By Teny Mardo
CFC SFL Fulltime
Israel mission is an experience that I will forever carry in my heart. It made me appreciate many things as a missionary aside from seeing all the beautiful Holy Places where Jesus Christ walked and lived.
It’s Out of the Box!
The mission given to us was a bit unique. We are usually sent to places where our community CFC-FFL is present. This time we were invited by the Philippine Chaplaincy to the Holy Land. Wow! They need missionaries in the Holy Land?! And the work is to give formation talks to our “kababayans” who are the parishioners of our Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
I learned and embraced that I am truly a partner of our Catholic Church. That my calling is to serve God through the Church. It is an overwhelming service, talking to people whom you do not know and no certain connection in terms of formation talks and or songs we can sing at the same time during worship, BUT WE BOTH HAVE CHRIST so the excitement and love to serve was totally there!
It totally humbled me.
He chose me before I chose Him! He loved me first before I learned to love Him.
Who could ever imagine that there is a need of missionaries to serve in the Holy Land.
When I got there, I was totally humbled that the Lord made it possible for me to be there and see all the places where He used to walked. I was humbled that in my unworthiness to do this work, everyday He would remind me that it is me that He wanted…It is me that He called! My response is to strive to improve myself every day and be excellent for my God. I strive to offer my best even if I just need to smile, sweep the floor or give a talk. It is humbling to see where God can bring me in serving Him and so I praise Him in every little or big ways I do!
Made me love the migrants more.
Our main mission was to give formation teaching to our migrants, doing this for seven weeks made me love more our migrant brethren. Being with them daily was a revelation of the kind of life they have away from their love ones and homes. You may see them laughing outside, but totally hurting inside once they opened up. They make sure that they give all the things their family might need without thinking of themselves. A lot of them had been there for more than 10 years. They’ve missed birthdays, Christmases and graduations of their children, and a lot have missed the importance of a complete intact family. Because of their economic situation, many, amongst them would choose between being with the family or be away yet making sure they can provide for their families. It melts my heart to see this happening to my “kababayans”…the least thing I can do is to really pray for them and hope that their kids and or their families are the ones I meet and invite for CLS here in the Philippines and in other places.
This experience made me love more my brother who is in Qatar. It made me appreciate the time we would have, even if its non-sense chatting. In my heart I learned that if we can’t be with him always, then our prayers can be.
I am a servant of the Church
All our talks in this mission were given to the parishioners. Every after mass we will invite them and give the session to them. I felt that whenever I would stand there in front to invite them to listen to our sessions, that I am totally from the church and of the church of Jesus Christ! Through this mission, I learned to work really (literally) inside the Catholic Chuch. We would prepare the altar before the mass, prepare for the songs for the mass and even worry where the parishioners would go after. It made me thank the Lord that this is the church where He called me. A church that is concern of my personal and spiritual growth! A church that introduces me to the kind of love that comes from the love of Christ!
It is a calling to be HOLY!
Israel is a place where you can actually touch, see, feel, smell and even taste where Jesus Christ had built His ministry. I can never stay there forever. When the mission ended, after seven weeks, I asked myself, will the holiness around me ends here as well? And the Lord whispered, “Be holy as your heavenly Father is Holy.” I am called to be holy. Whether I am in the Holy Land or not…this is my calling. So, I bring the holiness from that mission to every little thing I do in my homeland and even in the next mission areas I will be assign.
As I continue to embrace this missionary life, I am once again reminded that every time I would be chosen to go out for mission, it is God’s way of telling me, “Hey, my child, I want you to learn something here and share them my love in return!”
It is indeed a privileged, Lord to be called to work in your vineyard. May my heart yearn for your presence always and for your holiness to always be rubbed in my heart and in all the things I do.
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works … Psalm 26:7