September 15th, 2009. 52 hours after boarding in Plattsburgh, NY I stepped off a a Greyhound bus in downtown Lafayette, LA. An intense three month period of formation was beginning. Almost three months later I look back on my time here and am blown away by how much I was truly formed. With six young women I began a period of intense study, prayer, and ministry preparing ourselves to be commissioned and sent out as a foreign missionaries.
Each day we would, as a community, begin our day in prayer. Coming before the Lord to meditate upon his Word, offer up our intentions, and draw closer to him and his will for us. The rest of our days would consist of studying the documents of the Second Vatican Council, teaching workshops, mission formation lectures, and bible studies. Alongside these daily disciplines, we were blessed with so many opportunities to minister to the local community. These ministries included working at the food pantries, serving lunch at soup kitchens, evangelizing at the men’s homeless shelters, and serving local families in need.
As we opened ourselves to serving the Lord, he began giving us more and more opportunities to share our calling, our call to serve, to witness to Him and His love, and to be true disciples, bending beneath the weight of his will and mercy. We were presented with a number of opportunites to testify to all that the Lord is and has done for us, to preach. The first of these opportunities came as we were presented with the chance to speak to an entire Catholic Elementary school here in Lafayette. It was so encouraging to see these young children so open to recieving us and our message, our message to serve and to love. The next event that came up was took place at St. Joseph’s Parish in Milton. I was invited to stand up and give my testimony to the parishoners. I was able to share how the Lord had called me to serve Him, and how urgent the mission to the nations is. It is imperative that we are not empty hearers of the Word, but doers also. We must rise up and move into action, bringing love and salvation to the ends of the earth. The last opportunity that I wanted to share was one that happened just two days ago. Me and my two missionary brothers were invited to speak at Jesuit High School in New Orleans. Invited into a class called “Vocations” we were given free reign to share with three classes of about 35 seniors whatever we felt the Lord wanted them to hear. The result of our preperation was an on fire preaching about the urgency of missions. That there are people who are called to truly listen to the Great Commission and to listen to the words of our Lord to sell all that we have, give to the poor, and to follow Him. The problem is not that the Lord is not calling enough people to fulfill this important mission he gave us, the problem is that so many are not listening to their calling, not praying for the grace and strength to respond to the Lord with their ‘yes’. It was a blessed day and the response from the students was as good as we could have expected.
Our time here has been incredibly anointed. We have been changed. We have been prepared not only for our life is foreign missions which is to begin in January, but for the final stretch of our formation which was to happen in the small town of General Cepeda. The Lord has filled our minds with his Word and with the teachings of His Church. He has blessed our lips with the boldness to proclaim his Word at all times to all of creation. He has filled our hearts and souls with his grace and his abundant love. He has prepared us to be sent out to the nations, to bring the lost sheep back to the fold, he has formed us in His hands…