Have you ever had a moment when someone tells you that they’re going through something you’ve also already experienced, and you’re like, “same”? It may not be the exact situation, but you can at least relate to it somehow. It was a “same” moment because you came to realize that your experience was valid. What you thought as something that wouldn’t make sense was actually meant for a deeper purpose. And you finally turn that testing into a testimony.
I often had those moments in life. Let me give you an example.
There was one time when a brother in MFC Youth asked me, “How did you manage to review for your board exam amidst the pandemic given the fact that you’re busy as a media missionary? How were you able to face the uncertainty?”
I was about to take the CPA Licensure Exam last May 2020, but it was postponed and rescheduled to May 2021. At the same time, I’m currently serving as a Mission Volunteer for the LIT Program. I tried to balance my preparations for the boards and my service. He asked this because he was also intending to take the board exam this year and was taken aback by the possibility that it might be postponed. He told me that he already had a vision and plan for 2020, but feared that it might not come to life. I told him that, to be honest, I also had a hard time. It took me a while to process everything happening in my life before I had a sense of where I was going. I felt confused and clueless at first because of all the changes and detours, but I managed to get up and face them head-on because of my faith in the Lord. I was also affirmed in a lot of ways that God is in control even when all these things are happening. The brother then told me that my courage was inspiring and that it gave him hope.
Hope. We need to tell stories of hope. These stories sustain daily life. These are moments of grace, mercy, and providence by the Father. These can be life-changing and eye-opening. These can stop the world from falling into despair. Why are we holding back and ashamed to tell our story?
It may not solve problems, but it can be a source of strength. People don’t always need solutions and game plans, but they need to feel that they’re not alone. As Pope Paul VI says in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”
We are called to be witnesses to the love of the Father by telling our stories. Matthew 10:27 reminds us that what God has told us in the darkness, we should speak in the light; and what we hear whispered in our ear, we proclaim it upon the housetops. If we embrace this mission, in great or small ways, the Good News will be made manifest to others through us, and we take part in making Him known to the ends of the earth.
Now more than ever, the world needs your story. The world needs your courage and vulnerability. For now, as we are still in these trying times, let us find meaning in each day and share our encounters with God. No matter how bleak and dark the world is today, we can still shed light by sharing the goodness and greatness of God in our lives. We may not know what will happen in the future and how our stories will unfold, but we know that God remains faithful; He will never abandon us.
Thus, in answering the question, “Where is Hope?” We now know that hope is within our stories, waiting to be revealed by the storyteller that is you.
Roma Suliguin is a Mission Volunteer of MFC Youth serving in the LIT program.