The 13 weeks of our mission formation program is a time of discernment. Candidates come to formation intending that, at the end, they will embark on at least two years of overseas service. But sometimes, during the course of those 13 weeks of prayer, reflection, and discussion, things come to light that make candidates reevaluate how they are meant to live out their baptismal call to be missionary.
This year, two candidates decided that overseas work with Franciscan Mission Service was not the path for them. While we are sad to see them go, we wish them the best and hold them in prayer as they continue to discern how God will use their unique gifts.
One of the former missioner-in-training Brittany Koepke wrote this final blog post to reflect on her time in formation.
October 17 was an important day-it marked my last day in the Franciscan Mission Service formation program. I have discerned a different path. But I have done so in gratitude for this time of discernment, for the people encountered, for the friendships formed, for the struggles endured, and for the knowledge learned.
My time in the FMS formation program was not in vain. I learned how to cook for a house full of 12 people and was reminded that intentionality is the key to a rich community life. I re-learned that an open door is not necessarily a door I should walk through, and that discernment requires trusting that I am a sheep that truly can hear and know my Shepherd’s voice. I learned much about the life of St. Francis and how conversion of heart and soul makes what was once bitter to you become sweet. (Referencing St. Francis’ encounter with the leper.)
I leave FMS in peace. And I do so, also, with this image in mind:
|My housemates and friends, minus James, while living at Casa San Salvador.|
When looking at this picture I am reminded we are all running our course of faith.
When looking at this picture I am reminded that we do not know what lies ahead.
Everyone in this picture has zeal, has passion, and has love to give. For a time, our routes crossed and we were all running very closely together-within arm’s reach of one another.
Though my run is now taking me on a different path and we will not be running side by side, let us remember that we are all still running our course of faith. I run forward in the unfolding of His missional call. Run forward in yours. And let us all, whatever we do, go in His peace with Him as our aim.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us* and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.” –Hebrews 12:1-2