Posts Tagged With: hunger

Drunk in church & reflecting on my fast

Sunday – 9:00am – In the back seat of the old gray missionary van on the way to communion services in the ranchos – middle of nowhere, Coahuila, Mexico

Trying to write a journal entry in this van is like trying to build a house of cards during an earthquake. Very difficult to do. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it is kinda difficult. πŸ™‚ But as you can see from the title of today’s entry, I got some pretty interesting stuff to talk about and didn’t want it to slip my mind. It also felt really strange yesterday not writing in my journal after having written everyday for the past 40 days. I can kinda see now how writing is therapeutic and can help you make sense of things a little better.

Now just to clear things up, I was not drunk in church, at least not on alcohol. But there was a drunk guy that wandered into Mass. I’m assuming he was a by-product of the concert last night at the Presidencia. Thankfully he was a very quiet and respectful drunk. You could definitely tell he was drunk though. His breathing was loud and labored. His walk and stance were a little bit wobbly. He weaved in and out of the pews a couple of times and had a couple of different seats before he finally settled on the same one for the rest of Mass. He also stomped his foot on the kneeler a few times. Oh, and at the end of Mass he walked up to the front pew and did a little dance too. To the credit of everyone there, they didn’t seem bothered or overly curious, with the exception of some stares by a few kids. What I felt kinda bad about was my initial reaction. I was worried that he’d be a distraction and that he shouldn’t be in Church. Wasn’t it Jesus that said he came to save the lost? Isn’t that one stray sheep just as important as the other 99? So for the rest of Mass I tried to pray for him instead of keeping an eye on him. Figured he could use my prayers more than my judgment.

Now that I’m a couple days removed from my fast I can also do a little bit of looking back on the experience. At this point I’m thinkin’ mainly of two things: guarding my growth and following my heart. When I think about the fast and all the graces I got during the fast, I’m amazed. The graces of chastity, patience, and perseverance are just a few that come to mind. I’m also thinking how awesome it was to have that sacrifice (hunger) to offer up. Now I’m realizing that I have to guard those graces. I have to continue to look to develop them. I’ve got to continue to look for sacrifices to offer up so that I have ammo against my weaknesses and temptations. Maintain the momentum. Yeah, that’s a good way to sum it up.

I’m also thinkin’ about the whole clarity thing, in regards to my mission post. When I started my fast, I was under the assumption that “clarity” meant figuring out which country I wanted to go to. Never did I thinkΒ  when I started my fast that it might actually mean figuring out whether or not I would even go back into the mission field. What does seem clearer is that I don’t think I’m at peace with going back out into the foreign mission field, at least not at this point in my life. Maybe later in life, once I’m married? Who knows…. My heart is ready to pursue friendship and see what develops. That’s alot easier to do if I’m stateside. Plain and simple, it’s what I want for my life. I believe it’s my calling and so not only do I want to pursue it, I HAVE to pursue it. I also don’t think it would be fair to mission partners and people that we’d be serving if I had a heart divided between missions and marriage. It seems wise to pursue the vocation of marriage with a single, undivided heart, and then whatever else is next will fall into place.

That being said, I pray for those of you who are also discerning your vocation in life, that you would be patient, persevere, and receive clarity and peace. Please pray for me too as I pursue friendship and ultimately marriage. Till next time, take care and God Bless!

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 40

Day 40 – Friday – 11/2/12

What’s that you say? It’s day 40 of my 40 day fast? THAT MEANS MY 40 DAY FAST IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! aoiejhanvclknasl;kfjgv;oairejhjgf;ncv’kjao;riehfanv;lknasfdoitaonc v;lakjhgoiag;ona;lxknv;oaijgf;ja;jkgfa!!!!!!!!a;isjv;lakngfajd;fljk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I think I’ve got a hold of myself now. πŸ™‚ It’s crazy to think that this is the end of my 40 day fast. I didn’t think it would go by so quickly. Neither did I think that it would be as amazing of an experience as it was. But I guess your first time doing something like this will always be memorable. Today was a pretty good day. Had a couple of cups of coffee this morning before heading out to pick up one of our home visits to go to the local cemetery to decorate family members’ graves for All Souls Day. We also went so that we could attend Mass in the cemetery. Lemme tell you somethin’, you ain’t seen nothin’ until you see All Souls Day (Dia De Los Muertos) in Mexico. I’ve never seen more flowers (real or artificial) in my life! And the cool thing is, it’s not some sad or mopey occasion. Here, it’s a celebration. People decorate the graves. They hire mariachi bands to serenade them and their dearly departed family members at the gravesite. They bring food, usually some of the favorite food of the deceased, and have lunch at the gravesite.

