After a moment, she answered, “Remember whom you made your commitment to. Remember how you were given this opportunity. Remember who called you. Remember and pray.”


by Marjorie Engcoy

  Marjorie is a Filipina Columban lay missionary assigned in Fiji.


Few months into the second term, I called my mother to tell her, “I want to come home. I don’t understand what’s going on anymore. I’ve had enough. I’m done.” There was a long pause on the other line so I thought the signal was crappy again. After a moment, she answered, “Remember whom you made your commitment to. Remember how you were given this opportunity. Remember who called you.  Remember and pray.” 


I was not in a very good mental space at that moment. Now I know how depression feels and looks like—it is definitely not the best place to be in. That short conversation with my mother brought me to the edge of my emotions and a series of flashbacks that played like a movie reduced me to tears that day. So, I did what she told me to:  remember and pray. But there were too many things going on. I needed to talk to someone about it or else, I would have gone crazy. I called my personal companion and we had the longest conversation. God bless her heart for lending me her ears. She listened to me and helped me see clarity. At the end of our conversation, I felt a little better. The process of getting back on my feet gradually took place.


My second term as lay missionary was especially memorable because it has pushed me to my limits, and at times, even beyond. I cried barrels of tears but I was taught some valuable lessons. It had its beautiful surprises as well, no doubt about that. It allowed me to discover more about myself. I was able to nurture my skills and learn new ones. I was blessed with new friendships and relationships. I was not only nurtured spiritually, but my missionary life was given a more meaningful melody.


Towards the end, I was so sure of my decision of not renewing. But it looked like God’s plan was better than mine. The Lord turned things around for me; he refuelled my tank. Through the faces of the people I journeyed with—mothers, fathers, youth and children, I felt more encouraged and inspired to continue. When I got home for vacation, my mother and I had the chance to talk about my second term experience. I will never forget what she said, “Giving up is not the answer to all the big difficulties in life; taking a break is. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” This has made me appreciate this vocation even more. Indeed, mother knows best!


Marjorie with Mom and niece.