in the new year, taking a little evaluation of myself, i have realized what works/what doesn’t work. nothing is really consistent about my experience here as a missioner, except that dinner is at 6:30pm, haha, well except for saturdays. so i guess, in a way, even that is not consistent! and so, i am learning to balance the following tenets: spirituality, community, ministry, my personal life, and misc. (this is the other category – so, everything else. HAHA)
i think when i first told people i would be a missioner in the philippines, some of the first reactions were, “great! you will get to travel, and you will get to do so many wonderful things!” now i can say, yes, that is true. but really, being a missioner is a lot of hard work. it’s not work, in the sense of a 9-5 work, but it is a lot of energy, a lot of emotion, and yes, a lot of activity. and yes, a lot of prayer too.
new york was different. a lot different – my mission here in the philippines is a whole ‘nother world, with so many more elements thrown into it! i’m dealing with basically no infrastructure in place, a whole other culture, a whole different look to my spirituality, a whole other community, a new ministry, and then there’s me – i have to make sure that all is well with things in my personal life too! so, where does prayer come in? EVERYWHERE. i need it – so, thank you for the prayers – they really get me through each day here!
sometimes there just is not enough energy – sometimes i can’t even get myself to email others’ back or send emails, or skype, or i end up putting off things, because there is just not enough energy left. no, this is not in a dramatic way, but it is a very real reality that i have come to face. though it may not sound like a lot of energy is needed to wait for a jeepney, get onto a jeepney, travel, and then get to your destination point, it is. why? people everywhere, dodging people left and right, breathing in the polluted air, keeping an eye on your stuff, and being 100% alert at all times…there’s a lot of energy in even just sitting on a jeepney. and THIS is why it is important that i know my limits – when am i overextending myself and when do i need to take a step back? luckily, i have been pretty good at saying “no” for things that i am not able to commit to. good thing! 🙂 i just need to remind myself, i can’t do everything!
it is emotional in that, i work with very poor people. i do. sr. terezinha and i have been going in and out of the barangays, leading bible studies, leading religious classes, training catechists, and working with children, and you know, i know, that we can not function at our 100%, if our tummies are grumbling and our faces are screaming hunger. it would be easy for my mission to not be emotional, if i didn’t notice all the holes in the kids’ clothing, or lack of clothes, or if i didn’t hear the stories the families would tell me, or if i didn’t hear that many of our children go the whole day without eating. or if i didn’t see where our families sleep.
at the end of my every day, i try to think about the people i came into contact with, the conversations i had, the things i felt, and how i feel about it all – i can not let it overwhelm me, because that would paralyze me from even attempting to move, or to provide hope, or to be with. no, i am not a savior, sr. terezinha and i do not work with our families with that mindset, but rather, to share love – in whatever way we can – through sharing god’s love via the Gospel, and in showing our families that yes, it is ok to shake hands or give a smile during the “peace be with you” part of the mass. we have been missioned here, and here we will 100% dedicate ourselves. as she said, we have 150 baby jesus’ that we must attend to. we support about 150 families at SOSCFI, and so, we must treat each one, like a baby jesus. 🙂
we have some really special conversations together, and one of them was about how we were both called to come here to the philippines – such perfect timing, and what a blessing it is that we work very well together. we are able to balance ourselves with one another, and we serve as support to each other when things get tough. this is sr. terezinha (she’s from brazil!):
|haha, could we be any more of a contrast?|
it’s pretty radical the changes that i am seeing around here – we have started to do some re-organizing with the way things are run, and also here, taking an evaluation of what programs work/what don’t work, where do we need to see some modifications/revisions? it’s great! things are lookin’ up. sometimes tiredness will set in, but in no way am i sick of what i am doing – i can’t believe i have already been here 5 months! i don’t want to get ahead of myself, but i feel like time will go by fast…and i’m not thinking of the end of the 2 years, because i can’t. there is so much already going on right now – there’s no time, and no need! i believe that God has it all under control!
lastly, let me leave you with this (something that sr. t and i have committed to):
whoever abandons themselves totally in God, in all circumstances, keeping peace and a calm of heart, is a martyr of providence. (this was translated from italian –> portuguese –> english). 🙂
peace be with you!