Hello friends, my name is Sabrina Tan. Like the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John who left her water jar at the well and excitedly went into town to share with everyone about the Messiah she had met, it is with excitement and joy in my heart that I would like to share with you my on-going vocation journey. The excitement which the Samaritan woman carried, flowed from her own life experiences and her encounter with Jesus. Likewise, my journey is also a story of searching, challenges, little yes-es and a growing friendship with Jesus.
My first Yes
Just a short introduction about myself, I am 28 this year and I am not a cradle Catholic. But I am blessed to have been in a Catholic school for 10 years which introduced me to the Catholic faith. Growing up, the concept of God and faith was somewhat like a fairy-tale, nothing real and personal. I remember praying only when I had terrible stomach aches, begging God to take them away. At 19, I was re-introduced to the faith during an unplanned opportunity to attend Mass with a very good friend, where I felt an overwhelmingly sense of peace, to the point of tears. It was a feeling that resonated much deeper than all the attention I was receiving from friends and success from education and sporting achievements.
This was the start of a search in wanting to get to know God and the faith better. My baptism in 2010, alongside my elder sister, became my first “Yes” to Jesus. Post-baptism, I journeyed closely with a youth community in my parish of Church of St Francis Xavier, obtained my degree and later got a good job as a public servant. I was happy and contented with where I was at in life.
A deeper Search
But yet, there was still an aching restlessness within me.
“What must I do, what more can I do to gain eternal life?”
I felt like the rich young man in Matthew 19:16- 30. During this period of questioning and experiencing this stirring in my heart for something more in my life, I met the Verbum Dei Missionaries. I remember attending one of their vocation discernment retreats where they had a panel session for us to ask questions relating to vocation discernment. The panel of three persons consisted of a married couple who are disciples of Verbum Dei and Sr Maria Jose, a consecrated missionary. I remember bombarding Sr Maria Jose questions about missionary life.
“How do you know if God is calling you to this way of life? How did you feel having to leave your family and go to a foreign land? Weren’t you scared of the uncertainty of a missionary life?”
I was curious about where and how she had gotten the courage to leave everything behind to follow Jesus and still be filled with great peace and deep joy in her heart. It was at this retreat and in journeying with Sr Sandra that I recognised this growing desire in my heart to give more and more of myself to others, to be at the service of God’s Word and to share His love so that others can come to know of Jesus and encounter His love in a deeper way! For me, this desire that Jesus places in my heart is His gentle and personal invitation to “Come Follow Me”.
Jesus continues to meet me at the Well
This invitation, however, is not one without its own challenges and frustrations too. There were moments where I doubted if I could “give up” my lifestyle and the financial independence that I had, moments filled with uncertainties of the future and moments where I face my family’s look of sadness and worry with this path that I am choosing to take.
However, in these moments and much more, just as Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus continues to meet me at my own well and offers me His living water, so that I can never thirst again. And that is the beauty of the Verbum Dei charism. It lies in encountering God through the Word. For me, it is in praying with the Word, in meeting Jesus at my own well that I continue to discover how real and human He is. How Jesus healed the sick, the tormented, not because He had the power to do so, but because He loved each one of them dearly (Matthew 4:23-25). How meticulous Jesus is when He looked around just to find the haemorrhaging woman who touched His cloak (Mark 5:25-34). How Jesus continued to be a friend to Peter who denied Him (John 21:15-19). This is the same Jesus who continues to love me with all that I am and continues to give Himself to me daily at the Eucharist.
Throughout this 3- year discernment journey, I have come to realise that it is not about finding out the path God is calling me to take that I can lead a “Happy Ever After” or a “Problem-free” life, neither is it about the things I have to “give up” to achieve this life. Rather, it is a journey for me to fall in love with Jesus, the Man behind the Word, time and time again. And to respond to this Love in a way unique to me, by becoming His missionary, sharing His Word and Love to all He sends my way. It is with deep assurance for His love for me each day that I know I am not alone on this adventure, in moments of joy, excitement, struggle or pain. I have found my Treasure that keeps me going.
Please keep me in your prayers as I take the next step of my journey, to enter into the 2-year formation course in England, discovering and responding to a deeper friendship with God.
Sharing first appeared on Verbum Dei Website.