On the Heart of a Missionary

When some think “missionary” they think of of people traveling, spreading the Gospel. Aiding the poor, the broken hearted in far away lands. Yes, this is one version, but over the years I have come to the conclusion that it is not always the case.

For nine years now I have worked at Annunciation of the Lord parish, with high school kids and grade school kids. Throughout those eight years things have changed somewhat and although I still minister to those two groups, a third one has formed; young adults. One insightful person on our Impact team actually mentioned she thought that was my primary role on the Core team; to minister to the young adults that come out as volunteers or on the Core team. I wouldn’t say that’s my primary role, but I would certainly say that it has become one of the things I do there.

There’s no traveling involved with this ministry, it’s all local. Especially now that I live close to the church, close enough that if someone gives me a ride home it’s only five or ten minutes away. Yet I would still classify myself as a missionary, and that I do mission work. Because those who are called to mission have the heart of a missionary, and to have a heart of a missionary does not mean you will travel (although you could!).

So what is the “heart” of a missionary? Well, a desire to have others find Christ is one. Works of Mercy (Corporal and Spiritual) are another. Preaching the Gospel with words and actions. Imparting wisdom and knowledge. One way how you can tell that you have a heart of a missionary is when those who aren’t Christian (or Catholic) look at you and say “they’re doing good stuff”, despite them actually disagreeing with the message.

For me, I work locally. I never felt the call, nor desire, to travel. Someone needs to mind the store, and I’m one of those people. But even I must be willing to drop everything for the Lord. The fields need to be grown, and when laborers are needed then they must drop what they’re doing and head out . This is the key to being an “Apostle”; Peter, Andrew, John, Phillip, Nathaniel, they all dropped everything and followed Christ. Paul, after his conversion, left it all behind. And of course, Thomas. My love of Saint Thomas is well known at Life Teen; I speak of him frequently. He’s a hero of mine, one who I look to for inspiration. The man considered to be the “weakest” of the twelve, the man who gets ridiculed every Sunday after Easter. The man left EVERYTHING behind to follow Christ, who heard Christ Himself say “on the third day I will rise”. The man who said “Let us also go, that we may die with him”. Think about that for a moment. The man who who doubted Christ Jesus Himself was the one who flat out stated earlier “let us also go, that we may die with him”. Thomas, man of conviction. That conviction was not broken when he felt away from Jesus. Rather the conviction then became one of doubt. You see, Thomas was CONVICTED and SURE of his doubt. The irony; his greatest strength became a weakness! Thomas became one of the lost, brokenhearted, all due to his stubborn willpower. Jesus said that He is the Good Shepard, the one who leaves the flock alone and goes after that one missing sheep. Thomas was that sheep, he was lost. Christ found Thomas, and brought him home. The rest then falls into place; Thomas regains his conviction, and travels the 4775 km’s to India, where he remains venerated as the Patron Saint of India to this day.

Right now in my life I do this in a metaphorical sense. I have a wife, child, and mortgage, so for now, God is telling me to stay put. But in other areas, like hobbies, activities, different commitments, I need to remain flexible to His Divine Will. But there are several people I know who in a literal sense are dropping everything. People who rely on monthly donations to feed themselves and cover living expenses. You can give them a quarter, five dollars, and they’ll take it; but they need monthly donations to survive.

I’ve known Kevin Darwent for a few years now. Well, more than just a few; I believe it goes back to when he was in Grade Nine. He’s 22 years old now, so that should give you an indication of the length. He used to be a quiet boy who would at times be nervous in small crowds, let alone large ones. Now, I’m proud to say he spent the last year doing campus ministry in Halifax. And not just any ministry, but frontline ministry. Kevin was working the trenches, spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. He provided good consul to several people, provided some with food and drink when needed, and helped lead others in their faith. You can find him on Twitter @KevDar7. I’m very proud of the work he is doing, and proud to say I supported him last year financially. I will be doing so this year as well. I encourage you to contact him at kev_the_red_89@hotmail.com to inquire about supporting him.

