About four years ago while I was starting my ministry as Regional Lay Mission Coordinator of the Columban Lay Missionaries - Philippines, a former Columban lay missionary shared to me that, after she ended her commitment with the Columbans, it took her nearly two years to find her feet again. I was quite surprised by the revelation. And then I started to count. She spent about four years with the Columbans, one year in the Orientation Program and three years on overseas mission. And it took her two years to resettle! At that time, I was already with the Columban Missionaries for nearly nine years, including the Orientation Program. I thought that if it took her two years to resettle, then could it take me at least four years!
I may have counted the years but I never fully understood what all those years meant. I was puzzled why it took her that long to settle in again. There must be a shortcut! I did not really understand the process of settling in again until I had to go through the experience myself.
It took me almost a year to discern whether I would continue or not my commitment with the Columbans Missionaries. On my second year in the Philippines, I realized that my parents were both aging and their needs were not only changing but also increasing. When I joined the Columbans in 1999, I knew fully well that one day I would have to come home to help care for my parents. I don’t have the luxury of numbers as there are only two of us – my brother and me. And my brother has a young family to care for. He has been looking after my parents since I joined the Columbans.