Most VIDES missionaries go to Africa or Latin America for their mission. Some will stay here in San Antonio for a little while before they move on, but there's been just a handful of us (six that I know of in the last five years out of about eighty missionaries) who serve in the states, period.
When people familiar with VIDES meet me, invariably, the first or second question asked is, "Where will you go for your mission?" Which always bugs me. It's not the question itself, since the vast majority of VIDES volunteers who spend any time in San Antonio are in fact going somewhere else eventually. It's the reaction when I firmly and proudly reply, "This is my mission." They seem surprised.
That shouldn't bother me. I didn't really think of anything involving indoor pluming as a "mission" when I was looking into it. I wasn't really thinking about being a missionary. I had a firm grasp on what service is, as distinct from volunteering or rescuing, and that was what I was after. I didn't come to Texas thinking I was doing missionary work.
Having been here for exactly five months (which means I am slightly more than halfway through this thing), I've changed my mind. Last Saturday, I gave a presentation on my work at St John Bosco School to the new group of VIDES volunteers who were here being trained. The process of putting it together let me put a lot of my meandering notions into words. Some of it I've mentioned here before, a lot of it I haven't.
Rather unfortunately, I don't think I can replicate it all here. Some of it is on the power point. A lot of it came spilling out of my hyper-speed mouth as I was giving the presentation and is lost forever -- or until I get that particular inspiration again.
This is a video version of the aforementioned presentation, which I hope gives some insight. Please keep in mind:
This was originally a power point, so there was a lot of talking over and between slides, and the text on the slides was designed to be sen on a big ol' projector.
Also, I pretty much re-did the entire thing the night before I gave it, so there's a few really dumb goofs, including a reference to second Corinthians that should have been a reference to first Corinthians. Woops!