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Called by God


Editor’s Note: Missioner-in-training Erin McHugh shares how she finds comfort in the face of fear and doubt. 

One of my favorite sessions during our time here at Formation has been Scripture and Mission. During this session, we look at the Bible in a historical context, but especially at the passages and books related to social justice and mission. These sessions have made me reflect on callings and my own call from God to mission with Franciscan Mission Service.

God has called many people throughout the Bible like Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Ruth, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Esther, Mary, the disciples, and Paul.

God called these people in powerful and very direct ways: on top of mountains, through a burning bush, in dreams, visions, and appearances from angels. God also has called each of us to a unique mission.

South Africa - God has a unique path for each of us. We just need to listen to that small voice to find our path.

Two of the men who Erin went on mission with in South Africa last summer

God called me in a less direct way, but still just as powerfully. God spoke to me in the silence of my heart, through a still small voice. I heard this calling most strongly when I took a three-week silent retreat.

During my time of silence, God lit my heart on fire for overseas mission. I could literally feel my heart burning. I wanted to go live in another culture, lead a simple life of solidarity, and build relationships with those living in poverty around the world. I was ready and so willing to say “Yes” to this call.

However, I was struck by a feeling of being overwhelmed and afraid of this powerful call. I repeatedly asked: “Why me, God? I can’t answer that call, it’s too big for me. I’m just a 21-year-old girl, who didn’t even finish college. What could I have to offer?”

I was reminded that God often calls in unexpected ways, calls the least qualified person, and transforms his or her heart to go out and share God’s love with the world.

While reading the Bible for Scripture class, I have realized that many of the people God called were unsure of their calls and felt unqualified and afraid. However, God always responded to them by saying: “Be not afraid, I am with you.”

As I continue to answer this call from God, and am often filled with fear, I am holding that verse close to my heart, trusting that God is with and will walk with me on this journey.

I challenge each of you to take some time out of this loud and busy world to sit and listen to God’s still small voice with His calling for you. Don’t be afraid to say “Yes” and see how God will change your heart and use you to share that unconditional love with others.

Erin and some of the 3rd graders that she taught during a three month mission trip in South Africa

Erin and some of the 3rd graders that she taught during a three month mission trip in South Africa last summer

Erin McHugh has a strong passion for working with children and a heart for those living in poverty. After serving in South Africa last summer with Experience Mission, Erin is looking forward to building relationships and immersing herself in a new culture through Franciscan Mission Service. While her family now lives in Cincinnati, OH, Erin has roots in her hometown of Louisville, KY. Before pursuing her calling for international mission work, Erin attended Butler University for two years. There she was involved with the Butler Catholic Community and was co-chair of the service committee. Erin has been in Guatemala since January 2017.