Posts Tagged With: blessing

I’m back, and then I’m gone again

Saturday – June 16, 2012 – 6:37pm – Cafe Calibri on Rufino Tamayo St. – Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

How the heck do I manage to go a whole month without journaling? I always lament that fact each time I journal and silently promise myself that I’ll do it more often. But do I? Well, lemme put it this way. If journaling equaled oxygen I’d be gasping for air. Anyhoo……..

So I’m really diggin’ this little cafe. Reminds me alot of CC’s back home. And if you know me, you know that CC’s is my 2nd home. So I’m glad I discovered this little place. Good place to come and journal, read, or hang out. Maybe when some more students arrive next week we can come hang out here. The drink I ordered is kinda like a Mochasipi @ CC’s, except bigger, and it’s got a scoop of ice cream with sprinkles on top. AND, it’s only $34 pesos. Divide by 14 and that’s one really good coffee drink for really cheap. The best part is that it’s only a few blocks away from the house I’m staying at. But enough about my environs, let’s get to the really good stuff.

You know another thing I (to use Mrs. Genie’s phrase) “do not prefer” about infrequent journaling? It’s trying to figure out how to talk about all that’s happened since your last entry without writing 27,000 pages. Lots has happened since my last entry in Lafayette. For one thing I returned to Mexico. I had been away for almost 2 months. When I left, I had a girlfriend at the time and was convinced I wouldn’t return to Mexico. I’d even been away for so long that I was beginning to wonder if I even wanted to come back. Sure, I no longer had a girlfriend (we decided to go our separate ways), so that wasn’t a factor. But I just wasn’t “feeling” it. Didn’t see myself getting enough money to go to language school. So why would I want to come back to a place where I couldn’t communicate with the people I’m supposed to serve?

I was also able to think of at least 20 other mission posts I’d rather go to. But then something happened. First, some fellow missionaries that had surplus donations gave me money to attend language school. Then, I had a good talk with one of our other missionaries. He helped me to realize that in the long run, not going back to General Cepeda would not help me all that much. It actually would deprive me of the chance of practicing faithfulness to a commitment, which is something I knew I needed to work on. So even though I had my doubts, I decided to come back. I’m glad I did. It was a little weird at first being back. But there’s nothing like a group of 50 visiting short term missionaries to lift your spirits and help you get settled back into your home. 🙂 Having that group was amazing. All the happiness, energy, action, and liveliness was priceless. They were really good sports about everything and jumped head first into everything that we did. Being back also gave me the chance to reconnect with our Mexican missionaries and other friends in town. Surprisingly, for someone who didn’t want to come back, I was really glad to see them. The fact that I was happy to reconnect with them was yet another sign that I was in the right place.

A week after the group left, Odilio and Stacie and the kids prayed me off on my way here to language school. Took an overnight bus from Saltillo to Mexico City and then to Cuernavaca. Ended up arriving early in Mexico City which allowed me to get on a 7am bus instead of my originally scheduled noontime bus. My house parents, Mario and Marusa Quinones picked me up from the station and brought me to the house. Got settled in, took a shower and then we headed to 1pm Mass at San Miguel. It’s a small but beautiful church, with an active and tight-knit community. The priest, Fr. Alvaro, is a good dude. He’s young, and holy, and orthodox, yet friendly and approachable too. Good combo.

The week was a busy week. Besides getting oriented at ENCUENTROS, I had double the amount of classes than I normally would, as I was the only student this week. Jeannie, the director, figured that since I was slightly above the “beginner” level, and because I’d have plenty of time in the following month to do extra-curricular stuff, that I could forego some of the normal activities. Partially out of necessity, because it wouldn’t really work with just one student. That gave me the chance  to do 2 class periods each day, for a total of 4 hours of class. It was intense. Lots of info crammed into my head. A few times in class it was exhausting. But I learned alot. And it also advanced me enough that I’ll be able to have another student with me next week. (If no other student is at your level, they give you your own teacher. Good for your learning. Bad for your sanity. 🙂 ) Some of the highlights at school this week included playing with Max the Rottweiler (house pet), movie night, and getting to tour the Cathedral and downtown area.

