MISSION TALK-RHEA JOSE
Delhi belle Rhea Jose was surprised by her mission place, Canada. Surviving a chilling winter and numerous wrong buses and missed stops, she learned to find her comfort and joy in Christ
As I sit back and ponder upon the little more than one year (14 months) that passed by as a fulltime missionary, it brings back a lot of fond memories.
It was during my high school days that I got introduced to the Jesus Youth Movement. Each of us were invited to a prayer meeting, adoration, or a retreat. We were ‘invited’ to have an ‘encounter’ with God. And I realized there were many who were never ‘invited’. While in college, my love for Jesus and the Holy Catholic Church grew. I was involved with JY Campus Ministry and was always inspired by the fulltimers who came to Delhi for mission, but never really thought I could be a fulltimer myself. And, once He puts that desire in your heart, it is hard to resist His voice. Even though initially my parents were hesitant with the whole fulltimership idea, they supported me, encouraged me and were strong pillars of prayer support for me throughout my mission year.
After the one-month fulltimership training, I was given Canada as my mission place. I was surprised. What kind of mission will I be doing in a fully developed country like Canada. It might be easier to give Christ to people who are poor and have nothing to lose than to people who have every comfort that the world offers and have no need to believe in a God. I reached Canada in the middle of their winter, which was quite adventurous. I was thousands of miles away from home; so if something happens, I must stick around till the end. Mark 16:15 (Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation) was finally coming alive little by little in my life. I stayed with some amazing families/students who welcomed me with open hearts, looked after me like their own daughter or sister.
I would often take the wrong buses, miss the right bus stops, go to the wrong address, etc. But all thanks to God and Google maps I survived not being lost in Canada! I sometimes wondered how Jesus’ disciples and all those great missionaries of the church managed to go to unknown places without Google maps!
My mission was mostly with Campus Ministry. I visited many campuses and got to spend a lot of time with the youth. Almost every week, I travelled to a new campus. I was living off a backpack! Sometimes I travelled two-three hours one way to just meet one person! I also got to meet a lot of missionaries from different Catholic Movements, and it is beautiful to see how the Holy Spirit works and how each of our charisms are unique.
During this time, I was able to work on my six pillars more intentionally. I experienced the joy of sacramental life. Snow or sunshine, I tried not to miss daily Mass. After reaching a new place, first thing I would do is search for a Catholic Church close by, offer a mass for that place and its entire people. Each morning I would ask the Lord to show me the people He would want me to share His love with and pray for the people I would be meeting that day. I would often look forward to my weekly meetings with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament because that is where I found my strength and solace.
Personally, I learnt to find my comfort and joy in Christ than in human beings. Learnt the value of money, I would often spend sparingly, like I would skip the bus and walk a kilometre or two to save money. I learnt the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need;’ sometimes you might want something but you might not necessarily need it. I used to keep telling myself this amazing quote by Pope Benedict XVI “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” During moments of struggles, I learnt that all this is the Lord’s work, not mine. And it’s OK if I feel inadequate at it because I am inadequate. There’s a lot I can do to improve, but I don’t have to figure it all out by myself. I can count on Him.
During moments of struggles, I learnt that all this is the Lord’s work, not mine. And it’s OK if I feel inadequate at it because I am inadequate.
What I saw in Canada was not physical poverty but spiritual poverty, the poverty of love. I realized how even a small gesture of love or a word of appreciation can make an impact in someone’s life, a random smileat a stranger, or a child, sharing the little food I have with a homeless person, or something as small as looking into the eye of the person I am talking to, whatever little thing I am doing, I would try to do it with great love for Jesus. Every conversation is an opportunity to serve and glorify God.
I would like to look at all my experiences as an adventure with the Lord. Any good or not so good experiences that happened were all part of my personal formation and the Lord’s way of moulding me. God used my time serving as a missionary to change my heart in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
To be a missionary simply means to love, and to love to the fullest! We can all be a missionary in every situation, no matter what or where we are called, but remember the One by whom we are called. “Today Christ is asking each of you the same question: do you love Me? He is not asking you whether you know how to speak to crowds, whether you can direct an organization or manage an estate. He is asking you to love Him. All the rest will ensue.” – Saint John Paul the Great Do not be afraid to say a YES!