By: Chuck Taylor
Okay, we’ve heard this before, right? “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time” is the age-old answer. It is this rather worn out illustration, though, that has been my view of Life Teen Mission –Germany. This coming Wednesday will mark only our first month in Germany, yet I find myself already looking for some fruit to come from our efforts so far. Is it too early to look for results? Maybe, if I am looking for the German people to repent like the biblical Ninevites did when Jonah finally made his way to that troubled city, as told in the book of Jonah. (It’s a good, short read by the way. Check it out!) What is important is to keep my eyes and ears open to the little things, the small changes.
We have heard, and in some ways already experienced, that Germany is a very tough mission field. The Life Teen missionaries who served here before us have done so much to prepare the soil. Yet, the fact is that the Christian faith is definitely on the back burner here, and the people, especially the teens, are not eager to discuss their faith or even talk about more than just the superficial topics. Mission work here is indeed a little like eating an elephant. But when we can find an opening, when we can enter into conversations with the people around us, we invite them to share with us in the good news of God’s love and mercy. We invite them into prayer and back to Mass and the Eucharist. We open for them the possibility of a deeper relationship with God.
In the meantime, we try our best to live the Gospel, to attend daily Mass, and to stick to our prayer routine. We open our home to the community so that we can build up our community here. This is how we do God’s work, and in doing it, we know the fruit will come, a little at a time. Maybe a teen whom we invited will come to Mass, or a mom we talked with will sign her daughter up for summer camp. God will surely give us little signs like this to let us know that we are making progress. He is always here to help us get through the tough times and to share with us in the good times. So, when we are faced with the huge task of eating an elephant, God sends us a little ketchup, or maybe hot sauce, to make it taste better.