God has also given me a few ministry type of opportunities. Those have been a huge blessing. It’s hard in a city this big (900,000) to feel the same missionary “atmosphere”. Sure, people who aren’t poor need Jesus too. But General Cepeda and our Casa de Misiones are so special that it’s hard to readjust. As I said though, God has provided. A couple of street ministry opportunities with the homeless. Conversations with some of Mario and Marusa’s house guests. Speaking briefly in front of the congregation at San Miguel’s at the end of a weekday Mass. Assisting Fr. Alvaro at a funeral Mass. Next week I’ll have the opportunity to speak at a prayer meeting at San Miguel. Please pray for that. For the people to  be able to understand my simple Spanish and for them to be blessed by whatever the Lord says through me. In the few conversations I’ve had with Father Alvaro, it also sounds like he wants to make use of me while I’m here. Please pray for that to be fruitful as well.

On a random sidenote, the barista that took my order and brought me my drink is gorgeous. Not an unapproachable type of gorgeous, but more of a cute type of gorgeous. She actually looks like the actress Eva Mendez, which is a GOOD thing. 🙂 I won’t get my hopes up though. I can barely speak and understand enough to order a coffee drink. Don’t think my fluency is to the point where I can sweep her off her feet. So for now, it appears that there won’t be any little half-Mexican Sidneys in my future! Well, my butt hurts from sitting for so long, and my drink is melted, so I better go. Until next time…………

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my classroom at language school

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Max

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da Cathedral

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Missionary Reflections and Tidbits

3-2-12 – Friday – 3:54pm – Desert Day – same location as last time, except just a bit downstream

Utterly peaceful. Gentle breeze. Babbling brook. Nice spot in the shade. Praise the Lord for this time of prayer and recollection. Alot has been going on the past few weeks. We finished up La Entrada (Intake) 2012 for the missionary families. Had a few hiccups along the way, including people getting sick and our shirts not being ready on time.

Allende mission trip was a huge success. Our Life In The Spirit Seminar and other ministries went very well. People received us with open arms. Living in community was a challenge and was starting to wear me down. Still have a ways to go before I can say I do a good job at living in community. But God didn’t give me more than I could handle. La Entrada ended at just the right time.

Me and Luis have our own place now. Bonding as a mission team and integrating ourselves into our weekly ministry schedule. Been able to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist alot. Helped some people during Door Ministry hours by buying/supplying meds, food, and praying with them. One home visit and one rancho visit so far. Lenten sacrifices of exercise and fasting going well. Start my spanish lessons with Profe this coming Tuesday. Been blessed to be able to keep in touch with my girlfriend and parents. The Lord is really blessing us here……………

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Encountering Jesus in Tejocote……..

Desert Day – 11/12/10 – Intake 2010 Mexico Mission – 2:45pm – Tejocote (Outside of General Cepeda) Coahuila, Mexico

It’s amazing what a difference one year makes. One year ago, I sat in this exact same spot in this same little valley for Desert Day on my first trip to General Cepeda. If you look at my pictures from last year, you’ll also see that this is the spot where a local rancher was herding his cows. So far today no cows, but we still have an hour left so we’ll see. What makes this Desert Day almost surreal is that I’m part of Intake this year, and not just a visitor. After this trip is over, I don’t just go back home to the “same ole same ole”. When this trip is over in a week, I go back home to BIG WOODS, and I finish up my missionary training. I get to live there until it’s time for me to go on missions in January with the Eckstine family. This is for real y’all. 🙂 My life has been irreversibly changed. YAHOO! YAHOO! YAHOO! PRAISE YOU JESUS! PRAISE YOU JESUS! PRAISE YOU JESUS! GLORY! GLORY! GLORY! ALLELUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUIA! Sorry about that. It’s just that I had another moment of realizing what God has called me to, and I got very excited.

