Thursday, August 27, 2009

Personal Ministry with People

This is Part 3 of my trip to China

Probably my favorite part about China was the people. I guess you could say I like people. I like saying that one of the most amazing things about spending time with people is you get to see the divine spark within them, almost a piece of divinity. It is the light that shines forth from our creation in the image of God. It's just enjoyable to spend time with the other.

During my first week traveling alone, I met a Chinese woman at the cathedral in Beijing who was visiting there. She asked me if I believed in God. I said of course. And she said she did too. It was a nice grace for the first day in China. I did not feel so alone. The next day in Shanghai I met a brother and sister who were Catholic. Their English was poor so we communicated through a lot of hand gestures. But we shared the faith so she sang me a Catholic song in Chinese and then I sang a Catholic song I knew. It was a blessing.

Later in Shanghai, I met a guy at my hostel who discovered I was a seminarian and we launched into a huge debate about God, life, and the world. I was surprised how close he was to the vision of the world from the eyes of a Catholic. His morals might have been a bit off but he had a deep sense of the objectivity of the world and some higher power. I just thought in my head, this guy is not far from the kingdom. Please consider praying for him.

On my way back to Beijing to meet up with the other seminarians, I shared a sleeper with a fallen away Catholic. He was encouraged to see a young seminarian and had his doubts about how this was possible. I tried sharing the gift of God's love from my own life. It was tough. :)

So even before I began real ministry or anything, I had already spoken to all these people about faith, even if just for a moment.

But over the next 6 weeks I also spent time with students of the priest who was our guide as well as random young people from parishes. I had a lot of chances to share my vocation story. Each time was a great moment of grace. I cannot quite explain it.

Among the many things we did, we had chances to either speak in village parishes before Mass or with the youth. Each time I spoke, a pattern became more and more apparent. The ultimate thing I had to say was that God's love compelled me to become a priest, to be in China, to live for others, and ultimately to respond in love. And all I wanted to share was that this love was something we were all called to share in and spread to others.

Please pray for the people of China. I do believe that the Holy Spirit is very active moving in the hearts of the people.


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