The Gift of Mission

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Monday, December 30, 2013

MY being a teacher is beyond the four walls of the classroom because I am also called to serve the greater community.

This is happened again when Xavier University – Disaster Risk Reduction Management (XU-DRRM) Team was recently established and responded to the needs to alleviate the pains of our countrymen in the Visayas region.
It is a gift and a blessing being part of the XU-DRRM team that generously and selflessly offered help to “Yolanda” survivors.

After having gone through my discernment period few months ago, it is very clear in my mind and heart that as an Atenean, I am called to serve in whatever way I can.

My life in the religious community has brought me to a better understanding and appreciation of my gifts and potentials.

It has led me to a confirmation of my vocation as lay partner of the Jesuits in the mission, through teaching and community service.

I am glad to be part of the Psychosocial Team that provides some psychological processing and intervention to the survivors.

I am so grateful as well, because this is an opportunity to make use and maximize my abilities and skills.

I am so eager to go on mission since it has been my desire and prayer to be used as instrument.

It was my first time to go to the Northern part of Cebu, particularly in Medellin, our mission area.

Basically, the main purpose of my team is to listen to the survivors and help them in a way to rebuild their lives after the traumatic experience brought about by the super typhoon.

The psychosocial team was divided into two groups, one went to Bantayan island, and the other to Kawit Elementary and Medellin central schools.

I was fortunate to be assigned in Kawit and Medellin providing psychosocial processing to the teachers who were all affected.

As a trained facilitator, I kept in mind the three important phases in counseling: the heart, the mind and the hand.

As I began to listen to their stories, it broke my heart knowing the pain and sufferings they went through.

I even asked myself, “Why all these happened to them?”

The tears in their eyes showed their vulnerability and their being human.

I was so blessed being able to listen to the “sacredness” of their experience.

They were so terrified, afraid, and even thought that it could have been the “end of the world” as the horrible typhoon ripped properties and trees apart as it raged their areas.

Despite all these, the Filipinos are indeed resilient, amid the wounds, the spirit of hope is so strong as most of the teachers expressed the need to move on.

I was personally touched when one teacher said, “I have to be strong for my students.

"Even if it was so difficult for me, being a survivor of this calamity, but I am so thankful because I am still alive and now I have to continue with my mission and that is to teach and provide strength to my students.”

I have also learned and admired the strong sense of family and community among the survivors.

Though they were already greatly affected, still they were able to help their neighbors and looked after their welfare.

Most of all, the faith that is so alive in them, their trust in God and through their unceasing prayers, it made them survived the crisis.

I can say that, even just my presence was very comforting to them, as it was their first time to tell their stories and be listened at.

My service gives life, happiness, and fulfillment on my part. As God’s creature, I am called to collaborate with Him. Thus, the Cebu mission has realized my being a Christian.

The Northern Cebu experience truly affirmed my call as a servant, as I touched people's lives.

As I make use of my skills in the field of Psychology, the more I appreciate my gifts and find deeper meaning in my life.

My being part of the XU-DRRM Team has led me to greater purpose of my existence.

The Ignatian value of “being man for others” is actualized through this mission.

It was indeed a life-giving experience worth to be treasured.

As Xavier University celebrates its 80th this year, the ideals of RUBY Mission, Passion, and Compassion are truly manifested, lived, and shared through the generosity of individuals who are part of the XU-DRRM team which continues to commit itself for a greater cause and for the glory of God.

(Rogelio Lee Jr. is a faculty member of Xavier University, Department of Psychology. He is a member of the XU-Disaster Risk Reduction Management Team.)Rogelio A. Lee, Jr.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 30, 2013.


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