Sharing: First Mission Assignment



I started to discern for first mission assignment on January 2009 by submitting four preference regions (China, Central Pacific, Philippines, and Taiwan) to our Personnel Director Sr. Norie Mojado.
There were presentation from seven regions (Bolivia, Cambodia-Myanmar, China, Namibia, Panama, Philippines, and Tanzania) for our area study and I submitted my discernment paper with two preference regions (China and Philippines) on Jul 6, 2009.
I had a meeting with our Leadership Team Srs. Bitrina Kirway and Rebecca Macugay on Sep 23, 2009. I couldn’t hold my tears during the meeting and the whole afternoon. I submitted my re-discernment paper on Sep 28, 2009 (It means it’s my second time to re-write my discernment paper). Sr. Norie and Fr. Lukas Batmomolin, SVD helped me in re-discerning process.
Here is part of my discernment paper for my first mission assignment.
...“As I experience how God has blessed and loved me in so many ways, I want to share those experiences by doing simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible in our broken world through my commitment as a Maryknoll Sister.” (I composed this mission statement during the workshop on “Spirituality of Fundraising for Mission” by Dr. Michael Gable on Sep 25, 2009 and I couldn’t hold my tears when I read it.)
I realize that how little I can do in service to the universal mission of the Church but how big I am encouraged to keep move forward because mission is not just a matter of doing things for people, it is first of all a matter of being with people, of listening to, sharing and praying with them.
My experience in discerning to religious life was built up from my preferences and then I am called to learn, grow and transform through my daily experiences. I am called to do the same way of discernment for my first mission assignment as several regions welcome newly professed sisters.
This discernment process has contributed in such a way that I also come to know myself better, my weaknesses and strengths. My personal preferences that I mentioned in the earlier discernment paper truly reflect my own self. Those preferences such as, starting my mission from my comfort zone, embracing my Chinese root and giving a bit of comfort to parents by working in a place near Indonesia, may not resound the Maryknoll spirituality of mission, yet they are the real conditions of those two countries. However, my commitment to mission as a Maryknoll sister is clear, offer my simple self to people, whom I eventually will work with. I also realize that my spiritual life which is very important to my missionary work can be enriched by the way Christians in both China and the Philippines express their faith through religious celebrations.
Reflecting on all the above, here are my personal preferences:
1. China Region because…
I was surprised to know that the first mission of Maryknoll and the summer program of Maryknoll Lay Missioners were in mainland China. There are still many needs in mainland China so China Region very much encourage to explore these opportunities and especially as they are giving a strong invitation and warm welcome to China region (mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau) since summer 2008.
I am willing to look for the ministry possibilities as I did during my orientation in Chicago including working among the immigrants.
As I have a little basic knowledge of passive Mandarin, I think it would be an advantage to start with.
As I am called to be a simple missionary instead of heroic missionary, I think to start it from my comfort zone (warm weather, near Indonesia, Mandarin, and having rice) and to come and see what God has in store for me.
...

While having dinner on Oct 15, 2009, Sr. Genie Natividad said that there was an announcement in the bulletin board that our Leadership Team would share good news on Mission Sunday Oct 18, 2009 and it might be our first mission assignment. I said “God give me the grace to accept whatever their decision.” I couldn’t hold my tears at the end of talks of Sr. Helen Phillips who acted as St. Teresa of Avila.
Let nothing disturb you
Let nothing affright you
All things are passing
God never changes
The one who has God wants for nothing
God alone suffices. Amen.
In the evening, I received an invitation card from our Leadership Team to join them in the main dining room on Oct 18, 2009 5.00 p.m.
World Mission Sunday which was originally promulgated by Pope Pius XI on April 1926 to remind us all of our participation in mission by reason of our Baptism and of both our privilege and obligation to spread the Good News wherever we are. I wore my pink Indonesian kabaya as I would bring the offertory. After Mass, Laura informed me that Minh, MKLM offered to give a hair cut in the afternoon. I planned to have hair cut this week but I didn’t ask her yet. She cut my hair as I planned for free. I was wondering was this a sign that I would be assigned to China region as my wish? One of the passages during our retreat “The Historic Jesus and Discernment of Mission Today” by Fr. Simon Harak, SJ and Carol was one of my favourite verse Luk 11: 9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you...”
Our main dining room were full with our sisters. The main menu was pizza. Srs. Ellen McDonald, Sue Rech, Norie, Genie, Laura and I sat together. Sr. Janice McLaughlin gave an introduction including quotation of our foundress Mother Mary Joseph in our Constitutions: "Assignments have a much deeper significance than we usually bother to observe. They do not mean merely the naming of Sisters to serve in this mission or that. When we make assignments we are acknowledging growth and needs. Our work has been blessed and expanded. New fields are offered to us and we are eager to develop them." Sr. Bitrina Kirway announced my first mission assignment: China region (Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China). Thanks be to God! It’s the best first mission assignment that I can get. Then, my sisters were in line to give congratulations to three of us. Srs. Sue Glass and Marilu Limgenco from China region called around 9.00 p.m. to welcome me.
The next day, several of my sisters asked whether I couldn’t sleep. Yes, I couldn’t really sleep since Oct 15, 2009 as I am coughing in the middle of the night. Upon arrived from my orientation with Maryknoll Lay Missioner, there were pink carnations in a beautiful vase, welcome notes including by email from my China region and a book “What’s in a Chinese Character” from Sr. Betty Ann Maheu.
Thank you very much for all your prayers. I do appreciate it.

“Be very simple in the beginning of your religious life. If you are patient with yourself and do not aspire to lofty things in the beginning, just build up a good strong foundation, you will have a very happy life.” (Mother Mary Joseph: 1925)
Ossining-New York, Oct 25, 2009


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible