The following reflection was written by Gertrudes Samson on her 4th month of orientation with the Columban Lay Missionaries. She shared this reflection to the parishioners of Malate Parish on October 18, 2009. Getrudes and her two companions just completed their 10 months orientation and are awaiting for their visa to Britain where they are assigned.
I am presently undergoing the formation program of the Columban Lay Missionaries. I am an architect by profession. Before joining the Columban Lay Missionaries, most of my past works and involvements were related to housing for the poor with non-government organizations. So as an architect, housing for the poor became my work and ministry at the same time. It all started during my student days at the University of the Philippines. Our student organization UP-Task Force Arki was then helping Fr. Sean Connaugton, a Columban priest in Tondo, on their housing project for the parishioners of San Pablo Apostol.
Although I had been curious about the Columban lay mission for the past 10 years, I honestly did not plan to join them in 2009. My original plan was to take up my doctorate degree and bring to the next level what I have started with my Masteral Thesis in Belgium which was on disaster resistant technologies. In fact I already found a school in Australia where I could apply for another scholarship, and the deadline was last June 2009.
But last June, I did not pursue with my plan. Instead, I joined the Columban Lay Missionaries.
“But why?”, you may ask.
One day while I was reading my daily gospel and daily bread some bible verses struck me. It was 1Corinthians 13:8 & Luke 21:33 which said “…where there is knowledge it will pass away .… Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Right there, I realized its truth. Yes I keep on studying but the technical knowledge I gain will go passé and I will forever need to update. But God’s words will never go passé. It is timeless and always helpful for our present and future. This could be passed on from generation to generation to all, regardless of physical boundaries, culture, race, and even gender. And this is how I came to remember the Columban Lay Missionaries again. Suddenly I had that desire in my heart to know more of God’s words deeply and intensively. And I believe, this is more urgent than a doctorate degree.
Of course I had fears in my heart. When I was shown a powerpoint presentation about the Columban Lay Missionaries, I admired the many different ministries of the Columbans because they are truly reaching out to the needy. But at the last part of the presentation it said “let us pray for Pilar who died in mission”. Actually she died of heart attack. But this made me ask God “Lord, is it true that there are those who die in mission? “ I got scared. But God whispered “Ger whether you are at home, sleeping comfortably in your own bed, if it is already time for you to return to me, then it is your time. These people died in mission because they are the kind of people who chose a kind of death, that would Glorify me…” So even if I had fears, I joined the Columban Lay Missionaries.
We are only on our 4th month of orientation but I am already grateful for this chance to learn more of God’s words.. I am also given various opportunities to put into action my faith through our exposure in different ministries. In the process, I come to know God more deeply, and get fascinated more of who He is and His great love for me and all of us. One time I even said to my self “You know Lord, the more I come to get to know you… The more I am falling in love with you.” Aside from that I also came to know myself more and my hidden talents.
Of course the desire of my heart to do doctorate studies is still here. And I know, that in God’s time, he will also give me that opportunity to do so, for he said, “Seek yee first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you”.