Saturday, February 21, 2015

a different kind of poverty

Today I want to start off by saying I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for not keeping in touch more often, for not making the extra effort, and especially for not writing since what…august?  You, my family and friends, my support deserve better.  I could say that it’s just that I’ve been so busy…which is true.  It’s also the average American cop-out.  

So today I would like to share something I’ve been dealing with for the last few months and am finally starting to receive clarity on.   This life is hard.  Poverty is hard.  I’ll never know what poverty is actually like for my neighbor, but I know my neighbors and I know their struggles second hand.  
The life of the missionary here is hard because of a different kind of poverty.  This is a kind we still can’t ever fully know, but we most definitely experience here with the local villages.  Spiritual poverty. 

What do I consider spiritual poverty?  One priest for the entire diocese of Trujillo.  One bishop who has to cover for said priest quite often.  Confession for our kids maybe once a year.  Mass with a priest and real, blessed communion maybe once every few months for each village.  No spiritual direction.  Very few spiritual resources.  Nuns who are wise, but who are just as young as you are and dealing with their own struggles of being so far from spiritual support as well.  

It’s certainly worse for our neighbors.  They don’t have any reason to try to go to Church.  It costs too much to send the whole family into town, often times they have to work still, and there isn’t anyone else around them who loves to pray and be Catholic.  No incentive.  

By definition, this should be my role, right?  I’m a missionary.  That’s what missionaries do.  They bring Christ to those who don’t know him.  

We lead a different kind of mission.  It’s most certainly not a bad one.  It definitely has its perks (a lot of cute kids to make you laugh).  Our mission is to serve, protect, and care for these children and this organization.  The Farm of the child itself has brought jobs, economy, and life to this rural part of Trujillo.  It has brought education, Catholicism, and hope.  This is a good mission too.  It’s just much different than what one might think of at first hearing the term “missionary”.  

I’ve decided I like the word now.  I wasn’t always sold on it.  But I believe that we’re all missionaries for something.  And our mission here is good.  It is often times dark, but that pushes us closer towards the Lord.  Over the last year and a half, it has made me a woman.  It has made me strong, resilient, hard-working, more understanding and pulled me out of my own self to realize that I am selfish, weak, judgmental, can be hurtful at times, don’t like to share always, and sometimes lose all hope.  Those are fights I continue to work on daily, but this place is drawing it out of me slowly and painfully.  I feel like I’ve become a new person here.  

Now, if you ask me if I’ve grown closer to God, I will most certainly say no.  I don’t feel much of anything.   I feel a lot of things though, and it draws me to desire that relationship more.  On our last retreat, a priest explained the concept of desolation and consolation to us.  He said not to worry, desolation is a good thing.  That’s where we really grow.  That’s where we aren’t comfortable and we need God most, we need him when we can’t feel Him.  No matter what, He still continues to be my hope.  If anyone can keep this place together, it’s got to be Him.  

Like I said, this is only something I’m starting to get clarity on, so bear with me as I continue on the journey.  If you’re experiencing desolation or have in the past as well, have hope!  Try and trust that this is where we will find God. 

 Finca Missionaries of 2015

So Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

 Check out this video made by my fellow blonde and beautiful nurse friend, Brooke Adams (brookinhan)

Here's a link to her blog: Brooke Adams