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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Graces of God’s Busy Plan
YTM Missionary in the Philipines Shares Her Experience

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 for me.

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.

In 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 Agoncillo.

... 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. 



Related links

Helping Hands Medical Missions
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center

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