Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Returning to Thailand

My preaching trip to Lafayette was the very last stint I had in the U.S. on my home leave before I returned back to Thailand to take up my mission work that I had left behind the last two and a half months.

What a blessed time it was for me to come back for this visit after three years away from home. I came back and saw my parents had grown a bit older and weaker, and I love them more than ever. I came back and saw my nephews and nieces had gotten bigger and older, and there were even some new additions to the family. I came back and presided at my sister's wedding, the last wedding in the family. I came back and found my friends still cared about me and the distance and time away from them did not make them become less good to me. I came back and found that there were so many people who felt touched by what I do in the mission field and were willing to support me in truly unexpected ways. I also came back and found that I had a message about mission to share with those who were willing to listen.

On the way to the airport today, my brother in law, Trieu asked me, "So did you do everything you wanted to do on your homeleave?"

"Yes," I told him. "I was able to do all that I wanted to do. I managed to spend time with the family, saw my friends, reconnect with my SVD confreres, preach about mission, and do some fundraising for my future work. I had a truly blessed time."

Now I return to Thailand, to my mission work, to trying to experiment with activities that may or may not bear fruit, but one simply has to try. I return to my small Catholic congregation in Thailand and try to figure out how to make this congregation grow and develop in faith and in numbers. I return to my work with people suffering from HIV/AIDS and have to figure out how to help them in ways that will really benefit them and make them feel the sense of integrity and value that they have lost. And I return to my work with the youth, teaching them, designing activities for them, and giving them directions in life. There is a lot of work waiting for me. I feel excited at the possibilities ahead, at the same time apprehension because it's not always easy to know what is the right thing to do.

And at this prospect, I realize that I need to pray - pray for strength, pray for guidance, pray for courage, and pray for wisdom. I pray that I may know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. I pray that whatever it is that I do, I do it for others and not for myself. I pray that when I fail, I will not be discouraged or angry. I pray that when I am successful, I will not become arrogant. I pray that when I don't have enough means to do it one way, I will become creative to do it in other ways. I pray that will I use love and faith more than time and money in my work.

Taipei, Taiwan 27.10.2009

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