Posts Tagged With: journal

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.  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. 🙂

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 🙂

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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Gregory Peck knows karate & I’m goin’ see the Pope this summer!

Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011 – 4:15pm – School room in Marian Home Mission House – Castries, St. Lucia

Yes yes yes, the title of this post is definitely meant to raise eyebrows and cause you to come and read my blog. Indeed I have stooped to the level of chintzy news writers. But, all for the sake of my blog and God’s kingdom, right? 🙂 The Gregory Peck reference has to do with a homily, yes, a homily given by our pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Marchand. Msgr. Bonifacio was talking about turning the other cheek, and mentioned something about Gregory Peck knowing karate and would get back at the bad guys, and that it wasn’t the best example. He really is a joy to have as a pastor. While he is not of the same culture as us missionaries, we have in common the fact that we’re not from St. Lucia. This helps us to gain insight from him on how the people are and the way they interact and operate. Slowly but surely we’re  using this information to more solidly establish relationships and get more active in our ministries.

It’s ironic that I’m talking about this right now, because I feel like this journal entry mirrors what our ministry has been like in our time here. I’ve known for awhile that I needed to do it and get active. But that’s all I’ve had, the desire to do it. A few times I’ve tried to do it, or got close, or thought really hard, but nothin’ goin’, u know? Had some thoughts cross my mind as to what I wanted to say/do, and gathered some really good ideas. It seems though that I needed to get to a point where I let go and it would just happen. I wasn’t planning to do my journal right now, but it just kinda came together as a culmination of the previous events of the day. A big motivation for me doing it is that I had this really strong feeling that it was time. Even if I didn’t know yet what I was going to say, I knew I needed to say SOMETHING. Anyhoo………….

The other part of my journal title is somewhat self-explanatory. Indeed, I am going to see the Pope this summer. World Youth Day 2011 is being held in Madrid. I had the most amazing experience of my journey with Jesus when I attended World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia. It was the most tangible glimpse I’ve ever had of the Catholic Church as Universal. As soon as I got home from Australia, I knew that I’d love to go to Madrid in 2011 but I just never realized that I’d get the chance. So, once I officially joined FMC as a missionary, I knew that I might get my chance. John-Paul Summers, the youth minister for FMC decided to organize a group to go. I kinda thought about it, but never seriously. To be blunt, I didn’t know what my summer plans were, and what my mission post would be or what the work would entail. However, in the past few weeks, I firmed up plans to come back to Louisiana in July. From the 11th to the 15th of July, I will be volunteering at Faith Camp. It’s a huge part of FMC’s family and their ministry, and I really wanted to experience it especially now that I’m a full-time missionary. After that was confirmed, I began thinking about Camp Hardtner, a Christian summer camp that I attended as a camper, counselor, and adult volunteer. It had been three years since I’ve been able to go (summer 2008). You know, that thing called life kinda happens. So, I contacted a few people after I realized the last camp session of the summer was right after Faith Camp, and voila, I’m back! I’m really excited to be going back, even if only for a week. The chance to be at a place that I really love is priceless. Life has shown me that I need to enjoy the blessings God gives me because you never know where life will take you or if you’ll ever have another chance to see that person or visit that place.

While we’re on that subject, I should mention to that right after my week at Camp Hardtner, I’ll be doing another three day silent retreat at Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, LA. It’s a retreat house run by Jesuits, and they model their 3-day silent retreats off of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. Me and Dad have done several of these, but it’s been 2 or 3 years since we’ve been able to make one together. I’m pretty sure I could make one by myself or with some friends, but it’s something that I’ve only done with my dad. And guys being guys, you take whatever chance like this that you can get, if it means you’ll get some good male-bonding time.  So, my timeframe for the months of July and August look something like this: July 11th-15th – Faith Camp @ Camp Woodmen in Abbeville, LA. July 18th-26th – Camp Staff for Middle High @ Camp Hardtner in Pollock, LA. July 28th-31st – Silent Retreat @ Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, LA. August 8th – 22nd – World Youth Day Pilgrimage, visiting London, Paris, Cordoba, Rome, Assissi, and Madrid. I would assume that I’ll be flying back into Lafayette 3 or 4 days before Faith Camp, and just spending time with my family and friends. Same with the time in between each trip/event I’ll be involved with. Hopefully I’ll get some chances to pass on some stories and knowledge and wisdom that I’ve gained from being in foreign missions.

