It all started with a Plan.
My Plan was simple.
It involved me, a tired and relieved college freshman, spending
the three weeks of my Semestral Break as (for lack
of a better term) a “human vegetable”: sleeping at midnight,
waking up at noon, and lounging around the house for
the rest of the day.
This Plan was quite tempting.
After a whole semester of chasing after deadlines and losing
hours of sleep, I wanted nothing more than to lie
down on the nearest bed and stay there for a
few weeks. If there was something that I badly needed
back then, it was a long and restful vacation to
recharge myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Everything was all set:
the break, the bed, and the soon-to-be-human-vegetable (yours truly). All
it needed was a Go Signal from God.
But as it turned out, He had a different Plan
At first glance, His Plan was not very
appealing. Plucking me from my wonderful comfort zone of a
home, He plopped me (and thirteen other young women) down
into the middle of nowhere... namely, a remote and sleepy
town called Agoncillo in the Batangas Province. There, my fellow
missionaries and I were to spread His Word to the
residents, and in the process, immerse ourselves in an environment
that was a far cry from the securities of Manila.
Tap water was unheard of in that town, so we
had to bathe ourselves using a small bucket and several
large tubs of water. In the afternoons, when we were
done with the day´s quota of missionary work (catechizing the
kids, visiting the households, and helping with the community Mass),
we would drag our sweaty and grimy selves back to
our lodgings at the Mayor´s house. And at night, we
were always on guard for the sudden appearance of a
strange bug or two in our bedrooms.
His Plan was
not simple either. During our door-to-door visits, not all of
the residents were open to what we had to share.
One man even drove us out of his house, saying
"I don´t need to hear any of that!" Handling the
kids was easier, but it was still quite a task
because of our limited supplies and the sheer number of
children in the community (we were effectively outnumbered, 14 missionaries
to 150 kids). We had to disinfect scraped knees, carry
around lost toddlers, and coax the more bashful children to
join the games.
His Plan took away from me five
days of my much-awaited vacation. His Plan took me away
from my home. His Plan took me away from everything
that I considered restful and comforting.
... But then again.
It was His Plan that led me to Agoncillo, the
place where I discovered the joy of genuinely sharing yourself
with other people. It was His Plan that showed me
the beauty of children´s smiles. It was His Plan that
made me realize that "rest" does not necessarily equate to
"idleness," but to "service". With every child that I carried,
I felt my weary heart grow lighter and lighter. With
each house that we visited, I found myself feeling more
and more revitalized. It was as though my joy was
being magnified through them in a most awesome way.
the end, my Plan to become a human vegetable was
effectively ground to dust by His Plan. Going along with
His Plan did not only give me my much-wanted rest,
it also gave the opportunity to lighten the burdens of
other people and share with their joys. Joining the Semestral
Break Missions was a life-changing experience, one that continues to
affect me even after two months since we departed from
... And, as a sidenote, I´m pretty sure that
I would have made a horrible zucchini. More the reason
to be grateful for His Plan.
Glory be to God.