. The captain/s should carry the people who will be saved on their backs. The ending twist was the facilitator said that there will only be one captain and all of us will act like the people who will be saved. This activity gave me a bunch of laughter and a realization that the people of this community, aside from being competitive in winning games, really have the heart to carry one another in times when our boats sink. I have realized that God had put a great desire in our hearts to catch everyone and assigned us a wonderful task of looking for each other’s back. Unfortunately, because it entails sacrifices and pain, this desire is slowly becoming a burden for some.
One of the first few things that come to the minds of the youths when being asked about “what pastoral care is?” is that it is a burden. Many thought of this because it is tiring, it brings lots of personal one on one sessions and a series of monotonous correcting, it causes heartaches and it causes a lot of hard things needed to be done. We sometimes doubt and feel fear when asked to pastor and care for someone specially those people who are hard to love. This common notion that “pastoral care” is a burden blinds us in truly experiencing the best life we could possibly experience. Let us be reminded that this quest that was put into our hearts is also an adventure waiting to be ventured.
We belong to a group of adventurers with a similar ultimate quest of reaching heaven. In order for all of us to reach that goal, we are called to do three different things. First thing is to accept the reality that we have a mission – accept that this life is meant to be spent fulfilling that mission of living one’s self to the fullest for the cause of Christ. The second is to accept that this mission is not meant to be finished alone. It is by genuinely loving everyone entrusted to you and doing whatever you can in order to ensure to finish the race together. Genuinely loving also means active listening, being available anytime, being willing to use your treasure, talents, and time, and wishing for the welfare of that person even though others tell otherwise. It is dreaming and seeing the future with a hopeful heart and having the hands to act upon it. The last thing to do is to be committed to the mission. It will be tiring, it will bring lots of personal one on one sessions and a series of monotonous correcting, it will cause heartaches and it will cause a lot of hard things needed to be done. But every tiring day will turn into glorious one in heaven, every personal one on one session is a reflection of one on one sessions with God, every repetitive correction turns to repetitive cuddle from God, and every heartache will lead to heart successes.
I realized that I am the person who I am today because of the different people I met on this journey of mine. I can proudly say that I am a product of the different yeses of different people fighting different battles but have the same purpose. Those people allowed me to survive the daily battles and daily challenges that I would not be able to take alone. Thinking about these things just made me want to be on my knees, put my hands together, look upon the heavens, and thank the Father for this wonderful journey while promising to give my all to those persons He asks me to love.
Joshua Ocampo is a Mission Volunteer for MFC Youth serving in the Luzon Mission Team