The faces and stories of people who live and work at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS).
In Vince’s words
We all matter to God. We are God’s beloved.
God speaks, not only to the Son, ‘You are my Beloved,’ but also to you and me
(Luke 3:21-22). God loves us for who we are and not for what we have done.
This year’s Beloved
theme is close to my heart. It’s not only who I am, it’s central to the gospel I preach and what I do.
As a campus pastor, I minister to residents and their families. And I can say with confidence: their lives have dignity. They are loved.
Almost always, how you look at people defines how you relate to them. We see each resident as beloved
— someone loved by God and made in his image. So we love them as we love ourselves. (It’s not always about how we feel.)
And we help them connect to their beloved
identity just by treating them as beloved.
Moreover, as agents of love, we connect them to their beloved
As a priest in The Philippines, Vince felt fulfilled living out a calling he had long sensed from childhood. Then in 2007, a family-sized opportunity came knocking from the other side of the world. Yet crossing an ocean was nothing compared to the next leap of faith Vince would take.
Today Vince reflects on his 15-year journey with Presbyterian Homes & Services. While choosing from a variety of career types and locations, he rediscovered and deepened his pastoral calling within beloved community.
Growing up, I never wanted to become anything other than an ordained minister. I grew up in the northern mountains of The Philippines, where I was raised in the Episcopal Church. All throughout my education — from grade school to college to seminary — I prepared to become a priest.
After ordination in 1996, I served several parishes in The Philippines. Then in 2007, my wife Isabelle received news of her acceptance into the PHS International Nurse Recruitment program (INR
). So, with our three kids, we moved to the U.S.
Of course, it was never my dream to come to the U.S. I now smile, remembering how my bishop reacted when I broke the news: “Why?” he cried. “You’re not trained to go there. We trained you to serve here!”
It was a scary move. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought, Well, maybe that’s it for my ministry as an ordained priest.
Leap of faith
When Isabelle became a nurse at Highland Ridge, a PHS community in Williamsburg, Iowa, I joined the maintenance crew there.
While maintenance was a very different job, I found it also very fulfilling. The way I came to see it, it’s the same service, only done differently. It’s a different way of being with people you are ministering to as compared to being a pastor.
During that time, I got to do work that was very, very important to residents. Although not necessarily “spiritual,” fixing their TV is something that lifts them up!
Later, when Isabelle was transferred to nearby Mill Pond in Ankeny, I resigned my full-time position at Highland Ridge for a full-time maintenance technician at Mill Pond. Meanwhile, I was also a supply priest to Episcopal churches in the state. A few years later, I accepted a full-time pastoral call at a nearby church.
Yet, I guess you could say I’ve been around Presbyterian Homes communities, because I then picked up a part-time maintenance opening at Walnut Ridge
Rediscovering, deepening a life calling
That experience — serving residents in their apartments — helped me become more confident in expressing myself to them.
I believe my time in maintenance was God’s way of preparing me for what was to come, his calling me to become who I am today.
One day, I got a phone call from Mark Hudson, the regional director, informing me that Mill Pond needed a full-time chaplain and was I interested?
“Of course, I’m interested!” I said.
“Well,” he asked, “don’t you have to talk to your wife first and get back to me?”
“No,” I said, “I don’t need to talk with my wife first,” and we shared a good laugh.
So, I’ve been a campus pastor at Mill Pond since — almost five years now.
Looking back on how those years went by, it’s still part of being loved by God and being guided by him. We gave up a lot of things and an old life, so to speak. But by the grace of God, it’s been worthwhile.
I’m so thankful to Presbyterian Homes & Services, for bringing the family here and helping us start this journey. It was a scary move, but I think it is here that I found my calling.
I’m grateful for Mill Pond: I feel the love from my coworkers as we work as a team. The residents are our inspiration. Above all, I thank God for the opportunity to honor him by serving those entrusted to my care.
Interested in a PHS career? Vince's advice
If I were to give advice to someone interested in joining Presbyterian Homes & Services, I would say that whatever position you may have, it will always be related to the Christian ministry.
Living out our value of Christian ministry
is also something felt and loved by the residents, whether you are serving in the kitchen or in the housekeeping department, for example.
They can feel it. They know if you are just doing your job or if you are doing it with love. They can feel that, and they will let you know about it as well.
Like Pastor Vince, you could also help enrich the lives of older adults, working at a PHS community near you. We always have a wide range of positions open in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, for a variety of careers. Whether you’re starting out, at mid-career level or looking for a post-retirement career, we encourage you to apply to join our team at preshomes.org/careers and follow our blog.