Monthly Archives: March 2010

DESERT DAY – PART 1

Friday 3/12/10 – In the desert/rural area just outside of General Cepeda, Mexico (next to Rancho La Puerta)

I knew I couldn’t get by another day w/o journalling, and Desert Day is the perfect time to do it. First thing I gotta mention is Omar, my friend. If you recall, I first journalled about him after my trip to Saltillo the week of Thanksgiving. We met him outside of the Cathedral & were utterly blessed by his presence. Well, seeing him was what I was most looking forward to yesterday when we went to Saltillo. As soon as we parked the vehicles, we headed to the Cathedral for noon Mass. Sure enough, there he was, sitting at the corner entrance, in his wheelchair, under his lil’ umbrella.

I don’t know if words can properly convey how glad I was to see him. After a few of us visited with him for a couple minutes, we gathered all his stuff and wheeled him into the Cathedral to go to Mass with us. When the time came to go receive Jesus’ Body in the Eucharist, John-Paul Papuzynski asked me to wheel him up to receive. Of course I said yes, and was VERY happy to have that privilege. It almost felt like being able to do that made receiving Jesus’ Body so much more meaningful. John-Paul said afterwards that Omar had the biggest smile on his face when he was going up to receive Jesus’ Body. That comment in and of itself brought a smile to my face. 🙂 Another thing I noticed that really touched me, was after the collection plate was passed around and the usher was walking back to her seat, Omar reached out suddenly and handed her a coin to put in the collection basket. (to be continued)

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I’M FULLY ALIVE!

3/10/10 Wednesday – Chapel @ Casa de Misiones in General Cepeda, Mexico

So I’m sitting here, urgently trying to remember what it is that I wanted to write in my journal today. “Lord help me to remember, Lord help me to remember.” And all of a sudden it dawns on me “I’m fully alive!”. Being on mission again this week has caused me to notice a few things about myself. There’s a certain happiness, joy, and energy. Things that would normally bother me, don’t. Things that I wouldn’t normally do, I do. Certain behaviors and character traits I’ve noticed before in bits and pieces, I’m noticing alot more of.

Does this mean I’m a poser, being someone that’s not really me? Am I being a fake? My answer is no! I don’t think that’s it at all. I think what is happening is that I’m more fully myself. This is who I really am, and I like it. I’m more patient, more charitable, and an all-around better person. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, and I’m thrilled. I’m having heartfelt conversations with my fellow missionaries this week, and it energizes me. Everything that has happened this week has given me joy. It almost feels like I’m running out of words and ways to say it. I’M MORE FULLY ALIVE! My prayer now is that God takes this newfound vibrancy and help me to continue doing his will.

Lord Jesus, I ask and pray that this new beginning lead to a greater level of commitment and faithfulness. I pray Lord that it lead me to the knowledge that you love me with an undying love, and that you only want the best for me. Lord, I pray for the grace to trust in you. Thank you Jesus for loving me and helping me to love others. As you have blessed me, help me to bless others. Praise God! Amen!

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JOYFUL JOYFUL WE ADORE THEE!

Tuesday 3/9/10

Chapel @ Casa De Misiones in General Cepeda, Mexico

Earlier today i wrote myself a note to make today’s journal entry about the joys of missions. The first thing that came to mind was how I tend to focus so much on the intensity, or the sacrifice, or whatever, that I forget that missions is a joyful thing! Then I thought about how much joy that fellowship with other people on this trip is bringing to me. We laugh, we talk, we joke, we play…. I smile just thinking about it. It’s also impossible not to think of the joy of the people we are serving here. All of the kids who smile at us, and laugh and play… All of the adults who wave to us as we exchange greetings of “Adios”…

Besides the obvious, there’s also the deeply rooted joy that God gives me while on missions. Because it’s a sacrifice I love to make, it brings me joy. I don’t wake up in the mornings and roll my eyes or lament the fact that I have to go do the same thing again. Honestly, I wake up and I’m excited at what the new day will bring. The anticipation of fellowship with other missionaries, of working hard and sweating to build a roof, of ministering in the ranchos, it all brings me joy!

Yes, I realize there will be sacrifice. Yes, I realize things will be hard sometimes. But even the Bible says everything has it’s season, which means that we WILL experience joy in serving the Lord. The more I think about it, the more I think about how the joy I get from being on missions is what will help me through these next few months until the start of Intake 2010. Praise You Lord Jesus for all you’ve blessed me with, especially the privilege of serving you in missions. God Bless!

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This can’t POSSIBLY happen in Mexico

Sunday 3/7/10 – Chapel @ Casa de Misiones in General Cepeda, Mexico

Praise God for another wonderful day on missions! I get the privilege and blessing of sitting here in the presence of the Lord. Looking back on the day, it was such a full day. However, there’s one thing that stuck out the most.

