Pearllyn, known to us as La Ling, was a full-time Youth Mission Volunteer during the 3-month mission in the Parish of San Isidro Labrador, Balabagan, Lanao del Sur, Prelature of Marawi.
It’s difficult to have two religions at the same time because I know that I have to choose one. And I chose to be Catholic because this is what is in my heart and mind. I too have my personal reasons why I did not choose the other one.
As I joined the Redemptorist Mission Team in San Isidro Labrador Parish, Balabagan, that was also the time to discover myself and time for me to learn more. Yet, I was anxious and at the same time afraid.
I had mixed emotions. I was anxious, afraid and happy during those times when I was with the Mission Team. I was anxious that I might not be able to connect and relate with them since it was my first time to meet and mingle among missionaries. They might have many expectations from me that I could not do. I was afraid that my father’s relatives or worst my father himself might see me with them. Yet, I felt happy also because I was given the choice to make new friends. I do not have many friends in my hometown. I have been out of town for a long time when I left to study. I was overjoyed too because I had many opportunities to learn more in serving the Lord and ways to live out my Catholic faith fully.
I have many mistakes and failures. I caused pain to others especially to my family. Because of these memories, it led me to ask myself. Do I deserve enough to be part of this mission? Why me? I don’t have sufficient knowledge about my Catholic faith. The only thing in my mind is that, this is (Catholic) my religion and I commit myself to it for life.
The 3-month long mission in San Isidro Parish in Balabagan, I served as a local youth-mission volunteer. With this experience I grew in my faith and learned a lot to live out my faith today.
I also realized that there were many things that I thought I could not do, but then, I succeeded. The Mission Team helped me and gave me the courage to do what I was most afraid of before. I stood in front of many people and began to deliver talks and reflections. Though, I know that what I did was still very simple and I have not yet fully overcome my stage-fear, but then, I began well. I know now that I can do it because of the willingness to do it.
Due to this mission experience I gained the courage to express my hurt feelings which I have been keeping for a long time. I was deeply hurt by my father. I hated him for almost half of my life. I served the Lord with hatred in my heart. Yet, the days of being with the Mission Team became a way for me to see the light and to let go of those hatred and anger in my heart. In all of these, I know that it was the Lord who made this possible for me to meet these people. Through them, I slowly moved out from the darkness of hatred that controlled my heart and to be able to serve the Lord fully and wholeheartedly.
I myself have become a recipient of the grace of this mission. I have learned that planting hatred in my heart will only ruin me. I learned to forgive the one who hurt me and to ask for forgiveness to those I hurt. I realized how important it is to love one another and to love friends as well as enemies. Indeed, serving the Lord is not a platform to advance my personal agenda and not a space so that people will recognize and love me. This is an invitation for me now to serve and love the Lord with all my heart and mind. I will serve God until my last breath. Amen.