‘Be My Hands’ and ‘Be My Feet’

Co-ordinator of Columban Lay Missionaries in Britain, Gertrudes C Samson, recalls how she came to write two poems which explain a little about her ministry as a Columban Lay Missionary.

I wrote these two poems during a workshop on poetry writing in one of my ministries with asylum seekers in Birmingham many years ago. I decided to finish the poems and was keen to share them because writing these was memorable, for and it led me to reflect deeper as I recalled important events in my life. It also reminded to be thankful to God for the great privilege of serving Him in mission and the grace to say “Yes” to his invitation. Hopefully these poems give people a glimpse of what I do in mission whilst trying to be feet and hands of Jesus for others.

My hands

My hands in mission cooked so many dishes for people to share in table fellowship, hopefully it made others experience Jesus hospitality.

My hands in mission reached out to people in crisis trying to bring comfort, hopefully it made others feel Jesus healing.

My hands in mission wrote some articles which made me cry, hopefully it made others see the needy in their hearts.

My hands in mission is constantly busy serving others, welcoming, comforting, sharing, teaching... hopefully it made others know my Loving Servant King.

Gertrudes C Samson

Prior being assigned to Britain in 2010, I attended my final discernment retreat in the Philippines. The retreat was several days long and one particular day, I decided to stay and pray in my room. Usually rooms in the retreat house have plain crosses or crucifixes. I found a crucifix in my room which was fixed on the wall. When I looked at it closely, I was surprised to see a broken cross, for the image of Jesus on this crucifix had no hands!

Soon after, I recalled the story I’d been told about a church with a broken crucifix. People asked the priest why the figure of Jesus on the crucifix had no hands and he told them it was because Jesus was asking His people to be his hands. He was encouraging them to reach out to others. In a symbolic way, I believe Jesus was asking me ‘Be my hands’ on that day during the retreat.

Thank you God for inviting me in mission and for the ability to use my hands in reaching out to others.

My feet

My feet took me to places I've never been before.

My feet took me to where the needy people are.

My feet took me to pilgrimages with my friend Jesus.

My feet took me to adventures with God helping others.

My feet took me to a journey continually challenging.

My feet took me to a road unfolding, never ending.

Gertrudes C Samson

The poem ‘Be my feet’ reminded me to be thankful to God for being able to walk again. When I was around 7 years old, I woke up one morning and suddenly was unable to walk.  My feet and my calves were painful whenever I tried to move them and walk. For several months, my father patiently carried me in his arms to the doctor every morning to have injections.  My mother prayed a lot and even made novenas to beg God to make me walk again. God heard our family’s prayers and enabled me to walk again.

Thank you God that you helped me to walk again. In doing so I am able to serve you and reach out to others as you have asked me to do through your mission.

I must admit that being the hands and feet of Jesus in mission is not always easy. Together with the bed of roses comes the thorns too. Together with the joy of mission comes tears also. There are victories to celebrate but there are also challenges to overcome. But I am comforted knowing Jesus experienced the same, even he was not spared. He suffered worst and so I tell myself I should try not to complain. There is joy in knowing that I am doing the will of God.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus has taken me on pilgrimages where things have been unpredictable with turns and bends like going to a labyrinth. Sometimes the path unfolds in front of your eyes as you go through it, other times it seems endless. But no matter how long and challenging it is, if you trust in God and do not give up, and surrender things to Him, the time will come when you will meet God and enjoy the peace that comes from trusting his unconditional love.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John 14:27