The past week that we’ve been here has been amazing. Our trip here was delayed a full day b/c one of the vehicles broke down an hour outside of Lafayette. We had to sleep at a gas station overnight too. But it was all in God’s plan. It was an opportunity for lots of random fun and visiting. We even had the chance to pray with people and talk to them about missions. Once we arrived in General Cepeda on Friday, we had the chance to go to Mass before bedtime. It was my first time going to Mass at that church since it’s been renovated and it’s absolutely beautiful. Kinda weird to think that a church in a small rural town in a third world country is prettier than many churches I’ve been to in the U.S. All I know is that these people must be proud of their church. Saturday and Sunday were basically “chill” days for us. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were a bit more active. We had our life in the Spirit seminars in the morning. After lunch and a siesta, we went to some local area chapels at night to evangelize. As we normally do, we sang praise and worship songs, shared testimony, gave a teaching, and then prayed with them. And as usual, I was a little hesitant and fearful at first, but when things got going and I saw the fruits of the evening, I felt very blessed. Yesterday was our Saltillo day. I didn’t go into the market because A.) had no more spending money, B.) didn’t want anything, and C.)I’d been there twice before and saw all there is to see. I stayed outside and talked w/some locals (as best as I could in my broken Spanish) and then with the other missionaries as they trickled out of the market. We ate at the same restaurant that we normally do, the only difference being that it is now on the 6th floor of the hotel and has a MUCH better view. Needless to say though, that my highlight was Mass at the Cathedral and getting to see Hugo. (For those who don’t know Hugo, check out my blog/journal from November of last year. Be aware though, that last year, we thought his name was Omar instead of Hugo). The only downside is that I’m not getting many pictures. The film camera that I’d had for eons is finally out of the picture (pun intended). Methinks that I might ask for a digital camera for Christmas, which will make it much easier to take and upload pictures and video. Speaking of Christmas wishes, I might also ask for an Ipod so that I can load all of my CD’s onto it. This will allow me to get rid of all of my CD’s and save ALOT of space. (Space is a precious commodity for missionaries and it mustn’t be wasted)

I also got to do some home visits today for the first time ever. It was quite enjoyable actually. You basically go sit and talk with the homebound and then you pray with them, read scripture,and leave a dispensa with some basic food supplies in it. Not exactly sure what the rest of our time here will be like but I know it will be blessed. I know that we have at least one work project day. I would also imagine that we’ll be doing more evangelizing in the ranchos as well as working with some of the local prayer groups, some door ministry at the mission house, and some more home visits too. Then it’s back to Big Woods to wrap up Intake and then prepare for the annual Donors’ Dinner. The rest of December and some of January will be used to do final preparations before going out into the mission field. As far as me and The Eckstines are concerned, we’re leaning most towards St. Lucia/The Diocese of Castries, where Archbishop Revis is stationed. He’s a good friend of FMC and Mr. Frank and Mrs. Genie. He used to be the bishop of the diocese that the island of St. Vincent is in and that was when FMC missionaries were stationed there. We’re in prayer right now b/c Mrs. Genie is trying to make arrangements with him. It would be a great place to do ministry b/c of the desperate situation of families and marriage. In that area, almost 70% of the people are born out of wedlock and the culture there struggles with chastity and purity. The witness of a wife and husband with 10 kids, as well as the witness of a young single man who is committed to being single for a year, would be revolutionary. However, if that doesn’t work out then we’re almost certain we’ll go to Ecuador. All I know is that missions will be amazing no matter where we’ll go.

