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Encountering love, beauty and joy ... as a missionary!
November 6, 2017
When I participated in my first mission trip, I learned about it "by coincidence" (or God Incident!). The chance was right before me and at a point of my life that I was led to stop for a bit of my 'busy schedule'. And I thought I was the one who was going to "give". How wrong was I!
Indeed, "I gave"! I gave my time, I gave my funds... and I thought I wanted to give LOVE! But,guess what! The missionaries and I had the chance to confirm through our own experiences a universal truth widely made known by St. Francis:
"It is in giving, that we RECEIVE".
It was so true! I think I kinda know why St. Francis said so... He was a giver!! He had experienced it himself so many times, and we were given the chance to do the same. And we received much more than what we could ever think or dream of!
After our first mission trip, many of us continued the mission trips with the same groups. I participated in two more. Many more are still going... I am glad and thankful.
Since then, I have been part of various types of mission trips with different groups, different countries, and different focus. Each one of them has made a difference in my life. The people, their gratitude, their joy, their love...
Regardless of the size or the time spent in the mission, they have all been such a wonderful and fulfilling experience! I can't, but be thankful... You may think that you do not have the time or the way to participate in one, but I assure you that there are different types of missions, duration, and ways to participate. It's your choice!
I have participated in missions in Peru, Mexico, Cuba, Uganda, USA, Canada... For a week, or longer, for a day, for hours... Whether it was about bringing gifts to kids of a school in a remote town, building new homes, working on improvements for an orphanage, playing, and cooking with kids, cleaning bathrooms or painting walls... Whether distributing food in their houses or on Skid Row (Los Angeles, CA), or on Christmas eve in the poorest (and for some dangerous) streets of Mexico City... Visiting a hospital for kids with cancer, distributing food, entertainment, making crafts or playing with them... Or by doing "street evangelization" distributing Bibles, or other religious articles in Uganda, Cuba, Canada, Italy, Hungary... Wherever they have been, for as long as they have been, they all have made a difference in my life, and the lives of others.
I will never forget how someone who seemed to be a homeless person looked at me, while waving when my bus was leaving... I did not give them money. I did not give them food or other much needed items... I had given them miraculous medals. And he sent me a flying kiss!! :)
In times of darkness remembering these moments gives me the strength and motivation I need to "keep going".
"It is in giving that we receive" - Saint Francis.
How blessed one can be, eh? May many more, and you, receive the grace to make the time to participate in any missions... It may be 'the time' that can transform your life forever!