I’ve known Tim Killoran for a shorter time period than Kevin, but that does not diminish the friendship I have with him. Rather, it gives it a different dynamic. Tim is one of those fellows who is “one of the guys”, I never fail to have fun when he is around the group. I respect Tim greatly, especially considering that he moved across the country to BC to do campus ministry. He did this while planning a wedding with Janine Boulanger, his then fiancé. His missionary fiancé became his wife, and that have an beautiful baby girl Gianna (whom my son will protect fiercely as they grow older). That’s right, Janine is also with CCO, and also went all the way to BC to spread the Gospel. Janine is a true woman of God, a Proverbs 31 woman who will help Tim reach his potential (and vice-versa). Before the birth of Gianna, they then moved back to Ottawa as CCO had a need for Tim to be at their headquarters. They can be reached at tim_killoran@yahoo.com or janineboulanger@gmail.com if you would like to know more about what they do.

I met Kelly Keays when she joined the Core team at my parish. She recently moved to Kingston, after living in Ottawa for years. Why Kingston? Because she heard God’s call and assented; she went to where He was calling her. Without hesitating and without having much (if any) experience living on her own and away from her family, she moved to another city. She is now doing frontline ministry work at Queens, and I am incredibly proud of the work she is doing. You can find her @kellykeays on Twitter, and feel free to support her anyway that you can.

Conor George used to be on the Core team at my parish. I remember clearly that during a Core Retreat, he said to me; “it means a lot that you’re here. A lot of my friends who get engaged and we never see them again. I understand if we saw a bit less of them, but a lot of times they simply fall out of our lives. Thank you for not being this way”. Him saying that meant more to me than he probably knows, for reasons I will detail in the future. I thanked him for his kind words of affirmation, and it also served to remind how blessed I am to have my lovely wife Stephanie. Since then Conor has gotten engaged himself, and is current does Campus ministry with CCO. He can be reached on Twitter @conorgmusic

I first knew Danielle Breffitt when she attended as a youth who attended Life Teen at my parish. After a bit she joined our Core team and we became peers. She even became “my boss” for a time, as she was the assistant youth coordinator for a couple of years. Over the course of doing youth ministry together during most of that time, we have become been very good friends, and have been so for most of those nine years. To give an indication of the kind of woman Danielle is; my wife and I moved into our new home, and not but eight hours after we did so, my wife’s labour started. Despite it being a Sunday (which considering that is the day our Life Nights are on, she’s pretty busy since she was the assistant youth coordinator at the time), and despite it being right around Christmas time (when plans with family were made), she not only got people to sign a “congratulations!” card, but also helped organize a group of people to drop by my house and assist with unpacking and getting baby stuff setup. She helped unpacked boxes, set up some furniture, and helped calm my nerves about now having a newborn child. A couple of months later, she proceeded to (while being busy with work, midterms, and other items) babysit for my wife and I while my wife was having a medical crisis. She literally dropped everything for us. For our child.

Now she’s works at the social media department of CCO, while still helping out at Sunday Night Live (the youth program at our parish). She too, does missionary work, although like myself there is little traveling. She can be reached at @debref on Twitter.

You may now be asking; how can one help me with my missionary work? Easily. Go to Annunciation of the Lord on Ogilvie Road and TITHE. That simple. Put some money in the basket when it’s being passed around and you’re helping me out. If you feel called to do ministry, act on the call. If you want to learn more about what we do at Annunciation, please don’t hesitate to ask. We have two new priests coming in, plus a new youth coordinator arriving at some point. A few Core members are leaving as well, as they feel God is calling them elsewhere. The youth of today, the youth of tomorrow, they need missionaries within their local church to assist them in their daily lives. They need relational ministry.

They need Christ, but they also need people to bring Christ to them. And sometimes, yes, that can be done without traveling across the country. Other people need an outsider to show them the Light of Christ. Both are roles that one can have. Both are essential.

Either way, pray for us all, all missionaries. On the road and at home.

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