Another exciting thing to pray about during this first year of missions is friendship. What do I mean? I’m glad you asked. 🙂 A few months before as well as during the course of Intake, I’ve been blessed to befriend (name omitted). She’s another one of the singles in Intake. Originally from (place omitted), her family now lives in (place omitted). She’s good friends with (name omitted). When time permits, we’ve been blessed to spend time together visiting with each other. We’ve also been blessed to be able to pray together. It feels like a truly Christ-centered friendship and we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. It’s also nice to be able to have someone to share your faith life with, whether it’s Mass, prayer, ministry, or whatever else. We’ve talked to Mr. Frank and Mrs. Genie about our friendship as well as Mark and Lora Eckstine (my mission partners) and Odilio and Stacy Alvarez. We recognized that we needed accountability partners to keep us on track with our singles commitment this first year. We also recognized the need for them to pray for us as well. We want this to be a friendship that develops into what God wants it to be, and we feel like the only way to do that is through prayer. During this first year of missions, as we live our our singles commitment, and as we are stationed halfway across the world from each other, I really look forward to getting to know her better and seeing where God leads us. It also seems to be a GREAT chance to develop our communication skills. After all, when you’re living on opposite sides of the globe, you kinda have to do that! 🙂

Anyhoo, it’s almost time to head back to the car, so I gotta wrap this up. I just wanna say Thank You Jesus for all the wonderful blessings you’re showering upon me and all the ways that you are helping me to be a better missionary…..

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Life @ Big Woods: Best Reality Show EVER!

Friday, 9/17/10, Edge of the Pond @ Big Woods (suburb of Mouton Cove, LA, which is a suburb of Perry, which is a suburb of Abbeville 🙂 )

It’s almost surreal, being out here. It’s probably because this is my first Desert Day as an official FMC missionary. Maybe because I’m official now is why it feels “more real”. Being in this community is such a blessing and is really starting to have an effect on me. This leads into a phrase I heard here earlier this week: “If your goal is heaven, then community is helpful.”

Being out here, I can’t help but feel different. So I ask myself, what is it that’s different about this place? Seems like alot in here is the same type of faith life that The Church teaches “out there”. We pray, they pray. We read the Bible, they read the Bible. We go to Mass, they go to Mass. We sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament, they sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament. So again, I ask what’s the difference? The difference is that in here, I can deeply and lovingly connect with a community of faith. We are all so single-mindedly focused on God as individuals and as a community.

I look forward to the difficult times that are sure to come, and I’m thankful for those that already have. Our souls, like precious metals, are refined with fire, the Fire of The Holy Spirit. I am thankful for my extended family here at Big Woods, especially the Eckstine and Alvarez kids. They’re like the little brothers and sisters I never had. Getting to laugh and play and see the world and God through their eyes brings me such joy.

Fellowship with the other singles is something that also brings me great joy. Susanna, Sarah, Madi, and James are at the same stage I’m at, but have a slightly different perspective, which really helps me to better learn and grow in my faith. I know that I can look at everyone here at Big Woods and find some way that they uniquely help me to draw closer to Christ.

So now I leave you with the words of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:24-27 “But God has so adjusted the body […] that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the Body of Christ and individually members of it.”

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Urban missionary’s spiritual battle ammo for extra graces……..

Thursday 7/22/10 – 3:30pm @ Awardmaster

You know how as soon as you get to work on certain days, that you can tell “it’s gonna be one of those days”? Well this morning certainly had that feel. For some reason, when my coworker asked me a question, I let my impatience mate with my propensity for placing blame and immediately started to get irritable. I noticed after a few minutes that I continued being like this and that I was just AGGRAVATED! Dunno where it came from either. However, something I did which I had not done well with in the past saved me. I prayed and asked for prayer in my moment of frustration. I sent a text message to a friend and asked her to pray for me, explained the situation and that I did NOT want to have a bad day. Listen to what she told me: “Smile though you don’t feel you can and offer it up for someone on your heart. You’re being given ammo for extra graces!” How true is that….. Praise God! I followed her advice and today ended up being a good day and my frustration never got to me. It wasn’t easy “offering it up” but it has made all the difference.

