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One More Chance for Hope

July 23rd, 2013by Catherine England

I don’t usually blog about Brandon Heath so much (or song lyrics, for that matter), but more of his lyrics seem to be ringing very true in my mission work these last few days.  These are from his song “The One”:

If there’s one thing that I’m sure of
If there’s one thing that I know,
You could be one in a sea of faces
Or you can be one more chance for hope.

When I think of what could be
If we let our hearts believe
That it takes just one
Just one to turn this all around

And if we’re living history
How will they think of you and me
If it takes just one, just one,
What if, what if, what if I’m the one?

These lyrics, every time I hear them, are a bit of a reality check for me. Sometimes I get so used to being in Romania that I almost forget I’m here – I become complacent. Then, I’ll be walking somewhere, like to the store or to the church and God will randomly hit me with a reality check. It happens in the simple things, like a simple conversation with someone on the street, looking at the Carpathian Mountains that run along the back side of our town, or I just have this feeling. And I fall in love with this country all over again. It happened the other day when I was up in the mountains. I was sent to get water from the stream for the guys hauling wood and as I got there, I stopped and took this picture, then closed my eyes, listened to the stream, and took a second to breathe in the fresh mountain air. In that moment, I fell in love with Romania all over again.

These lyrics aren’t just true for people like me. They’re true for all of us. We all have the chance to just blend into everyday life and just be regular people. Or, we can do something radical for God and be a witness to His glory each and every day. It’s all about walking the walk and not just talking the talk. You can talk to someone about the Gospel until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re not living it out, what’s the point? The person isn’t going to listen. In his encyclical, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI emphasized the importance of witnessing in life when he said, “For the Church, the first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian life, given over to God in a communion that nothing should destroy and at the same time given to one’s neighbor with limitless zeal. As we said recently to a group of lay people, ‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.’” (Paragraph 41)

In the 7 years since I came back to my faith, I’ve found that nothing brings me greater joy than living out the Gospel, specifically, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). I named the mission after the concept of being a witness in everyday life simply by loving those I encounter each day, whether it’s the kids at the orphanage, people from our parish, or just someone walking past on the street. I want to be (and I pray that I am) used by God each day to be someone’s chance for hope in Him. I can personally testify to the fact that His hope never disappoints (Romans 5:5).

Hope is an incredibly important theological virtue. It’s been very important in my own life and my conversion and that’s one reason I love being a missionary for Missions of Hope. I want to restore the hope that comes only from the risen Jesus Christ to a country ravaged by Communism. Hope “keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity” (CCC 1818). I want to, by loving God’s little children forgotten by the world, restore hope in their lives so that they can change their country for the better. These kids are the future of Romania and I know that if they can see their own self-worth and have hope for their futures, then they will change Romania.

Photo credit: C. England photo, Used with Permission

Catherine England

Catherine England is a missionary with Missions of Hope and is currently serving in the small farming town of Turt, Romania where she works for a Byzantine priest and serves at a local state-run orphanage.