A Personal Testimony by Bro Dondi Roa, BCBP Cagayan de Oro
In 1987 I decided to put up my own business making customized business software in the basement of our home. Later on, together with my wife Marie Jo, the business expanded to provide Information Technology hardware, supplies and services in Northern Mindanao.
Life as a Christian Businessman is not easy and is filled daily with challenges and obstacles. But owing to the experiences of the ways of the Lord in the 15 years of trying to live out the Brotherhood way of life I am encouraged, convinced and always hopeful that the Way of the Lord is the only way. For me, it is also the Way to a peaceful, contented and joyful life, whatever the circumstances may be.
However, as I stayed longer in the Brotherhood I came to realize that being in BCBP means living in a certain way, guided by the commitments we made at the end of our BCLP, and the Vision and Mission of the BCBP.
Although ours is a small enterprise, we are aware that the way we deliver our products and services affects the operations of customers and other stakeholders. Encouraged and reminded by the community, we strive to put into practice the BCBP teachings and culture in our workplace. Everyday, we start and end our office staff meeting with a prayer and reading of the day’s Gospel, and sometimes an explanation or exhortation from the reading. it is a company commitment to provide a decent living wage to our employees that complies with or exceeds, Labor laws and regulations. We also strive to implement appropriate health, environmental and safety standards within our office, and refuse jobs that will put our people at risk even if it means loss of income. This of course has resulted in lower profits, as there are also our taxes to pay.
In the course of our business, it is inevitable that we come across confidential data such as files, photos, videos and the like. To protect both our employees and our customers, we instill in our employees the need to be discrete and to treat all data with care, and there is also an office policy not to open or make unauthorized copies of files or data during servicing and when doing software audits for our customers . All of us in our company also sign confidentiality contracts in order to reinforce this.
Our employees know that our primary duty is to honestly and competently serve all customers, regardless of what they purchase from us. We are aware that the services and goods we provide in a timely manner are critical to the operations of our customers, so our employees know what is expected of them. In response, our employees have been faithful to their duties, even when we are not there to watch over their shoulder because we are at a BCBP meeting or event. That is a grace for which I cannot thank God enough.
We refuse to enter into deals – whether with government or private offices – that require us to give a bribe in order to get the contract. And I would like to say, that contrary to common thought, there are a lot of local government offices we deal with who do business with professionalism and integrity.
Instead of giving in to customer demands to install pirated software for free, we educate our customers on the hazards of unlicensed software and encourage them to either buy licensed software, or use legitimate, free, open-source software instead. Sometimes we lose a sale because of this, but God always makes a way for us to continue doing business the right way.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 we read: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”. On a daily basis these words come alive when making crucial decisions in the office or when providing guidance and counseling to our children, or when I have to decide on matters for the Chapter. We lift up our anxieties to God and ask Him to show us the best way to go.
This is especially true with respect to our finances. Putting good order in our finances is possible only through God’s grace, as we are not assured that all our clients will pay on time, while we also have commitments to suppliers and vendors. But in all the years we have done business, the Lord has never failed us, and He never will. When we went through a particularly difficult time in our business, so afraid we would lose everything, the Lord showed us the way to pay our business debts and to remain in business. With thanks and praises to God, we will celebrate our 22nd year in business this August.
As BCBP members we are also asked to put good order in our time and our family life. When I was asked to become Chapter Head, Marie Jo was apprehensive on how we could attend to the family, the business, and the BCBP, and do a good job in all.
Our 3 sons have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. It requires a lot of our time and energy and patience reminding and helping them cope with their school work, their chores and other responsibilities. This becomes particularly stressful when we are also faced with problems in the business and the chapter.
But God is indeed very good, and He has made a way for us to meet the demands of our family, community and business by putting order in our Time especially in areas over which we have little or no control. In the past months, we have seen a marked improvement in our son Matthew’s behavior so that his medication has been reduced. Their teachers and tutors have been very helpful and accommodating in school. Joachym, the youngest has also progressed tremendously, emotionally and physiologically. Our eldest, David, who is in college and who went on leave from school to obtain treatment for his type of ADHD, has gone back to school. He takes care of his younger brothers when we are away for BCBP. My mother-in-law is also always home to be with the kids. When we have BCBP activities, their schedules somehow fit around our activities, or, a holiday is declared so we can make-up for our time away from them. We also find we still have time for family prayer and Scripture before the children sleep at night, and for family mass, family outings, and even, to use my son’s term, just chillin’ out. For us, especially now with my major service, being BCBP, is a family undertaking.
The Lord has also blessed me with an action group/governance team and chapter members who are prayerful, cooperative, and forgiving. They help ensure that the work gets done. And we have fun too!
It has not been easy to walk the “straight and narrow path”. There is still the constant struggle to stick to my BCBP commitments, and the process of personal conversion will take the rest of my life . If I look at my weaknesses and failures, I get discouraged and overwhelmed. But I am certain that in spite of all these, Christ is with me and the prayers and support of the brothers and sisters are a source of unending consolation. I am able to keep on with the struggle, remembering the words of Christ to the apostle Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness…” (2 Cor 12:9).
For those of you who are undergoing the Formation Program, or are first timers and breakfasters, I say persevere, and come into each meeting with joy and great expectation. Discover what God has in store for you as a Christian businessman and/or as a professional. In the end, I hope you will find that the BCBP is also the place where God wants you to be. Someday, I hope to hear your life sharing too.
God’s Peace and Love be with each one of us. Maayong buntag sa tanan.