There are times as a missionary that you can suggest where you want to be assigned but final decision would always be from the leaders whom together with us missionaries are all definitely praying and discerning to know where we should be sent.
The same story goes when I was sent to the US as Hispanic missionary based in Dallas, Texas. I was initially told that I am not leaving for any foreign mission at that time and that my new mission area was to work with SFLs here in the Philippines. When I was told of my new mission assignment, I was only holding my tourist visa then for the US which will allow me to stay there for a maximum of 6 months. As I step onto my new mission area, the plan was for me to apply for a religious visa immediately, so I can stay longer in the US and finish my 2-year mission term. But the Lord would always have different plans from the way we would plan things even if it is for His vineyard, the mere fact it is for Him then He would want to be part it!
Two days before the submission of all my documents to the immigration lawyer, I was told I needed to have at least $3,000.00 to pay for the application, lawyer’s fee and 15 days premium so we can have a fast result for my petition papers. I remember I didn’t have that complete amount ready. It was October 1, 2011 and its St. Therese’s feast day (patroness of mission) when I received a blessed rose right after a mass for her in a Carmelite Monastery in Grand Prairie, Texas. I was teary eyed receiving that rose from the priest presider of the mass because I know, St. Therese has been interceding for me and I know at that very moment that God has just answered one of my prayers.
Immediately after the mass I checked my phone and saw a missed call from the Area Servant at that time of our community in New Jersey. I called him after the mass and after I prayed my rosary and chaplet to St. Therese. To my surprised, he was saying that he wanted to send money for my visa application and he was calling to know how he can do that. Wow! Some answered prayer!
The next day, Sunday, I was asked to do a sharing in our monthly general prayer assembly. The whole day honestly, I’ve been praying what to share and what would God want for me to share so His congregation will be blessed. I prayed so hard and started to just jot down some notes for it. And there I am, last sharer and I was sharing about the joy of being a missionary and sharing to everyone the calling for us all to answer to that “great commission – Matthew 28:19-20.” I was called the last one to share. Towards the end of my sharing I asked for everyone to pray for my religious visa application and for us to complete the money we would need to pay for the application so I can stay longer in the US and finish what the Lord would want me to do for the 2-year mission He gave me. I finished the sharing and the last worship for the assembly and immediately left for a mission trip to San Antonio, Texas. It was a 5-hour drive from Dallas. I left with so much faith that the Lord is at work and will perform a miracle.
Monday, we woke up early to prepare for our presentation to the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas. We headed with so much joy and excitement to share about the community and what we do. We ended the whole presentation receiving the approval from the Archdiocese that we can immediately start with the community’s mission and vision in the area! Towards the afternoon we headed, to Sto. Nino Parish to present our plans for the youth camp we will be opening as our kick-off for the whole community.
With so many happenings, meetings and planning that day, I totally forgot about my need to turn in money and all my documents to my lawyer to comply with the application for my religious visa application. Until before that very last meeting for the parish, I received a call from one of the community’s leader in Seattle, Washington telling me that he was calling to know how he can send money for my visa application. He said he tried calling my leaders in Dallas and he was informed that they have reached the goal already! And I was totally so surprised! I left Dallas for San Antonio mission immediately after our assembly which was around 5pm and I was talking to that leader from Seattle 5pm of the next day. In 24 hours, God responded! I was so amazed how God fulfilled His promise in the great commission…”that He will be with us till the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.
I know in my heart that the Lord is at work! I praise God every day for this community so generous for the mission and for the missionaries like me. Many times I am amazed of how God would reveal Himself in very trying times only to see at the end of the day, that definitely He will have answers. I am so blessed! He is a sweet God to all of us. With our one yes, He compensates us with millions of blessings. And so I say, as He calls me, I am definitely privileged to be His missionary and in my very eyes, every day I see how He is blessing me.