by Hazel Jean Angwani
I have always heard stories about missionaries growing up. My mother would always tell stories about how she used to take care of some CICM fathers and even her father before that. In school, I would also hear stories from our teachers and priests on how they were inspired by the missionaries’ works that helped alleviate poverty and preserved our indigenous culture. Because of the impact left by the missionaries before in our community, I would not fail to hear a suggestion from the older generations, “Be a missionary.” But I would just shrug off the thought because in my mind before when they say missionary, it would usually pertain to priest or nun. In all honesty, I do not want to be a nun because I would wear skirts or dresses which I find hard to do. And I thought that maybe one can become a missionary still without having to be a priest or a nun. I found my answer one day when I was browsing over a magazine and I became happy. I knew it, I said to myself. Nonetheless it took me a couple of years before finally entering into the lay missionary program.
In college, I was not really sure what to do next. But driven with the motivation to finish a degree, I finished my bachelor’s degree. Finishing it felt good inside but I somehow felt that I lack the motivation to pursue a career with it. Even after passing the board exam the same year I graduated, I still lacked the motivation that is line with what I finished. I took up a job but it did not last long then I spent a few months jobless. It was during these periods that I knew I was looking for something which I cannot really name. But at one point, I remembered about the lay missionary program and said maybe I should try again. Trying again, I got into the accompaniment program and afterwards got accepted to the orientation program. By the time I entered the lay missionary program of the Columban Society, the term missionary for me has already changed. Everything now is coming into fruition but of course, it was just the beginning. Going through the orientation program took me a lot of energy. But I trusted that the process would help me in preparation for cross-cultural mission individually as a person.
Looking back when I started, I can say that I am glad I took the leap of faith and willingly opened my heart to all the possibilities. God heard my prayers and my heart’s desire. It is actually now that I realized that my prayers have always been answered. He has put me in these circumstances and let me meet people to help me look deeper into myself. I guess I was just overwhelmed by what I have-my talents, my gifts and potentials- and do not know where to really start sharing them to the world. Before having these potentials would really make me very pessimistic about what I can do. But thankfully because of the process I have undergone during the orientation, I can say that I now enjoy having them. I was able to polish what I have and no longer scared to share it. I still continue to pray to the Lord to give me the strength to hold on to the conviction that led me where I am now. It is just the beginning and though overwhelmed still by how far I have come, at least, I find myself enjoying every moment of it. To God be the glory.