Missionary’s Global Calling: Rev. Romeo del Rosario
The Rev. Romeo del Rosario, a United Methodist missionary, was named one of four distinguished alumni by Boston University School of Theology in 2012. He spent his early life in the Philippines and remembers the work of United Methodist missionaries there. Their dedication sparked his own desire to serve the global church.
A native of the Philippines, the Reverend Romeo del Rosario has followed God all over the world&ellipsis; as a United Methodist Missionary serving in Sierra Leone, Jerusalem, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Cambodia.
The Rev. Romeo del Rosario, United Methodist Missionary: "In each assignment there are, of course, surprises and new learnings and this is part of the many perks of being a missionary. But what is never a surprise is that I know God leads me all the way. And that wherever I go God is present already. And that's part of what I understand about God's prevenient grace, is that God is ahead of us, even geographically to meet us at our new assignment."
Knowing God is with him gives del Rosario comfort at times, like during an assignment to Jerusalem during the Gulf War.
The Rev. Romeo del Rosario: "The General Board of Global Ministries gave me the option to return to the U.S. if I wanted to. But at the time I was an assistant also to the Palestinian pastor who was serving at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem. I could not see myself leaving the people. And I cannot imagine myself returning if something happened to the people while I was away. So I felt that I should stay."
With each new appointment, a missionary has to learn the language and the culture of a new country. Over a lifetime, del Rosario has learned nine languages including Krio, Arabic, and Kmer for his current engagement in Cambodia.
The Rev. Romeo del Rosario: "There are so many needs because Cambodia only recently in 1975 to '79 went through a horrific experience of destruction and annihilation under the Khmer Rouge regime. And so all the schools, all the major institutions, hospitals and clinics and banking and currency were destroyed by that regime. (singing) Many of the people that are there now are children of the survivors. We're talking about a population that's really very young. So part of the excitement is the evangelism is taking place through the leadership of the children and the young people. They are the ones bringing the older generation to the church." (singing in church)
A few years of his career were spent in the Philippines, where del Rosario grew up a third generation United Methodist.
The Rev. Romeo del Rosario: "It was good to be able to fulfill the dream of my father who dreamt that one day I would teach in that school. So on the day that I returned to the Philippines and I was entering the campus in my heart I was telling my father, 'I've returned.' As a young child and a young person growing up in the Philippines, I had many occasions to fellowship with missionaries. And I was very aware of their presence. I've always been intrigued by the sheer thought that they would leave their homes in the U.S. and come to the Philippines in order to participate in the mission that was taking place in the Philippines. Among the missionaries who served in the Philippines that impacted my life in really significant ways is Mary Helen Ingerson-Marigza. And she was actually teaching at the Philippine Christian College, now Philippine Christian University. She volunteered to be the advisor for the Philippine Annual Conference young people. By the way, her parents helped support me through seminary and graduate school. That family did not have a brother. They were all sisters. When I reached Caney, Kansas where the Ingersons live, I was essentially adopted, to my liking. (Laughs)"
In 2012, former United Methodist missionary, Mary Helen Marigza was among those who came to see del Rosario honored as a distinguished alumnus of Boston University School of Theology.
The Rev. Romeo del Rosario: "I'm proud to be a United Methodist because of what life has been for me as a United Methodist. I feel like that it has given me enough opportunities to be of service. It's given me the joy of service, the joy of fellowship. We all have our calling and this has been mine. And I'm grateful to God for it."
For more information on del Rosario and other missionaries with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, visit http://www.umcmission.org or call 1-800-UMC-GBGM or 1-800-862-4246.
Posted: November 20, 2012