Posts Tagged With: Casa de Misiones

January 2013 Missionary Newsletter

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” –Romans 5:3-5–

Dearest Benefactors,

I just wanted to say how happy I am to be able to write y’all again. Everytime I write, it means that there is more to report on the ways God is working in my life as a missionary. That is ALWAYS an exciting and good thing! ๐Ÿ™‚ As y’all already know, last year my full-time mission post was FMC’s Casa de Misiones in General Cepeda, Coahuila, Mexico. I was there for a total of 8 months with the other 4 months of the year split between visits to friends and family, 2 short term trips to St. Lucia (my mission post from 2011), and some time spent at our Big Woods Mission Base in Abbeville, LA. After my 5th or 6th month in Mexico, I started to feel like it was time for me to come back stateside. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, as my living situation and possible ministry opportunities had not yet been established. But when you know it’s time to move on, you step out in faith knowing that the good Lord will provide.

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fourth name from bottom. I’m official y’all! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks be to God that in my last month in Mexico, November 2012, things started to clear up, and by the time the Christmas holiday was over, my course was set. Part of what I discerned last year was that I wanted to do stateside mission work.So, I am now living at our Big Woods Mission Base as my full-time mission post. One of my new “jobs” is working as a liaison for our retreat house, Our Lady of the Bayous, and for our retreat ministry. If a group wants to book our facility, I’m the guy they talk to. If a group needs missionaries to put on a retreat, I’m the guy they talk to. And if a group wants to do a service project at our retreat house or mission base, I’m the guy they talk to. I’m also involved in the day to day operations of our retreat house. It can be a very busy but very rewarding ministry at the same time.

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me and my dad wearing the shirts I bought while at language school in Cuernavaca

 

My other main duty is serving as Evangelization/Outreach coordinator at one of the nearby parishes, St. Mary Magdalen. In this role I do alot of follow-up home visits in conjunction with our door-to-door evangelization team, in order to pray, visit, read scripture, and help these people to enter more fully into the sacramental life of the Church. Part of this job also entails doing a weekly Bible study at the Christian Service Center, which is a part of the church parish. Aside from this, I also lend a helping hand with any manual labor that needs to be done at the service center, such as stocking the pantry shelves and unloading food shipments.

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me and Donnie, one of the home visits. Please say a prayer for him, he’s been a bit sick lately

 

As you can see, God is keeping me busy with lots of ministry opportunities. I’m so blessed that y’all continue to journey with me in my missionary vocation. Your support makes it all possible, and without your prayers I would not have the strength I need to do what I do. Thank you so very much. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and are having a Happy New Year.

God Bless!

Sid Savoie

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Giraffe Necks and Weak Coffee

Thursday – 11/8/12 – 7:00am – Casa de Misiones – General Cepeda, Coahuila, Mexico

Earlier this morning I had an experience which hasn’t happened since my sophomore year of college, roughly 11 years go. As I was turning on my computer the screen goes all white and then dark again for a few moments before booting up. While the screen was dark and I was looking at it, I saw my reflection. And I didn’t like what I saw. My head looked humongous & my neck was like a giraffe. In college, the same thing happened as I was passing by one of the big ground-level window panes on one of the classroom buildings. I saw my reflection and didn’t like what I saw. Both then and now, I woke up from that initial displeasure with an “aha!” moment. The realization was that the mirror I was looking into was not an accurate one. They were both modern day versions of the circus-mirror effect. The difference is that with the circus mirror I never took it seriously enough to be displeased with my reflection, because I knew it was false. So naturally from these instances it caused me to reflect on the accuracy of the mirrors in our lives, whether they be a physical mirror that shows us what we look like or some person/situation that reflects some aspect of our lives. With both I realized that you have to have a good mirror or else none of your assumptions or opinions will be accurate. Another vital part of the equation is to be able to interpret the results in a good way. If the results are good, you have to build off of that in a way that does not also inflate your ego. If the results are not so good, then you have to be able to build off of that and not let it deflate your will and sense of self-worth.

My other little incident this morning involved coffee. Come to think of it, when does anything in my morning routine NOT involve coffee? Yesterday morning one of our missionaries in training (who is a morning person like me) was up before I was and made the coffee. He appeared to have put about half a millimeter of coffee grounds into the filter to make the coffee. Stuff tasted like flavorless hot brown water. But I didnt’ wanna waste the whole pot, and I also knew that the “brown water” had caffeine in it. So I swallowed my pride, figuratively and literally, and drank the coffee. My morning depended on it. I was determined this morning to educate him on how to make stronger coffee. To me, one of my pet peeves is weak coffee. Seems kinda pointless. I think if I end up in purgatory instead of going straight to heaven, one of my thousand-year penances will be drinking weak coffee day in and day out. Anyhoo, back to my story. I didn’t get up in time to beat him to the coffee maker. But to his credit he remembered what I said yesterday about weak coffee and put more coffee grounds than he did yesterday. Still not quite enough though. Also to his credit is the fact that the only brand of Mexican coffee available here is really weak stuff when compared to my beloved Community Coffee. Ergo I enjoyed my first cup more than yesterday’s first cup but I was still determined that at least my second cup would be stronger. So I took the plastic filter thingy hostage. By “plastic filter thingy” I’m referring to the thing where you put the paper coffee filter and then fill it up with coffee grounds. Once I was sure that the first pot was close enough to being done, I dumped out the rest of it. Put water in the machine. And then I filled that thing up with a Southern-Louisiana-Cajun-appropriate level of coffee grounds, which according to Sid, means at least 1/2 to 2/3 full. Gosh dernit, I want this stuff to curl my nose hair it’s so strong. I want it to be so strong that it puts hair on my chest (a feat usually reserved for a good beer or shot of whiskey). You get the idea. I’m pleased that the 2nd pot was definitely stronger. I’m even pleased-er that I think the bag of Mexican coffee we’re on right now is our second to last, and 6 bags of Community Coffee are waiting in line to take its place.

