Okay… so turns out I’m not actually in the classroom yet. Things changed again (you’ll probably notice that this is a recurring pattern) and now we’ll be leaving on Saturday the 17th as originally planned.
But even though I’m not formally in a classroom, I feel like a student again…. except I feel like I’m learning everything.
Our retreat last week was incredible. We went up to the Northern Coast of Honduras, a beach town called La Ceiba, and the sites we saw there… wow. The beauty of Honduras never fails (as cheesy at it sounds) to make my heart stop a little. I loved seeing another part of the country. While there, I had lessons in swimming, dancing, instructions on the Pope’s latest encyclical, and (of course) Spanish. Father Herald, a CFR, gave all the talks and for each one I had my dictionary and notebook in hand.
Now that we’re back home, I’ve started making flashcards using the 501 Verbs book… wish me luck. Learning a new language is really hard… and it’s interesting how in so many ways, that’s the least of it. It’s also learning how to be quiet, how to listen, how to be patient, how to not be at the center of attention, or directing everything, which is, ya know, only what I’ve been doing since high school.
You learn a lot about yourself down here… that’s one of my favorite things about it. The people here offer… a mirror almost for who we really are, what’s really important to us, a fuller picture of where we stand in terms of our own virtue or lack-there-of.
That was definitely the biggest impression left on me after our mountain mission.
I think I said this last time, but we were in this tiny aldea called El Socorro, which had maybe thirty homes, and no electricity. I learned I didn’t really miss electricity…or cars… and just how much I love fresh air and trees…that I’m really out of shape, but I do have it in me to spend three hours of my day hiking up and down mountains.
Most of all…I learned how much I have to grow. The teens that we had at this aldea were unlike any I’ve ever seen before, in the States or in Honduras. They were so ready for every activity, every song, every talk that we had. Especially the boys. I was blown away. My favorite moment came on Friday. We had walked over an hour to another aldea for a retreat and one of Missioners, Francisco, was giving a talk on something, I forget what, and he starts spouting off these bible verses, and all of the boys reach into their bags, take out their Bibles, and start looking up the verse. Oh, and did I tell you that of their own free will they had been taking notes this ENTIRE TIME. What group of teenage boys does that? Moreover, everything they do is pretty much self-directed. They don’t have youth ministers who’ve been hired to lead and teach and come up with awesome activities. And they only have Mass twice a year. Too, they were just awesome boys in general. Hilarious. Totally boy. Always doing somersaults, playing pranks on each other, racing each other up and down the mountains, but so good hearted. Always ready to carry a bag or help you across the three… logs, but really closer to sticks… that acted as a bridge over a stream. They were so ready and willing to serve. As always, we come to serve them, but I know their witness of love in those five short days changed me.
Anyways, when we had adoration back in Comayagua when the mission was over…. I felt so unworthy and more than a little heartbroken that they couldn’t be there with me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for adoration… and I hope that their example stays with me.
Speaking of! I’ve got to head off to Holy Hour, so this wraps it up for me.
Family, friends, know that I miss you, I love you, and that I’m praying for you everyday. More soon! And next time, it should actually be from Guatemala. Get excited!