I would say that the driving force of many of my decisions is fear. I’m sure this is pretty common - if you ask anyone if they have regrets, it’s usually from an opportunity they didn’t take, someone they didn’t approach, or a way that they didn’t stand up for themselves. It’s a unifying human experience.
However, the Lord has recently been knocking on the door of my fear and in a surprising way: through outreach.
As you could imagine, a fearful person (me) may not take super easily to the idea of walking up to random strangers and starting a conversation. I could give you a fleet of reasons why it would be a bad idea. But I’ve noticed that when my desire for fruitfulness in mission increases then so do the intimidating opportunities that come my way. Outreach is no different, and if I want to grow then I need to dive straight into it. Now I’ll be honest: I do not pass with flying colors. If anything, struggling with outreach has taught me to celebrate the small victories instead of wishing they were bigger ones. I would say, however, that the most powerful thing that I have learned through outreach is a simple fact that has stuck with me:
God prepares things in advance.
To give some context, my local missionary team does outreach by walking through some spots on campus where students usually hang out to start some casual conversation and invite students to the Newman Center. It’s actually a beautiful experience because as we walk, we ask the Holy Spirit to point out a person or table of people and to tell us to say hi. Like I said before, this is really not my strong suit, but I remember the first time that I went by myself, and I said hi to a student eating lunch and even though it was so awkward, we talked and I found out that we had the same major in college. In the moment, I noticed this as a small point where the Father was saying to me, “Trust Me. I’ve got it figured out.” The most recent time that I went for outreach, I went with a student and although we talked to a couple people, we were mostly wandering around not sure where to go. My avoidance mind was going, “well, this is hard, let’s be done,” but my friend asked Jesus really quickly and casually where He wanted us. Almost immediately, we saw a student we knew and in talking with her found out that she had just received some scary news, and it was obvious that Jesus knew where He wanted us and had guided us to her.
Overall, in both moments, I saw how God was guiding me and showing me that I don’t need to be afraid of going where He leads. He arranges things in advance and leaves little signs of His love in every path He prepares for me. It’s all personal. And it’s all love.
Hi! I am Mari Sanchez and I am blessed to be in my 2nd year as a Brew City Catholic Missionary on campus at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. My life as a missionary is a mix of work, play, and random adventures with the Lord, and I am so excited to share just a little of how He has blessed me.