LEARNING HOW TO LIVE
This month we were blessed with new opportunities to serve, new opportunities to love. The Life Teen missionaries from Covecrest and Arizona as well as some staff members joined Family Missions Company [ http://fmcmissions.com/ ] on a mission to General Cepeda, Mexico. Upon returning from Mexico the Covecrest crew hosted a family mission in North Georgia.
The Mexico mission was abundant in God’s graces. A typical day in General Cepeda was broken down like so,
- Breakfast at 7:30am, followed by morning prayer and community prayer
- Depart for our assigned work projects/home visits around 9:00am
- Come back to the mission house by 1:30pm for lunch
- “Siesta” (free time) from 2:30pm until 5:00pm
- Depart for rancho visits a little after 5:00pm, return to the mission house between 9:00pm-10:00pm, eat dinner after returning from the ranchos and lights out at 10:45pm
Every time we gathered together as a community to pray, it was powerful. I have never been in the midst of a group of people who spend more time thanking God for who He is in my entire life. It was beautiful.
When we sang together, you could really tell everyone was praying the songs. I know my heart was more deeply convicted of the truth of who God is and of His love for me through our time praying together. I was reminded again of the importance of offering the first fruits of each day to God.
The work projects aimed at repairing the homes of different families in General Cepeda. On my first day I was helping build a bathroom. However the following day my assignment got switched to another work project; I was to work on the home of a family of five, spreading cement on their adobe walls to provide insulation. My friend Nick Labrie (Life Teen missionary stationed in Arizona) and I were the only missionaries assigned to this particular work project – and we were blessed abundantly by it.
On our second day working there, Perla (the mother of the family) had made us “bunuelos,” a pastry dish that according to Joana (eldest daughter) was only made during very special occasions. The following day Sofia (youngest daughter) gave me a power puff girl doll and she gave Nick a Mickey Mouse pencil holder as a thank you gift.
Nick and I were at a loss for words. This family, who by the world’s standards has nothing, gave us so much. They gave from their poverty, and they met us with unconditional love and radical hospitality.
The ranchos are small communities in the desert of General Cepeda. Most have a small chapel were mass is held maybe once every two months. Our purpose in visiting the ranchos was to share the gospel with the people of the community. We started off the night by visiting each home and inviting people to come to the chapel for prayer. We would gather by singing praise & worship, which then lead to a missionary preaching about a truth that was resonating in his/her heart to share, and that would lead into the sharing of three different testimonies from other missionaries. We would close the night by praying with whoever wanted prayer, and sometimes people would pray over us or even share their own testimonies. It was beautiful.
EMBRACING THE POSTURE OF A MISSIONARY HEART, AT ALL TIMES
Upon our return from Mexico, we had about a day to get ready for the Family Mission taking place at Covecrest. This mission consisted of inviting families and singles into our way of life for a weekend, in order to better prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christmas.
We had close to 20 families/singles join us for a blessed weekend. Our days were scheduled quite similar to how they were in Mexico. We would start our day with a holy hour, morning prayer and mass. After breakfast we split into teams that would go on home visits, nursing home visits and work projects. At night we gathered for dinner, debriefing, prayer and fellowship.
I was on one of the home visits/nursing home visits team. We visited people who we (the missionaries) have come to know through our meals on wheels routes. These people are shut-ins, they are unable to leave their homes due to medical conditions and visitors are rare. I absolutely loved visiting homes. It was great to be able to spend more time with people who we typically only get to talk with for about ten minutes when we are delivering food with meals on wheels. The ladies we visited were Miss Lilly and Miss Dora. We got to really listen to their stories and be present. We also prayed with both of them before parting ways and it was so grace-filled. I was amazed at how open they were to praying with us and really share their hearts. When we visited a home we would bring a warm meal, and a gift bag that included a Christmas card, fruit, cheese, crackers and a little trinket (i.e. puzzle, Christmas ornament etc.).
The visit to the nursing home was similar. The setting was more a like a hospital so we could not bring them a meal. However we did get to sing Christmas carols to each person we visited in the nursing home, they really enjoyed our singing even if at times we would forget the words or were slightly our of tune.
What I came to realize towards then end of the Family Mission at Covecrest is that we are called to be missionary at all times. The call to love is not limited to the mission field in foreign nations; we are called to love everyone we encounter. To be missionary is to share the gospel with others. Some people are called to be missionary by serving in developing nations. The thing is, even if you are not called to be a missionary abroad, that does not mean you are not called to be a missionary right where you are – at your job, in your school, at your parish. I would encourage you to pray into that truth. We were created to be receptive to God’s love and share it with others, in order to do that we are to embrace the posture of a missionary heart.