By: Ely Lagajino
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth…Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NKJV)
In 1973, I was 15 when I joined the literature ministry, just in time for the beginners’ institute. The week-long seminar-workshop would be held at PPH somewhere in Metro Manila.
The eight of us delegates from the Bicol region excitedly boarded the train to Manila, but at 5:00 A.M., the engine stopped. At 9: 00 AM, still, nothing happened. According to rumors, the replacement engine would arrive at one o’clock in the afternoon. Since we grew hungry, I volunteered to buy food. I hiked several kilometers before finding a store.
But on my way back, the train was gone. Perhaps the operator had fixed it. “Run, you can still catch the train,” a boy suggested. I was confident that I wouldn’t get lost by following the tracks, so I started my railroad marathon. But at the crossing two men, that looked like bullies were waving at me. I slowed down from the crossing, then I began to run away from them as I heard them calling me until they disappeared. To my surprise, I was headed toward another intersection where two more guys waited. I stopped and thought, “Lord, I don’t want to die young in the hands of these crooks, please help me, I haven’t even started my ministry.”
But before making another move, I felt relieved to see our leader Pastor F. Somoso waving at me while back riding on the highway patrol motorcycle. We rode the motorbike to the next two stations, where we caught up with the train.
Our leader explained that he asked police officers for help. They dropped off some men at the railroad crossing to meet me while our leader with the police patrol tried to look for me on the highway.
It was a hilarious reunion with my co-delegates as we chewed on the deformed bread I carried during the railroad marathon.
Praise God for the safe travel to PPH. The blessings of the beginners’ institute inspired me to serve the literature ministry for eight years.