By Dr. Arceli H. Rosario
God’ impression; My inspiration
I was sitting in my office one afternoon, mulling over the idea how the college could raise funds. I listed possible ways. I also benchmarked how other colleges and universities did their fundraising. One of the ideas that hit me was writing a book and giving the proceeds to the college. My excitement, however, was like a wild fire doused with a thunderstorm. “What book will I write?” “Who will publish it?” “Will people buy it?” These were few of the questions I asked. I did not mention my desire to any one. Mentioning to people that you will write a book and donate the proceeds is like saying you will go to the moon and dig gold there. That’s how I felt–the idea seemed too wild to be shared. Few days later, Mr. Joe Sarsoza, the editor of the Philippine Publishing House (PPH), visited SPAC. He said, “Will you please write the adult devotional book for 2014?” I wanted to cry. It’s one of those days when you see God’s hand orchestrating events and working in the hearts of people without you doing anything except to dream big, wild dreams that only God will not laugh at. I said yes, not knowing how I could do it.
It turned out, however, that one of my colleagues had already started writing some materials for a senior devotional book. It was the better option to have him do the project instead. Few months later, I received a call from PPH asking me if I could write a junior devotional book. I realized that it was a more doable project as I had spent many years teaching high school. Besides, many of my former students could help me write. This time, I again said yes. I signed the contract in September 2012. By this time, my family and I had moved to the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies. Being new to my job, I did not have much time to spare to write. I started writing in February 2013, but my work was very slow. I was writing one article a week. By May, I was frantic. My deadline was last week of July. So I sat down and figured out how to complete the 365 articles. I got some help from my daughter (who was writing between hospital duty and dozing off), my brother, and my former students. But the bulk (about 320) had to flow between my fingers and the keyboard. I determined to write 30 articles per week (4 each evening and 10 on Sundays). I also decided not to hire an editor as it would mean expense. So I was writing and editing at the same time. It’s not always a good idea because writing is like giving birth to ideas. The lines that you write are born through so much effort; hence, you do not want to delete or change them. The better option is to get another person who do not have the same attachment to your work, one who can look at your work critically and mercilessly cut what needs to be cut and do other necessary changes. But that was not an option for me. In the end, I found out that the ability to self-critique was a gift that I got from the process.
You may ask me if donating the money was a difficult thing to do. I would say it was not. It was not because the invitation to write was a miracle only God could bring about. It was not because the book was not mine; writing it was humanly impossible given my ability and situation. It was not because my family and I knew from the start that the money was not ours.
The book is titled “Encounters.” It’s one of the best things I have ever done in my life. It’s also one of the phases of my life when God allowed me to meet Him and see Him as a reality. Can I do it again? I would say no unless God would bless me the way He did during the writing of this book. Will my family donate to SPAC again? Yes. We would gladly do it again and again as God enables us.
Arceli H. Rosario, Ph.D, is the Chair of the Education Department of AIIAS. She was president of South Philippine Adventist College in 2011-2012.
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