Friday, March 27, 2009

Living & Loving~

Finally I have a free minute to post here!!!! A few reflections on this last 8 months volunteering as a Nurse/ Catholic Missionary here in Comayagua, Honduras:

Day 1: Walking around our neighborhood for the first time, I was not prepared for what it held. These families, mostly single mothers with their children live in 2 room mud huts. I have never in my life seen such poverty. I don’t even know how to describe it. The kids run around without clothes on, lacking food, clothing, but most of all fathers. 2 young girls were losing there eyesight day by day, the doctor said if they increased there Vit. A intake there was a chance they would be able to regain their sight. The Friars saw to it that their diet was changed, within 2 weeks both girls had their sight back. Simple task, just no means to do it by themselves.

8-6-08~ On a lighter note, we were walking through the streets and got chased by a COW! It was HUGE! Haha! There are animals everywhere, (…some of you know how much I “LOVE” dogs so just picture this!)… UNREAL!

8-10-08~ While up in the mountains on a medical mission: One woman came in with what looked like gangrene on her ankle, I asked her if she had diabetes etc, and she did not. Dr, Will and I took her to the back to clean her wound and I asked her what she had been using to keep this clean, Because I was speaking in Spanish, I was almost positive it was a translation thing when she said serpent fat, but NO! Apparently the fat from snakes works as some sort of salve to prevent infection! You learn something new everyday!

9-26-08~ On reflecting on a mountain mission: if I could tell you the number of homes we went to visit, where the women just cried and cried because they were left with hungry mouths to feed and a father of their children who found another woman, or a child who died of diarrhea or a fatal accident. Yet, even in all this, these people realize their need for something greater then themselves. The church was PACKED everyday; our kids and teens programs were overflowing the space we had! The mission ended with a Healing Vigil. We had tried to help these people this week, medically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually… but as they saw Jesus face to face in the Eucharist they could not look away. They know their need for a Savior, because with each and every hunger pain, abuse, and suffering they face, they know this can not be the whole picture. I was reminded of a quote from my Freshman English class by Anne Bradstreet:

Pilgrim I on earth perplext,
with sinns, with cares and sorrows vext,
By age and paines brought to decay,
and my Clay house mouldring away,
Oh how I long to be at rest
and soare on high among the blest!

These people live for something more!

10-31-08~ Nicaragua: We were able to spend a night at Ave Maria with the students there. These are students from all over Latin America, and a few from the states. It was a stark contrast from the poor we were serving in the towns, and this big American university that we were at not more then 2 doors down. As the night went on, Cristina one of the missionaries from NYC got up and began to speak. She spoke about a lot of things, but one of the most powerful things she encouraged these students to do was go OUT and meet their neighbors. These “poor” live right next to you! She said… it does not have to be a “mission trip” experience where you meet the poor! We can do it everyday! The response was amazing! The students were coming up to talk to us after wondering how they could help! Where are our poor? Our goal is for Hondurans here to join us in serving their own poor. Where are the poor in our lives? Are we searching them out to extend a hand? A lot of times we can not change their situation or their economic status, but we can surely feed them with our time and our interest.

11-30-08~ God’s Love: I gave a talk on conversion on Monday night, I was having a hard time coming up with a way to convey that aspect of God’s unconditional love, and God gave me a great example to use. I called home the other night to talk to my Mom and thank her for sending me all the necessities of life (Halloween candy… sweatshirts…cards from the girls etc…:) after wards my Dad got on the line and we were talking about a lot of things, and ended with talk about me coming home. As we were about to hang up the phone he said “Therese I can’t wait to see you coming down from the airport and I’ll be waiting there with open arms!” I am so blessed to have people who love me so unconditionally in a human way…and I was able to say this is how God waits for us. Now matter how long we have been gone for… He is waiting with open arms. And to kids who are so broken, in need to love, and most who lack a father figure, it was able to hit home for some.

12-6-08~ This past Thursday we were walking home from mass, and we saw our neighbors were all gathered around in a circle. As we approached we were met with the news and the sight of the body of Osman, our 22 year old who was shot and murdered and his body dropped on our road. There he was lying on the ground, and I was overwhelmed with such a weight and anger at the senseless violence that happens so often… Fr. Gregorio who was with us prayed a telling and heartfelt prayer… in it he said “God is enraged at this injustice, he is angered that His children being so filled with anger and hatred take the lives of others… this is not OK! But the Lord also brings peace…healing and hope…go home and pray with your families that the violence stops here! Do not carry it on to the next generation! ”

2-16-09~ On working with our High School girls: I have been able to experience and see girls who have taken on this challenge. To commit themselves to living up to something that is so different from most girls around them…CUESTA! It COSTS! To work with these girls and see them overcome or acknowledge abuse, fears, self hatred, addictions, eating disorders the list goes on, and decide to move forward is unbelievable. The strength and beauty in these girls is tangible. I sit there, and look at what color’s their lives, and there are many nasty and scary colors. But the difference between them and so many others is that they have chosen to love and to hope. They have chosen to hope in a future where there is something greater and bigger then themselves and the tragedies that have happened to them. To no longer be the victim, but to sacrifice and work to gain a greater good. Their priorities lie in God, their families, school, and to change the cycle! I have been filled with a new hope, that as these young girls take hold of their lives, they will begin to change the culture beginning with our small barrio here in Comayagua, Honduras, and hopefully much farther. I am privileged to work with these girls.

3-6-09~ My time in Nicaragua ended with a Pan de Vida retreat with the CFR’s in Matagalpa. It was awesome! Once again to see people’s lives transformed by Christ, and for them to walk out changed! I sit and marvel at the ways in which I am able to learn these days… each day brings its new challenges and new joys… I am just trying to be present to each moment!


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Maria Grace said...

oh Therese, thank you for all that you do. You amaze and inspire me. Can't wait to have you home :)

Anna Rose Liesemeyer said...

Wow. SO powerful. Christ has really opened his heart to you and to all those you are serving through you. Such a good reminder of why we are here. Praying for you!