Before I joined JRS, I had worked for Catholic Student Center at Xavier Hall for 5 years as a secretary while Fr Miguel Garaizabal was a Catholic Student Chaplaincy under Jesuit Congregation. Then, I started working for JRS in 1990 as an Administrative Officer. Throughout my three-decade journey, JRS has become my family. We have been through all the challenges and opportunities together.
In 2008, Fr Bernard was looking for a Regional Human Resource Officer. After more than a year, he could not find anyone who was the right fit for the position. He then asked me if I was interested. I knew it was a big challenge. I refused the position in the beginning as I underestimated my capacity. However, Fr Bernard insisted that JRS International Office would support me in every way, including all the training. I felt more confident and finally accepted the position. Whenever I think of the past, I am always thankful to him for offering the opportunity, as I’m still working as a Regional Human Resources Officer for JRS Asia Pacific. I always commit myself to accompany, serve, and advocate in all JRS missions.
It reminds me of all the changes in the past. JRS has never stopped developing over the years. Every progress JRS made, I witnessed and always supported. JRS Asia Pacific and Burma Project started from a small office in Soi Luecha (Phaholyothin Soi 1), Bangkok. In 1992, we moved to Soi Aree 4 when JRS Asia Pacific grew bigger. Our office expanded and Blue House was opened in Soi Aree Samphan 8 to accommodate more staff. Then, Blue House was later changed to JRS Thailand and Urban Refugee Project (URP). JRS Asia Pacific was moved again in 2003 to the current location at Xavier Hall, and JRS Thailand and URP later followed in 2009. We became a big happy family since then.
Another year has passed, another year has come. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my supervisors that I worked with. I have learned a lot from them. They supported and taught me not only work but also life lessons.
Fr Tom Steinbugler, SJ, JRS Asia Pacific Director, 1990-1993.
Mr. Quentin Dignam, JRS Asia Pacific Director, 1992-1997.
Fr Steve Curtin, SJ, JRS Asia Pacific Director, 1997-2000.
Fr Andre Sugijopranoto, SJ, JRS Asia Pacific Director, 2000-2005.
Fr Bernard Hyacinth Arputhasamy, SJ, JRS Asia Pacific Director, 2005 – 2012.
Fr Bambang A. Sipayung,SJ, JRS Asia Pacific Director, 2013 – 2018.
Mr Louie M. Bacomo, JRS Asia Pacific Director, 2018 – present.
Lastly, I would like to extend my warmest thank you to Fr Pierre Ceyrac SJ, Sr Denise Coghlan RSM, Fr Mark Raper SJ, and Ms. Vilaiwan Phokthavi, for teaching me how to love, how to share, and how to care for others. There is no book or classroom for these skills, but I learned from the way they worked with others. I know that I’m lucky to have this opportunity working among good people and family that always support me. That’s the reason why 14 November is not only the day to celebrate the birth of JRS, it is also a very special day to me as it is my wedding anniversary. I think it is a miracle to be here at JRS.