Another thing that has been a blessing for me is the development of new missionary-minded friends. There are three in particular that God has brought into my life and they are a TREMENDOUS blessing. When I was discerning the priesthood, one of my best friends who was also on that path was my rock. I could level with him about anything even the nitty gritty, and it really helped me on my journey.  The same holds true with these three. I feel like I can level with them about anything relating to my journey into missions. I feel like I can ask them for prayer. Whenever I talk with them, my heart is full of joy and contentment because I know that our faith is what brought us together, and because I know they have a heart for missions. They have not been in my life for very long but I am thankin’ God right now that he blessed me with their presence, friendship, and guidance. At this point I’m pretty sure that one of them will definitely be with me @ Intake and another probably  will be there too (don’t know for sure yet, since the application was just faxed in today).

In other news, I gave a missions talk at the Lafayette Men’s Ultreya last night. The moment I confirmed that I was doin the talk I knew I needed prayer. Had my amazing missionary friends (and some others) prayin’ for me and the talk was AMAZING! You coulda heard a pin drop these guys were so riveted to what I was sayin. They ate it up and even asked some questions afterwards. Was blessed to get some contact info to add to my mailing list. What really humbled me though was how they lifted me up in prayer both before and after my talk. The feeling of being blessed by this was simply overwhelming. God is good to me through the people in my life 🙂 Oh  yeah, Mr. Jim Whittington, the leader of this group, told me that he’d try to see if any other area Ultreyas would like me to talk as well. Anyhoo, I must be going. Gotta figure out some things for the Word of God conference this weekend in NOLA. I leave you with this verse, the story of my life: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

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So the other day I was in the confessional…………

So, yesterday I was in need of the Sacrament of Confession (what’s new, huh?). I started the day with plans to try and escape during my lunch break and hit up confession @ Cathedral. However, my dad called me and said “Hey, I got some missionary work I need you to help me with”. As a domestic missionary and future foreign missionary, I couldn’t say no, and I think it’s cuz he used the word “missionary”. Yeah, had he not used that word, I might not have been as inclined to help. But I think he knew what he was doing when he used that word. The great part about it was that besides helping do some maintenance and yard work for a family member, I realized my dad was associating what he does here in the U.S. as missionary work (praise God!). I also realized that he was starting to associate the word “missionary” with the word “Sid”. 🙂

So I pull some strings with my other boss (mom), and leave the shop right after lunch. I go to help him do the work and without hesitation, but I still have in the back of my mind that I can be done early enough to maybe hit up afternoon confession @ Cathedral. As we work into the afternoon and I see how much we had to accomplish, I knew that Cathedral wasn’t going to be an option. This was mildly difficult for me, b/c when I need to receive God’s mercy in The Sacrament of Confession, I don’t play around. I go as soon as I can. But, I didn’t worry too much b/c I knew my delay in going to Confession was due to a worthy cause. I think it was also good because my eagerness to receive that Sacrament can sometimes cause me to get impatient when I can’t go right away. So,  I know the good Lord was teaching me patience. God was also putting it on my heart that the poor I will be serving on missions hardly ever have access to a priest or the Sacraments. It was God’s way of helping me to have compassion for them.

After we finished working, and ate supper at my parents’ house with my nieces, I get a hunch to drive to the Community of Jesus Crucified to see if one of the priests can hear my confession. Sure enough, Fr. Frey was more than happy to do it. After the confession, we chatted a little bit, and I asked him if they were still having night prayer at 9. He told me yes, and that he was gonna be saying a Mass immediately afterwards. Considering daily Mass time is at 6:15am, this was a pleasant surprise! In this small, humble little chapel, it was Fr. Frey, 3 other people & me. It was one of the most chilled, peaceful, relaxing, prayerful, and intimate Masses I’ve ever been to. Of course, Fr. Frey is so holy and dedicated and he’s a great homilist too, that any Mass he does is good. It was just kinda neat to see how I went from not thinking I’d get to go to Confession or Mass, to having both. Yet another instance of God loving me unconditionally and showering blessing upon me even when I don’t deserve it. In the interest of privacy, I simply ask you to say a prayer for this family member, for healing in all areas of life, and for a closer walk with God. Please say a prayer too that I would learn the guitar well (I’m teaching myself) so that I can use it as an evangelization tool in missions. Thank You & Praise God!

