Posts Tagged With: generosity

Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 24

Day 24 – Wednesday – 10/17/12

Had another opportunity to practice self-control last night and this morning. I continue to explore the cooking side of myself in little ways. Earlier this week I bought some peanuts because I wanted to make homemade peanut butter. Well, besides the fact that it is not as easy as I thought it would be, I also didn’t account for my hunger making it really hard to resist eating it. 🙂 You’d think I would have learned by now. But I did sample a little bit last night and this morning and I’d have to say that I’m very pleased with the outcome. It’s not like what you’d buy in a jar obviously. I simply shelled the peanuts, stuck ’em in a blender, add a few spoonfuls of cooking oil for moisture and creaminess and voila! Only thing i’ll do different next time is maybe add slightly less oil and put some sugar too. And If pecans weren’t so much work to shell, I’d do pecan butter. But I promise you I do not have that kind of patience, especially not when I’m on a fast. It’d either be torture not being able to eat the pecans, or I’d be so dang hungry that I’d eat the pecans as soon as they were shelled. Alas, that’s the biggest dilemma I face in life right now, which means I’m VERY blessed.

To revisit what seems to be a constant theme of my fast, I continue to learn about areas that I need to work on, and I continue to be humbled by the generosity of others. What seems to be most on my heart at this point in my fast, is my somewhat negative tendency towards selfishness and self-preservation. I use things like “fairness” and “being broke” to try and justify my behavior. Seemingly little stuff like not sharing my personal stash of coffee or sugar. But my mission partners, probably unbeknownst to them, continue to humble me and teach me in these small ways. Me asking Luis to hold off on doing his usual email/internet stuff so I could watch a UL Ragin’ Cajuns football game on a live video feed. And he did it! I can’t say with certainty that I would also have done that. Albert, before he left earlier this morning to go to the States for a few weeks to do some fundraising (say a quick prayer for that), bought some Mexican coffee for me since he knew that we were almost out. Again, it seems small, but God is using these small things to powerfully touch and move my heart. And I know Albert will be back in a couple of weeks, but I’ll definitely miss him. We enjoy the energy and friendliness that he adds to the mix here.

And unrelated to the fast, but I just feel like talking about it, is my recent decision to rejoin CatholicMatch.com. It’s basically a relationship/dating oriented website for Catholics. I did it for awhile last year, and was taking a break. But I decided that I needed to give it another chance. It’s a great way for the Lord to be able to introduce me to like-minded Catholic women and to be able to enjoy their company, form friendships, and possibly more. I think too that this time around I’m a little more patient about the whole process, and a little more mature and realistic in my expectations and how I go about doing it. So far I have really enjoyed it. Having great conversations that I really, really enjoy, and I can see for sure that I’ve at least got some new friends already. We’ll give it some time and prayer to see if God blesses it to go any further than that 🙂

Came across an AWESOME quote from Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth) an encyclical by Blessed Pope John Paul II that I’m currently reading. “In particular, the life of holiness which is resplendent in so many members of the People of God, humble and often unseen, constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditioned fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, and even in the most difficult situations.”

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 16

Day 16 – Tuesday – 10/9/12

Well, the split-meal thing worked out ok, but I think I need to give it some more time to see if it makes a difference. I didn’t really notice much of a difference yesterday as far as feeling hungry is concerned. In fact, I think it actually lessened the hunger because even though I ate the same amount of daily food. I was eating more often. The only difference so far was that this morning I did feel slightly hungrier. Be interested to see if that lasts. Last night I regretted not having my daily mealtime at supper. Why? Tono’s family. ‘Nuff said. 🙂 His family is from the town where we live, and they have been missionaries with FMC going back many years ago. They recently moved to another part of Mexico to be missionaries and are in town a few days to visit. We went over to their house after night prayer to visit because we didn’t know if we’d see them again before we went back to the states. Stupid gringo that I am. Shoulda known there’d be amazing Mexican food cooked by his wife Mari. 3rd stupidest thing to do in Mexico, is to visit Tono’s family while fasting. I did allow myself one flour tortilla and a few pieces of really good cheese some other lady made/brought. It really was good to see them though. I’m glad we got the chance to go, since we don’t know if we’ll see them again before we leave at the end of November.

