I am often asked what is involved with the Discernment weekends for those thinking about going on a long-term mission with MDA.
First – it is held at the Mission House in Los Angeles, the location of the four month formation program. I think having time to see the location, stay over a few nights, and get a feel for what it might be like to live here for four months can take a lot of the unknown out of the question of ‘should I do this?’
Second- it is informal. For those who are local to the area, only the preliminary application is required to be invited to attend. For those from out of the area, we like to be sure that we have the all the application documents completed, because not long after the end of the weekend, our team will be able to let you know if we believe this is a good time for you to go forward with the program. This will include the interview with our team and our psychologist.
Third – we provide an overview of the formation program. I think the most often asked questions are related to the formation program. What will we be doing? What is included in the classes? Who is part of the faculty? What are the hours? What are the practical issues of meals, laundry, expenses during formation? Do I keep my insurance? Should I bring my car?
Forth – there are times to pray and reflect on a call to serve. It is important to take the time to ensure that we have given ourselves enough time and space for discernment, and I believe the beautiful chapel in the Mission House is an ideal place to pray together with others discerning as well as having time for private prayer.
Fifth – you will hear from others who have served. And while every mission is unique there are also universal similarities to long-term service.
What a discernment weekend is NOT –
It is NOT a commitment to join the program.
It is NOT formation, but an opportunity to learn what will be in formation.
We have this eBook as a tool available: 5 Steps to Discernment
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you are considering the long-term program. The Discernment Weekend may be the opportunity you are looking for to find out if this is something for you at this point in your life.
We welcome any questions you may have!
MDA Executive Director