You know, as I look back on the title of this entry I think someone could easily misinterpret that this entry is written by some innovative Cajun who found a new type of bait to put in his crab trap. I also remember that yesterday we had a class on tips for missionary photography and blogging. But I didn’t think that a picture of a blank computer screen, my neck, a coffee pot, or a cup of coffee would cause my journal entry to be any more interesting than it already is. So please, just use your imagination. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a good one. God Bless

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My 40-day fast – Day 2

Sid’s 40 Day Fast

Day 2 – Tuesday, 9/25/12

Felt a little bit of the hunger pangs this morning, in spite of how much I ate last night. Kinda glad, because like I said yesterday I don’t want this to be easy. I wanna be challenged. During my morning walk it also occurred to me that yes, I can always pray. But during a fast, the hunger encountered is an extra gift or offering to God that goes along with your prayer. It ties into the whole idea of redemptive suffering, which was perfectly demonstrated by Jesus. This fast and the hunger I will experience will be a way for me to be like Jesus, by offering up my suffering through The Cross for others.

As I sat at Mass waiting for the Eucharist, I felt another hunger pang. It’s happened before and it’s one of my favorite things about fasting. Because even when you fast for an hour before receiving, you’re still full and you don’t feel hungry. But to feel actual hunger as you are receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood in The Eucharist is amazing. It brings the experience of The Eucharist to a whole new level.

Forgot to mention that I went to Mass @ The Cathedral in Saltillo. Had to come to Saltillo to meet Albert at the bus station. After his bus arrives at 7:30pm we’re gonna head back to the Casa De Misiones to begin our month and a half journey as a team of three. This team of three is living proof of God answering prayers (me and Luis had been praying for another mission partner). It’s also proof of God’s proclivity for making life VERY interesting. How so? Well, you’ve got Luis, a Venezuelan, whose first language is spanish. Then you’ve got me, a Cajun, whose first language is english. Then to complete the trifecta you’ve got Albert, a Polish guy, whose first language is polish. Luis’ 2nd language is my first. My 3rd language is Luis’ 1st and Albert’s 4th. And neither me nor Luis speaks Polish, Albert’s 1st language. AND the three of us from three different countries are living together as missionaries in a fourth country. Anyhoo, at the end of our month and a half together Intake 2012 will come down and join us. Then for the last week of November we’ll have a group of families and other short-term missionaries who will join us for the annual Thanksgiving mission trip.

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I put mayo on my bread tonight

Friday, September 14, 2012 – Noon-ish – mountainous area outside of Ejido Tejocote, which is a “municipio” of General Cepeda, in the state of Coahuila, in the country of Mexico

writing down my thoughts during Desert Day prayer time

So, I promise the title of this journal entry does pertain to it. You just have to wait till (or skip ahead to) the end. My original title was “Desert Day is a misnomer”, but that sounded kinda nerdy and boring, and didn’t think it would grab anybody’s attention enough to make them actually wanna read my journal entry. That was the original title, because we call our weekly “get away from everyone and everything” prayer time “Desert Day”. We do this in imitation of Jesus who took time away to pray and be with the father. But, aside from the fact that I was in a mountainous area instead of a desert, it was also VERY foggy. Like, visibility 50 yards or less type of foggy. The fog was so thick, it was starting to coagulate/coalesce/stick together and formed water driplets that were just big enough to be pulled by gravity down to the earth. “Drizzly” is a good word to describe it. But not quite heavy enough for me to use the word “drizzling”, as in, it was actually drizzling. And I use the word “driplets”, because they were even smaller than “droplets” of water.

cactus look so much cooler up close (but not too close)

not a whole lot goin on in this pic. A path in the forest. It just looked really simple, beautiful, peaceful.

coolest danged pine cone I ever seen

Desert Day is once again full of peace.It’s a profound peacefulness. Profound. Yeah. That’s the perfect word to describe it. I see the layers of fog drifting by me. I hear the wind blow through the trees and across the landscape. Kinda reminds me of the Holy Spirit talk we’ve been giving this week & how you can’t see the Spirit, but you can see and feel and hear the effects of The Spirit. Kinda makes me wonder too if Adam and Eve appreciated The Garden of Eden the way I appreciate this Desert Day peacefulness and tranquility. What was their basis of comparison, since everything at that point was perfectly beautiful, tranquil, and sinless. They had no sucky-ness to help them appreciate the beauty of it all (prior to be kicked out of The Garden of Eden, of course) Came across this really cool little horned desert lizard. Snapped a few pics.

