Initially the worker enters the field equipped with the professional degree garnered after 5 to 10 years of sweating in college plus of course her desire to manifest her obedience and desire to follow the Lord through missions. Significantly each has his own set of ideas regarding mission work depending on personal experience and spiritual background. Being used to attending church within the four walls of a big chapel, with its highly organized sets of activities and personnel, the warm fellowship, and familiar faces, she now finds herself a jack of all trades not only on the spiritual field but in numerous areas as well.
Because the urgency of coping with understanding, the worker is sent to the field immediately after a few months of orientation on the program of the organization and the basic activities entailed therein.
The subject of Anthropology and the arts of Communications are learned through self discovery. Oh, the irony of it all; Filipinos having to learn the “culture” of Filipinos, and sometimes at a high cost.
Aside from feeling like a stranger she also had to learn the dialect, and because of the urgency of youth, she feels inadequate as she looks at the results of what she may have accomplished in relation to time duration, quality, quantity, and the efforts she had exerted. A feeling of frustration ensues and she begins to look away and longs for home where her family and friends used to give her the acceptance she so very much needed.
It usually takes a minimum of one year for one to fully grasp the meaning of what she’s doing. The period of adjustment to food, the new environment and its people plus co-workers who have different temperaments, and for several long torturing months, these may render the new worker to find herself feeling abused, exhausted, and hurt to the point of giving up.
But the point is, “Why do we still stay in spite of these?”
At the point of giving up, one tends to reflect on the possible consequences of leaving. Aside from the prospect of explaining herself to those whom she’s responsible to, conscience stirs her to look inside herself and say, “These experiences I have may be a way of stripping me of the things I hold on to like pride, recognition, conflict, etc. So this is it, the initial stage of gaining the name, M-i-s-s-i-o-n-a-r-y in it’s true meaning.
Indeed , the Master of all missions demands genuine simplicity and submission in any area relating to Him and His work no matter how small the work is or how seemingly defective the organization is when it comes to technicalities, as when seen by the critical eye.
Many times the one who is undergoing this turning point in her adjustment may pass unnoticed except when she voices out her inner struggles. Depending upon her emotional make-up, the manifestations vary from anger, restlessness incessant complaints, loss of weight and even sickness.
The calls for attention on our part, It pays for the person concerned to be aware of what’s happening to her and not just to obsess herself with the present event. Generally, the weight of the problem is much heavier on the one affected us compared to the point of view of another who looks at it objectively. Women tend to put so much emotions on event be they big or small.
Second to a deep relationship with the Lord is our relationship with other people sharing our work, that is usually our immediate co-worker. Establishing relationship has a profound bearing on the performance of the worker, hence the need of every staff to be open for a new relationship be he a new comer or not. Usually, greater effort is expected from co-workers who have stayed longer, to understand the new comer. Again, love for the brethren is gauged on its application. Indeed, the kind of work is a very rich source for personality development. May God be praised.
As the worker advances in age and experience, she or he may now manifest love for the work, even loyalty to the organization itself, be able to give of herself to her co-worker and to the local people she’s serving, and above all be able to say, “Praise the Lord, I am nothing. Thank you for using me!”
By: Evangeline Manochon
Bunhian, Ifugao, ’80s
(Note: The article may not necessarily reflect every MAP worker’s life or experience. The one of the pronouns he or she may not in anyway refer to specific person other than that of the writers own observation and experience)