A Tribute To My Late Great Grandfather

93 years full of faith, struggle and determination
you served as our one and only inspiration.
An inspiring pastor to many
And a loving grandfather to me.

“One of the oldest living pastors in our church this generation.”

He used to hold that title a week ago. Rev. Marcelo A. Dela Pena was not only a mere pastor to me but he’s also my great-grandfather. He was the only great-grandparent I had left because the others had already passed away even before when I was born. Since when I was a little kid, my grandmother used to always bring me to Pagadian to visit him and my other relatives. I remember sitting on his lap as he told stories about so many things. My great-grandfather was a wise man. I was sure I inherited his debating skills (even though I haven’t fully developed that skill yet). Our bloodline was full of great speakers and preachers. Through the power of words, he helped many people realize their dreams. Some members of his district church aspired to become pastors later on just like he did and some remained active in church activities. He was truly an inspiration to every one of us.

My great-grandfather was a faithful man. Despite the difficulties he had faced back when the World War II began, he continued to pursue his goal on becoming a pastor and by preaching the word of God. In his last few years, he sends us bible verses everyday through text messaging and always reminded us to attend church. He never hesitated to commence bible studies and was passionate in sharing what he had learned in the Bible despite how old he already was.

He was what kept us together. Back when I was in 6th grade, he went to our household that’s why our reunion was held there. I asked what was it like during the World War II and what struggles did he face during his youth. The interview I had with him went on for straight 4 hours on cam. I already lost those video recordings but I still kept that memory by heart. To be honest, I’m not really close with my cousins in my grandma’s bloodline so all I do was talk to him and we stop by as much as possible just to check up on him. He was the center of attention in our reunions having 2 past wives and 10 children; 8 daughters and 2 sons which are all my grandparents. Because of him, me and some of my cousins became somewhat closer and I became close with a few of my relatives.

A few days before he died, he knew what was going to happen and already accepted his fate. So he already made an order of worship for his own funeral despite his children’s protests. I was depressed when I heard the news about his passing but I accepted it. After all, he did not die in vain. I know he’s already fulfilled everything in his life and is already in good hands.

In those 93 years, he had led an educated, great and wonderful life. I didn’t get the chance to thank him for being there to tell stories about when the world wasn’t modern yet and for encouraging us to get closer to God. As I witnessed his grave being put up, I can’t help but shed a few tears for feeling both sorrow and happiness. He will remain in our hearts and will always be remembered for bringing legacy. Therefore with full of pride, I am proud to say that I am a pastor’s great-grandchild.

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