- Posted July 20, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
First Person: Your essays
I sized up all my courage to do community organizing in the mountains. For two years, I listened to all the genuine stories of hardships; that the Nanays and Tatays willingly shared with me. The stories were so priceless and life – changing. And it did change my life.
Perhaps God has his way of calling us. Mine was when I met a priest doing an outreach program in the same area where I was organizing the community. He taught me a lot of about God and I was a willing disciple. It was through him that I learned about “Singles for Christ and Gawad Kalinga.” I decided to descend from the mountains and become a teacher in a Catholic School.
Seven years ago, I was invited to a GK orientation to be conducted by Ms. Issa Cuevas-Santos. It was during that orientation that I felt the call to go back to organizing communities, this time not for any ideology or warfare, but for nation and community-building. I heeded the call and became a GK mission volunteer and later on a full time worker. It was, and still is, a demanding yet fulfilling task that consumes much of my time. More often than not, my family gets jealous of my work. It works the other way too – sometimes I envy other families when I see them bonding together during my mission trips.
However, GK may be demanding of my time and had made my family jealous but it was also GK that united our initially divided family. We have different religious beliefs yet now, because of GK, we are one in mission – that is to build communities to end poverty regardless of our faith.
GK has sent me back to the mountains to organize rebel returnees group. Everything was going smooth until I found out that there was still a threat to my life and safety. I had to undergo a witness protection program which was really not easy for me. But I am no longer afraid for several reasons. First, I found real friends that are like family. Secondly, I am no longer the shy guy I used to be, as I am now more confident to approach people, not for myself but for others. Thirdly, I am driven by my love for God and my country. Some people don’t understand why I chose this mission, sometimes I don’t too. All I know is that my country needs me now, more than ever. And this is my simple gift to God for all the blessings, he has bestowed upon me. Perhaps it is God who chose me for this journey and I am a willing follower because I know, he is in charge and he would see me through.
In the end, I do not expect a heroic burial. I don’t even think about the end. For now, I am just an ordinary Filipino guy, trying to live an extraordinary life, being someone’s hero and being the best I can, while I’m still alive and this is all for the Glory of God!
God has given me his perfect creation, the “Pearl of the Orient Seas” called Pilipinas. Through GK, I was introduced to it and for all these, I give thanks to our God, our country, the Philippines and Gawad Kalinga (GK)
Joseph C. Ceriales
GawadKalinga Missionary Worker
Western Visayas & Negros Island, Philippines