On a more serious note, I realized two things this morning during my morning walk: 1.) I need to stop praying for humility and charity so that God stops testing me in those areas. Because we all know that when you pray for something like humility, charity, patience or whatever else, that he doesn’t automatically grant them to you. He tests you in those areas to help you develop in those areas. That takes work and time, and isn’t easy/painless. 2.) I’ve got a LONG way to go in developing love and concern for the poor. Obviously I don’t mean #1 literally, but it’s just hard to be tested like that. Number 2 is the truth for sure. This morning on my morning walk around the plaza in front of our house, I saw a lady I recognized coming in my direction. It pretty much looked like she was headed straight towards me. When I moved, she seemed to move in the same direction, almost as if she was actually trying to run into me. You know what I was thinking? “Lady, please get outta my way, stop trying to get in front of me. I don’t have anything (not true), PLEASE don’t ask me for anything.” Really cruddy stuff to be thinkin’. Especially considering that I’m a missionary, and I’m supposed to be an example of holiness and charity, and a servant of the poor. That lady was Jesus in disguise, and I walked the other way. :/

It’s like I still have that attitude of self-centeredness, that somehow I can’t be bothered. If it’s on my terms, I’m fine. But if it’s not, it gets me all twisted. That’s just it though, life and it’s needs and ministry opportunities are not “according to Sid”. They’re not on my time-frame, not on my terms. It’s GOD’s time-frame and terms that should be the guiding force. However, the paper-thin lining of this large gray cloud of self-centeredness that’s really obscuring the SONshine, is that God has blessed me to recognize that I struggle in this way. Now that I’m more aware, I can go to God and ask for his help.

I’ve also noticed one of the negative parts of being a poor missionary, at least as far as it pertains to me personally. It’s the whole notion of self-preservation or non-sharing. As a poor missionary whose funds seem to be perpetually VERY low, I find it easy to self-preserve and hard to share. After all, I don’t wanna give away everything and not be able to provide for myself, right? Well, that’s true but only to a certain extent. While I have to be able to provide for my legitimate needs, I also have to be willing to go out of my comfort zone to share with others and give out of my need (and not just my excess). This is the essence of true generosity. But I have not done this well, not at all. I have allowed myself to somewhat devolve into a justified existence of not really giving as much as I could/should, as well as becoming prideful and judgmental of those who ask for help, making it way too hard for them. All under the seemingly laudable guise of “prudence”. I’d like to think that the downturn in people who come to our door is because they know we aren’t just walking-talking wallets who give out cash willy-nilly. While that may be partially true, I suspect it’s more likely that they don’t want to have to deal with me. Even if you’re really in need, is it worth being humiliated or disrespected?

But as I alluded to earlier in this journal entry, at least I know this now and can begin to work on it. I also half-jokingly/half-seriously commented to one of my mission partners that I’m learning what NOT to do in order to fruitfully and effectively serve the poor. That’s why I wanna do a third year of missions. Now that I’ve finally arrived at the point where I know what to do and what not to do, I wanna be able to take that knowledge and put it into practice. The other thought that crossed my mind after all of this, is that The Bible says God’s power is perfected in our weaknesses, therefore we should boast of our weaknesses so that God’s power may rest upon us. If that’s the case, then my self-perceived self-proclaimed weaknesses make me one of the strongest people in the world! :p

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DEAD BATTERY

11-29-09 (last installment)

I also feel like God blessed me with the Joy of the Lord. It’s like I’ve been embedded with this true and unshakeable joy and it’s such a blessing. I felt this joy the whole time I was on the mission trip and felt like I was at peace and at home. When we got back to Big Woods this morning, my car battery was dead, so I felt like that was God calling me to spend the night at Big Woods. I was in no rush to get home, and any chance to extend the trip further and be around FMC more was fine by me. 🙂

