From Issue #4 (June 10-16 2015) of the Baguio Episcopal Area, Philippines Central Conference of The United Methodist Church Newsletter.
Heartbreak. Life-changer. Tragedy.
A whole lot of words can be associated with Extrajudicial Killings (EJK), but those will never describe the pain it caused—especially to the children of the victims.
In a fellowship that was held last June 7 with the children of EJK victims in the Cordillera region and Bishop Pete Torio and his staff, stories of their losses were heard. But behind the tears and stutters, you could see and hear their hopes for a better future, in which the Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera (RECCORD) helps in achieving.
RECCORD is an ecumenical organization that seeks to promote the respect for human rights. As stated by Bishop Pete, most of EJK vic-tims are involved in social ministries of member churches and non-government organiza-tions. Especially, it’s about human rights and indigenous communities.
RECCORD gives out support for their relatives, particularly children. According to Pastor Bill Mariano, scholarships and psychosocial intevention are part of the organization’s program as they also ask churches for the achievement of justice.
Anna (not her real name) recently graduated from a four-year course through the help of RECCORD in which the United Methodist Church is part of. Her father was killed when she was 10 and since then, RECCORD assisted her in her educational needs.
“I’m very grateful be-cause you gave us a chance to grow and surpass what happened to us.” Anna was the first out of the seven children who stood up and bravely told her story. Now, she is in search for a job and ready for the world.
These children whose ages range from 11 years old to 20, have suffered unimaginable loss. But as they stood to be heard, you could see the courage to live the life their parents have dreamed of them.
“Cherish their [parents] memories and be very proud of them. We’ll continue to keep those stories in our hearts.” Bishop Pete told the RECCORD scholars.
Bishop Pete, along with his RECCORD co-workers Mrs. Maureen Loste, Pastor Bill Mariano and Pastor Mar-icar Delfaro, encouraged the children and young people to strengthen their commitment to uphold the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Go back to lead and serve your churches through faithful discipleship, consistent stewardship, faithful evangelism and ministries to the poor and indigenous communities,” Bishop Pete advised the victims.
Through the BEA United Methodist Church for Communications, Relief, Rehabilitation, the bishop reaffirmed his support to the program and vowed to raise more funds to empower RECCORD for this ministry. He was chairperson of RECCORD when the older kids lost their parents.
Together, with every-one’s prayer and help, these children will achieve all they wanted to have:
Love. Justice. Betterment.