After Mass ended I came back home and tackled the table covering project. One of my benefactors sent me the money to buy new material to cover our tables with. Today was the first chance I had to actually get it done. Probably took me at least 3 or 4 hours. Now, I’m sure that I was slightly overboard on some of the things I did to make sure they were measured, cut, positioned, and then secured as best as possible. I was also just moving slow. There was no rush, not much going on tonight, so why hurry? Once it was done I was uber happy. The dining rooms and kitchen look alot better. To break things up a bit and to give myself a rest, I made a few trips to the grocery store. Since I can start eating 3 meals again tomorrow, I had to make sure I had some breakfast ready. One of my mission partners also gave me some pesos as his contribution towards the table coverings, even though it was all donated. So I ended up buying some absolute essentials for the house: coffee, creamer, and sugar! πŸ™‚ After I was done with all that, I headed across the plaza to the church parish for a little bit of adoration. Did night prayer and was in the process of reading a book when they told me they were about to lock up, so I came on back, and here I be.

So at the end of my 40 day fast, I have no choice but to retrospect. First thing I think about is all the “commitments” I had for the 40 day fast. Most of them having nothing to do with fasting, but all of them having something to do with self-control or making myself better. Less computer time. More guitar practice.
Diversify prayer time. I think I just got too caught up in trying to add on all these extra commitments, thinking that they could just ride on the coattails of my main commitment, and I’d be able to get them all done. But it was kinda distracting too. Next time I do something like this, i’m just gonna have my fast and that’s it. Otherwise I’ll lose focus on the most important thing, the fast itself.

In regards to my main commitment, the fast itself, I think I did ok. Didn’t do bad, but could have done better. I learned alot about self-control and honesty. Many times I found myself trying to get around the rules by either having snacks, spreading out my meal to lessen the sacrifice of feeling hunger, or eating a ton of food for my one meal so that I was fuller (less hungry) for longer. Another thing I was blessed with is a better perspective on how hungry and poor people feel. Now that I know the anxiety of hunger on a whole new level, I think I’m gonna be more in tune to the poor and ways that I can help them. My prayer intentions for the fast were: 1.)For an increase in humility, 2.)For an increase in charity, 3.)For clarity in discerning what next year will look like for me, 4.)For our Intake missionaries, 5.)For my sister and nieces, and 6.)For our presidential election. I think time will tell how much I succeeded in numbers 1 & 2. But I do think that I was blessed in those areas. As far as #3 is concerned, I definitely think I have more clarity now. Numbers 4-6, well, only God knows how those were affected. But I know that prayer works, and that God is a mighty God. And maybe I’ll never know in my earthly life what the effects of my prayers were, but when I get to heaven, then it will all make sense.

All in all, it was a great experience. A perfect way to prepare for all of the visiting missionaries this month. And a perfect way to end the year.

p.s.- Decided at 10:45pm that at midnight, when my fast ended, i’d celebrate by eating a bowl of cereal. Had to be the longest 75 minutes of my life.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 39

Day 39 – Thursday – 11/1/12

Check out the date! 11 + 1 = 12! I love when that happens! πŸ™‚ Anyhoo, I felt the need to slow down my journalling a bit. The past couple of days I’ve been typing up my entries instead of writing them down first. I didn’t really have any time to journal this morning because I was getting ready to come to Saltillo. After morning prayer and a cup of coffee, checking email and throwing a few things in my backpack, I hopped on the 9 o’clock bus (La Naranja) to Saltillo.

