This is a guest post by Beth M. Knobbe.
One of my greatest joys is leading college students on international service-immersion trips. I’ve traveled with 80 students to Nicaragua over the past seven years. I love seeing students’ lives transformed while walking with our brothers and sisters around the globe. I cannot imagine NOT doing this work.
Truthfully though, I’ve had this itch to try something new, but no clear sense of what that “something else” might be. When God asks us to follow him, we cannot put limits or restrictions on that call. Despite my bargaining, I knew this might mean relinquishing some of my responsibilities with our Nicaragua mission. Letting go would not be easy, so God made it undeniably obvious.
The academic calendar ends late this year, and our Nicaraguan partners were hesitant about pushing our December trip right into Christmas. Rather than force it to work, we began searching for other options.
Many initial signs pointed to Haiti, and as our plans progressed, the Holy Spirit began working overtime on our behalf. Dates, details, and mission partners began falling into place. People were calling us before we even reached out to them! Any fears were quickly resolved, and it became increasingly evident that Haiti was the right choice.
And then the funniest thing happened. I received a visit from our mission partners in Nicaragua. We talked about the dates again, and much to my surprise, they asked if we would be willing to reconsider. I think we can make this work, they said.
Yes!! Suddenly, the Nicaragua trip was back on our schedule. With hearts wide open, our staff discussed the potential for two trips at the same time over Winter Break. We pulled together an experienced student leadership team to work with our partners in Nicaragua, while a second group of us will embark on a new mission to Haiti.
The Ignatian principle of magis asks us to consider, “What more can I do to respond to God’s love?” Magis is not about striving toward achievement for the sole purpose of completing more work. Rather, magis is like the gentle reminder from a loving parent who knows your greatest potential, “I expect more from you.”
At first, it was hard for me to imagine letting go of something that I cherished as much as our Nicaragua trip. Responding to God’s love, however, requires us to be completely free, even if we have no idea where it will lead. Magis is at the heart of our mission to Haiti and our renewed commitment to Nicaragua. This is the something new, something else, something more—that I have been longing for. And I’m so excited to see what God has in store for us! AMDG.
Beth Knobbe serves as a campus minister at the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University. She earned a Master of Divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union, and she has a passion for finding God in all things. She is the author of Finding My Voice: A Young Woman’s Perspective and Party of One: Living Single with Faith, Purpose, and Passion.