Last night, March 19, 2013 isn’t about our recognition. It’s about recognizing the Great Master Guide who doesn’t call the qualified, but rather qualifies the called.
It’s about upholding the essence of salvation and service – highlighting the selfless service of Him who is worthy to be served.
He Must Increase, I Must Decrease
It dawned on me while reflecting on the lives of the world’s great ancient leaders in the light of the Biblical history, that the essence of true greatness is HUMILITY, TOTAL DEPENDENCE upon God and SELFLESS SERVICE. All these qualities were best portrayed in the life of Jesus, the servant of all.
No wonder, the Advanced Pathfinder Leadership Award (Pathfinder Instructor’s Award) Curriculum Manual included the Bible Year Plan or the Encounter Series III: CHRIST OUR REDEMPTION (Patriarchs and Prophets) or Series IV: CHRIST OUR HOPE (Prophets and Kings) for personal growth of the aspiring leaders in the Pathfinder Ministry. These two masterpieces of Ellen G. White not only inspired and enriched my devotional lifestyle, but challenged me to the fullest; to be subdued to lowliness and selfless service.
MG Jobbie Yabut, the SSD Youth director, emphasized the core of remarkable service: “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
Furthermore, He uttered: “We exist because of Mission, Pathfinder Ministry exist because of the Mission…We are not here to display our accomplishments, but to minister…The higher we go, the lower we ought to humble ourselves.”
He also appealed to its quintessence. “If you really want to be a blessing, you have to be reminded that we have to serve, help with the need of the church. Many churches somewhere don’t have Pathfinder clubs yet. They’re eager to have. I hope and pray that you’ll extend your hands.”
Funny and yet profound, Pastor Yabut gave an illustration (portrayed it). There was an award-winning body builder who was featured and interviewed in a T.V. show. He was asked to share his secret how he was able to obtain such well-toned and well-built body. The body builder didn’t speak any word; rather, he went in front and posed here and there, showing more of his bulging muscles.
“I hope you won’t just be like that body builder. You didn’t come here to display your uniforms and insignias”, He challenged as he ended the short but sharp message.
Of Insignia and Nobility
Before the APLA recognition, the Master Guide Investiture of PILLARS Batch was done. There were 20 MGTs (Master Guide Trainees: three AUP Academy Faculties, and other two adopted from the previous batch), who received the insignias and vowed as full-pledged Master Guides.
In response to the charge given by MG Sherman Fiedacan, CLC Youth Director, MG Jethro Carpentero emotionally related this dream-come-true investiture as a long-awaited moment. “During the two years training, I wondered how it feels to wear this Gala uniform, how it feels to wear this neckerchief…so this is how it feels! This is a dream come true!”
But to be a Master Guide is not about the uniform, the neckerchief and all the honor patches and insignias. He continued: “It’s about our dedication to our service. Investiture is more of looking back to our training and experiences: survival camping, wilderness living…etc., and praising God for the great things He has done…Our batch promised not to sleep after this investiture, we will remain active in Pathfinder ministry and help other trainees as well.”
I can relate well as I reminisce our own investiture six years and eleven days ago (March 9, 2007). Like him, it was a dream come true to be invested as a full-pledged Master Guide. Investiture is just a landmark of another pilgrimage of Pathfinder Ministry. It was simply nostalgic! I can look back with much gratitude and gaiety to God, my mentors, instructors, comrades and family for the support and prayers all throughout those colorful years of service.
To be one of the APLA awardees has nothing to do of what I contributed to the church, nothing to do with my leadership skills and accomplishments; not even the compliance to the requirements, not even about the scrutiny and approval of the Church Board of Philippine International Church and Executive Committee of Central Luzon Conference; NO! It’s simply about the passion to serve that comes only from Jesus Christ. My sinful and dirty heart cannot produce the enthusiasm and endeavor to pursue serving; NEVER! But, praise the Lord for making me whole again and again, for giving a CLAY heart, ready to be molded according to His will.
True nobility isn’t measured of the attainments in academics or ministry; it’s about how far you are willing to deny self and to serve – to be made willing to be willing. After all, being a Master Guide and a Pathfinder Leader is about character building.
“Allow me to remind you, especially those who have added muscles. The highest award of our church leadership is the Master Guide (emphasis intended)…You can’t teach what you don’t know, you can’t lead where you don’t know how to go.” These were the great reminder of MG Ian Felicitas, Administrative Director of AIIAS Adventurer Clubs, as he stated the meaning of Advanced Pathfinder Leadership Award. He’s an APLA awardee from the sister institution of AUP, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies.
Moreover, he heightened the significance of being awarded of APLA or PIA is “to live and demonstrate what you preach and teach…you should be true to the ideals of what the SDA Church is. You should be forever leaders and keep on sharpening skills.”
Meanwhile, MG Ron Genebago NPUM Youth Director accentuated his charge to the 14 APLA awardees through his own acronym given:
P-attern for Master Guides and Pathfinders
L-ead like Christ (He came to serve)
A-ttract young People to Christ
On behalf of the ALPA Batch Matapat 2013 (PLA Batch Matapat 2012), MG Wiley Gamaliel Falia, former Administrative Pathfinder Director from Bangladesh, responded: “The skills we learned from APLA class enabled us to clearly present the best knowledge in the best way to train Pathfinders to become the best youth in the world. It is our desire that we will see this, not as an end in itself, but as further step in the continual life long process of sharpening and improving Pathfinder leadership skills.
Last night’s remarkable event is part of AUP/PIC’s Pathfinder History. It’s the second APLA awarding. The first was conducted on October 2011. There were seven directors awarded almost two years ago, including our very own mentor and instructor, MG Nimrod Salazar. He is currently, the Administrative Director of University Pathfinder Clubs. The other awardees: MG Leomer Batulayan, MG Jeruel Ibanez (former AUP Trailblazers Director),MG Aser-Neph Torres (former College Pathfinder Director),MG Jaylord Balitar (former Academy Pathfinder Director), MG Carmela Lacuarin (Elementary Pathfinder Director) and MG Penina Vegafria (Adventurer Club Director). Another dedicated mentor and instructor of Batch Matapat, MG Romualdo Palad was awarded at AIIAS on that same year, short after the first APLA awarding.
Kindly include us in your fervent prayers that our burden to serve would always be true to our batch name, “MATAPAT” (Faithful), and in line with our commitment song:
“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”
The solemnity of the calling for Pathfinder leadership and service surpassed the solemnity of the MG Investiture and APLA Awarding. It’s not just about us, making part of the Pathfinder History, but a queer version of HIS STORY. It’s about Jesus. It’s all because of God’s amazing grace!
© 2013 LAF
Note: Photos credit to MG Jonathan Perdido, MG Jeruel Ibanez and MG Jepthe Ruado. This blog has a copyright . The photos and article should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.