Last week we talked about how discernment allows you to more fully focus on, and recognize, God’s voice in your life.  If you’re considering going on long-term international mission or even a full-time volunteer program in your own country, it’s important to spend time discerning where and how you’re called to serve.

Discernment questions for those considering mission:

  1. Have you researched the organization through which you are considering serving?
    1. Do their values and charism align with your beliefs?
    2. Do they serve in an area or country of geographic interest to you? International or domestic?
    3. Do you resonate with their model of ministry in mission?
  2. What are your motivations for wanting to go on mission? What makes you want to serve?
    1. Are you fulfilling an unmet need in yourself?
    2. Do you want to help others?
  3. What gifts and talents do you possess?
    1. How do you envision using those gifts and talents on mission?
    2. Does the mission organization provide outlets for those gifts?
  4. Do you have a spiritual director?
    1. If not, is there anyone that you turn to for guidance in matters concerning your faith life?
  5. Do you prefer to live alone or in community?
  6. What do “service” and “simplicity” mean to you?
  7. When you experience difficult times in your life, who or what do you turn to?
    1. If you were overseas, how would you manage being away from your friends and family?
  8. Do you anticipate needing a support group while on mission?
    1. What sort of support does this organization provide for missioners in the field? 

By our baptism, we are all called to be mission, but we’re not all called to be mission in the same way. If you feel called to full-time mission or service, you should find an opportunity with a program whose charism and work match your interests and skills.

To find a program, you could start by searching through the 200 faith-based programs that are part of Catholic Volunteer Network. The RESPONSE directory of programs is online and is searchable by length of program, placement, living situation, types of service, age requirements and more.

If you feel called toward long-term international mission in the spirit of St. Francis, apply to Franciscan Mission Service’s Fall 2013 formation class.  Complete your application by Jan. 14 to meet our priority deadline.

After you complete your application, you could be invited to spring D.C. Discernment Days at our headquarters where you’d spend two days meet with our staff and returned missioners so you can learn more about us and we can learn more about you.

We regularly pray for all of you discerning how God is calling you to mission. As St. Paul says,

And this is my prayer: that your love for one another may grow more and more with the knowledge and complete understanding that will help you to come to true discernment, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, entirely filled with the fruits of uprightness through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)