When I discerned that God was calling me to Honduras in 2006, I had to get rid of a lot of things, although I still have stuff stored with friends.
I sold my house and my car. I sold or gave away books, furniture, and more. I left friends and a job that I enjoyed.
It was, however, not something heroic.
Pope Francis states it very beautifully in paragraph 12 of Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel:
Though it is true that this mission demands great generosity on our part, it would be wrong to see it as a heroic individual undertaking, for it is first and foremost the Lord’s work, surpassing anything which we can see and understand. Jesus is “the first and greatest evangelizer”. In every activity of evangelization, the primacy always belongs to God, who has called us to cooperate with him and who leads us on by the power of his Spirit.… This conviction enables us to maintain a spirit of joy in the midst of a task so demanding and challenging that it engages our entire life. God asks everything of us, yet at the same time he offers everything to us.
In today’s Gospel, Mark 10: 28-31, in response to Peter’s statement that he’s given up everything, Jesus tells the disciples:
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age… and eternal life in the age to come.
As I have mentioned before, though there are lonely moments and times I wished I were closer to friends and cousins, I realize that I have a large family here (and on the internet).
This has been made clear in the last year. A couple made a large donation to make it possible for me to get a more reliable car to get around the parish. Another couple made an even larger donation to the Dulce Nombre parish; this will not benefit me but the parish and, wonder of wonders, is without conditions; the pastor decides how to use it.
I discerned last year that I’d like to move out to a village in the parish. I approached the Plan Grande church council who have been enthusiastic about my moving there. I had thought of buying land, but they offered some of the land around the church so that I could build a small house there (which will revert to the church when I leave or die).
I continue to work with catechists and others in the parish and I feel very much at home with them. They are family – with all the joys and pains that families experience.
I am single, without children, which amazes many people here. But I feel as if I have lots of kids whom I love to play with when I visit the communities. It is not uncommon for me to be holding an infant.
That is part of the joy of mission – finding a larger family.
¡Gracias a Dios!