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My heart is content………..

Tuesday 6/22/10 – 8:30pm @ the chapel in the main house at Big Woods

What a time of blessing the past two days have been for me. Living out here @ FMC, living the daily routine of work, prayer, and recreation has been so uplifting for me. Before I even got here, I was blessed because I got to pick up two other come and see participants from the airport. Showed them around town (including the Cathedral), stopped for some seafood @ a local restaurant, and talked missions and faith life on our way out to Big Woods.

The first blessing was not having to go home at the end of the night. I got to feel what it’s like to live here. 🙂 I like it! Of course I also am getting to experience the daily routine of meals, prayer, fellowship, study, etc….. I’m starting to feel like I’m a part of FMC, and that I belong here. It’s gonna be hard goin back home on Thursday, but I know now what I get to look forward to for Intake in September. A huge blessing for me has been the witness of the Eckstine family, a family of 10 kids and Mark & Laura, the parents. Their prayer, unity, & working together, especially when considering how many of them there are, is mind-boggling. Also mind-boggling is how generous they are with their time and resources. They are not wealthy by any means, but you will find it very hard to out-do them in generosity. In particular, their children have been a blessing to me. It’s been so much fun talking and playing with the kids. They’re like the brothers and sisters I never had. The joy of children is awesome!  If you wanna feel special and loved, then devote your time and love to a child and you will definitely be blessed 🙂

Another thing that has been on my mind is how much I want my  family (especially certain family members) to receive the joy and blessings that I feel I have received. The reason this came to mind was because of a bible verse I stumbled upon yesterday, 1 Corinthians 7:14. It says “For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through the brother.” What I feel like God is telling me was that as I strive to follow the call to missions, he will bless my family with graces to draw closer to him. I now know that in my absence, God will heal and bless my family, and draw them into a closer relationship with him. So that means my family is in good hands. 🙂 Well, the night is here, and my eyelids are beginning to feel heavy, so I bid adieu. Amen! Alleluia! Glory!

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DIVINE APPOINTMENT NAMED JOSEPH

4-5-10 Easter Sunday – 10:50pm @ my apartment

Once the pump is primed, once the seal is broken, once you get goin, you can’t stop. That is the way it feels lately with Divine Appointments. It’s one of the few things that I’m OK at doing, so I’m glad God gives me these opportunities. The latest one was named Joseph. I was going downtown to meet up with a friend and I parked at the library. As I was headed towards Jefferson Street on foot, I was approached by Joseph. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should do what I did. Yes, there have been times where people have been robbed downtown. However, I also have to remember that every person that approaches me is God’s child too. If it feels safe enough, then I visit with them. So, Joseph approaches me and introduces himself. He’s very humble in both his tone of voice as well as the way he carries himself. Part of it is probably because he was down on his luck. After all, you don’t approach strangers and ask them for assistance if your luck is good. But I also wonder if he’s humble because of the way people probably treat him and look at him. Even when people have good reason to deny assistance, they tend to do so callously and with little regard as to how they speak to or react to the person. I’d be a bit humble and hesitant if I had been treated that way too. Then when I shake his hand I notice one or two of the fingers is partially shriveled. Makes me wonder how it happened. Softened my heart even more. I guess I’ve just been reminded enough that the poor and downtrodden are near and dear to God. So, by the time we got to the handshake, God had me hooked. As we start talking, I didn’t get much of his personal story or many details on his circumstances. All I got from him is that he was out of money and needed help.

