“For my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Yahweh.” Isaiah 55:8
By the sheer Mercy of God I was led to the Catholic Church and baptized in 2012. I was very eager to share and minister the Word of God. There was a Church in the US, offering training in various ministries and I was all set in my heart to take it up. In order to get guidance and permission I visited the priest in my parish and he informed me that, it is not recommended for me as it might mess up my understanding of Faith. (It was a Protestant Church). I did not understand this nor did I want to because that’s all I wanted to do but I respected his decision.
I felt discouraged and thought to myself why would God put a desire so strong in my heart and then stop me from doing this. I felt my ‘purpose‘ had been taken away. For a few days I fought with God and one evening I thought to leave the Faith. I went to Church early before Mass and I was gazing at the Crucifix which had the Resurrected Jesus, I poured out all my thoughts and expressions before Him. I remember that evening very vividly. I had all sorts of questions… I can’t even minister Your Word? What am I supposed to do now?
After that, was dead silence because I had nothing left to say! That time the Lord spoke to me and I heard it loud and clear:
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you…” John 15:16
That day Jesus answered me why I was a Catholic, I was alive a Catholic, die a Catholic; and serve where and how He wants me to. If I cannot do this I will do as per the doors He will open for me.
Through a various series of events, God made me to meet a priest from the Vincentian Congregation – Father Joby Kachapilly. To me spending time, serving with him was like spending time with Jesus. His very persona – unwavering dedication, endless hours of service, heart-felt compassion for everybody, fasting and praying for others, I learnt so much in real life, that no training would have ever given me.
In 2014, I had the opportunity to serve in the first ever Youth Camp in Gurgaon parish arranged by CFCI. I used the experience of working with Father Joby in serving at CFCI. Though I was taking it lightly, God was serious. Through various things that followed – serving at Bi-weekly youth meetings, couples retreat, couples CLS meetings, God was working in me in a deeper way. I knew it because I could inwardly feel myself being transformed. I could no longer be the same person I used to be. I felt much lighter, happier and with a sense of direction. It felt just right.
With a lot going on, I had dropped the idea that I would be sharing or preaching ever. I was given an opportunity to conduct a session for a youth meet. I enjoyed giving the session thoroughly. It was attended by youth from my parish and also by a visiting priest from Nigeria. He extended me a whole-hearted invitation to come and serve in his country. That meant something. So maybe God is not finished with this preaching talking thing, I thought to myself and left it there.
Over the years we heard of how the youth, singles and couples go for missions, to serve and that desire kept on taking root in my heart to go and serve. This does not negate the fact that I’m such a puppy to be cared for when it comes to traveling! Soon enough God called me and I could go to serve in Patna at a youth camp, this November. It was unexpectedly a strange time in my life, when I was not in the best of health, certain complicated situations were going on etc. But I said if I have to go, I have to go.
From the beginning till the end of it all, God saw me through, kept me safe, and provided for everything. Moreover I was touched by the real and caring community spirit both of the locals and those who came to serve. This was the love Jesus talks about, the Apostles encourage and I’m glad to see that, this does exist in today’s time. I was happy to be a part of the team. There was a point in time when we realized what was special about us – CFCI people from North, South, East and West parts of the country, coming together to serve One Lord, Jesus Christ. With only a day in hand to practice and rehearse, still not feeling any pressure, but to make it meaningful for the youth. That was a beautiful and memorable experience. God taught me obedience, humility, sharing, and loving in a real way. I did make mistakes but was corrected gently, I forgot a section of my talk but was not looked down upon, and was invited to serve again as I could speak some Hindi which the local people followed. Special thanks to God for this gift.
Some of us struggled with language, some with memory, and some with humor but it was all in God’s hands who made sure everything went well. I praise and thank the Mighty God we serve. I keenly observed that God had hand-picked each one of us and assigned a session or an activity just according to the skills and abilities He had given us, and we enjoyed it thoroughly too. Thank you, Jesus. Love you Jesus.
I remembered the verse which completes
John 15:16 ‘It was I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain’.
Four years back Jesus answered why I am a Catholic and now He gave me a chance to serve Him and it was in accordance with the desire He had put in my heart. What’s more? God had revealed Himself to me on Thanksgiving Day in 2011 which was a Thursday. And five years later on Thanksgiving Day 2016, another Thursday, He put me on the train to participate in the first mission. Jesus and I had gone in a full circle, and I do not mind orbiting around with Him at all.
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28