Moving back to Malaysia in November 2020, after living overseas for 23 years, has been a challenging transition. It was difficult after being in full-time ministry for 16 ½ years too. While I listened to the clear voice within me saying with great clarity, “Go back to Malaysia” and acted upon it, it was an enormous act of faith for me. I bought the one-way ticket on a mercy mission flight to Kuala Lumpur within 3 hours and left most of my personal stuff in India when I left 2 weeks later, at the height of the (pre-vaccine) COVID-19 pandemic. It was a complete surprise to me. I had no plans to live in Malaysia again as I am one of those Malaysians who love Malaysia when I am far away! Plus, I had no place to stay in Malaysia and my siblings lived in different countries. Our Lord sent me a wonderful friend who was an angel in my time of great need, Jeniffer Fernandez, who had been offering me a place to stay since the pandemic began. I will always be grateful for her love and care during my 1st 3 months in Malaysia. I will never forget my friends and siblings who rallied to help me live in Malaysia again. It was like living in a new country. :)
Being in India at the start of the pandemic was difficult. In Kerala, India, we were in lockdown from mid-February 2020 until I left on 07 November 2020. To put it mildly, it is one thing being in isolation at home, but when a busy retreat centre is closed, It is difficult to explain how strange one feels. No one could leave the campus; People all over the world were getting used to the working from home (WFH) setup. It was not at all an issue with me. Most of my ministry was online from my 1st day (18 June 2004) of full-time service in Divine-Potta ministry.
There were only six passengers (including me) on the mercy mission flight. The emotions I experienced as I was on the flight were indescribable. I had no clue what my future was. In fact, I had no inkling of what path my life was taking. I was numb from exhaustion from all the clearing and packing I had tried to do in India - not knowing when I could return to India. It was very unsettling. Why was I back in Malaysia? There is limited scope for Catholic mission work. It was when I started my 2 weeks hotel quarantine that I realized—it is a whole NEW beginning in my faith journey and life. What did I do? Well, I slept for nearly 3 whole days!
While it happened swiftly, this phase of my life's journey began 2 years earlier. I experienced an “epiphany moment” during the 1st night of the Kerala Floods on 16 August 2018–an unexpected experience out of the blue. I "saw" a clear vision (I was wide awake) and heard a pure, clear voice of great clarity in my heart. The 1st question was, “Susan, are you answering God’s Call in your life?” My spontaneous heart’s response was “No!” It shook me. There was no electricity and about 12 feet of swift floodwaters.
1st Day of Kerala Floods - 16 August 2018 afternoon
On 11 July last year, during the online Monthly Friday Healing Adoration in Holy Family Church, Doveton, Australia, Fr. Michael Payyapilly V. C. called out my name with this message, “Open your heart to Jesus and he will lead your vocation to journeys that you would never have thought about – journeys that will bring fruits for His Glory.” This message came when I had questions about how I could continue to answer God’s Call.
Yet I was very unsettled in Malaysia until January this year, not knowing why God brought me back. An inner peace came into my heart of trusting Jesus with my life. The message regarding my vocation last year was like a little sapling sprouting from a grain of wheat. In April 2022, I returned to India to make the final closure of my life in India–it was 16 ½ years! It was a journey of great inner peace and joy. There was no sadness.
On 19 August 2022, the 1st night of the 9-day online Novena & Consecration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Fr, Michael Payyapilly V.C. (now the Superior in Divine Retreat Centre Colombo, Sri Lanka), my name was the first name called out and the Holy Spirit-inspired message was, “The Lord touches your heart. The Lord strengthens your heart.” At the start of this 9-day Consecration, I had made a brief prayer, “O God, if it is Your Will, Please give me a message to inspire me to live for You.” Praise God for His Loving answer! For the 1st time since 2018, I could pray freely in tongues spontaneously. The painful frozen right shoulder I had since June 2021 has vanished by over 90%! I can lift both my hands upright with no pain since Day 1. I feel so much joy and inspiration in my heart and mind ever since the Consecration began.
Immediately after Day 2, I felt a great holy zeal to begin the 4 initiatives placed in my heart since 2018. I had done a lot of praying and thinking—the time has come to take action! Fr. Michael shared this point about discipleship in one of his talks during this Consecration. I have begun the 4 evangelization initiatives and started my research/outlines of the projects. What seemed burdensome is now exciting and seems effortless. There is no more doubt within me or fear of the future. It is only this year I have felt the genuine joy of praying the Holy Rosary and a personal closeness to Mother Mary. It was a struggle before.
Blessed Family Memories
During this time, my mother returned to our Lord on 12 July 2022. It was a time of grief and a time of joy. My Mum's pilgrimage on earth is over. She earned her crown after her last race on earth. She had a holy death receiving the Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion the day before. It was a deeply touching funeral mass by His Excellency Bishop Sebastian Francis. It brought great comfort to our hearts. Today is my late parents' wedding anniversary.
Do I know clearly what is my life going to be like in Malaysia or on my vocation journey? No, I do not know. What I know is the Call of God in my heart and the path being lit by Christ’s Light for me to act in faith. I praise and thank Jesus for helping me to discern and to take action in living for Him. Consecrating my family and my life to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has been a most beautiful and grace-filled experience.
Like St. Philip. I want to be "always available for God".
The YouTube hymn at the top of this post, "Stand Still and Let God Move" by The Isaacs", resonated in my heart when I heard it 3 days ago.
O Mother Mary, lead me to Jesus! Amen.