Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine shares how moving past the fear of failure while in Jamaica made it possible for him to find the right ministries for the Savanna-la-Mar community.
As we enter the season of Advent, we enter a season of preparation and anticipation for Christmas. For some people, Christmas can be a time of loneliness and fear. However, with any type of fear, it is amazing what becomes possible when we look beyond that fear and place it in God’s hands.
The fear of failure has been a big part of my time in Jamaica. When I first arrived, I had a thousand ideas of what I wanted to do and accomplish with my time here. I thought about working in schools with kids, working with those experiencing poverty, and many more ideas. In the first six months, I did all sorts of different things. I tried working with community centers, government organizations, and schools. Due to a lack of support and funding, most of these projects didn’t work out and ended in failure.
Instead of being discouraged or disheartened by these failures. I prayed and opened my heart and listen to what God wanted me to do. I instead learned from them. Since the bigger ideas and projects didn’t work out, we tried to do smaller things that we could lead and manage ourselves. These were not huge projects that could make a large difference in people’s lives; they were projects that helped in smaller ways at a local level.
I started tutoring kids after school. My fellow missioner Brandon and I started raising chickens for the soup kitchen. I started a youth group for the parish. Though small at first, these endeavors bloomed better than I could have ever imagined. Through these smaller projects I have formed relationships with the people here and now know the community better, which is something that Franciscanism stresses – to walk with the people.
I think that once we move past a fear of failure, all things are possible. This has become a problem in some places in the world where people are expected not to fail, but failure is what makes us human. I fail all the time but once I moved past that fear, it became possible for me to create the youth group, tutor kids after school, and start raising the chickens.
So, this Advent and Christmas season, let go of your fears and look forward to Christmas. Look forward to the light and joy that Jesus brings into the world.
Reflection Question: How can push past the fear of failure and keep trying anyway?