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To Thank and Encourage People We Served

We conclude the story of Daniel Lindbergh Lang, a 24-year-old from North Las Vegas, who was serving with the Catholic St Francis Xavier Lay Missionary Society in this part of Asia. In this fifth story, he reflects on the totality of his months here. He offers his thanks and encouragement to people the apostolate served. 

JUNE 2, 2022

By acts of faith and courage you welcomed me and our founder—strangers—into your homes, churches and communities. Thank you. You, with God’s Holy Spirit, allowed us to be among you and serve. As you pray this novena from the Ascension to Pentecost, and my founder and I go forth, consider these encouragements. 

I challenge you, “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 13:34). I thank you and God for giving me the chance to sit with you, praise with you, laugh with you, and even at times come to tears with you, whom I barely know—yet God knows. Thank you for having given me the chance to listen to your anxieties, your yearnings and your discontents. I ask you to remember how you felt in moments when my words and presence encouraged you. Remember how I went to see and hear you. Consider how you can listen more deeply to your peers. Consider how God is asking you to offer time—a gift from our loving Father—to heal His wounded body. Consider how He asks you to sit with not only those who may know Him but those who do not.

I invite you to discern as well what God asks of you. For some, this may be a calling to do what you have been doing. Recognizing God’s call in this nonetheless assures you. If there’s something different, however, discernment can also embolden you, “for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1). God Himself empowers us to do what He asks. “If God leads you to it, He’ll lead you through it,” I heard from a parishioner and benefactor before I came on mission. He was right. 

I mention to you, I got caught in the whirlwind when I realized God wanted me to be His missionary. Three and a half years ago, I was an undergraduate when people first asked me, “Are you a missionary?” I found that idea outlandish. A year-and-a-half later, when believers declared to me, “You should be a missionary!” I was still hard of heart, of so little faith as to think that God would ask me to do works like these. Yet nine months ago, when I first learned about this society, and five months ago, when I received my invitation to serve, life has taken off. When I came to this part of Asia, after having said, “Yes,” to God at last. I have tasted the extraordinary fruits of living God’s particular task to me, through His nudging and hints. I ask myself, why would I return to how I was? 

I exhort you, if you feel a call, answer the call. Discern it with a spiritual director who is prayerful, patient and wise. Pray in the silence with God, asking Him what He desires for you. We, dear brothers and sisters, are blessed with the same Holy Spirit by our baptism and confirmation that the first followers of Jesus received at Pentecost. We receive the same beloved God who both anguishes over our pains and lives so profoundly in us especially in reception of Holy Communion at Mass. 

I remind you, as St Paul advised, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). I found solace before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration, in praying the blessed holy rosary. Perhaps your tethers to our Savior’s whispers take other forms. Reflect on them. Practice them. If you seek God you will find Him (Matt. 7:7). If you feel the Spirit moves you to pray in a new way, experiment. “Give our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ).  

I thank you and God for your generosity, for your love, for your affection, for your tribulations and especially for your triumphs. You have inspired me by the light of your lives. At times trembling and near tears, I have felt affirmed in my missionary vocation through the moments I shared with you, with God. 

As we rely on God’s provision, you are God’s provision. We are entirely funded by the support of love offerings by differently-abled benefactors. You are among those through whom God’s Spirit has allowed us to eat, travel and stay. We give our time and our stability. You gave your attention and resources. I thank you for your hand in God’s for the success of this mission, entrusted not simply to the St. Francis Xavier Lay Missionary Society but indeed to every Christian in every church throughout the world.

Know that in prayer (and even thanks to the Internet), I and our founder Tricia are a mere thought away from you. In your reflection, you see how God may have led your hand, that you would regard two foreigners as worthy of your time, attention and resources. I thank you and praise God for your openness to consider these words, that they may rouse the weary (Isaiah 50:4). See, to what God calls you, serving those in your midst. God will not disappoint. Give Him that chance to show you.

Previous weeks: 
Companions in Mary, St Paul and Matteo Ricci
God’s authorship, spanning generations and places
Chinese ancestry, Mum’s death and first journey to Asia
From Vegas to Asia – Daniel Lang on a mission for God