Posts Tagged With: zeal

I will refresh you with living waters

Wednesday – June 15, 2011 – 6:15am – Marian Home Chapel – Castries, St. Lucia

One of the challenges I’ve discovered in my first few months as a Catholic lay foreign missionary, is that even though you may have grown enough to the point where God can use you as his instrument, you still are not perfect. I also commented last night as our group of SSME missionaries did Night Prayer, that the Devil does not like what we are doing and will come against us however he can. (Our scripture for Night Prayer was the one that talks about being on guard because the Devil prowls like a roaring lion, seeking to devour its prey.).

Since we’ve been here, I’ve been reminded that I still struggle with a lack of patience, joy, zeal, and humility. And since a big struggle in the past has been chastity (or lack thereof), the Devil has been throwing those kinds of temptations my way. It almost seems like the more and more I strive to be chaste and holy, the more temptations are thrown my way, and the more lies the Devil tries to get me to believe. On top of that, it seems like now that I’ve achieved a certain level of victory over sins of the flesh, that “sins of the spirit” that I mentioned earlier (impatience, lack of zeal, etc.) come at me with a fury. (Disclaimer: Even though I realize I’ve achieved a certain level of victory against sins of the flesh, I realize in humility that I must always be vigilant and on-guard and humble so that I do not fall back into these sins again.)

So taking all of this into account, you can see how my beginnings as a foreign missionary, though blessed, have been challenging and frustrating at times. This morning, as I was about to take a shower before Mass, all of this was on my mind again. Even though the wheels are always turning in my mind, I was puzzled as to why God allowed this to be on my mind at THIS time of day. As I step into the shower, turn the cold water handle, and feel a blast of cold water hitting my head, I think about how good it feels after a restful but sweaty night of sleep. Then I hear the Lord tell me “I will refresh you with living waters”. A sense of peace came over me. Thank you Lord for telling me what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it.

(Interesting sidenote: Right before my shower, I was reading Mrs. Genie’s 2nd book, and was at the part where she relates the story of how God revealed to her what their family’s missionary newsletter should be called. Having just read that, and then having the experience I just had, I decided that my missionary newsletter will be called “Living Waters”. It just seems so right and that it’s the perfect fit. Praise the Lord!)

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – HAD A GOOD JESUS VIBE GOIN ON

12-5-09 final installment

It’s a CD that has mission-themed songs and recordings and promotes missions. The vibe there was exactly like the vibe at Big Woods on Wednesday night. Seems like everybody knew everybody, and even if there was someone you didn’t know they were still really nice and willing to hang out and talk. I really believe that the missionary spirit is the reason why the vibe was so good on both nights, When I was talking with one of the missionaries, I found out that Saturday night they are having “Lord’s Day” at FMC. “Lord’s Day” is basically a meal within a prayer, and has a family atmosphere to it. It something done to welcome in the Sabbath Day. It’s such a blessing to attend (I did one a few weeks ago) and is the perfect mix of shared meal in community, prayer, and fellowship. Glad I found out about it cuz now I have something to do tomorrow night.

On a side note, I figured out that I want another foot tatoo since I can’t afford the big St. Benedict tatoo that I wanna get on my back. I want to get “Romans 10:15” tatooed on my left foot, b/c it speaks about how beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news. I feel the need for another tat. 🙂 Also, I felt like the verse at the bottom of this page is a good one for me to hear at this point on my missionary journey. (Joshua 1:9) It’s nice to be reassured that God will take care of it all. Well, I better get goin. My hour is over and I’ve got to take up early in the morning. Dear Lord I pray that the missionary zeal you gave me would overflow into all areas of my life, that I would persevere in prayer and charity, get up when I fall down, conquer my sins, and have people be able to recognize the love of Christ in the way that I live my life. Amen!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL- CAN’T GIVE WHAT I DON’T HAVE

12-2-09 (continued)

As the saying goes, “I can’t give what I don’t have”. The same goes for spreading the gospel. How can I do something that I don’t know how to really do? I’ve got to allow myself to be formed by God in the environment that he chooses. I think for both marriage and being a Catholic “evangelist”, foreign missions is where I can learn what I need to. Call it a coincidence, call it random-ness, call it whatever you want, but it was on the Mexico mission that a passion for missions was reawakened. I also realized a couple things. First thing is (as already stated), that I need to be in love with the Lord. Head-knowledge and going through the motions don’t mean much at all, especially if I don’t have an intimate, loving relationship with my Lord and Savior. Second thing is that I think foreign missions is where I’ll learn how to evangelize and be a missionary.

