Finding hope: patience is the secret to good food

by Guest Contributor

Columban Lay Missionary Lilibeth Sabado lives and works in Hong Kong. She reflects on how she and her fellow lay missionaries have been selling baking items during their local quarantine to sell and raise funds for Columban Mission.

Who would have thought that one day we would just wake and everything would have to stop, everything have to change and be reconfigured? We are now entering the eighth month of our lockdown ‘captivity’. My cry to God is getting louder day by day. ‘How long, O Lord, must we keep waiting? How long, O Lord, until we are free? During the fourth month of quarantine, the inability to physically connect and function in the ‘usual way’ had started to take its toll on us in the house. Boredom, irritability, restlessness and feeling useless started to kick in. I thought we needed to be creative to save our sanity. In a conversation with our staff, we agreed that baking food items for online selling would be a good way to occupy our idle time. This also came with a hope that in some small way we could raise funds for Columban Mission. We did some product research and development, and we continued to improve our baked goods as we went along. Initially, we offered our baked items only to close friends. Packaging was a challenge, but we’ve managed to address this in due course. Eventually, our circle of supporters became wider through word of mouth. Beginning with friends who contacted their families and network of friends we finally had our first ‘official’ buyer who ordered two pieces of round chicken pie.

Our enthusiasm and excitement died down when we received a photo of the pies she ordered. They had crumbled! With such embarrassment, I remember apologizing profusely. She assured us that they had tasted great and suggested that perhaps we needed to use a properly sized box with a firm hold to lessen the chances of the pies crumbling. Looking at the image of the crumbled pie, it felt like the hope we had started to build had suddenly collapsed, the flickering light of hope that was supposed to lead us somewhere had been extinguished

Pope Francis said, ‘Amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.’ I have learned that hope gives birth to courage, and courage leads to creativity; and that creativity opens the door for the fruits of the spirit to dwell within. But one may ask, ‘What comes before hope?’ I believe it is trust, and before trust comes gratitude. The crumbled pie experience didn’t stop us but instead motivated us to improve our product line, our packaging and handling. We wake up each day in anticipation to what it is to come. It is a small venture but it feels good to be productive. From that tiny flicker of hope, it feels good to be able to contribute something. We continue to hold on to hope.

You, who believe in us, our friends, benefactors, partners and customers, have given us hope and your generosity has enabled us to help some of the victims of typhoons ‘Rolly’ and ‘Ulysses’ in Bicol, Marikina and Tuguegarao and we remain grateful beyond words for your goodness.

Hope leads to freedom. May we hold on to hope day by day.

The crumbled chicken pies.

“Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. ”

Romans 12:12