When we think about doing mission work, we often ask ourselves, “What do I have to give?” Or possible, “What can I teach?” The more we reflect on Jesus’ ministry and how we continue His ministry here on earth, we begin to discover mutuality in ministry. That is, we discover that first, we must be open to learn and to receive before we can give.
The following words were written by a majority-world bishop for missionaries who would later come to serve in Latin America. Henri Nouwen cites these words in his journal, ¡Gracias!
Walk with Us in Our Search
Help us discover our own riches; don’t judge us poor because we lack what you have.
Help us discover our chains; don’t judge us slaves by the type of shackles you wear.
Be patient with us as a people; don’t judge us backward simply because we don’t follow your stride.
Be patient with our pace; don’t judge us lazy simply because we can’t follow your tempo.
Be patient with our symbols; don’t judge us ignorant because we can’t read your signs.
Be with us and proclaim the richness of your life which you can share with us.
Be with us and be open to what we can give.
Be with us as a companion who walks with us – neither behind nor in front – in our search for life and ultimately for God!
Henri Nouwen. ¡Gracias! in The Spiritual Life: Eight Essential Titles. (New York: Harper One, 2016), 288-89.