In being a missionary, initial sacrifices are made. We find ourselves away from our families and friends, living in unfamiliar surroundings, trying to learn a new language, getting used to a new culture and customs, eating different foods, bearing various discomforts. Yet in time the difficulties begin to ease as I became accustomed to my new situations. In the Philippines I found my views about living and about what is important in life broaden and deepen. I felt supported by the camaraderie with fellow Columbans and other missionaries.
I learned to laugh at my own mistakes particularly in language and cultural adaptation. I learned from the patience of people. New friendships developed. I learned that more could be done by sharing with and involving lay people in ministry, by letting them take the lead whenever possible. I felt affirmed by them in my attempts to serve. A mutual respect grew. By sharing in the lives of people, in their joys, successes and pains, illness and loss, I experienced a growth in compassion particularly for those who have less in life. I don’t mean that I didn’t miss my family and friends at home, and the things that I had known in Brooklyn and other New York environs, but newer elements and vistas were added. I grew to know and love new people in new places, in Sta. Rita, Olongapo; Novaliches, Malate, Manila. I felt a broader, deeper happiness despite the struggles and frustrations that I also faced.
Throughout it all, a fuller sense of God’s love grew, a sustaining power and a keeper of subtle joy.