Got down at my usual spot in front of the Panteon Santiago. It was an absolute madhouse in that area because today is All Saints Day & tomorrow is All Souls Day. Or as it’s known here in Mexico, Dia De Los Muertos. Headed down Victoria Guadalupe street to the post office to mail something to the states. I can’t tell you what I mailed off, I can’t even tell you how big or small it is, because I’m almost positive that the person who it’s for is gonna read this entry and I don’t wanna spoil the surprise. You know how girls are. If you let them know they’re getting something then the gears in their brain get goin’. And if you give them even the slightest clue as to what it is, then their brain goes into overdrive and they will use persistence and charm to try and get more clues out of you. πŸ™‚ (I kinda had to let her know something was coming, cuz I had to ask for her mailing address.)

Now I’m sitting outside of the Miracle Chapel that’s on the side of the Cathedral here in Saltillo. Gonna go to Noon Mass, since today’s a holy day of obligation. Well, it is in the states, not sure about here in Mexico. But whether it is or it isn’t, I have no excuse not to go, and I wanna go anyways. Besides, I’m definitely feeling the hunger pangs right now, so the first thing that will alleviate my physical hunger, as well as my spiritual hunger, is The Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Jesus Christ in The Eucharist. Cool, huh? πŸ™‚ After Mass, I’m gonna take a city bus to La Central de Autobuses and walk on over to Domino’s for lunch. I’m kinda pumped about it, can’t lie. Not only am I super hungry, but I’ve been in Mexico for five months now and haven’t had any American fast food or pizza this whole time. After some deelish pizza, I’m gonna head on over to HEB to buy a Dr. Pepper to bring back home and enjoy. Then I’m gonna take the bus back to General Cepeda. Probably gonna be a slow night. I might start cutting the new table covers from the rolls of material I bought from Senor Schlemann’s tienda. Maybe talk with some friends. Who knows…….

A few quick updates:
-Mass and The Eucharist were awesome.
-Got the “mystery thing” mailed off without a hitch πŸ™‚
-Domino’s pizza was awesome!!!!!!! Flippin’ delicious. I probably could have eaten the whole thing, but I was gettin’ pretty full so I saved two pieces for part of my lunch tomorrow.
-Got my Dr. Pepper, ready to crack that baby open tomorrow. Word.
-Played volleyball again tonight. I didn’t realize how much exercise it could be, and consequently how much it could hurt! It’s not too bad though. And it gives me more to offer up. Again tonight I was comic relief, definitely was the cause of some smiles and laughing. πŸ™‚ Slowly but surely though I am getting better.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 38

Day 38 – Wednesday – 10/31/12

I’d like to start my entry today with a quote from a song that someone passed along to me. “Happiness don’t drag its feet. And time moves faster than you think.” I like this quote. Scratch that. I REALLY like this quote. At first I wondered “do I like it so much because of the person that sent the song to me?”. Yes, I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a reason I like the quote and the song. But, as I thought about it, I realized I like the song and especially this quote, because it very accurately reflects what I think and feel. Happiness indeed, don’t drag its feet. Why? Because it’s a good thing and it’s meant to be. Why should it be put off? Now don’t go gettin’ all nit-picky on me. Just take what I’m sayin at face value, for what it means, and you’ll see what I’m talkin’ about. And if there’s one thing I’ve discovered in life, time definitely moves faster than you think. So, what I take it to mean (at least to me) is that if happiness don’t drag its feet and time ain’t slowin down, I gotta go for this blessing. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So, you remember that nap I told you about yesterday? You know, that REALLY good nap where I was dead to the world? I’ve re-discovered what happens when you take a nap like that too late in the day. You end up restless at 4am, walkin’ around bundled up in the freezing cold and prayin’ a rosary! πŸ™‚ That’s what happened to me this morning. Well, the nap was the main culprit. But also, I had an earlier bedtime than I normally have. I think too that because of our daily schedule here, even when the day is really full, it’s never one that is physically demanding or exhausting. So that trifecta came together in the perfect mixture I guess. It’s kinda good though. Early in theΒ  morning when the air is cold like this, it’s really crisp and refreshing. The prayer intentions that I offered up during my rosary made my early morning sleeplessness worth it. The other night I was telling someone that my style of relationship with God is to step out in faith and have the Lord guide me as I go. However there is nothing that can replace the security and assurance that comes with prayer. I know that the best thing I could do for the people that I love and are on my heart and the things that are on my heart, and the best way to be as close to them as possible (short of being physically present) is to lift them up in prayer.

