Franciscan Alumna talks about how to be a missionary


The missionary heart is one that is cultivated through an attitude of worship, said Katie Gesto, a Franciscan University grad of ‘91, in a talk she gave on growing an inner missionary spirit last Friday.

“Our job as missionaries is to grow in freedom so that we can worship,” Gesto went on. “So often we think our lives should be full of entertainment, but we don’t have time to be entertained.”

She said this in relation to the individual relationship each person, especially missionaries, should have in order to let go of the touchy-feely sense of the Christian faith. It is necessary, she said, to grow an authentic dialogue with Him in order to become more able to adore Him.

“The thing is,” Gesto continued. “We can put good things above God. I know that it’s tempting for me to put missions above Him. Missions are good things, but if I do them for their own sake and not for His, then I am not really doing it right.”

These kinds of statements were delivered with a sense of personableness which was echoed by the intimate setting. There were not very many attendees, but this lecture turned out to be a diamond in the rough for those who were there.

The standpoint Gesto took was one full of personal experience and stories that were very well accepted by the audience, but also one that was on fire in her own passion for missions. She explained how missions are her dream and that dreams are ways of God calling you to be something more.

“If we don’t dream and grow in intimacy with God,” Gesto went on. “We’re going to end our life as a good Catholic maybe, but God will ask you what you did with the talents He gave you.”

In this way, Gesto was able to instill a sense of urgency when it comes to listening to God’s call in your life.

“God’s call is a treasure within us that needs to be discovered,” Gesto said.

Her many years of experience on mission in places like Sudan in which she witnessed blind children seeing, dying women become miraculously healed, and the power of God’s love in the Christian faith creating belief in other cultures, aided her in making an enormous impact on those present.

“Sometimes you just need to talk and listen to God,” Gesto concluded. “Just pour your heart out. Allow your passions to grow and see if the fire burns brighter. Check your heart with His will in mind. If you feel called to a certain mission and it seems like it would never happen, don’t give up. He’s pretty good at impossible stuff.”

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