A group of us went hiking up a nearby mountain after lunch. As we were walking back to the mission house, we saw a man lying on the sidewalk and he had flies buzzing around him. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes, and for a split second thought he was dead. It really shook me. I thought to myself “This kind of thing happens in India, but surely not here.” I was relieved, but only slightly, when one of the guys in our group confirmed that he was breathing. We continued on our way, but the image of that man lying there would not leave me. After our prayer time, we had some extra time before dinner started, so a small group of guys decided to go check on him. We brought him some bottled water and some snacks. When we got back to where he was, we sat and talked and prayed with him, and it really felt like that little bit that we did really brightened up his day.

It was so tempting for me to be superficial and think that our little act didn’t mean much. Yet, Jesus’ words came to mind, and I remembered that whatever we did to this least of his brothers, we did to Jesus. I knew that this battered and broken down man was the same man who was nailed to the cross. And somehow knowing that felt like a tremendous blessing to me. I dunno what will happen to that man, but I pray God heal him and watch after him, and I thank God for another divine appointment. Alleluia! (I’ve included some pics from our mountain climb below.)

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – DIVINE APPOINTMENTS AND AIRPORT WAITS

Saturday 3/6/10 – 11:45am @ the airport food court in Monterrey, Mexico

The Lord has blessed me with another opportunity to go on a short term mission trip to General Cepeda with FMC. Me & 5 other missionaries left Lafayette yesterday evening at 6:30 and finally arrived here at 9am this morning. We could have arrived sooner, but needed to stop for a few gas & bathroom breaks. Before we left Lafayette, we prayed not only for safe travels but for divine appointments wherever we stopped. Our first “divine appointment” happened in Houston when we stopped for directions. Since I-10 West was blocked off due to construction, we were forced to take I-45 North towards Dallas. At the gas station we stopped at for directions, a gentleman approached me outside and explained that he and his wife needed a ride 13 miles down the road. After discussing it with John-Paul Papuzynski, we realized that we weren’t going in that direction and couldn’t give them a ride. However, I gave them a small amount of cash and they wanted us to pray with them. It was such a blessing for us to be able to share Jesus with them, and for them to share Jesus with us.

After we bid them farewell, we went on our way. With the exceptions of 2 or 3 stops at checkpoints after crossing the border, we got here making good time and without any problems. Praise God! 🙂 We’re waiting for a few short term missionaries to fly in and will head to the Mission House afterwards. Later tonight, John Paul will return here to pick up the rest of them. Thank You Lord God for safe travels, divine appointments, and abundant blessings. Help us to be open to your grace and do your will while we are on mission this week. Praise You Lord!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – JESUS HEALED ME, LITERALLY

1-24-10 Sunday / 10:30am @ Cathedral of St. John in Laffy

Last week when I met with my spiritual director (Deacon Randy Hyde) I told him a story that he told me to write down……. At the beginning of this month, I was starting to get some seasonal sickness. Included in that was some kind of sinus infection and post nasal drip. Not only was my head cavity in pain, but my throat was in pain from the swelling created by the post nasal drip. So, I’m at Mass on a Tuesday afternoon at Fatima and I think to myself, “God, I know you have much more important things to tend to, but I think I wanna pray for healing of this physical pain.” My head was also filled with thoughts of redemptive suffering and why it was good that I was afflicted.

Nonetheless, I firmly decided as I was going up in line to receive Jesus Body, that I was gonna pray for healing. I don’t know if it was instantaneous or not, but sure enough, when I received the Eucharist, I was healed. It brought me alot of joy not only b/c my physical pain was healed, but I could now personally witness to God’s ability to heal us not only spiritually but physically also. The next evening @ Mission Formation, Mr. Frank Summers told me, as I recounted the story and my hesitancy to “bother” God with my request for healing, to never be afraid to ask for healing. Have faith and trust in God, and let him decide whether or not to heal you. Alleluia!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – FINAL DISCERNMENT

12-14-09 continued

It was really good to go and see people I hadn’t seen in awhile (can’t remember the last time I went to Mass there). I was a little sad though cuz the last time I was at Wisdom to venerate the relics of St. Mary Magdalene, I knew the 2009 Intake was there, and it made me sad since they had gone back home to visit family before going into the mission field. I echo Sarah Kate’s sentiment that it’s too quiet w/o all the missionaries being around. But missing them is one of those little signs that tells me I like missions and being around missionaries. 🙂

After I had dinner with some Wisdom peeps after Mass, I went to Zea’s where some coreteam peeps had dinner after 6pm Mass at Cathedral. Sarah Kate was there so I got another opportunity to talk missions with her. Nothing new really, but like I said earlier, getting to talk about missions with anybody, especially another person who is into missions, is good stuff. Talked a little bit about her goin to Spain, about mutual friends of ours who are in mission or who might be going into missions. Fast forward to this morning, I had an epiphany while I was taking a shower that I think Lent will be my final period of discernment, and that unless God makes it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want me to enter Intake 2010, then by Easter I will have made my final decision. Seems right that I have that final deadline. I think it will help me to make a decision and stick with it. It’ll also help me to give my family and friends a final decision instead of me continuing to be in a state of “maybe I will, maybe I won’t”. Lord, give me the grace to face this day, to fall more deeply in love with you, and to be Christ to those I meet. God Bless!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – MENDING FROM BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS

This first part of my 12/14 entry is 1 of 2 pages. Some of it may not seem like it has anything to do with my missionary journal, but i can assure you, anything that has anything to do with my personal growth (or lack thereof) is relevant to my missionary journey. Also, NAMES have been omitted to protect the privacy of others.