Today should be a good day, even if just for the fact that Albert is back. Adds some extra energy to our daily life at the house. We have our last two home visits that we’re gonna do for the week. I’ll probably try and do some more preparations around the house. I can’t really do much cleaning yet, because I don’t want to sweep and tidy up the areas now, only to have them get dirty again before the group arrives on Tuesday. Gonna wait as late as possible to do that. Man, what I really need to do is consolidate my personal stuff in my room. It’s very spread out, which is I guess what tends to happen when you have a room all to yourself. But with 25 people coming next week, and 35 more coming the week of Thanksgiving, I know that I’m either going to be sharing a full room, in which case I’ll have to make my stuff very compact and also share shelf and closet space. Or, I might even have to move to another room. We’ll see. All I know is that I gotta do something with all that stuff. 6pm Mass is in the plans too. There’s no good reason not to go. Besides, how can I resist getting to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in The Eucharist? πŸ™‚

And I hope they have volleyball again tonight, cuz I’m really starting to enjoy it. I played again last night and had alot of fun. Got to see a few people I know, play some volleyball, andΒ  just get out of the house. It’s nice to get away from the house and refresh yourself sometimes. Something as simple as the cool outside air and a game of volleyball can do that. I also have to get something ready for an errand I’m running in Saltillo tomorrow. Among other things, I plan on going to the Cathedral for All Saints Day Mass, and for my one daily meal I think I’m gonna pay a little visit to Domino’s. πŸ™‚ I’ve been craving it ever since my last visit to Saltillo to pick up Albert. Thursday is also the last chance that I’ll get to go to Saltillo on my own before the group gets here. Friday is All Souls Day (Dia De Los Muertos) and I wanna be here in town for the Mass in the local cemetery, and to be able to experience whatever other types of festivities that go on during that time. I’ve also gotta be focused on all the things I need to help out with to prepare for the group (put new coverings on table, clean, organize, etc….) Also, once they arrive, and even when we go to Saltillo as a group, there’s not as much freedom or flexibility to wander around Saltillo on your own. Gotta orient yourself toward the group, know what I mean?

As far as my fast goes, I’m pretty excited about that too. After today I’ve only got two days left. And while in some ways I’m ready for it to end, it’ll also be bittersweet. Not that I like the feeling of hunger, but it’s something you grow accustomed to. It gives you something to offer up and helps you to sharpen your spiritual focus. It also gave me the chance to look alot more carefully at what exactly I eat and how much I eat. But like I said, I’m ready for it to end. Ready to get back to a normal schedule and way of life. I’m ready to be able to step back from the experience, recover, get a “bigger picture” perspective as I do some retrospection, and move on from there.

p.s.- I don’t understand how, but for some reason I felt really good when I got up at my normal time this morning. Decided I wasn’t gonna let myself sleep late just because of last night. I knew that getting up early as normal might mean I’d be a little tired, which I definitely was right when I woke up. But after getting out of bed and going on my morning walk I felt great! πŸ™‚

p.s.s.- Another thing that’s really great about early morning walks in cold weather is the nice hot cup of coffee that was waiting for me afterwards. Truly a piece of heaven in a cup.

p.s.s.s.- Random fun fact: As I was doin’ some more laundry, sippin’ on my mornin’ coffee, jammin’ to my favorite country singer Josh Turner, I did me a little country hoe-down jig. Only cuz I knew no one was watchin’. It’d take a mighty special person to get me relaxed enough to do that in front of them! πŸ˜€

p.s.s.s.s.- Another random fun fact: Misunderstood some of Josh Turner’s lyrics as sayin’ “pickle mess” instead of “big ole mess”. Though, I suppose that “pickle-mess” sounds like somethin’ that charming country folk would say, like maybe when Mawmaw Billy-Jo accidentally uses baking soda instead of sugar to make her apple pie and when she tastes it says “aw shucks! them thar neighbors is comin over fer dinner tonight and i’m in a pickle-mess cuz i ain’t got no apple pie I can serve ’em!”. Hyphenated names is just somethin’ that country folk do, and if yer a girl named “Jo”, you gotta spell it without the “e” cuz only boys named “Joe” spell it with the “e”.

