Building BEC is Being Like a Farmer Preparing Soil to Plant the Seed


I spent four years building communities here in Camalig. It seems like only yesterday. And my second term in St John the Baptist Parish is about to end. Doing BEC organizing is also going through the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ. I went through suffering, death and resurrection. My first year is the hardest time. It was only announced in the PPC meeting that I will be in the barangay to start BEC organizing. We only did a courtesy call with the barangay captain and, from there I have to start on my own.  I am nobody, I know nobody and I try to make friends when I visited the first community. One can just imagine how hard it is to visit houses, make friends when you do not know anyone. I feel like a fool introducing myself, making friends with them. People would look at me strangely and I have to make lengthy introductions about the church program of Building Basic Ecclesial Communities. I need to empty myself a lot, a lot of emptying; so that there is space for new experience and learnings with the people I meet every day.

When I go to the communities, I have to bring with me bundle of patience, love and understanding for the people I will be meeting on that day. I have to listen to them to be with them. When you give love and understanding to the people, they  give back to you overflowing love without measure. Such experience encourages me to give more of myself, bringing Jesus’s love to them. The secret of community organizing is to build friendship, to make friends with the people. One can do that if he is willing to listen to their stories of how they encountered Jesus especially in the most difficult moments of their lives,  when they have no one to hold on to but God alone. They believe miracles happen every day. For me listening to their different stories is like listening to music, some are mellow music, some are rock music but each song has beautiful lyrics. As I look back to my first years here, I liken myself to a farmer, who prepared the soil cultivating it patiently and with dedication to plant the seed for a good harvest.

 Four years has passed and my second term is about to end.  I look at this as a blossom dance. I feel I am now in the resurrection phase of the journey. There is a  time to sow, a time to water the plants and a time to reap for harvest. I feel happy to see leaders coming from organized basic ecclesial communities who are very active in participating in church activities in the center of the parish. The youth from the organized barangays are very active too. I am grateful for the opportunity to till the land in order to sow the seed, the Word of God, and make their faith alive by their active participation in the life of the church as a communion of communities. May the leaders continue to cultivate the land by sharing to other communities what they are doing, water the seed by encouraging others to participate more actively in the church so there will be more harvest in the future. There are some people who did not accept me or have rejected me and put me down in this journey, but it is part of following Jesus. It’s a challenge I have to face wherever I go planting the seed of God’s love. If we know ourselves and our purpose no one can put us down because we know He is with us. To those people who have become a challenge for me thank you and God bless you. You have drawn my strength from within. I also thank the people who walk with me in times of my struggle, Fr. Joel and ate Ruth and others , thank you, you are a blessing to me. I am also grateful for the leaders who are now active in the community, God bless you for responding to the call to serve. With deep gratitude to my parish priest for his  dedication to build BECs in the parish so that St. John the Baptist is now journeying to become  participatory church, a church fully alive.- Mel Andaol 3/18/19



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