The other big thing on my mind is Ash Wednesday. Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. The whole penitential aspect of it really excites me. Something about freshly committing myself, and by God’s grace becoming holier and more loving, captivates me. My Lenten strategy has varied from year to year. What do I give up? What extra thing do I do? This year, I felt like as a foreign missionary I had a decent handle on having already given up lots of stuff. Was there something extra I could do? I hadn’t really thought about my Lent this year, and what I was going to do. Now, Ash Wednesday rolls around and I still didn’t know. During my morning prayer and my morning routine, I committed myself not to worry too much or to force myself into something. Eventually, I’d figure out what God wanted me to focus on for Lent. Little did I know how soon my answer would come. During morning prayer, as I was tempted to daydream and lose focus, it dawned on me. I need to focus. It comes as a way to address the larger problem of not being present. So easily I get caught up in the past or future, that I forget to live in and be dedicated to the present, which is the only moment we have. Ergo, I have decided that I will ask God to give me the grace to notice every single time during prayer, meals, fellowship, ANYTHING, that I’m tempted to lose focus. Then, I can re-focus and re-dedicate myself to the task at hand. PTL.

As I finish my journal entry, I think of a few things that need some prayer:

-For Patricia, Dylan, & Marlin Monero. Patricia is a nurse at the Marian Home. Her relationship with the father of her children is bad. These boys need guidance. By God’s grace, we’re able to help fill some of that need. She also needs to relocate to a different house/piece of property. Long story, but big headache. Please pray pray pray.

-For Sabina. She’s a local resident who attends daily Mass at our chapel. In her home she is helping care for unwed mothers and is also fostering children. Every month she also does a lot of work to supply food and other needs of the local poor. We’ve been blessed with her bringing us into this ministry, but there is so much need.

-For all of the FMC missionaries. This is a season of getting established at various mission posts and finalizing plans. Pray that God’s will be done.

-For me and those on my mission team that will be travelling back to the States this summer. You already know my travel plans. Some of the Eckstine kids (along with Mark) are also going to be attending Faith Camp, and they may have other travel plans as well. Pray that our time away from our mission would renew us, and that we would have lots of opportunities to share about missions and to evangelize. Please also pray for safe travel and for the funds we need to do all of this.

God Bless!

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I had a vision…

9/29/10 – On the swing facing the pasture, back porch of the big house @ Big Woods

So I’m sitting here, and the scenery and weather are absolutely beautiful. It’s a mild day, and the sun is shining. I can hear the bugs chirping and the birds singing. There’s a slight breeze blowing. If there ever was a perfect time to do a journal entry, it’s right now.

Earlier this morning, during my prayer time, I came across Psalm 62:1 which says “In God alone is my soul at rest”, and it really stuck with me. As the morning progressed, I realized there would be alot of free time. Immediately I thought about my pastoral session w/Mr. Frank yesterday, and how the need to devote time to personal prayer is a must. Couldn’t do it after morning prayer (that’s when I did my daily Scripture reading), so I did it after our teaching workshop ended. When I got into the chapel, I put on my earphones and was listening  to some instrumental Lakota (Native American) music to help me focus and meditate. As I was listening and beginning to pray, I asked to focus and really enter into prayer. I asked him to help me enter into true communion with him during my time of prayer. As I prayed and listened to the music, I received a vision.

I was lying on the ground in the forest. My body was bruised, and battered, and bloody. I don’t know exactly how I got there, or what I did. But I knew that it was because of sin and its effects on me and my life. It was slightly overcast and a slight breeze was blowing. There was thunder briefly and then a few drops of rain started to fall.  As the rain hit my face, I was a bit startled and awoke. After a little while, I got up and started walking through the forest, and as I walked the raindrops gently started to wash away the blood and the dirt and cleanse my wounds. At that time, there was no apparent destination, but I knew I had to go.

After some time I came to a meadow and started walking through it. As I journeyed through the meadow, I got a sense that others had made and were making the same journey. This motivated me and urged me on. Eventually I arrived at some hills, and this was where the weather started to clear. As the weather cleared, I noticed one large hill in particular, and I began to climb it. The climb up the hill was a long one but it was not a hard one. When I reached the top, I saw it. A huge cross. And then I saw Jesus standing beside the Cross. He told me “See, I too was battered and bruised but it wasn’t the end.” Then he opened his arms and we embraced.

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Coreteam Retreat Journal Reflections……….