p.s.s.s.s.s. – Last random fact, I promise: Today, I literally stopped and smelt the roses. We’ve got a yellow rose bush growin’ in the back yard garden of our mission house.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 37

Day 37 – Tuesday – 10/30/12

It’s one of those days where I just wasn’t feeling the inspiration or motivation to write in my journal this morning when I was awake and refreshed. Funny thing is that I actually was awake and refreshed when I woke up. Maybe being slightly tired when I wake up gets the reflective/creative juices flowing? I also just had the desire to sit in our chapel, in front of Jesus and do nothing. Just do nothing. Just sit there in front of Jesus and let myself think, meditate, air out my thoughts, whatever you wanna call it. It’s something that I wish I did more, which is ironic since I consider myself a pensive and contemplative person. So I figured I’d strike while the iron was hot. It ended up being a “just right” kinda day. Not too busy, not too slow. Instead of our normal home visit, which we’ll do tomorrow, we went to some of the local schools to check out the altars they put up for Dia De Los Muertos, which is this coming Friday. You might know it by the name of All Souls Day. The altar consists of various foods and personal objects reminiscent of the dearly deceased, as a way of remembering them. Really colorful and creative stuff. I personally would rather keep the money and food for myself or someone else instead of leaving it for my dearly deceased. πŸ™‚ But, that’s probably one of many reasons that God made me an American and not a Mexican!

Came back home, washed some more blankets and bed sheets in preparation for the groups that are coming next month, ate some lunch, did some more laundry stuff, and took a nap. It was a GOOD nap. I mean, REALLY good. It was one of those kind of naps where you are basically dead to the world. Felt great, can’t lie. After I woke up, took me a shower, and then we had our weekly missionary community meeting here at the house with our Mexican missionaries. Went to Daily Mass at 6 and then came back here. Typin up my journal, and what do you know, freakin’ Albert walks in the door! πŸ™‚ It’s good when a missionary brother that’s been gone for awhile comes back. Probably gonna visit with him tonight and maybe talk to some other friends later tonight.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 36

Day 36 – Monday – 10/29/12

The first thing I realized this morning is that the last day of my fast is All Souls Day. It’s always neat when a big day like a birthday, anniversary, or something else falls on a feast day, because it gives it added significance. In this case I can offer up the last days of my fast for all who have passed away. And since Saturday marks my first day of normal eating again, not sure how I’ll celebrate for breakfast. Probably cook and eat a whole pack of bacon πŸ™‚ I’ve got three, maybe four days max to regain my normal appetite before the group gets here. That’s when Marta’s cooking starts!

Another thing I was thinking about during my morning walk was the challenge that ministry is going to be this week. I mean, how do you focus on your ministry when you’ve got 60 people descending upon your house over the next month? How do I keep focus when after being so quiet over here for so long, we finally get some liveliness, energy, and action in our house? On top of that, it’s gonna be a slow week anyways. We don’t have any rancho visits this week so we’ll have even MORE time to think about how excited we are about the group. πŸ™‚ It’s not a bad thing though. Just another opportunity to grow in focus & self-control. And speaking of self-control, another opportunity of growth will come soon once the group gets here. This will be the last week of getting to indulge in long text, video chat, & phone conversations with yesterday’s aforementioned yet-to-be-named female friend. I will enjoy the heck out of it, that’s for sure, because I really enjoy talking to her. But when the group comes, it’ll be nice to immerse myself in group activities and the group schedule. It’ll also give both of us (especially her, a school teacher) a chance to catch up on sleep a little bit! πŸ™‚ Besides, I’m sure that we’ll still have some form of communication, be it texting, email, brief phone call, or a combination of all three. Another benefit is it’s one of those “absence makes the heart grow fonder” moments that is necessary for a friendship (& God-willing a relationship) to flourish.

