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Turn to Jesus (Article)

I Learned Never To Set Limits On God
From my very first evangelization mission until today, the whole of my almost three years as a co-worker have been a great gift from God. He gives me more than I can give him.

Melissa Laurel
Melissa Laurel, on the left, learned that God is never outdone in generosity.
Your Kingdom Come!

When I finally decided on volunteering a year as a co-worker with the International Volunteers program, I told God, "Okay, but you know all the commitments I have, please help me to get through this." The first description I heard of the International Volunteers program was "taking a year to actively serve the Catholic Church and the Pope". It filled me with a desire to do something for Him. Then I received the tools to do it: "Melissa, why don´t you come over and I´ll give you a list of girls to call. You can organize an evangelization mission at Santa Clara church!" I was on my way to a profound encounter with the Regnum Christi Movement through these words from a Regnum Christi consecrated woman.

I called the girls from the University of Dallas and we began our "mission" in teams of two or three armed with rosaries and bulletins from the parish priest. Inviting others to the Catholic Church began to fill me with a burning joy. A lot of the people were Catholics who had just stopped attending mass, so I answered their questions about the Eucharist and basic Catechism. They were so grateful I had come; they wanted to read the Bible I had with me. I was fascinated at this ministry I was helping with, a group called "Youth for the Third Millennium." They were answering the call of Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, 1993, when he said, "Go out in the streets and into public places like the first apostles who preached Christ." I thought to myself, "If I believe that God and heaven are the most important things in existence, shouldn´t I be telling people about them?"

The same consecrated member invited me to think about being a co-worker, so I did, and I decided against it. I was at work just days before the training program began in June, when she called me. "Melissa," she said, "Why aren´t you here?"

"What?" I responded. "I´m not coming."

"Really? Have you actually thought about it?"

I took the day off work and I went to pray at a chapel where they had the visiting image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Kneeling there, I was surprised, I felt like God really wanted me to be a co-worker. I told Jesus that I would rely on Him. I figured that if this was really God´s will, He would make it work out.

I have never been a person to ask for signs. I usually pray for God not to give me any signs. I´ve always thought they are too easy to fake. The very same day I received a pocket calendar in the mail with an image of a hand reaching towards another hand and the sun in between. It read, "Do not be afraid any longer...for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom." Regnum Christi means "the Kingdom of Christ" in Latin, and its motto is "Your Kingdom Come!" For me, it was definitely a sign.

The next day I went in to talk to my boss. I was so worried that I would look like a flake after I had just committed to stay until next Christmas, but the grace, as always, was there. My boss shocked me with his care, "Melissa, I have always tried to treat you like a daughter. I want what is best for you materially as well as spiritually. Go with my blessing." (I had expected something more like, "What? Are you crazy? You just told me you would be here until December!") God was working.

Eventually all of my outside commitments were resolved. My mom helped me pack even though it hurt her that I was leaving, and I flew to the training program.

During the summer program I learned to empty myself to receive Jesus Christ into my heart in order to be strong enough to spend all year giving Him to others.

At the summer training program I met a girl who had been a co-worker the year before me. She had been a professional dancer touring the world when she had come to hear about the co-worker program from a juggler in Japan, and gave up everything to volunteer a year with Regnum Christi. She laughingly described her experience teaching "Swing Dancing" to girls in a private Catholic school, and then later returning upon invitation to give the girls a retreat. I loved the combination of the modern with God: professional ways of transmitting the gospel.

During the program, we were put on teams. I learned to love teamwork because I saw that different people had different gifts to offer. Some of my teammates were excellent at talking to kids in language they understood. Some were good at motivating and being cheerleaders. Others were great at inventing fun games that brought home the lesson.

I learned never to set limits on God. I heard of the success of another volunteer, and it convinced me: God is almighty. She strode into a ritzy nightclub. (The same one Saks Fifth Avenue used for their fashion show, charging $200 a ticket for people to attend). She stated her case to the owner: I want to hold a fashion show for my club of elementary school girls, but without charging more than $25 a ticket. The owner had a daughter and he loved the idea of teaching women how to dress stylishly, but not risqué. Again, using the best means possible to give Christ to others!

I know that all my life, God has sent me care packages so that I would know he cares. He extends his hand and fills the fondest wishes of my heart, in a way that no human could ever fill them. He knows details and has His timing. I´m sure all the co-workers could testify to several instances of this. What fatherly love! I went to Rome in December 2000 for an audience with Pope John Paul II and a huge crowd of Regnum Christi members. Later, at a gathering in a tent on the campus of the Regina Apostolorum University, a consecrated member told her vocation story. When God moved her dad, who was in the army, and the whole family to Israel, she could no longer resist the call she felt in her heart. She consecrated her life to God. In front of the packed tent she sang a song called Vivo Por El, meaning, "I live for Him." The song was so beautiful; I wanted to hear it again and again. What made it different was that the singer told us of her love and her love was God. It was so noble. I´ve heard love songs before. I´ve heard beautiful voices before. But how many of them were songs for the truest love of all? The first love? The most enduring love? That´s why this song was in a class of its own. That´s why this love is in a class of its own.

From my very first evangelization mission until today, the whole of my almost three years as a co-worker have been a great gift from God. He gives me more than I can give him. A Regnum Christi consecrated member once told me, "If it was a generosity contest, we would lose." I am so glad to have been able to give Him my time, my effort and my love; this small part of my life in return for how much He has given me.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Melissa Laurel


Evangelization Missions Holy Week 2002 - Galeria

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