it has become so apparent to me, even moreso in the past couple of weeks, that truly, as a missioner, i will not be here forever. wait, what? hold the phone. yeah – crazy. i am almost or at my year and a half mark of being a missioner in the philippines, and i can’t believe how fast time has gone. i walked out of the house yesterday, walked along the road, tried my best to stick to the “sidewalk” so that i don’t get hit by a passing truck, and realized, dang. crystal, you LIVE in the philippines. what a BLESSING that is!
one of my biggest dreams in my life has come true, and i am LIVING it. what a gift! of course, i never really thought this would happen, but alas it has, and i really had no plan for what comes next. but i suppose, that is why i am “me,” and “God” is GOD. he has the brilliance all planned and stuff.
in this last year of mission, sr. terezinha and i have been diligently working on sustainability. trying to understand it more ourselves and to discern with one another about what sustainability looks like for the pastoral ministry that we have tried to build up at SOSCFI. it’s pretty crazy looking back, because a year and a half ago, none of these pastoral ministry initiatives existed. since we started, we were able to organize outreach projects, engage our community in sacraments, and we have been trying our best to deepen the faith of our communities through bible sharings and reflections…not really having any idea where to begin, so we started there.
well now, after a year and a half of heading that stuff up, it is now time for our parents to use their leadership capabilities and to step up in the game. sr. t and i have been praying and brainstorming ways to really get this up off the ground and running, in the hands of our communities. as a missioner, it has never been more apparent to me, until now, how really, one of my roles is NOT to do everything, but to accompany and assist our community members in honing their personal skills and talents so that they may head up these initiatives and programs. themselves.
with the temporal life of a missioner, this is so important.
given this reality, i have been reflecting on my limitations and boundaries as a missioner. not so much personal boundaries, but moreso, ministry related boundaries. i know what work i am capable of doing, but where is the line between doing everything because i can, but also, not doing everything, so that others may have the opportunity to do it themselves, for others? i remember when my mom came to visit me, she was really surprised at all of the responsibilities i had, and she said, “crys, who would have done that if you didn’t lead that?” i remember saying, “i have no idea…” i am more than happy to help – i mean, this is why i am here! BUT, i am also reminded that i am not meant to do everything.
that’s a given – but lately i have been finding, that even though there is lots to do and it is EASIER for me to just do it on my own, the point is, is that i need to NOT do everything, and i need to trust others with the responsibility to carry out some of those tasks. in fact, i may be doing others a disservice when i take matters into my own hands and do things myself. i am learning that in being a leader, it’s also important to lead others so that they may take ownership of some of the initiatives and to encourage them to use their skills – not squash them and not depend on others to lead them. sure, guidance is great, but letting them DO is so important. it’s time.
being here in the philippines, i have also learned how to delegate tasks more smoothly, and i have been trying my best to share my responsibilities with others. no, not just to give away some of the duties i don’t want to do, but also because i am finding that my brothers and sisters here are all “2’s” on the enneagram. haha, they are all helpers! it’s so great! haha 🙂 and so, things are always just a little bit easier when you have kids and parents eager and willing to help me with any small task, even if it’s like making copies for me or finding an extension cord for me. hahaha. typical. but for real, it’s good.
i feel like God has blessed sr. terezinha and i with the building up of this pastoral ministry at SOSCFI, and now it is time for us to train and prepare leaders for the upcoming months as we begin to fade out. not in a dramatic way, but in a very real way. we sow, they reap, and it is all good. i think it’s what we came for. among the many reasons.