It might seem too early to have this question but less than four months from now, I will go back to the Philippines, I will do two months of integration service, and then my GMF term will end. After our midterm event last November, there are days that I am already looking forward to the end of my international placement and being back in my home context, but most of the days, I am anxiously thinking, “What’s next?”
When I decided enter the program, I didn’t plan anything afterwards. Not having a long-term plan is totally out of my personality, but I courageously heed to a calling that has been long overdue and journey to the uncertainty. I want to be transformed — to strengthen my trust in God, to serve God, to align my priorities in life, and to adhere to the mandates of our Christian faith of living in peace, justice, and abundant life for all.
During my 18 months in the program, I was able to diversely expand my network, be exposed to different programs and ways to serve and ‘be with’ communities, have different lenses that allowed me to see the injustices that have long existed and do not get much attention (not only in Zambia but also in the Philippines and around the world), have a transformed perspective of social justice, and grow a deeper desire to break from the systems that dictate that we compete with one another rather than be together.
Along with this transforming experience come different ideas, visions, and challenges that mingle with opportunities (or options) both from my current and previous journeys. Not having a long-term plan have both good and not so good aspects. Some of the good aspects are that it made me being more present and focused on the experience, being amazed by the revelations and transforming experience without being spoiled by unmet expectations, and being open to various learnings that are not limited by a roadmap or timelines. One not so good aspect of not having a long-term plan is that it is harder to discern the options that I have.
Not knowing what to do despite having many things to do can be worrying-–it’s like listening to many songs playing at once and you don’t know which one to focus on or to sing along with. Identifying which options are of God or which are of myself can then be confusing.
It is in times like this that I am reminded to take a pause and look back. To stop all the songs and tune myself to the voice of God, the voice that has brought me to this journey. As I read back from the GMF purpose statement I submitted during my application, I found a cue of what’s next.
“After the program I hope to finally walk on the path of mission that God has planted in my heart since childhood. I hope to be exposed and build new connections in the mission environment and be able to continue working in other organizations or institutions focusing on sustainability of life and alleviation of injustices.”
GMF International, Class of 2016-2018