Coreteam Retreat – Butte Larose, LA – Saturday September 4th, 2010

Earlier this morning, I was sitting on the porch doing some spiritual reading when i decided to come inside to the prayer room for morning prayer at 8:30. My internal time clock must have been off, because it seemed like I was by myself for quite awhile. My first self-righteous instinct was to find some reason whine about it. But, I then realized that maybe it was a prompting of the Spirit, and by God’s grace my obedience allowed me to have some one-on-one time w/Jesus in front of the Blessed Sacrament. As I sat in there reading, praying, and reflecting, I was able to faintly hear people in the other parts of the house waking up, talking and visiting with one another. I think I even heard a little bit of music somewhere in background. I feel like God’s grace changed the way I interpreted that situation. Instead of getting annoyed and seeing it as a distraction from prayer I rejoiced at the fellowship and joy that was filling the house.  Then I realized that so far this weekend God has been blessing us with a lot of fellowship, happiness, and joy.  What more could you ask for?!?

Reflection Questions:

1 – What is your personal desire for yourself as a result of being in this Coreteam/community?

My personal desire for myself as a result of being in this community is to have a community I can connect with and be a part of. I want to learn about what it is to be in relationship with one another. I also desire to grow in faith and trust. There’s also an intense desire to learn how to be a faithful minister of God’s love, and really be able to reach people through the work I do.

2 – What specific gifts can you share with this community?

The most prominent gift I can share is my gift of presence. Just being there with someone and knowing that simply being present as someone who carries the Spirit of Christ, and that it can  help to heal someone, is amazing. My ability to be a sheepdawg and follow orders is another gift. Let someone else be the brain, and I can be the muscle. I also have the ability to be early/on-time.

3 – What areas do you  need help with, when it comes to working in a community?

My primary downfalls are my impatience, selfishness, & timidity. I am a  naturally impatient person which hinders my ability to relax and enjoy the moment. It also hinders my ability to be patient with others and put them first. My selfishness causes me to worship time as my own. It’s really hard for me to be comfortable in the present moment. I’m in a perpetual state of unsatisfaction, always waiting for the current moment to pass so that I can get to my future moment where there is a perceived “something” that I have a greater desire for, and where I (keyword: I) can be happier. My timidity is perhaps my greatest shortfall. I lack courage, backbone, and commitment. Simply put, I’m afraid to step out for the Lord and I lack conviction. And when things get tough, I tend to back down and weasel myself into a comfortable little hole where all is OK and confrontation is far away and unnecessary.

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Hopefully this is the start of something good

Monday 7/26/10 – 1:00pm @ Awardmaster

Four times in less than three weeks. That’s been my recent frequency of my spiritual journal. Maybe it’s because I’ve got alot going on and coming up. Maybe I’m just bored at work. Either way, I hope I can keep it up. I really enjoy the reflective nature of journaling and it also seems like something that could help give insight to others.

First order of business is to name the “friends” that I talked about in my last entry. First is Mandy Gaerke. She’s a student at Miami University in Ohio. She was on the mission trip to General Cepeda, Mexico  back in March. She’s got a tremendous heart for ministry and missions, and will be spending  the year in Guanajuato, Mexico for a study abroad program. Second is Sarah Carroll. We’ve only become acquainted recently through friend #3, Madi Dold, whom I’ll talk about in just a bit. Sarah is from the Lafayette area, but lives in Pensacola (thus her connection to Madi). We’ve actually crossed paths recently at Joe and Brooke Summers’ wedding (she’s Brooke’s cousin) but we didn’t know each other yet. She recently went on a two week trip to General  and LOVED it. Felt the call to missions in an undeniable way, and has plans to be at Intake in September.  Last but not least is the aforementioned Madi Dold. We met on the trip to General in March (the one that I met Mandy at). Also like Mandy, she’s got a heart for missions. She’s also got alot of love in her heart and really cares for and loves all those whom God has put in her life. Like Sarah, she has also felt a call to missions and has plans to be at Intake in September.

The only sad thing about these 3 musketeers is that Mandy won’t be at Intake. I believe she has a heart for and call into missions, but she’s got to follow God’s plans and timeframe which I believe she strives to do. I’m kinda sad that I don’t get to talk to Mandy much, especially now that she’s in Mexico. It’s possible too that I feel that way cuz I’m blessed to talk with Madi and Sarah so much, and Mandy is so much like them. After talkin’ with Madi last week, I got in touch w/Fr. Wayne Duet who is  a friend of Madi’s family, and I’m gonna spend some time visiting with him next weekend. Really looking forward to that. Seems like a nice guy and I’m sure he’ll give some words of wisdom that’ll benefit me. Coincidentally, he knows my dad from back in the day when he was at St. Jules and my dad used to do the weekly Ultreya meetings over there. He’s also the priest in Richard, LA at the church parish where Charlene Richard’s grave site is at. 🙂 Small world, eh? It’s amazing how interrelated our lives our and how God makes connections, many times when we don’t even realize it. Lately in my convos with these three, I’ve come to realize how God is moving in our lives and how he’s beginning to open doors for us and provide us with what we need.