Yesterday, God blessed me with more of the normal hunger pangs before and after eating. And as always, eating a kinda big meal, and eating it late, did not eliminate them later in the day/evening. Neither did eating two of my favorite Mexican snack cake treats later in the evening do anything to mitigate the pangs. But what I did do was elicit a brief moment of sugar-induced bliss, and a few audible mm-mmm’s. πŸ™‚ The good thing about the group being here too is that group money will pay for all of the meals, so I’ll have a little more spare money to pay for snacks! Well, lemme end this on a sorta gross and random note, as a fun-loving bachelor missionary man’s mom would be inclined to do. Yesterday after eating my eggs for lunch, I noticed afterwards, that everytime I burped it tasted like potatoes. Weird, huh? Since when did egg-burps taste like potatoes? Oh well, maybe that was God’sΒ  modern day version of multiplying the loaves & fishes. πŸ˜€

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 35

Day 35 – Sunday – 10/28/12

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that a good journal entry is like a good dream. If you want to remember it, you are more likely to do so if you write it down earlier in the day. That’s probably why most of my journaling is done, or at least starts in the morning. Got some really good sleep last night. Let my body wake me up, since we didn’t have communion services today thus no early Mass. Looks like I’ll be going to Noon Mass! πŸ˜‰ The sun is out, the skies are blue, the air is nice and cold and crisp and refreshing. When I was heating up my morning coffee, I was thinking about how it would be black with some sugar in it. That is, until I remembered that I had bought some creamer yesterday, at which point I was super happy. You see, that’s an instance where it’s good to forget something because then you get a pleasant surprise because of it. Fired up my computer, in case any family or friends would try to call me or send me a message. Went on up to our chapel here at the mission house and had me some good morning prayer time, along with my hot cup of coffee for sure.

So another thing I’ve discovered is that my fast seems to be the source of much reflection and therefore much material for my journal. I think I’m rediscovering too that typing a journal entry instead of writing it really helps me to get my thoughts out faster. No, I don’t type at the speed of talk. That would be a superhuman strength reserved only for Super Man. I’m Sidney Man, not Super Man. But it does help. The only downside is that when compared to writing down a journal entry, I tend to not be as thoughtful or selective in what I write because I can write it much faster. Maybe typing a journal entry more accurately reflects the influence of my stream of consciousness, and writing a journal entry is more reflective of the general idea influenced by more time for reflection and composition.

Last night was an exercise in irony for me. If you recall in yesterday’s entry, I was waiting until the baby shower to eat since there would be food. Thought that it would be a late lunch, when in reality they ate around supper time. So what ended up happening is that I got tired of waiting (impatient much?) and ate my own supper, which was a decent amount of food. Then, not long after that I was informed that there was some food waiting for me. A big piece of cake, a cup of coke, tostadas (with beans, lettuce, and tomato) and a few marshmallows thrown in for good measure. I was FULL. And one of the things I’ve discovered as a hungry person is that you think that when you do get a chance to eat that if you eat alot of food, you won’t be hungry for a much longer time. After supper I discovered that was not necessarily true. By the time I went to bed, I was probably having as intense of a hunger pang that I’ve had all during the fast. Maybe my body, because of my hunger, digested the food super quick so that I could get nutrients. Anyhoo, the hunger was not a bad thing. It’s the whole point of a fast, and it’s the fuel, the raw material, the offering that you can offer up to the Lord.

Also last night I reinforced the notion that time flies when you’re having fun. Had another great conversation with a female friend last night. Talked about alot of different things. I mean, we did kinda sorta have a direction in the conversation, but it still had very much of a random feel to it. Like I said, I really enjoyed it, especially since we got to talk for a long time. God-willing, if things continue to go well, I might reveal her identity. But for now it’ll have to wait. Don’t wanna count the chickens before the eggs hatch. BUT, if I had to give you a percentage of likelihood that it will progress to that point, I’d say it’s at least 90%. πŸ˜‰ We shall see what we shall see.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 34

Day 34 – Saturday – 10/27/12

So, first things first. I GET AN EXTRA HOUR OF SLEEP TONIGHT! πŸ˜€ No, I haven’t gained the ability to warp the space/time continuum. Neither do I plan on sleeping an hour later than I normally would. It’s just that in Mexico, Daylight Savings Time ends a week before it does in ‘Murica. So for a week, I’ll be 2 hours behind my fam in SC, 1 hour behind my fam in LA, same timezone as my mountain peeps, and only one hour ahead of my west coast peeps. Haven’t figured out Hawaii or Alaska yet.

