by Michael Javier (PH22)
Lay Missionary in Training
“To serve God and His people.” This was my aim when I joined the Columban Lay Missionaries. But before I can do this, I have to undergo further discernment and preparation for mission through the orientation program. I took short courses for one semester, different modules and the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for ten (10) weeks. From the short courses I’ve learned how to respond to social issues, history, beliefs and culture of different religions, philosophy and gender studies. It’s not that easy to go back to school again because aside from the fact that it has been ten years since my last formal studies, I also encountered a lot of new terms or words that I really did not understand. But I thank GOD I still made it. What I’ve learned also from the different modules is that the Columbans really give the best modules for us to be equipped for our future mission. The topics ranged from creation, Christology, bible studies, church history, transition, environmental awareness, human development, to sexuality. They are preparing us really well so that we can be effective missionaries. But the most important and the highlight of the orientation program, so far, is the CPE. This is a 10 weeks program where we served as associate chaplains at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Quezon City. In every room we visited, we talked, listened and journeyed with the pains and sufferings of every patient and their relatives. There were some who asked why we are serving in the hospital and not in another place? In the hospital I’ve learned that there are different kinds of pains and sufferings not only physically but mentally, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually as well. Listening to these different stories, I was made to look inside myself and I was surprised with the way I reacted to things and why I focused on a particular thing. I’ve learned that I too was wounded and that I also need to be healed. As Henri J.W. Nouwen said in his book “The Reminder,” we are all wounded and being wounded we need to be healed for us to become a great and effective healer. CPE really gave me the opportunity to know more about myself because a lot of us can easily say “I know myself.” But going through the processing, I was surprised to hear what my supervisor and co-trainees said about me of which I was unaware of. I am very thankful that they helped me see my blindspot. I was given the opportunity to change what I needed to change about myself having grown in some awareness of what could be good or bad for me and for the others. Through CPE my faith in GOD has deepened. I can see and feel the presence of GOD in every person I encounter. Some challenged me, some inspired me, some taught me values and some affirmed the goodness of GOD. The CPE helped me recognize my blind spot and core issues. I have come to know and understand myself better, growing more to become an effective missionary to other people and to myself. My skills in relating with other people were harnessed and I was also challenged to deal with people especially those in pain. Now, I am preparing myself for the next stage of the orientation program and ready to share my learning to others, especially with my two companions Gilda and Lorna, for our future mission.