It’s also teaching me how building a sense of community and relationship is crucial to strengthening our faith lives as Catholic-Christians.  You could use the term “relational ministry”. In my opinion, since God is Trinity (relationship and communion in its purest form) this should be the most important aspect of Church and ministry. Oh, I also forgot to mention that Fr. Wayne helped Fr. Sam Jacobs (now bishop) to start the Awakening retreat. AND when he was stationed in Erath, was a really big supporter of their Lifeteen program. Awesome, huh? Like I said, it’s a small world and the connections are many.

Last thing is that I ask you to pray for my friend Ryan Breaux. He recently felt a call to be a missionary with Lifeteen and needs alot of doors opened and alot of things squared away in the next month to make it on time to the start of missionary training. Thanks and God Bless!

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FORGIVE ME LORD…………..

Sunday 3/28/10 – 5:00pm @ CC’s Coffee on Johnston St.

I’ve been meaning to write in my journal for the past five days, but God kept presenting me with opportunities so I kept delaying it. I wanted to write about confession. I’ll spare you the details, but Tuesday I was in need of the sacrament of Confession. I couldn’t make it to noon confession @ Wisdom, so I tried going to Fatima after work, but the priest couldn’t make it. I know priests are busy, and he probably had a good reason, but this really frustrated me. It’s happened several times before. If it’s that much of a problem to be there, then don’t advertise that you will have confession at certain times on certain days. Anyhoo, so I pass by Wisdom on the way to Ms. Laura’s to see if I could catch Fr. Chester for a minute, but he was out on the road going to an appt. My chances for going to Confession were not looking too good. After our Coreteam meeting, I go back to Wisdom, catch the end of the Tuesday night Mass. I talk to one of the staff members to see if there was any chance I could pull Fr. Chester aside real quick to hear my confession. Instead of some nice, charitable, generic, non-commital answer that would encourage me to make the decision myself, she came at me with a stiff-necked response of “there are scheduled times when the priest is available.” No Duh!!!!! You think I don’t know that? Again, I didn’t expect her to ask the priest for me, but at least have some kind of decency and compassion in the way you respond to me. For God’s sake, I’m trying to restore a connection of grace between my soul and God.

You better darn well make that more of a priority of yours if you work for the Church. At this point, the disappointment was really starting to set in. Then I get the idea to go to the Community of Jesus Crucified to see if Fr. Frey or Fr. Champagne were there. Surely, they, of all people, would be available. Well, as my luck would have it, neither one was there. They were out and about on other priestly duties. At this point, I had just about resigned (consigned?) myself to not receiving the Sacrament. So I’m headed back home on Pinhook Road and I pass by St. Patrick’s. I see a car at the rectory, so I pull in to see if the lights are on. Sure enough, they are. For a split second, I ponder whether or not to disturb the priest. I decided that a slight inconvenience on his part is worth it, if on my part, my soul is restored to God. So, I knock on his door, and after I explain my situation, he mutters something about the situation being ridiculous (not joking, wish I could say I was) and then talks about how he just heard confessions for 2 and a half hours at a penance service, which was “scheduled to give people the opportunity to receive the Sacrament.” Well you know what, I couldn’t make it. Furthermore, ministry doesn’t always happen neatly on our own schedule. Sometimes *GASP!* you have to answer a knock on the door at night, after you’ve already returned home and become all comfy and relaxed. To the priest’s credit though, he allowed me into his house, heard my confession, and absolved me of my sins. As I finally achieved my goal of restoring my soul to God, I reflected on how I got to that point.

I deliberately chose to separate my soul from God by my selfish action. But I knew right away that I wanted to restore my soul as soon as I could into God’s grace and life. As I was making my attempts to go to confession and failing, I wondered if I was being impatient, and maybe if I should just wait until the next day. However, I realized that I can’t stand it when I’m separated from God. I also realized that we are never guaranteed our next breath, and that I might not live to see another day. That being said, I didn’t want my last day on earth to be one that was marked by giving up on trying to reconcile my soul to God. That’s why I drove all over town and went through all that trouble. And you know what? It was worth it. There’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING like experiencing the burden of sin being lifted from your soul through the sacrament of Confession. I felt like that whole series of events mirrored 2 separate bible passages. One was about the woman who kept after the judge to grant ruling on a decision she was seeking. She kept after him to do it. Finally, even if not because he desired to do it, he granted her a ruling because of her persistence. The other bible passage is Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” In other news, I feel like God continues to bless me as I journey towards my vocation as a foreign Catholic lay missionary. Right now I’m trying to live my life by learning to love where God has me at the moment. He is using this time leading up to my missionary training to teach me about patience and obedience.