Another thing on my mind is expectations, namely, when they are not only met but exceeded. That is an awesome experience in and of itself. And when the expectations you originally had, (based off of what you already knew) were already sky high, that makes the surpassing of them even that much more amazing. Because in your mind you’re thinking “Wow, this is gonna be REALLY good”, & that it’s so good that A.)how could it possibly be any better, & B.) if it’s this good, then I’m in for a treat! So, when the previously unthinkable happens, you’re left kinda speechless. You think “How is this POSSIBLE?!?” and the more you think about it, the best explanation you can hope for is a slightly confused train of thought that borders on turning into incoherent mind babble. What happens in the end is that you stop trying to find an explanation, because you realize you won’t and that somehow if you did it would remove the mystery. Instead you just sit back, smile real big, and enjoy it. πŸ™‚

Didn’t have any hunger pangs this morning, because of the discada I ate last night. But, because of the baby shower at 3, I won’t eat until then so I’ll have a little time to let it build up. I may end up eating a tiny tiny snack to hold me over, so that I can wait until after the baby shower.Β  The baby shower itself I’m not so sure what to think of. I’ve never been to one before. Yeah, I know what generally happens. Women get together, get all happy and fussy, compliment the mamma, watch her as she opens up each and every gift while they say “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!, isn’t that cute?”, and eat snack type foods. Or at least that’s what i THINK happens, since i’ve never been to one. It’s just that it’s basically a woman’s world, that men rarely ever venture into unless they are somehow obliged to. “HONEY! Can you get me the scissors outta the kitchen? I’m having trouble opening these gift bags!” But I don’t know alot of people here in town and I don’t have any golf courses to escape to. Ergo, it looks like I will be venturing into No-Man’s Land later this afternoon. Say a prayer for my well-being and safe return!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( I might just hide out in the office and only come out when they start serving the food πŸ˜€ )

In morning prayer, one of the Bible verses that stood out to me was 2 Peter 1:10 – “Be solicitous to make your call and election permanent, brothers; surely those who do so will never be lost.” I think it stood out because my first thought was “I don’t see myself being a foreign missionary forever. Why would I want to make this call and election permanent?” Then a few moments later, I realized that even if I remove the word “foreign” from my title, I should always keep the word “missionary”. If I’m a missionary forever and always, no matter where I’m at or what I’m doing in life, I know I won’t regret it.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 33

Day 33 – Friday – 10/26/12

Definitely felt the hunger pang this morning when I woke up, even though they gave me a small snack at the rancho prayer meeting yesterday afternoon. As I was heating upΒ  my coffee I made sure to offer it up and mentioned a few prayer intentions, because I knew that after I drank my coffee it wouldn’t be as much of a factor. Today looks to be a good day. At 11, me andΒ  Luis are headed out to one of the nearby ranchos to do a communion service. Then at 3, us and all of the mexican missionary families are going to a pecan orchard for our community Desert Day prayer time. I can almost guarantee you that we’ll be back before Mass, so I’ll take a shower and head to Mass once we get back. And tonight I really hope they do volleyball again. Hopefully it’s not a tournament either. It’s been fun the past few nights watchin’/playin’ volleyball. I just wish I’d have started doing this sooner during my time here, because I think I could have enjoyed it alot more and really gotten into it. Oh well, better late than never.

So the other thing that’s on myΒ  mind right now is time. Specifically, how fast or slow it passes. Even more specifically how fast it seems to go by when you’re really enjoying yourself. Why is it that 2 and a half hours seems like 10 minutes? 3 hours like 30 minutes? Wouldn’t it be more logical for God to make time pass more SLOWLY when we’re enjoying ourselves? It’s the only factor that keeps something that’s 95% awesome from being 100% awesome. The only thing I can surmise is that it makes us more appreciative of the time we do have in these kinds of situations.

Before we left for Desert Day, I ended up going on a thirty minute trek around town looking for floss, only to come up empty-handed. As I was leaving one of the stores, there was a blind beggar guy sitting on a crate outside. I’d seen him before, and I’ve even given him some money. But I didn’t give him any this time. I felt bad, but I still didn’t give him any money. I told myself that all I had was big bills and no small change. Well, maybe I was supposed to give him a big bill? Maybe I was supposed to buy something at the store so I could make change? Who knows….. All I know is that he was Jesus personified, and I passed him by. I hope my conscience keeps convicting me of this and similar situations, so I can be more generous with the poor.