Whether it’s developing missionary zeal, learning how to speak with people about Jesus, or learning what the Catholic Church teaches about missions, I think the foreign mission field is where God wants me to learn all of this. Will God ever call me out of foreign missions? I don’t know. Why did he even call me into foreign missions in the first place? I don’t know that either. All I know is that following God’s call, even if I don’t know the “why”, is the only thing that will bring me true happiness. Another thing God has been showing me is that I need to work on my patience. During our voyage to and from Mexico as well as while we were there, I encountered situations that tested my patience, and by the grace of God, I fared quite well.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DEAD BATTERY

11-29-09 (last installment)

I also feel like God blessed me with the Joy of the Lord. It’s like I’ve been embedded with this true and unshakeable joy and it’s such a blessing. I felt this joy the whole time I was on the mission trip and felt like I was at peace and at home. When we got back to Big Woods this morning, my car battery was dead, so I felt like that was God calling me to spend the night at Big Woods. I was in no rush to get home, and any chance to extend the trip further and be around FMC more was fine by me. 🙂

I slept till 11 and then I woke up to go find Joe Summers to help me jump my car battery. As I was walking to the main FMC house from the home where I slept, the weather was absolutely beautiful. And as I made my way over, this happy little thought popped into my head “Ahhh. This is the life! I could definitely see myself doing this”. I can’t lie, that thought brought a smile to my face. 🙂

So now as the day draws to a close, I face another week of going back to work. While I’m blessed to have a job, it’s so hard to go back to it when all I wanna do is go on missions. But I know that if God is calling me to missions with FMC (which I think he is), he’ll use this time to start preparing me and my loved ones. Part of that plan is my desire to be around FMC as much as possible and do as much as I can. Praise you Lord Jesus and thank you for blessing me so much this week. I pray that you would continue to help me grow and to nourish these needs of faith that you have planted in me this week. Amen, Alleluia, Glory!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – PULLED OVER BY THE POLICIA

11-29-09 (continued)

When I look back at all the mission trips I’ve already been on, and how the Lord got me involved with FMC over the past few months, it amazes me. When I think about how much I was blessed on this mission trip, how much I felt at home, and how much joy I feel, it all makes perfect sense. I think it is God trying to open me up to missions. As I said earlier during the week, “God, I give you my Yes, I pray that you help me take care of the rest.” I could go on and on and fill up at least a few more pages in my journal, but I’ll stop here. 🙂

After we finished up our prayer and sharing time, we loaded up and left. Our drive back was another one of my favorite parts of the trip. We saw some amazing desert and mountain scenery and just marvelled at the beauty of God’s creation. We actually got stopped by the Mexican police in the town of Monclova, but luckily all they did was check our documents and allow us on our way. I’ve heard some interesting stories about missionaries having run-ins with Mexican police as well as border patrol on both sides. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit guided us through it without incident.

Of course it was quite a long drive, especially with all the bathroom breaks and other stops. We left at approximately 10am Saturday morning and didn’t get back to Big Woods until 6am this morning. But again, the car ride is half the fun. I really enjoyed the car ride back because of the missionaries I got to ride with; Johnathan Weiss, Bree (intake 09), and Kristin Istre. We talked, we sang, we laughed, we played games, and really enjoyed ourselves. I especially enjoyed having a captive audience of full-time missionaries whose brains I could pick at to learn more about missions.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DESIRE TO BE A MISSIONARY

11-29-09 (continued)

I feel so blessed by their presence and prayers at all of the rancho visits and when they come to our medical clinic. I also had the blessing of being on the construction work team and helping a local friend of the Casa de Misiones to do some work on his house. I could see Christ in every one of their faces and fell his presence. It moved my heart so much and these people fascinated me so much that I just wanted to sit and watch them. And I know we went there to heal them and bring the Good News of Jesus, but I feel like their prayers and presence healed me way more than what little I was able to do for them.

The other thing that was a huge blessing for me was fellowship with the other missionaries. I had been frequenting FMC quite a bit this semester and get to know everyone who was @ Intake this year. Getting to fellowship and visit, and do ministry side-by-side with them was such a blessing and helped me to grow alot. I also enjoyed the fellowship with some of full-time missionaries that came on the trip with us. I am so in awe of their holiness and dedication and i deeply desire to do what they do………..

As far as what I would leave in Mexico, it was my fear/distrust that God would not take care of everything in my life & provide for me if I discerned a call to be a full-time lay Catholic missionary. God really rocked my world when he proved to me how he could provide the means for me to be able to go on this mission trip. It has inspired so much confidence in me to be able to trust in the Lord and more freely discern a calling to missions. And as if I hadn’t already given it away, what I take with me is a STRONG desire to be a full-time missionary.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – BACK HOME

Sunday 11-30-09 / 5:05pm @ Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Praise God for a fruitful mission trip and safe passage back home. After Desert Day on Friday, we came back to the mission house and basically wrapped up and started packing up. We had a time of prayer and sharing which I enjoyed very much. Just hearing how much God spoke to everyone during our time of prayer out in the desert was such a blessing. The rest of the evening was spent eating supper, packing up, and enjoying the fellowship of the other missionaries. As I wrapped up the night, I went into the chapel and Jesus blessed me so much with his presence. I felt so at peace and comfortable in that stillness of prayer in the presence of the Eucharist.