12-14-09 Monday / 6:15am @ CC’s Coffee on Johnston St

News to report! For the first time since we broke up back in the end of July, me and (name omitted) actually talked on the phone for at least 15 minutes and had a real conversation. It was a really huge blessing for me. Just knowing that we could talk as friends and knowing that life was treating her good was a good thing for me. The low points of the conversation were A) if felt at times a bit awkward and forced b/c it had been so long since we had talk and b/c the last time we talked for more than 30 seconds on the phone was when we had the “break-up” phone call, & B) I realized I’m still getting over her. It’s not like I WANT to not get over her, it’s not like i WANT to wallow in self-pity and regret. I truly don’t.

I want to recognize the blessing that it was and be able to move on. Sometimes I even feel like I idolize this problem (as I’ve done with other problems) by focusing so much on this “being unhealed” and struggling with it, that instead of receiving healing and moving on I end up using it (the struggle) as a way to hold on.

Back to positives, she asked again about my discernment of joining FMC for Intake 2010. It felt good to have a friend ask about me going into missions. Not to sound egocentric, but I love the opportunity to talk about it and share with others. It helps me to get excited and also by talking about it, it helps me to further discern and evaluate. The main points I touched upon were that A) I didn’t want to work at the shop and take it over, and B) going away on missions would help me to let go in faith and trust that God, on his time, will bless me with the desires of my heart. Last night we didn’t have a lifeteen meeting, and since I had seen my fellow coreteam members Friday and Saturday night for the Christmas parties, I decided to go to 6pm Mass at Wisdom.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – THE VIRGIN MARY INTERCEDED FOR ME AND MY DAD

12-11-09 (final part)

Since it was a holy day of obligation, I knew I’d go to Mass. But I try not to let the “obligation” aspect be my only motivation to go. When I asked my dad if he was going to Mass, he said probably not, and of course I was disappointed. But, I decided I would hold him responsible as he did to me when I was younger. I copied some notes from a Lifeteen book and Catechism and left it on his chair at work right before I left to go to Mass. When I got to church, I said to Mary “Mom, I love my father, please pray for him”. 5 minutes later, guess who walked into church and sat right next to me?

It gave me so much joy b/c I knew my prayer had been answered. Getting to share Mass w/my dad was nice too b/c we hadn’t done so in quite awhile. The other blessing was the penance service at St. Ed’s last night. I went to confession w/Fr. Glen Meaux, a missionary priest. Besides giving me some good advice in the confessional, we got to talk missions a little bit. I ended up getting his card and sending him an email later in the evening. Had some questions about missions. Anyhoo, I better finish up soon with this entry. I’m expecting a friend to meet me here soon. God, I also pray that you give me the grace I need to dive deeper into personal prayer and daily Scripture reading. Lord, as I prepare to enter foreign missions, help me to be open to the graces I need to develop the gifts you want to bless me with. Amen! Alleluia! Glory!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – CURIOUS YET UNINFORMED

12-11-09 (continued)

But if feels especially bad when it’s my parents. They love me so much and have done so much for me. They’re the only parents I have (as the priest reminded me in confession) so I need to love them and appreciate them as much as I can. Mission Formation this week was my respite (rest?). God to visit with my buddy Simon Peter, saw Sarah-Kate and Momma Genie, etc……. Even got to have a good talk with Eric Bacquet about mission life. I got some more of the typical grilling and interrogation about missions, but this time (this week) it was from my co-workers. Not bad that they did, but it just shows they’re curious yet uninformed.

I tried to explain as best as I could that I was at peace with my impending decision to enter foreign missions. However, it may be that it’s a reality that’s too deep for words sometimes, cuz w/my coworkers it doesn’t seem to matter what I say…. At least they care. I even got a call from my dad telling me about something he saw on NBC about some recent problems in Mexico. The nice thing was that I could tell it wasn’t a cynical attempt at warning me about the dangers of missions. It was an “I’m at peace and know you will make your own decision but I love you and wanted you to know about this” moment. Seems like God is already starting to prepare the hearts of my parents. Praise You Lord! So here I am, staring yet again at the first day of the rest of my life. Intake 2010 is one day closer, I’m cool with that. Lord God, help me to offer up my life to you, and follow where you lead. Help me to be loving and charitable, and to never turn a blind eye to those in need. Oh wait! 2 more things to mention……………….

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