“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
God is not limited to our nuclear families or our home countries. He is out in the world and that is why He can send you and me wherever He wills – ‘out into the world’.
Limited as we are, we might be tempted to downplay the worth of our giftedness, thinking like Jeremiah that we cannot do this or that. Jer.1:6. But God who chose us before our birth, God who has a plan for each one of us, will have none of our excuses. None of these human limits is beyond the power of God. In fact, it is these very same limits that create the opportunity for God’s glory to be seen in us.
That is why He can choose you and me to go far away to the mission to spread His love. Our consolation is that it is God who calls and sends us to these different places, and it is God who will equip us for the purposes God calls us to, like He equipped Jeremiah.
In his oral and written messages, one of our founders Archbishop Joseph Louis Cabana kept on motivating us his daughters to be ‘all around people’ who can read the signs of the times and adapt to the different situations, as this would help us serve God’s people everywhere we are sent and in all situations.
Following his words of counsel and wisdom the IHMR institute through its Superiors accepted to answer the call and invitations from the different countries where members of our Institute were and are still being requested to serve, by opening up different communities in different countries. At the moment we have the following:
- Our Lady Queen of Apostles – Nuncio’s residence in Algeria, North Africa
- Blessed Trinity Convent – Ocala Florida, America
- Our Lady of Divine Providence IHMR Convent – Chicago, America
- Our Lady of Gate of Heaven IHMR Convent – Chicago, America
- Our Lady of Assumption IHMR Convent – Flörsheim, Germany
- Our Lady Queen of Apostles IHMR Convent – Dinslaken, Germany
- Our Lady Queen of Peace IHMR Convent – Geisenheim, Germany
- Our Lady of Assumption IHMR Convent – Tirschenreuth, Germany
- IHMR Convent – Straubing, Germany
- Our lady Queen of Wisdom – for our students in Italy, Germany, America and Kenya
Psalm 96:3 tells us to declare God’s glory among the nations and His marvellous works among all the peoples! This of course comes with both challenges and opportunities but by implementing our Institute’s Motto ‘your will be done’, we should not fear to face the threats that come while glorifying God and serving His people, no matter where one is sent.
Working in a foreign mission can make one vulnerable to many challenges like cultural shock, learning new languages, being resented and humiliated, one’s valued systems and environment change dramatically, one misses one’s family and friends or one might “accidentally” be forgotten by one’s closest friends and family (they don’t mean to forget but they just get busy with their families, jobs, activities and the lines of communication gradually dwindle if not disappear). In other words, one might feel stretched physically, emotionally and spiritually while working in the foreign mission but this should not discourage anyone ready to serve Christ and His people. Mind you, our fellow sisters back home are also not having it as a bed of roses. They too face challenges in their apostolates.
As much as there are problems faced in foreign missions, one should not forget that like in any other situation there are also opportunities. For individuals who are open-minded and flexible, working in a foreign mission can be the high point of one’s career, vocation, if not one’s life. If one adjusts well to the changes, one can have a very enriching experience like meeting new people with their different mentalities, seeing new things, adapting to the new culture, learning a new language etc.
Living and working in a foreign mission opens one to an entirely novel way of living and leads one to learning more about the world and oneself. Charles H. Spurgeon once said “Must is a hard nut to crack but it has a sweet kernel”. Likewise, foreign mission might be hard and full of challenges but it is a very inspiring and enriching experience, worth an encounter.
So my dear sisters, if we are sent to work in foreign missions, let us try to have realistic expectations and don’t give up because of the challenges! When we accept to go, we should be determined to do God’s will and time will come when God through the Superiors will send us to other places, maybe back home or to another foreign mission. I know it might not always be easy but let us try our best to make it work! We should not expect the alien situation and the different people we find in the new and foreign mission to change and suit our expectations. On the contrary, we should be the one to change as the situation demands. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” and president Barack Obama said “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Let us however as religious people, not get this one wrong. We should never compromise our identity in the process of change. We should adapt to the situation while at the same time we keep, live and treasure our precious identity of the IHMR-Ggogonya institute.
As we adapt to the new different situations, we should surrender all to our God who will help us with the gifts we need to touch the lives of the people where we are sent to serve.
“YOUR WILL BE DONE”