Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Silent Work of Grace

Times are tough on this side of the subcontinent. And with war now going on in Afghanistan compounded by volatile local political situation, insecurity due to terrorist threats, high rates of unemployment and increasing prices of basic commodities—our future could even get tougher. Yet in such a difficult and seemingly discouraging situation, we are sustained by the silent and slow yet steady work of grace that we encounter each day. We are witnesses to the unfolding of stories of hope—little miracles and successes that Don Bosco is able to achieve through and in the lives of our students and lay collaborators.

As we journey with the young people of Pakistan and strive to provide them with the opportunity to learn and to live and grow together in harmony and mutual respect despite their differences—in religion, in caste, in tribe and in dialect among others, we see as well their growth, their transformation. These things keep us moving and motivated despite the difficulties and discouragement that we sometimes encounter. Though we look to the future, we work one day at a time; though we hope to reach out to many, we focus on those God has sent us for now.

And as I more and more immerse myself in the mission entrusted to us here, I am also able to better appreciate Don Bosco’s approach. Joy, optimism, reason, loving-kindness, music, sports and above all, Jesus’ message of compassion, forgiveness and understanding possess an irresistible appeal that penetrate into the heart of the young regardless of the faith they profess, the language they speak or the color of their skin.
Pray for us then, Salesians here in Pakistan, and for all our lay mission partners as well as all the young people God sends us that we may continue to dare and to hope and to see, beyond our daily troubles and trials, the work of divine grace, slowly, silently but steadily strengthening us as we forge ahead.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Philippians 2:6-11

Sometimes it just happens that we are struck by inspiration--touched by the divine and all of a sudden the 'poet' in us emerge. We were praying vespers last Saturday and when we reached the third canticle--Philippians 2: 6-11, I just got so distracted that I had to take a pen and paper and write down some of the lines I am posting here now. I don't know if it makes any sense but let me share it just the same.

This is my personal version of Philippians 2:6-11.

Oh what great love that satisfies;
divine and pure, the love of Christ.
Godly state he sacrificed;
our sinful ways he paid the price.

He chose to dwell and live as man;
lower than the lowliest one.
And unto death a faithful Son;
his cross, his death--salvation won.

We praise your name Oh Jesus Lord,
to whom God's glory is bestowed.
We bend our knees; we bow our head,
we proclaim your love until the end.

Oh what great love that purifies;
divine and deep, the love of Christ,
throughout our life your name we praise
until with you Oh Lord we rise. Amen.

Not a big accomplishment though... but even for this I am grateful. Truly the Lord surprises us in a lot of wonderful ways.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Marching On

We are beginning another month. The weather is changing as well. It's now spring--and Pakistani spring lasts only for around a month they say. Then the long summer sets in. After experiencing some initial difficulty with winter, I have also adjusted and gone comfortable with it... now temperature is rising again. And that would need another adjustment on my part.I have been here in Pakistan for seven months now. And I consider myself still a new-comer.
With only seven months of experience, I am still struggling to learn the language, eat/enjoy the local food (which is quite spicy), adjust to the weather (that goes very cold in winter and terribly hot in summer), understand the native customs and traditions and overcome homesickness and loneliness that come once in a while.Since I also come from a predominantly Christian country I had to change and adjust some of my mindsets and approaches to doing mission and apostolate especially in this place where Christians are a minority. And this I guess, I am still learning up to now.
Life here is a continuous adjustment, constant learning of new things and nonstop challenge to do things better. There are a lot of risks to being a missionary here. Well, that's certainly true, but I guess that's only one side of the equation--there are also a lot of opportunities to serve, to be happy, to be able to share and to learn and gain new insights from the very people we serve.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Goodbye... for now!

I write these few lines this evening before I finally go to bed--at an unusually early time since I am sure tomorrow will be a long and tiring day. I am joining our other community here in Pakistan starting tomorrow. And I am both happy and sad, excited and anxious as I bid my present community goodbye and move in to my new home. But I am sure that this is yet another invitation for me to trust and to obey. And so I embrace my fears and sadness and put myself in the hands of God.
It might also take a while before I'd be able to blog again. Keep me in your prayers that I may bloom where I am now being 'replanted.' May our good God bless us all!