In other news, we did end up doing volleyball again tonight. The winning team from last night brought their discada packet that they won to cook at the end of tonight’s friendly volleyball games. Discada is basically meat and vegetables that is cooked on a round metal disc. If it’s cooked inside in a kitchen, then normal pots or pans are used. The tradition comes from many years ago, when field workers would use one of the round metal discs that were used for tilling the fields, turn it horizontal, and use it to cook the meat and vegetables. I’m assuming they’d clean the metal disc before they cooked on it. πŸ™‚ Anyhoo, the discada was delicious, and even though I’m still on my fast I didn’t wanna be rude and turn down the hospitable offer for some food. AND, i was really really hungry too! πŸ™‚ Volleyball was fun too. I originally wasn’t gonna play cuz I definitely didn’t have the right clothes, and was wearing my leather/tire sandals. After the second invitation to play (they didn’t have quite enough people for a third team) I decided to play. I wouldn’t be bored, and the time would pass by quicker. Like I said earlier, it also gave me the chance to have some GOOD food.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 31

Day 31 – Wednesday – 10/24/12

Well I decided to sleep in an little bit this morning, and not get up for my morning walk. Stubbed my toe on Monday night, and I need to let it heal up anyways before putting on my running shoes. I also knew that today being “office hours” in the morning, would likely mean that I’d have a slow morning, since not many people come to the door. Ergo, I’d have time to do my reading and prayer at a leisurely pace. Man, for some reason, the coffee milk I had this morning was GOOD. Maybe it had somethin to do with the fact that I put three spoonfuls of sugar in it! πŸ™‚ Probably just gonna do various little small chores around the house today, eat me some lunch a little later on. We have a prayer service at the chapel in the neighborhood behind our house. It’s at 5pm this afternoon. We didn’t have many people show up last week, even though we told them the day before so they could spread the word. We even had Albert, who’s super good and going door-to-door and inviting people, make his way around the neighborhood while we waited in the chapel. I think we had about 5 or 6 people show up. But what I remembered for the bazillionth time, after I got over my obsession with numbers, is that if only one person shows up, and is touched by the Lord through us, then it’s worth it. So today, I doubt we’ll have a big crowd, though I’m sure we’ll have at least one or two people show up. We’ll do like we did last week: open up with a few songs and a prayer, preach on the readings of Mass that day, close in a prayer, and another song or two. We want it to be over before afternoon Mass at 6, so that not only we can go, but hopefully we can encourage them to go. There’s no substitute for receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

The hunger pangs have been hittin’ me pretty good the last few days. The one constant has been eating my daily meal at lunch time, and not having snacks at any other time of the day (except for my morning cup of coffee). So, I’ve been having some good stuff to offer up. I’m still struggling a little bit to be able to see Jesus in the people we serve. However, I did notice this morning when a lady came by to ask for medicine, that I didn’t have that normal resistance or impatience or feeling of discomfort that I’ve felt pretty strongly in the recent past. Slowly but surely, I think God is molding me and helping me to progress. We ended up not having the medicine she needed, and me and my mission partner’s funds are SUPER low (please say a prayer for that), so I wasn’t able to help her out with the meds. Another area to improve in, was that I didn’t pray with her. Sure, I was nice to her. Sure, I checked on the medicine thing. But I didn’t pray with her. I’m always telling people that the main charism of our missionary community is evangelism, yet I struggle to live that out. I always tell people that if we bring them material relief, but we don’t help them to have a relationship with Jesus, then all is for naught. And then I don’t pray with the people as much as I should. Need some help to improve in that area too.

Went to the volleyball court earlier tonight. It’s right next door at the presidencia. When I went two days ago just to watch and visit, I was asked twice if I wanted to play, but I didn’t have the right shoes or clothes. So today, not wanting to have a boring evening at the house, I decided to go to the volleyball court, and go prepared. Ended up playing for about half an hour and I really enjoyed it. My team won a few games, so evidently I wasn’t half bad! But I also think that I was the one providing comic relief to everybody, which I was glad to do. As long as people are smiling and having a good time. πŸ™‚ Came back home, read, prayed a rosary, and did night prayer. Settling down now for a relaxing evening…………

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