Sunday, February 10, 2013
In 2012, Darren Streff often showed up in my blog posts as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner who was working with our PazSalud program. Then for the past couple of months, he's been absent. Now he's back, but under different auspices.
What's happened is a longer story than I'm going to tell, but the short version is that the Maryknoll Lay Missioner program came to the conclusion that Darren's proposed work as a coordinator for PazSalud was not a good fit with their expectations of what Lay Missioners would do. Their expectation, as I understand it, is that Lay Missioners will work directly with a local community on a development project that can later be turned over to the local community. I'd agree that this is not a good description of our work in PazSalud.
By the time that Maryknoll reached this conclusion, though, Darren had already spent some months working with us. He'd come to know our program and our people in El Salvador. He'd even come to the Northwest to meet the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace and the PeaceHealth Board of Directors. He loved the PazSalud program and was convinced that he was called to do this work.
So Darren had to make a choice between PeaceHealth and the Maryknoll community who were his friends and his primary support system for his first year in El Salvador. The Maryknoll Lay Missioners wisely ask a Missioner who is considering leaving to enter into a formal process of discernment, and Darren entered into that process wholeheartedly, praying through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises with the help of a Maryknoll spiritual director.
He has been in that process for most of the month of January, and on February 4th finally told his Maryknoll Lay Missioner group that he would no longer be a Lay Missioner, but would continue to be their friend and would continue to carry the Maryknoll spirit in his work with us.
We in PazSalud and at PeaceHealth are sorry that Darren had to make this choice, but we are glad he chose to come work with PazSalud. It's wonderful to have his positive spirit, his joyful energy, and his great commitment to the people of El Salvador working for us again. We missed you, Darren, and it's great to have you back!