This post comes from Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) missionary, Lilvia Gomez. Lilvia took a year to do mission work with SPO after college and found out how much just one year can change your life, thanks to God’s grace!
As a former student of Texas A&M University, I had the great blessing of being part of St. Mary's Catholic Student Center and all the great formation that comes with it. When I applied to give a year of my life as a Saint Paul's Outreach (SPO) missionary, I did it because I knew that I wanted to do ministry and that I wanted it to be with college students, since that's where I great so much in my faith. I didn’t know what to expect since I had no previous experience with SPO and came in cold turkey to training at the end of May 2012. I quickly realized that the work I was beginning was very different from what I had experienced in Texas. I had met the SPO Texas missionaries beforehand, so I knew a couple of people, but mostly was submerged into a completely new Catholic world.
Saint Paul's Outreach holds many treasures that the Church has to offer, although I had never had very much experience with them. There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit that I have gotten to experience since my time with SPO and I feel as though it has helped me to grow in knowledge of what the Holy Spirit is and how he guides us. Admitting, my first semester as a missionary was very difficult in many ways. I was very homesick, I was working with people I had never known before. I was all the sudden charge of things I didn’t know anything about – it was truly on the job training! But, the girls in my house and the staff were so welcoming and I am so grateful for the way they worked extra hard to make me feel at home. I suppose I had expected to know exactly what I was supposed to be doing and when I was not sure, it really rocked me and I realized I had much to learn.
Reflecting on this second semester, I realize how much I grew during that first difficult semester and how God really worked through that to help make me more confident the second time around. I have been able to enter into mission much more now that I understand it better and I am more comfortable and established here in Columbus. I firmly believe that God asks us to suffer to show us something greater – that’s what life is all about: reaching that something greater! Even though this year has had its ups and downs, I am truly grateful for what the Lord has done for me and would not have it any other way. Like all good things in life, this year has been one big learning process, and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for my second year with Saint Paul's Outreach!
-Submitted by Lilvia Gomez, Saint Paul’s Outreach missionary