mission is relationships. [and presence]

mission is relationships. [and presence]


the question was, “how do you feel like you are helping people there?”

this morning, i had the great opportunity to skype with an intern with cabrini mission corps, to put together some voice-over narrations on my day-to-day life as a missioner here in baguio city. one of the questions she asked me, “how do you feel like you are helping people there?” (or something along those lines)…was with me all day – in the morning on the jeepney ride to the office, in the afternoon, reflecting with sr. terezinha, and in the evening, as i reflected on the gospel with my community during prayer time.

being asked that question, for once, i felt like i was in a tongue twister. i didn’t have a clear answer. this question seems like a pretty clear, easy question to answer, and i could have gone off on all the things that i do here…i teach, i am helping to organize our foundation here, i am leading bible studies and serving at various liturgies…but, when answering the question (though i don’t even remember if i completely answered the question or just threw out some verbal vomit), i couldn’t help but talk about my call to serve, and how God called me here, so i have to trust that no matter what i am doing, i am helping…but i don’t want to use the word helping…rather, it is an answer to a call. service. but coupled with my desire to do as i do.

at prayer tonight, i shared how i think i really lucked out, in that i am able to do what i love doing – sure there is sacrifice, but all i have to do, is just bring me, and be me, here on mission, and that is all that is asked of me. if i am helping, great, but that is not the mindset that i have at all! i think sr. bernadette really put it into perspective when she affirmed me and told me that mission is all about presence – sure, i do a lot of things, but presence itself speaks volumes. and it is true.

“we are human beings, not human doings” – one of my favorite quotes!

the other day, sr. terezinha and i had a recollection with one another where we reflected on our mission experience so far…and one of the things we talked about, was how important it was for the communities and people we serve, to just know that we genuinely and thoroughly enjoy being with them. they are not a ministry to serve to…but rather, we care for them, and we have a shared desire to be with them whenever we visit.

on another note, today, sr. terezinha told me how i have a missionary vocation. the question is…what does that look like for me? she said it to me, so matter-of-fact…as in, the sun is shining bright today. it was just, truth. i take that very seriously, because well, 1) i 100% look up to sr. terezinha and 2) i trust her judgment (she’s so wise!) and 3) she has worked with many missioners before with cabrini mission corps, so she has had quite the experience with young adults! as i hopped off the jeepney and walked on home, i was thinking about that comment she said to me, and i thought to myself – wow, it’s just so funny because i am such a huge fan of helping people realize their call and a supporter of people taking risks and uncovering their call even more, and well, while i am in the midst of discovering what my vocation is, sr. terezinha seems to have shed some light on that calling. of mine. really good stuff!

not to say i am going to be a sister or i will be single or i will be married (but one of those will eventually happen!), but i believe that God’s providence and grace definitely works through people, sometimes to get through to us [me, in this case]. when i got home, i was reflecting on this with one of the girls i live with. i talked about my experiences last year in new york, and how my journey here to baguio has just fit so perfectly together – it’s been such a very beautifully knit story, and it’s still going, and it is not yet over – thank goodness! 🙂

but something that i reflected on these past 6 months in baguio, is that God has really provided me with everything that i need here…more specifically, God has placed such key, wonderful people in my life here. God knows what resources i will need – who i will need to talk to when x happens, or who i will need to grab coffee with when y happens…God provides – and that is SO clear to me. so the question i ask myself is, if i have seen God work in this way, in sending people my way, wherever i go – what is the difficulty in trusting that God will not continue to do so in the future? especially to places where i am called to go next?

when i first got here to baguio, i didn’t think i would have any friends, and when people asked me that much-dreaded question, crystal, do you have friends? my answer always started with…”welllllll”….but now, i have formed such a wonderful, life-giving community around me! God moves, and God is working, and i must continue to trust that God will send the right people my way, and it is up to me, to nurture the relationships i have in my life, trusting in God’s grace and good, perfect timing.

that, is my thought of the day. 🙂


One thought on “mission is relationships. [and presence]

  1. Crystal – I just wanted to thank you for sharing your “thoughts for the day.” This one is a message I really needed to hear right now, ya know? Especially that quote you love: “we are human beings, not human doings.” And now I’m thinking that maybe you’re one of those people that God puts in my life at just the right time to help me grow. In fact, I know it.
    Thank you 🙂

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