Look! I’ve added a new widget to my sidebar! As of today, 35 days remain until I board the plane for Honduras. This is actually happening.
As such, it’s time to start preparing in a more meaningful way than simply daydreaming about Honduras. This next month is going to be packed with doctors appointments, paperwork, shopping for supplies, fundraising, Spanish cramming, and trying to fit in as much time with family and friends as possible.
In the midst of all of the chaos, the Missioners provide long term missioners with daily reflections to help prepare us for these upcoming months. These packets are based upon passages from Scripture and Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris Missio. I thought because I’ve been so many times before these packets would do little for me. Wrong.
Now, while all of this is going on, I also just finished reading Kisses from Katie. If you haven’t heard of Katie Davis, here’s the quick version of the story: After a brief mission trip to Uganda, eighteen-year-old Katie realized that God was calling her to serve His people there. She’s now been in Uganda since August of ’07, has adopted thirteen beautiful girls, started a 501(c), and helps to feed literally hundreds of children weekly. Dang.
Between the encyclical and bestseller, this week has left me with two things.
First, I’m convinced more than ever about the role the laity have in bringing about the kingdom of God. It’s not an option. It’s an imperative. No matter the stage or station in life, all of us must be working to spread the Gospel and help the less fortunate. I’d love to quote the whole encyclical, but instead I’ll just throw out this one paragraph:
Why mission? Because to us, as to St. Paul, “this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8). Newness of life in him is the “Good News” for men and women of every age: all are called to it and destined for it. Indeed, all people are searching for it, albeit at times in a confused way, and have a right to know the value of this gift and to approach it freely. The Church, and every individual Christian within her, may not keep hidden or monopolize this newness and richness which has been received from God’s bounty in order to be communicated to all mankind.
Second, I’m terrified. Katie’s book was beautiful, but an incredibly hard read. It forces readers to make an honest evaluation of themselves and their lifestyles. I saw just how attached I am to my things, how scared I am to trust God, how much further I have to grow in my relationship with Him. I’m so excited to go to Honduras and grow in detachment, trust, and prayer, but that process is not going to be easy. Moreover, it seems like every time you say “yes” to one thing, He asks for something that much greater the next time. I’ve said “yes” to this, can’t that be enough? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life living in the Sudan!
Yet it’s these yeses that give me comfort too. It’s taken me six years to arrive at where I am today. The thought of the two year term used to fill me with anxiety and seemed completely undesirable and impossible. Now, it’s almost here and, as noted, I’m eagerly counting down the days! Slowly but surely, God will lead us where we need to be and after all, He gives grace for the situation, not the imagination.
So for now, I’m not going to worry about where I’ll be another in six years (at age 30!) or worry if I’m not doing enough because others are doing something different somewhere else. My goal is to focus on making sure I’m saying “yes” to my current duty of the moment and loving the person God has placed in front of me in that moment. Tomorrow this will mean the people at the DMV. Talk about a lesson in patience and love.