Literally speaking, I have him the last 1 dollar bill in my wallet and invited him to walk with me to the ATM on Jefferson St. As we walk that way, I just tried to engage him in small talk. Knowing what to say wasn’t easy, and I didn’t wanna focus on anything in particular. I just wanted him to talk about anything and feel comfortable around me. A few times he tried to get a few more bucks out of me, but I had honestly given him what I could. He even asked me to give him a ride to the motel and use my credit card to get him a room. I didn’t feel safe enough doing that. So once we got to where he had to turn off of Jefferson St, we stood there and talked a little more. I relayed some info that Martin, my previous Divine Appointment, had relayed to me regarding safe places to sleep downtown and not get arrested. As we parted ways, I asked him to pray for me and that I’d pray for him. All in all, he was a very pleasant person, and as always, I was very blessed by my encounter with him. I pray that I was able to make a difference and bring him closer to Christ. I also tried to encourage him as far as not being afraid to ask for help. Seems like many times we get ourselves into predicaments because we are too proud to ask for help. Hopefully, he can receive God’s grace to be able to seek out the help he needs. Coincidentally I saw Martin later that night and told him that what he shared with me the other night was passed on to someone in need. He was happy about that 🙂 Lest I forget, I spent alot of time over the weekend with my parents and nieces. Getting to do this, and enjoying the small things with them was such a blessing. Get to spend some more time with my parents after work today. Really enjoyed myself and was very blessed by it! Until next time, good night and God Bless!

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DESERT DAY – PART 4

Once again, I felt God telling me to come before him in prayer in front of the Tabernacle while they prayed for her. Now I know that many people have already discovered the power of praying in the presence of the Eucharist. I reveal nothing new in that regard. But I felt like I got to do so in a way that really brought the reality of intercession and prayer to life for me. The crazy part is, I could go on and on about all the revelations and blessing I’ve received on this trip, but I’ve only got 10 minutes left before I have to return to the van. As I sit here, I’m under the shade of some bushes by the side of a beautiful little stream. The sun is bright, the sky is beautiful, the breeze is blowing, and I can hear the sound of the water flowing past me. It is so utterly peaceful and refreshing out here.

I feel blessed beyond belief to be here at this very moment and to have this time to be with God. Someone commented earlier today that God blesses different people in different ways. At this moment, as I sit in this spot, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God is using all of these surroundings to bless me and shower his love on me. Well, the car horn is honking so I gotta head back. Praise you Jesus for this time of prayer and renewal. Please give me a heart of love to continue growing and serving you. Alleluia! Glory! Amen!

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DESERT DAY – PART 3

At the very moment I got to the front door, Maddie Dold was right outside and told me about a girl they had met at one of the ranchos who happened to be in town. Turns out, Maddie and Mandy had prayed with this girl and connected deeply with her at the rancho a few nights back. So last night, Maddie & Mandy, at just the right time, encountered this girl outside and got to talk with her, as well as give her some food and clothes. As Maddie is telling me this, she asks me to come and pray with them. I said yes, but told her that I felt like my prayer would be better if I went up to the chapel and prayed in front of the Tabernacle while they prayed with her.

So as I was doing that, they were praying with this girl and her family. As I was praying, I remembered Maddie telling me earlier that they were homeless and slept outside alot. Realizing that I didn’t need my sleeping bag as much as they did, I ran outside and had Mandy tell them to wait. I ran back inside and rolled up my sleeping bag and brought it out to them. I know it wasn’t much of a sacrifice on my part, but it really felt like I did a good thing. Then, to top it all off, this girl and her family thanked me and gave me a hug. The fact that in spite of their horrible situation they still were able to share love with others was amazing to me. These people, especially the young girl (her name is Alicia Guadalupe) were so beautiful and I was immensely blessed by them. Later that night, during prayer time, Maddie and Mandy shared the story with everyone. Towards the end of her sharing, Maddie confided in us that she was having a rough time in her spiritual life and got quite emotional. She asked us to pray over her.

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