last week, i got to spend some time via skype with the new batch of missioners of Cabrini Mission Corps. i got to answer some of their questions, share some of my insights, and share stories from my years of serving as a missioner from ’09-’12. it was great to see each of their smiling faces, and be a part of their orientation. i am super excited for them! you can meet them here!
before my computer ran out of battery and died for lack of an accessible electrical outlet (yup, i was in SF, not even in an international country!), one of the missioners asked, “how do you feel like your idea of mission changed from before you became a missioner and now, afterwards?” something along those lines…
and well, while i answered that question as best as i could at the time, sharing that now my concept of mission is a lot bigger, and it has now turned into vocation and life’s journey, and no longer a “one or two year moment of intentional ‘doing good,’ ” i continue to reflect on where i am now, and where i was.
timewise, being on mission in NY with the sisters in ’09-’10, i feel that i was just getting my feet wet with understanding the concept of “mission.” it was then that i started to explore vocation more deeply, and started looking at mission as a way of life, and living the joy that God gave me – rooted in me. it was just up to me to explore that and allow it to bloom out of myself. through that, discernment came (of course, cause it never ends!), and i continued two more years as a missioner, this time, in the philippines, living my passion on mission with sr. terezinha who gave me a lesson in missiology and life, redemption, hope and God’s goodness everyday, and sure enough, my mission went another direction afterwards in discerning religious life in pennsylvania from ’12-’13.
yes, that’s why i was in pennsylvania, while working at Cabrini College, and again, my concept of mission started to expand its horizon in my mind and heart, and allowed me to see that perhaps the mission that i had been exploring, was not necessarily one fitted for religious life. in a way, i feel like my four years of living in mission with the sisters was somewhat like college. or high school? i started out as a freshman, moved on through the next three years, and graduated. this time, not into another “packaged program,” but into life outside of a convent – one that in a way, i had to navigate myself, given the signs and stirrings of my heart. of course, with an agape-driven co-pilot.
back to the west coast? what would be next there? God only knew.
and so, here i am, living my life, still living my mission. in this new role that i have, working no longer as a missioner with a program, my mission is life, and those past four years were amazing and perfect training ground for where it is that i am now.
in recent events, i have found myself having conversations with students about service, and encouraging them to get involved with the community, and trying to explore their passions, and seeing how they/we can connect those gifts with the needs in the world. and i think that’s just it – one of my gifts via strengthsfinder is ‘connectedness,’ and that’s what i love doing.
and now, that’s my newly found job: i get to connect students with organizations to volunteer with. i get to connect other organizations with other organizations to serve with. (yes, it’s possible!)
there is so much goodness in this world, and so much work to be done, but it won’t work unless we can build bridges and make those connections with one another.
i feel like my concept of mission has translated itself into discovering how i can expand my personal worldview, and take reality as it is, but also envision what could be. without a time limit.
after living in one year or two year increments for the past six years, timely transition into timely transition, it’s time to just live and go, and inspire? INSPIRE.
we all have a story to tell – a mission story if you will, and mine is definitely not over yet, but i am so grateful for the people who have come across my way, the places i have lived and seen, and the ministries i have been a part of.
i am so grateful to those people in my life who have encouraged me to explore and see what happens next.
after meeting with an organization today, they asked me what my role is where i work and what exactly i do…and i found myself saying, “i don’t just send kids on immersion trips, but it’s also important to me that they receive an education of the heart.” education of the heart! very Cabrinian. and i am so glad for that. 🙂
i carry them all with me.
so i suppose, if i were to answer that question again, i guess i would say, that now, i have come to realize that “mission” has been something that i have been living all along. while i took time away from family and friends to serve in a “missioner” capacity via CMC, in many ways, i still feel that i am a missionary – struggling through the challenges of life, basking in the joys that the days bring, and serving, loving and spending time with others.
i just want to do good in the world. and at the same time, inspire others to do the same.
mission: in progress.