By: Sophia R.
Missionary n. a person sent on a religious mission, especially one sent to promote Christianity in a foreign
If I were to tell you that I was a missionary, your first reply would probably be along the lines of “where are you from?” as if me being a missionary immediately meant that I had traveled to complete my mission. But that is incorrect. As the above definition clearly states: a missionary is a person sent on a religious mission. Although it does add that a missionary usually journeys to a foreign country, traveling is not a requirement. In fact, I am a missionary, even though my mission is just to my church CCE class.
When I walked into my CCE class for the first time, the initial thing that struck me was that everyone looked uncomfortable and awkward. No one wanted to participate in anything, but we were all new, and I was sure that in a few weeks, everyone would be having fun and enjoying learning about God. But months went by and all of my fellow young teens stayed slumped in their plastic chairs while hiding their phones under the table. As time went on, I became the main participator in most discussions, and eventually became the favorite of the teachers.
Although I enjoyed being the class pet, it was boring not hearing the other students’ opinions. I wanted to be challenged — to debate others. It was like I was stuck in a one sided conversation with ten other people. I tried to speak up often, in spite of my introversion, hoping to provoke others to share their thoughts as well, but nothing changed.That was when I decided that I had a mission. Though there were only a couple months of CCE left, I was going to try my hardest to engage these middle school students in something other than their phones. That next Sunday I brought homemade cupcakes to class. For the first time, I saw smiles on some other students’ faces. Some people actually noticed me for probably the first time in months. I kept sharing my views on Christ and interacting in class as much as possible. I hoped that if I persisted, others would be encouraged to speak out as well.
Then, one Sunday before the teacher had arrived at CCE class, a few girls were trying to cancel class like always. They were trying to forge our teacher’s handwriting on the white board saying that class was cancelled. The leader of the rebels asked me if I was any good at copying our teacher’s handwriting. I shrugged. For some reason, my soundless response provoked the girl to say, “We all know you hate CCE class just as much as we do, Sophia.” I was taken aback.
Was I really the only one who had any fondness for this class? Even after all my work to make CCE class fun and interesting? Of course I told her that I enjoyed CCE. I knew it wasn’t what she wanted to hear, but I was going to make my real opinion known.“Oh, you’re such a goodie-goodie,” was the insult I received.
I was extremely disappointed. I was tempted to not attend class the following week, even though I had baked donuts from scratch specifically for it. But I decided to show up with a brave face and a box of donuts and hope for the best. The positive response surprised me. One girl, who I had never seen with a true smile on her face, grinned after finishing her donut, and thanked me. I was overjoyed. My determination to complete this mission was rejuvenated.A few weeks later, on our last day of CCE before the summer started, I brought more homemade cupcakes. Though the reaction wasn’t as fulfilling as before, I now knew that I was making a difference. Some students actually started
sharing their personal experiences ranging from football goals to their parents’ divorce.
My mission is far from over, but it will have to continue in other places, as I won’t be going to CCE class next year. It may not make sense why feeding my CCE compatriots sugar should held deepen their faith.
But maybe if I show them a little kindness while they’re at church, they’ll remember a smile or some yummy frosting when they think of mass, instead of a boring homily. And maybe when they think about God, they won’t think something their parents forced upon them. They’ll think chocolate cupcakes.