“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” (Marcus Aurelius) I believe this quote is pertinent to our work to alleviate many of the disparaging situations that plague our world today. As I embark on my fourth week with the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, I can see the importance of maintaining a positive perspective.
Missionaries everywhere from the Columbans in the developing world to the Columbans advocating for fair and just legislation, to daily “missionaries” who try to embody Christ-like characteristics in all their interaction. frequently have reason to become discouraged. Often we hear the opinion, not the fact, that change is impossible. It is important to keep a good perspective instead of relying on the negative perspective that so many accept as the truth.
Before starting my volunteer commitment with the Columbans, I spent the last two years working at an orphanage in rural Honduras. As a teacher, I taught orphans and the impoverished neighbors. I may never understand why God allows good people to suffer. I can attest that God provides us life lessons through failures and desperate situations. I learned that children who have been to hell and back still found reasons to smile to maintain a positive perspective. If they can find the good, no matter how little it may be, so can we.
When I took this new position, I knew I would have many failures. Occasionally, we are victorious in changing a law, a politician’s opinion or public awareness. It is vital to take pride in our accomplishments while learning from our failures.
Recently I was fortunate to attend a discussion between the U.S. State Department’s Ambassador on Monitoring Human Trafficking and the top NGO working to eliminate human trafficking and slavery. Although I listened for an hour about the horrific events all around the world, I left inspired. In Taiwan and the Philippines (countries where Columbans serve) the governments have made effective change.
Later, I learned that the Columbans played a vital role in the TIP report (report on human trafficking), thereby increasing pressure on Taiwan to crack down on human trafficking.
I also recently attended an award ceremony for Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller for her contributions to the START treaty. I understand the Columbans, along with other faith-based organizations, worked closely with Ms. Gottemoeller to limit U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons. These are great victories!!
They would never have happened if we became discouraged and stopped fighting for the Kingdom of God. We can take pride in the good work being done. We can change the world! I will conclude with a quote that has always inspired me as a missionary.
“God does not call the qualified but qualifies the called.”