“’Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:28-31)
This Gospel story is the underlying theme of my life as of late. On January 23, I lugged my bags out of the trunk of our family car, gave my parents a tearful goodbye hug, and walked through the sliding glass doors of the Pittsburgh airport ready to take the Lord’s hand and follow Him wherever He would lead me. The first place He took me to was the country of Ireland for a ten day long mission trip with 15 of my peers from Franciscan.
I’m going to be honest, I never envisioned myself to be a missionary. The Lord had other plans. The mission trip consisted of primarily youth ministry and pub ministry, both of which spoke to the depths of my heart. Before I knew it, I had applied and was chosen to be on the team. I had never been more terrified of doing anything in my life.
Just as Peter second guessed himself when walking towards the Lord out on the water, I too second guessed my decision to do mission after walking through the airport doors.
Now that I have completed mission and sit writing this in my dorm room in Austria, I reflect on the question, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” I doubted because my concupiscence longs to understand what’s going on and why things are happening. God doesn’t always answer those questions. I could go on for days about the faith and truth filled conversations I had in the pubs or how I could see in the students’ eyes the movement of the Spirit in their hearts as we gave our talks. Even though the majority of Irish people are born and raised Catholic, they are thirsting for a relationship with the Lord that is more than just going through the motions. Our team was able to use the tools we learned at Franciscan to bring an all-consuming fire to their faith.
In the two weeks since I’ve left the comfort of my home, I have had to learn pretty quickly to trust the Lord without any borders: spiritually and physically. I can’t begin to predict what this semester has in store, but I know the Lord will continue to ask me to trust and walk across the unknown waters toward Him.
It is such a huge blessing to attend Franciscan University where the study abroad program has become commonplace among the student body. I would say roughly 85% of the people I know have gone to or are planning to go to Austria. Sometimes I forget how awesome and rare of an opportunity that is. Most other schools do not have a program like ours.