I slept till 11 and then I woke up to go find Joe Summers to help me jump my car battery. As I was walking to the main FMC house from the home where I slept, the weather was absolutely beautiful. And as I made my way over, this happy little thought popped into my head “Ahhh. This is the life! I could definitely see myself doing this”. I can’t lie, that thought brought a smile to my face. 🙂

So now as the day draws to a close, I face another week of going back to work. While I’m blessed to have a job, it’s so hard to go back to it when all I wanna do is go on missions. But I know that if God is calling me to missions with FMC (which I think he is), he’ll use this time to start preparing me and my loved ones. Part of that plan is my desire to be around FMC as much as possible and do as much as I can. Praise you Lord Jesus and thank you for blessing me so much this week. I pray that you would continue to help me grow and to nourish these needs of faith that you have planted in me this week. Amen, Alleluia, Glory!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – PULLED OVER BY THE POLICIA

11-29-09 (continued)

When I look back at all the mission trips I’ve already been on, and how the Lord got me involved with FMC over the past few months, it amazes me. When I think about how much I was blessed on this mission trip, how much I felt at home, and how much joy I feel, it all makes perfect sense. I think it is God trying to open me up to missions. As I said earlier during the week, “God, I give you my Yes, I pray that you help me take care of the rest.” I could go on and on and fill up at least a few more pages in my journal, but I’ll stop here. 🙂

After we finished up our prayer and sharing time, we loaded up and left. Our drive back was another one of my favorite parts of the trip. We saw some amazing desert and mountain scenery and just marvelled at the beauty of God’s creation. We actually got stopped by the Mexican police in the town of Monclova, but luckily all they did was check our documents and allow us on our way. I’ve heard some interesting stories about missionaries having run-ins with Mexican police as well as border patrol on both sides. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit guided us through it without incident.

Of course it was quite a long drive, especially with all the bathroom breaks and other stops. We left at approximately 10am Saturday morning and didn’t get back to Big Woods until 6am this morning. But again, the car ride is half the fun. I really enjoyed the car ride back because of the missionaries I got to ride with; Johnathan Weiss, Bree (intake 09), and Kristin Istre. We talked, we sang, we laughed, we played games, and really enjoyed ourselves. I especially enjoyed having a captive audience of full-time missionaries whose brains I could pick at to learn more about missions.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DESIRE TO BE A MISSIONARY

11-29-09 (continued)

I feel so blessed by their presence and prayers at all of the rancho visits and when they come to our medical clinic. I also had the blessing of being on the construction work team and helping a local friend of the Casa de Misiones to do some work on his house. I could see Christ in every one of their faces and fell his presence. It moved my heart so much and these people fascinated me so much that I just wanted to sit and watch them. And I know we went there to heal them and bring the Good News of Jesus, but I feel like their prayers and presence healed me way more than what little I was able to do for them.

The other thing that was a huge blessing for me was fellowship with the other missionaries. I had been frequenting FMC quite a bit this semester and get to know everyone who was @ Intake this year. Getting to fellowship and visit, and do ministry side-by-side with them was such a blessing and helped me to grow alot. I also enjoyed the fellowship with some of full-time missionaries that came on the trip with us. I am so in awe of their holiness and dedication and i deeply desire to do what they do………..

As far as what I would leave in Mexico, it was my fear/distrust that God would not take care of everything in my life & provide for me if I discerned a call to be a full-time lay Catholic missionary. God really rocked my world when he proved to me how he could provide the means for me to be able to go on this mission trip. It has inspired so much confidence in me to be able to trust in the Lord and more freely discern a calling to missions. And as if I hadn’t already given it away, what I take with me is a STRONG desire to be a full-time missionary.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – BACK HOME

Sunday 11-30-09 / 5:05pm @ Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Praise God for a fruitful mission trip and safe passage back home. After Desert Day on Friday, we came back to the mission house and basically wrapped up and started packing up. We had a time of prayer and sharing which I enjoyed very much. Just hearing how much God spoke to everyone during our time of prayer out in the desert was such a blessing. The rest of the evening was spent eating supper, packing up, and enjoying the fellowship of the other missionaries. As I wrapped up the night, I went into the chapel and Jesus blessed me so much with his presence. I felt so at peace and comfortable in that stillness of prayer in the presence of the Eucharist.