I believe he’s also teaching me docility to the promptings of the Spirit. There have been so many opportunities in the small, normal, everyday circumstances for me to be a missionary. Sometimes, I’ve responded well, sometimes I haven’t. It feels like I’m doing an ok job in giving of my time and money. I’m not doing a good job of praying with others or having personal prayer time for myself. Being a missionary at work is really hard too. How the heck do I be Christ-like in a place I don’t want to be, and neither do I feel called to be there. However, even if it’s not my permanent calling, it’s where i’m called to be right now. And that means I need to be a missionary there. I know that’s what God wants, and if Jesus can do what he did, then surely I can receive graces his sacrifice to do the difficult things in life that I must do. I praise and I thank God for working slowly but surely in my life and helping me to grow and become a better person. I thank God for the many small victories and countless blessings in my life. I pray for the grace to be able to give my life to God and live on his terms and not mine. I pray for the grace to be able to TRUST him. Gosh, I know this sounds random, but I really do miss the people that were on the trip to Mexico earlier this month. Lord, help me to let friendships and relationships develop under your guidance, according to your plan, and on your timeframe. Thank you Lord for the many blessings of my life that have helped me to grow closer to you. Help me to bring others closer to you. Amen! Glory!

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WRAP UP AT 30,000 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL

Sunday 3/14/10 – Approx. 30000 feet in the air, aboard American Airlines flight from Monterrey, Mexico to Dallas, TX

We’d need to go back into my journal to verify, but i think this is the first journal I’ve ever done while flying on a plane. The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful, and all is good. It’s a bittersweet happiness though as I head home after a week of amazing mission work in General Cepeda, Mexico. The realization that I may never see the people I encountered this week until we get to heaven, is, well, a little tough. I fell even more in love with the people of General Cepeda. I feel in love with and was inspired by my fellow missionaries.

**random side story: As I was boarding the plane, I saw that a pilot was among the passengers. A question I had always wondered came to mind. Wouldn’t distance travelled be less if planes flew at a lower altitude? The answer is yes and no (according to the answers he gave me). If planes lifted straight into the air like a helicopter, the distance would be greater as the altitude increased. However, planes ascend and descend at a gradual rate, changing the actual distance travelled. Another aspect of the equation is that at higher altitudes the air is thinner and provides less resistance, ergo, less gas is burned.**

Back to my regular entry: Of particular inspiration to me among the people of General Cepeda were the native missionary families like Tonio and Mari. In spite of their relative poverty, they give of themselves and their family as missionaries to their own people. They are generous and supportive as co-laborers with the FMC missionaries. Their example as missionaries and as a married couple was very inspiring. I kow, without a doubt that God has blessed them and is using them in a powerful way.

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DESERT DAY – PART 1

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

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

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

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I’M FULLY ALIVE!

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

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

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

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

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – FELLOWSHIP SUSTAINS ME

Friday 12-11-09 / 6:25am @ CC’s Coffee on Johnston St.

Lotta catchin’ up to do since I last wrote. Plus, after this entry not sure how often I’ll write “MISSIONARY JOURNAL” entries that specifically refer to missions, since the next short term trip I go on will probably be Mardi Gras or Easter…. But then again, my plan until I enter Intake in 2010 is to be around FMC peeps and events as much as possible, so who knows? 🙂 I don’t remember much about last Saturday during the daytime. All I remember is heading out to FMC in the afternoon to visit with the missionaries and to attend “Lord’s Day”. It’s basically a communal meal that is liturgically influenced and includes prayer, song, praise and worship, testimony and sharing, scripture reading, and of course a shared meal.

It was my second time to do it and I really like it. You really get a sense of what a blessing it is to gather as community for a shared meal. I wonder if Jesus’ shared meals with his disciples had the same kind of vibe? After the meal, I stayed up visiting with the rest of the missionaries for awhile. The next day, woke up, prayed in the chapel, ate breakfast and then went to 10:30 Mass at St. Theresa’s in Abbeville with a few of the missionaries. After Mass, we came back and played some kind of ball toss game thingy. Me and Kristin Istre were on a team and we RULED! My apologies to the other missionaries that we DOMINATED, but it’s true. 🙂 I wouldn’t want to commit a sin by lying about it, would I? Then we watched the Saints defeat the Redskins in OT, 33-30, to go 12-0. It was the most utterly amazing and improbable come from behind win I’ve ever seen. We hooted and hollered, screamed and cheered, and let cries of “WHO DAT” ring through the air…….

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