Back from another three weeks of mission, and I’ll be honest… I’m at a loss for what to say. The English major in me, wants to tie it all together, with this beautiful theme about water…
See, the first aldea I was in didn’t have any running water, only a spring; the second, the pipes had broken, so there was no water; and the third, thankfully, did.
From there I would move into how incredible the strength of the people is… and man’s will to survive.
I think that’s one of the things that I love most about being down here. You come to know a little more about your own strength. Yes, you may be exhausted and don’t think you can take another step up that mountain, or wayyyyy to full to take one more bite of beans, or so cold that you have no idea how you’re going to fall asleep…but the hardships remind you that you’re alive. And then you conquer them. And there’s an exhilaration that comes with discovering a strength within yourself that you didn’t know you had.
One of the other things I love most about being down here… the interactions that I have with people. How phenomenal it is to sit down to dinner without the distractions of phones and television and talk to one another. To hear stories about each other’s lives, to philosophize over the big and the little things… whether’s questions about the dignity of the human person or whether the chicken or the egg came first. To share in those sufferings, but also in those triumphs and the laughs.
To visit someone, and have the door opened to you. Graciously. To have someone take the time out of their day to listen to you. To sacrifice the little bit of money that they have to buy you bread. To share openly with strangers. To hug sincerely. To be loved, not for what you’ve said or done, but simply because you’re there, present before someone. And it’s so humbling. Because they would have loved whoever had come through that door. It just happened to be me.
And it’s so humbling… Whether it’s the woman who’s been sick for thirty years, or the man who’s lost his legs, or the woman who’s son died three months ago… to enter into their homes and share the message of Christ’s passion. Who am I to talk them about suffering? But that’s just it. This isn’t about me. It’s so much bigger than me. It’s a universal message of God’s love for all of us.
This would be the next part of my water theme: how even more than water, that’s so essential for our daily needs of cooking and cleaning, man needs the living water.
“But whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
Man needs Christ. We need the message of His hope, His love, the message of His cross, the message of His resurrection. It’s the only way to make sense out of both the evil and the joy that we encounter in our world. And again, down here, the joy and the sorrow are so much more defined; you can’t escape or ignore either.
Then from there I’d move on to the last part of my theme, the part that’s the most amazing of them all. It’s obvious that man will thirst for water, both the physical and the living kind, but we have a God who thirsts for us. He longs for us. For our love. And yes, He’s God and complete without it, but that’s what makes it all the more amazing. He doesn’t need us– our love, our prayers, our actions… And yet, He desires us.
Here’s what Mother Teresa said:
“Why does Jesus say “I Thirst”? What does it mean? . . . If you remember anything from Mother’s letter, remember this—‘I Thirst’ is something much deeper than just Jesus saying ‘I love you.’ Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you—you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.”
Two of the aldeas I was in this past month have Mass four times a year. Four times.
This is what Saint Paul said:
“But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?“ Romans 10:14
If I was writing this as a for real paper, I’d have a lovely conclusion here that tied this stream of conciousness together (which I would have edited), but since it’s my blog… I’m just going to end by saying thank you to all those who came down for Spring Break. Especially those on the three incredible teams that I had… Tito, Gian, Rachel, and Carly; Isaac, Peter, Mariana, and Rio; Jacob, Kesley, and Hannah. Thank you for saying yes and for answering in this small way, Christ’s cry on the cross. Keep us in your prayers!