Last July 13, our CFC-FFL missionaries left for Brazil to attend World Youth Day. For each of them, it was an experience of a lifetime!
TO LOVE EVEN MORE
A World Youth Day Testimony from Khyme Esteban, CFC FLiQ Media Fulltime Worker
Going to Rio for this year’s World Youth Day was an answered prayer for me. I asked God and Mama Mary when we went to our side trip in Fatima, Portugal last WYD 2011, that if I will be going to the next WYD, I want to become a volunteer; a part of the service team. My simple wish was granted.
It was a different experience. Everything was new: new environment, new people to deal with and new things to do. At first, I was afraid of these new things that I had to face, but God always reminded me that He wanted me to be there. It was only His words that I held on to all throughout the journey.
Amongst the many experiences as a volunteer, there are 3 realizations that I want to share:
1. It was God who called each one of us to be there, for a specific purpose.
I went there because God answered my prayer to serve Him in this WYD so I really prepared in meeting Him and doing the task that will be assigned to me. But it was disheartening to know that some volunteers just went there because it happened in BRAZIL, and most of them missed a lot of the activities because they chose to hang out with new friends or just rest. During these times that I complained, God revealed to me that regardless of the intentions of each one of us in going to the WYD, it was still He who has called us. And it will be up to Him to meet each one of us regardless of where we are in the state of our lives.
2. WYD is about seeing Jesus everywhere, in everything, to everyone
I was assigned in the Information Point in one of the Metro stations and my task was to welcome the pilgrims and to give directions. During the arrival procession of Pope Francis, our Metro coordinator gave me and the other Ecuadorian volunteer I was with, the privilege to leave our shift early so we could meet the Pope. But before we left, there was a surge of pilgrims that came to our station and they needed extra help. In short, we weren’t able to see the Pope. When I went home to our parish accommodation, the other volunteers were excitedly sharing their experience of closely seeing the Pope. One of the volunteers were able to shake hands with him. They were sad for me that I wasn’t able to see him but then I realized I was where I was supposed to be – in my Metro station, doing my duty and happily serving the pilgrims and the locals as well. It was thru the pilgrims that I served, and my co-volunteers that I was serving with, that I was able to witness how Jesus worked in me and through me. I knew that I was doing His will by staying to my true calling of why I was there in the first place. And when I saw the Pope, it was more of a thanksgiving and an affirmation of God’s calling for me.
3. We all speak the same language – the language of LOVE
A lot of us non-Portuguese speaking volunteers complained of not doing a lot in our duties simply because of language barriers but ask them of the highlights of their day and they were happy to share that they were able to smile, hug and serve the people. That’s what a servant of God should be- nothing should hinder you in serving Him because we all speak the same language, His own language of love. It was thru the smiles and thank you’s of the pilgrims, singing the WYD chant with them or even as simple as high five’s with them after a long day of work, that gave us affirmation that somehow, we were able to transmit God’s love to them. It was through “kamustahan” with the volunteers that I was able to know how the Lord has been working in their lives. It was thru praying together in different languages that I was able to witness their passion in serving the Lord and their great love for Him.
This WYD reminded me that regardless of our state in life, all of us are entitled of the same grace and mercy from the Lord. It renewed my fire and passion for mission. Serving others expands our hearts to love even more, especially in difficult and uncomfortable moments of our lives.