God’s humour and sense of adventure
“This could be God,” Judy Bowe thought when discerning whether she and fellow Missionaries of God’s Love sister Therese Mills should participate in Channel 10’s reality TV show, The Amazing Race Australia.
When the leader of the MGL Sisters took a call earlier this year about joining the show, Judy thought of Therese who was due to take her sabbatical.
“I said to Therese, ‘You should pray about this because I think it could be God’,” Judy said. “It could be an opportunity to evangelise’.
“I thought of it as a way of meeting people in their loungeroom who would never go to Church.”
Judy and Therese took part in the 2019 Amazing Race which aired on 28 October. Eleven teams compete in different parts of the world doing weird and wonderful physical challenges.
Winners pocket $250,000, a sum the Sisters could put towards their work with young, Indigenous and poor people. But they were eliminated in the second episode.
Therese initially rejected the idea of the show because of her fear of running.
“I’m just not a runner,” she told Catholic Voice. “I thought, ‘Amazing Race? No, I don’t run’.”
But after much prayer and encouragement from Judy, Therese came around.
Judy wanted to send one of the younger sisters as Therese’s teammate but they were all committed to study or ministry work. She was the only other sister available.
“Then I was terrified,” she said. “I don’t like being in front of a camera, I’m not an extrovert at all.
“But I’d also started to think, this could be God. If it is God, I will do it and trust that it will work out okay.
“All the sisters were praying and discerning. Even the ones who I thought would say this isn’t a good idea said, ‘Oh, yes that sounds like something God would do with us,’ which was extraordinary.”
Judy also considers it “sort of miraculous” that she and Therese passed the health check to be accepted on the program.
They came across a quote from Pope Francis at the time, which further inspired them. In his Letter to Youth, Christus Vivit, the Holy Father writes, “Take risks even if it means making mistakes… Cast out the fears that paralyse you. Live! Give yourselves over to the best of life! Open the door of the cage, go out and fly!”
“It’s the best quote and it convinced me that God was challenging us to take it on,” Judy said.
The Sisters were terrified and excited before the Race but “loved every minute of it”.
They completed nine challenges including white water rafting, fly-boarding, cooking dumplings and drone soccer before they were eliminated on the second day of filming in South Korea.
“I saw it through God’s eyes, that he had directed these two days of filming,” Judy said.
The Sisters were often filmed praying for God’s assistance during the challenges.
“I guess the message is that you can pray for everything,” Judy said. “God is interested in everything in your life.” Behind the scenes, they were approached by many people keen to talk because they were religious sisters. They could see God’s hand at work through the whole experience.
“I think God was helping me learn that I can trust him no matter what,” Judy said. “If God asks me to do something, he’s totally trustable because I felt looked after in every aspect.
“On a bigger scale, it was like a big collective laugh in the Church. It was such a lovely thing for the Church to laugh and go, this is great, you’re Sisters, you believe in God, you’re praying on TV.”
“I think it shows that God has a sense of adventure and humour,” Therese added.
And how did Therese cope with her fear of running? “I conquered it,” she said. “I ran a lot. I ran after taxis and it was all okay.”
The MGL Summer School for young people is at four locations in January 2020