A nice little side-bonus was hearing all the girls giggling and laughing in their room. At the time, I wasn’t really sure why exactly they were so loud and happy. But it brought me joy to hear them being so happy. Saturday was wake up, pack the vehicles, eat breakfast, and prayer/sharing before we left. The time of prayer/sharing was very fruitful. It seemed like b/c we had a small group, we were able to bond more and have a more prayerful atmosphere during the mission. Everybody got to praise God through singing as well as prayers of petition and thanksgiving. In our sharing time, we had to say 1) What blessed us most during the mission, 2)What we were going to leave behind, and 3) What we were going to take with us. Without a doubt, it is the people we ministered to that blessed me the most. I can now see why Mother Theresa was in love with the poor; it’s b/c they are near and dear to God’s heart. (to be continued)

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – COWS WHILE I PRAY

Friday 11-27-09 / Desert Day part 2

So as I was sitting here praying, reading Scripture, and journalling, I started to hear a strange noise. (Mind you that i’m sitting in a small ravine where a small stream is running through it. Altogether, it’s maybe 20 or 30 fee wide at most.) As I look up, i see cows walking towards me! Of course I wonder what the Lord is doing….. After they keep coming and coming, I start to worry a little bit. The thought of being stampeded or gored by a 2000 lb. angry hunk of meat is not my idea of a fruitful Desert Day. My other thought is that I don’t wanna create movement or distraction by relocating myself and possiblely spook these beasts.

So I stay put, right where I am on the very edge of the banks of this stream. Amazingly, these huge animals were wary of ME! Every single one of them eye-balled me as they passed by. They gave me as wide of a passing distance as they went by. They gave me as wide of a distance as they possibly could. Even then, I had some of them passing a mere 10 feet or so from me. What are the chances that at the exact same time I’m here, a herd of cattle would be passing by?

At the end of the herd was the cattle driver, who I’m sure was confused as to why a strange little gringo is sitting in the exact ravine where he is driving his cattle. I mustered up my best Spanish to explain what was going on and he even let me take a picture of him. After he and his cattle moved on, I marvelled in this simple encounter. I wondered if God was trying to teach me anything or any grand lesson. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize it was just a little something to bring a smile to my face, and to give me the first of hopefully many great stories from the mission field. God Bless!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DESERT DAY PART 1

Friday 11-27-09 / Desert Day outside of General Cepeda, Mexico
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Lord Jesus, I praise and thank you for this wonderful time of prayer and ministry here in Mexico. Thank you Lord God for calling me to missions this week. The faith and beauty of the people here in Mexico has been a source of healing for me Lord. I offer up to you in prayer Lord all those whose help and generosity allowed me to answer your call to missions this week. Lord, by their generosity, heal them and help them to heal others. Praise you Lord God for your abundant generosity in providing me fellow missionaries with whom I can fellowship and grow closer to you. Their witness, their faithfulness, their “Yes” to your call to foreign missions brings me such joy and happiness.

God, I feel like I am one among fellow co-workers in the vineyard. I never felt like or thought that I’d be here at this moment, and I never imagined that I’d be discerning a call to be foreign lay missionary. Every one of these missionaries has been a witness to the joy of following where you lead and preaching the love of God. Lord Jesus, I honestly cannot think of anything else I’d rather do. Please Lord, give me the strength and courage to answer your call to foreign missions. With the beauty of your creation as my witness, I unquestionably and irrevocably now give you my “Yes”. Affirm this call Lord, and help me to begin ordering my life so that I can follow this call. Open doors that need to be opened, and soften hearts that need to be prepared. As I prepare to leave behind my friends and family, help my absence to be the space you need to heal them. Lord raise up generous people who can help me follow the call to foreign missions. Praise You Lord Jesus. Alleluia! 🙂
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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – NO MORE WORK

Thursday 11-26-09 / 10:05pm @ the chapel @ FMC Mission House in General Cepeda, Mexico
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Another day, another abundance of blessings. Today was our last day of work projects since tomorrow is desert day. We finished hauling up cinder blocks and sand that was being used to build a bathroom. We also hauled up and connected some pipe for the sewer line from the toilet. After we finished, we headed back to the mission house a little bit early to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Even though it’s not celebrated in Mexico, we did it anyways. People from the community were invited to celebrate with us. It was a great time of joy and fellowship. The rancho visit tonight was amazing also!

I know that sometimes we receive consolation and comfort from God, and tonight I was blessed with that. It seems like from the moment we got there until the moment we left, I felt joy and happiness and was smiling. Whether it was talking and joking with each other as we went door to door to invite people, or whether it was seeing the smile on the kids’ faces, there was joy. It seems like the adults were really joyful too. Seems like no matter what was going on, I couldn’t help but to be joyful and smile. 🙂 I gave my testimony tonight, and as nervous as I was, enjoyed that too. These poor people who are so rich in faith and who are so dear to Jesus’ heart, blessed me so much by their presence and their faith. Most of them came up when we broke up into prayer teams, and that was an amazing witness as well. Once again, their beautiful souls brought me joy and I could see Christ in every one of them. Thank You Lord for such an amazing blessing and help me to grow in these graces! Amen!

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