“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
It all started with a longing. It has been there for quite a long time. I longed for a break from the usual things I used to do for many years yet still I wanted to please the Lord. And so I prayed and some people prayed for me too. Patiently, I waited and God heard me, heard us. To be a volunteer in the Light-Life Movement was one of the ‘craziest’ decisions I made. I needed to leave many precious things in my life to be ready for the journey. But eventually, it turned out to be the most overwhelming experience in my life so far. God was really taking care of the every detail and He amazes me every day.
I was welcomed very warmly at the Center. I could vividly recall the gentle smile, friendly greetings and welcoming attitude of my fellow volunteers. The hospitality and kindness shown by the consecrated ladies from the Lay Institute of the Immaculate, Mother of the Church made me feel loved and at home. The everyday activities we had like community prayer, work sharing, Eucharistic celebration and adoration, eating meals together, recreation and simple celebrations all the more gave meaning, colour and enriched my experience during my stay.
When God calls, He sustains
What fascinates me as a volunteer was my exposure to the different services and the opportunity to work with other volunteers. I did some simple household chores and just wore a smile. Simple, isn’t it? (I smiled each time they spoke to me in Polish. This simply means that I did not understood what they said. Smile is my only antidote for the other not to feel impatient with me.) I admit I was practically slow in doing some things (not to mention climbing hills and mountains). But in as much as I could, I gave my best in everything that I do. God inspired me to do things lovingly, patiently and humbly. But there was a time that I doubted my presence in the Center because I only did little things. I shared what I felt to my fellow volunteer and I was so struck by what she said. “Oh, even though you are just standing and smiling, as if you are doing nothing, your presence makes a lot of difference” she told me. Her words affirmed my presence and gave me confidence in accomplishing my daily task. I thank God for her encouraging words.
Unexpectedly, I was asked to be an animator of a retreat for the New Life Oasis Level 1 of the English group (which comprised two priests from Rwanda, a lay person from Pakistan and one translator). Back home, I was tasked to lead or animate groups but certainly with local lay participants only. To be an animator in the Center was a great challenge for me. It looks like an international small group meeting for 15 daysJ. I felt my meagerness and I was absorbed by my weaknesses and my limitations. And these feelings were not over for one day. (They were with me for some time, though I don’t like to feel them hahaha). There were days that my energy level was low and my spirit was weak. Oh, I realize that I need some leap of faith. I bent my knees and beg God to work in me. And He did! His gentle Words in the mass, in prayer and in small group meetings were the source of my daily strength, joy and consolation. What was amazing was that He has always a perfect word for me in every day and especially in my lowly moments. There were fine-tunings, fixings and stretching that happened in my journey inward. He worked on my pride, my attachments and purified my heart. That was not easy. As I sat in the chapel, it was the very image of him (Christ the Servant) that reminds me gently and lovingly of my reason of being here. “It is the Lord, it is because of Him”. After the retreat, though physically tired but I am so happy or blessed, if I may say. I am blessed to know Him more deeply and have a wonderful journey with Him. I am so blessed to encounter wonderful people of different cultures and ages with their amazing faith-life stories. This experience prompted me not to rely on my own capacity nor to dwell on my weaknesses but to be open and to trust more deeply in God’s love, power, and grace. Undoubtedly when God calls, he sustains.
“Do not Be Afraid”
My days as a volunteer in the Center came to an end and what a journey it was. I certainly found and experienced an oasis which I had been longing for. Now, I need to continue the journey and have to face a new beginning. I asked God to hold me and lead me to whatever lies ahead. Humanly speaking, I have some feelings of fear. I attended the post-holiday communion day in Poznan and the priest, after the testimony, said ““Do not be afraid” to proclaim Jesus and be not afraid of the Cross”. After hearing these words my heart beats faster. These words appeared very strong to me. “Oh Jesus, these are your words again” I told Him. These were the very words that struck me when I signed The Crusade for the Liberation of Man during my early days in the Center this summer. The same enlightening words after my confession in Kacwin that all the more made me admire of Him. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” What a wonderful assurance of Jesus. Certainly I will hold on and ponder more on these powerful words of Him as I journey back home. Blessed be Jesus! He will be my strength.
“In the Lord, I’ll be ever grateful”
My heartfelt gratitude to the general Moderator of the Light-Life Movement, Fr. Marek Sędek and to the Centalna Diakonia Misyna for this wonderful opportunity to serve as volunteer in the Center. My special thanks to the Jankowiak family who were instrumental in my coming and my delightful stay in Poland. They were very kind in all my undertakings in the Light-Life Movement. I am also grateful to the hospitality of the ladies in the Lay Institute of the Immaculate, Mother of the Church, to my fellow volunteers, to the Domestic Church in Poznan and to those who patiently did the translations for me. Rest assured of my prayers to all of you. Indeed, God entrusted me to the hands of wonderful people whose love is a reflection of His love. He is really awesome! My heart sings “In the Lord, I’ll be ever grateful”.
Glory to God!