The WORD in Other Words By Fr Bar Fabella SVD (Philippines) on the Memorial of St Barnabas, Apostle – June 11
Hellos and goodbyes… that’s missionary life. After one’s term in an assignment, one just has to go. Being an SVD missionary for 35 years (as of this writing), I have had five different assignments, averaging 7 years in each station. My longest is seventeen years as administrator in an SVD college.
I admit that the more difficult part in this hello and goodbye thing is the ‘goodbye.’ Besides the pain of separation from people you have gotten used to work with, packing your things takes almost a month before the official departure. What to dispose of and what to retain of all things accumulated is as complicated as cleaning uncooked rice or palay of other foreign particles before cooking.
Only then when I realize that through the years, Ihave been keeping things unrelated to mywork and things unnecessary for basic needs. Only then when I start disposing of things,without regard for whether they had been given as gifts or things that I have rationalized to have sentimental value. Most of these were gifts. But if these gifts had not been put to use, they became useless, now just “remembrances” and more of a burden.
And as I finish packing, I realize that I really have so few to carry. The most important, the best that I can offer to the people in my next assignment are my skills and abilities, my talents, my capacity to work, my desire to learn more, all these BIG gifts from God– MYSELF and my faith and GOD Himself whom I want to share to others.
Source – Bible Diary 2020