Responding to God's Call
On May 23, 2017, I returned home after three years of being away. I arrived in our village around nine in the evening, and I was expecting people to be in their houses. But I was mistaken. I was surprised to see young people, children, and friends together with my family waiting and holding their banners to welcome me. They welcomed me with warm hugs and kisses with tears on their faces. My heart was filled with joy that evening to see them again. The saying "there is no place like home" is really true. Seeing my family and everyone in our village at that moment made me feel I'm really home.
I wasted no time and began enjoying myself being with my family, relatives and friends. Every morning and afternoon I would sit in front of our house and enjoy watching the young people and children excited going to school and coming back home after classes. This is one of the changes that happened in our community while I was away. Before, when I left for Manila to join the Columban Lay Mission (CLM) program, people in our community were trying to convince me not to leave. They wanted me to stay and be a role model to the children and young people in our community.
I was the first person in our area to graduate from college. People thought that if I stayed, I might be able to convince the children and young people to focus on their education and show them that it's important to finish and graduate. This was my plan to help the young people and children, but then, I realized that, "we can make plans but the Lord determines our steps." [Proverbs: 16:9]
“God doesn’t give you the people you want; He gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you the person you are meant to be.”
I shed many tears trying to keep my promise to work for the people in our community, trying not to go far away from my family, but I was just deceiving myself. I became aware that I no longer saw myself in that plan. Instead, I was seeing myself holding an old woman's hand, mingling with the street people or children. At that time, I didn't even know them and where they're from or when I will meet them, but it was clear in my vision. Every time I looked at my vision, I could feel the excitement and joy within me. I knew that the road to that vision will not be easy especially in my case I found it in Korea, which is a developed country.
My heart cried when someone mockingly asked me if I am living comfortably where I am now—as if I am not comfortable enough in my own home. Someone questioned me about my presence; it's like telling me that I followed the wrong path in my vision. This is why I always say these words in prayer, "create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast Spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10).
When someone asks if I am happy where I am and what I am doing now, I say, "Yes," because I'm responding to God's call and being a witness of the Gospel to others.
God doesn't give you the people you want; He gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you the person you are meant to be.
Jenanydel Nola is a Columban lay missionary.