Came across this little guy when I was doing some exploring

funny thing is i almost didn’t see him, he camouflages so well with his surroundings

“aerial” view of my lizard friend

head shot

Sittin in the van now, all the windows opened/rolled down. Enjoying the stillness from here, because I didn’t bring a blanket to sit on. And, it’s (just barely) too drizzly.ย  Read a little bit from The Bible. Reading in 1 Corinthians how you don’t have to be a wordsmith or academic scholar in order to preach the Gospel. Which is quite ironic considering that earlier this week was the feast day of St. John Chrysostom, whose last name literally means golden-tongue (or golden-mouth?). But as much as I admire St. John Chrysostom, I’m glad I read that passage in 1 Corinthians, because if there’s one thing I am NOT, it’s a golden-tongued orator. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyhoo, later on we’re headed to Tejocote & 2 de Abril (two nearby ejidos) to do prayer services in the chapels. In the meanwhile I’m gonna go harvest some of this good mountainous/foresty topsoil for our garden at the Casa de Misiones. Till next time…………………….

p.s.- So, to explain the title of this entry, you have to realize that I journal in a “one size fits all purposes” notebook. It’s a journal, notebook, post-it note pad, and everything in between. I had some mayo in the fridge that I wanted to use up before it went bad, ergo, the funny/random note that gave birth to the title of this journal entry.

p.s.s.- Having your house right next to the city hall (La Presidencia) and right on the town square (El Zocalo) has it’s advantages. Last night (Sept. 15th) the town celebrated Mexican Independence Day and we got to observe alot of things up close. Getting to hear and see the Mexican Hat Dance song performed, in Mexico, has now made my life a little more complete.

p.s.s.s.- Seeing the fireworks display that was literally right in front of our house, while standing on our rooftop, was pretty cool too ๐Ÿ™‚

Our local church parish, La Parroquia de San Francisco de Asis, all lit up for Mexican Independence Day

the local city hall, La Presidencia, decorated for Mexican Independence Day

some of the fireworks show we saw from the roof of our Casa de Misiones

watchin’ the baile (dance) from the rooftop

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 chanceย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) 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 toย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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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Desert Day – November 19, 2011 – part 2

LINKS TO VIDEOS AND PICS (you might have to copy and paste the link):

Facebook picture album:

Mexico mountaintop scenery – http://youtu.be/CwzRU8me5VQ
Concrete slide – http://youtu.be/1NzAYt7x_pY
Missionaries headed to the rancho – http://youtu.be/aHM5IYweHUw
Missionaries preparing food for the poor – http://youtu.be/dWZYNzunl9Y

 

I figured part 2 would be a good chance to also share some stories about our Mexico trip. The funny thing is that the trip actually started before the group got here last saturday. Monday of last week, me and Luis drove Odilio’s old suburban down to the border to donate it to our Mexican missionary, Raul. Without giving you all the fun details, let’s just say it was quite an adventure. It involved crossing the borders 8 times in 2 days at 2 different locations. Got stopped by border patrol on both sides, and got held at the US Customs and Border Patrol station for an hour and a half. But, in the end, we were able to get the suburban to Raul so that he could get the paperwork completed so that it would be transferred to his ownership. Why not wait until the group came down last Saturday? Well, there was a Mexican law that was about to change that would have raised the cost from $1600 to $6000, and we wanted to beat the deadline.

Since we’ve been here things have been great. This trip has taken on a whole new feel than the previous three times I’ve been here. All those trips were amazing, yes, but this is my first trip here with the knowledge that me and Luis will be living here in January. Yep, you heard right, the Casa de Misiones in General Cepeda will be my mission post next year. So now, instead of just participating in the normal daily activities, I’m also getting to know where things are in town. I’m starting to make connections with our mexican missionaries here. It’s the process of starting to familiarize myself with this place and getting settled in, so that it can feel like home when I come back in 2 months.

Our first week here has been great. I feel like one of the graces I’ve received during my first year of missions is to really grow and progress in my spiritual life and in other aspects too. It seems like God is giving me the grace to really dive deeply into prayer and ministry while here. I’m really loving praying over people, giving alms, doing home visits, welcoming visitors to our mission house, going door to door in the ranchos to invite people to our prayer services, singing praise and worship music, and giving testimonies. I LOVE it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Daily life with the other missionaries brings me alotta joy too. Everything from cleaning bathrooms, to washing dishes, to community prayer, personal prayer time, and fellowship with each other.

Next week seems to be quite a busy and blessed week as well. Praise the Lord!

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