A nice little side-bonus was hearing all the girls giggling and laughing in their room. At the time, I wasn’t really sure why exactly they were so loud and happy. But it brought me joy to hear them being so happy. Saturday was wake up, pack the vehicles, eat breakfast, and prayer/sharing before we left. The time of prayer/sharing was very fruitful. It seemed like b/c we had a small group, we were able to bond more and have a more prayerful atmosphere during the mission. Everybody got to praise God through singing as well as prayers of petition and thanksgiving. In our sharing time, we had to say 1) What blessed us most during the mission, 2)What we were going to leave behind, and 3) What we were going to take with us. Without a doubt, it is the people we ministered to that blessed me the most. I can now see why Mother Theresa was in love with the poor; it’s b/c they are near and dear to God’s heart. (to be continued)

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – COWS WHILE I PRAY

Friday 11-27-09 / Desert Day part 2

So as I was sitting here praying, reading Scripture, and journalling, I started to hear a strange noise. (Mind you that i’m sitting in a small ravine where a small stream is running through it. Altogether, it’s maybe 20 or 30 fee wide at most.) As I look up, i see cows walking towards me! Of course I wonder what the Lord is doing….. After they keep coming and coming, I start to worry a little bit. The thought of being stampeded or gored by a 2000 lb. angry hunk of meat is not my idea of a fruitful Desert Day. My other thought is that I don’t wanna create movement or distraction by relocating myself and possiblely spook these beasts.

So I stay put, right where I am on the very edge of the banks of this stream. Amazingly, these huge animals were wary of ME! Every single one of them eye-balled me as they passed by. They gave me as wide of a passing distance as they went by. They gave me as wide of a distance as they possibly could. Even then, I had some of them passing a mere 10 feet or so from me. What are the chances that at the exact same time I’m here, a herd of cattle would be passing by?

At the end of the herd was the cattle driver, who I’m sure was confused as to why a strange little gringo is sitting in the exact ravine where he is driving his cattle. I mustered up my best Spanish to explain what was going on and he even let me take a picture of him. After he and his cattle moved on, I marvelled in this simple encounter. I wondered if God was trying to teach me anything or any grand lesson. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize it was just a little something to bring a smile to my face, and to give me the first of hopefully many great stories from the mission field. God Bless!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DESERT DAY PART 1

Friday 11-27-09 / Desert Day outside of General Cepeda, Mexico
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Lord Jesus, I praise and thank you for this wonderful time of prayer and ministry here in Mexico. Thank you Lord God for calling me to missions this week. The faith and beauty of the people here in Mexico has been a source of healing for me Lord. I offer up to you in prayer Lord all those whose help and generosity allowed me to answer your call to missions this week. Lord, by their generosity, heal them and help them to heal others. Praise you Lord God for your abundant generosity in providing me fellow missionaries with whom I can fellowship and grow closer to you. Their witness, their faithfulness, their “Yes” to your call to foreign missions brings me such joy and happiness.

God, I feel like I am one among fellow co-workers in the vineyard. I never felt like or thought that I’d be here at this moment, and I never imagined that I’d be discerning a call to be foreign lay missionary. Every one of these missionaries has been a witness to the joy of following where you lead and preaching the love of God. Lord Jesus, I honestly cannot think of anything else I’d rather do. Please Lord, give me the strength and courage to answer your call to foreign missions. With the beauty of your creation as my witness, I unquestionably and irrevocably now give you my “Yes”. Affirm this call Lord, and help me to begin ordering my life so that I can follow this call. Open doors that need to be opened, and soften hearts that need to be prepared. As I prepare to leave behind my friends and family, help my absence to be the space you need to heal them. Lord raise up generous people who can help me follow the call to foreign missions. Praise You Lord Jesus. Alleluia! 🙂
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