Lesson from Orienation: The Essential Call and Misson

16 Sep

As I reflect on my time after JVC orientation, one “lesson learned” or at least explored is that of my call and my mission while volunteering in Nicaragua. Dan, a campus minister from Boston College, came to speak with us one morning and shared a story that has really stuck with me.

He spoke of a man who was meeting with a priest to discuss his spirituality, faith, and call. Dan told us that the priest asked this man why he was involved with being a youth minister and that the man responded that “he felt called to this work by God.” To the youth minister’s surprise, the priest responded that he “did not buy that.” So, the youth minister took another stab at answering the priest’s question and said that “he felt he was given the gift of being able to relate to young adults about faith and that he had other talents that God gave him that made him a good youth minister.” And once again, the priest responded that “he didn’t quite think that was why.”  So, a little tired and confused from the questioning, the youth minister asked the priest why he thought he was a youth minister and the priest responded, “to save your soul.”

Now, at first hearing this story, I was a little jarred and confused…mostly because I would have given very similar answers as to why I am volunteering with JVC and what I feel is the greater mission for my life. But when examining the priest’s statement further, his message is quite clear.  God does not need me or my help to do good work on Earth.  Instead, I need the work I am doing to be my best self, to develop into the person God intended me to become.

As I think about that, it is quite humbling.  My call, is to become the best person I can be.   I’ve found that this comes from being with the marginalized.  But, it is so much more than that because I can be my best self in any situation. 

Insert a second story to give greater clarity:

When Dan discussed one conversation he had with a student who was considering working on Wall Street or volunteering, he repeated that the student thought Dan would say “to go volunteer.”  But instead, Dan responded saying that it is “easy to be a good person in a volunteer program, but it is harder to be nice to your parents.  It is harder to not be a pain in the ass to your roommate.  It is harder to stand for what you believe in when surrounded by a society or lifestyle you might not agree with.”  In other words, Dan’s response was once again, that we are not called to be in a certain place, but to be our best selves…in every setting we are in.

And I think that really illustrates the mission of JVC, which is not solely focused on 2 years abroad, but with the rest of my life. 

My time in Nicaragua with JVC is about formation and the foundation for that formation comes from building and being in right relationship with others.  And being in right relationship with others helps us to be our best selves or what we are called to work toward becoming…

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