Something that I hear often is what a great person I am for being a missionary in Haiti. I think people admire the thought of someone temporarily giving up their life in the U.S. to go to some poor foreign country to feed the hungry and clothe the naked even though our mission here is to bring people, specifically teenagers, to Christ.
We do get to feed the hungry, give people newer clothes, take care of their medical needs, but we are mainly loving them and sharing the faith with them. We are answering the call that the Lord has for us at this time. But, the reality is, everyone is called to respond to God’s call for them. Some might be called to go to a foreign land for a week or longer, but some are called to stay right where they are, or not too far from that.
We commit to holy hour, Liturgy of the Hours, and daily mass (when available) to start our days, but on your way to school you can pray a rosary on the bus or in your car. On your break at work you can spend time reading the Bible. At home, you can start and end your day with a short time of prayer, alone or with family members.
We spend time learning and practicing Creole and the Haitian culture so that we can best reach out to the people we are ministering to. You can learn more about the people you are trying to evangelize to, and take interest in some of their interests.
We visit teens and their families at their humble homes, bringing them food, Bibles, rosaries, clothes, vitamins, medication, etc. You can fulfill people’s physical needs probably pretty close to where you live. But you can also give a friend a prayer card or medal of a saint that might bring them encouragement during a hard time.
We host and plan praise and adoration nights and processions through the streets for special feast days. We bring our teens to events, which seem to be in the “middle of nowhere” that last until 3 am, sleeping in orphanages or monasteries. But you can start up a ministry for young men or women that doesn’t exist in your area, or start a small prayer group with friends.
We teach teens truths of the Church that they’ve never heard before because there’s not much catechesis in Haiti. We encourage them to go to confession often at our base, because there are not really reconciliation times in churches here. You can show a friend a blog on Lifeteen.com about an issue they’re dealing with, whether it is purity, partying, or how to pray. You can tell them reconciliation times at your local parish, or bring them yourself.
We make lots of sacrifices, often ones we can’t help make, like having no running water or no refrigeration. You can willingly make sacrifices to be in solidarity with those in physical need, or even offer up little pains as a prayer for the soul of a loved one who’s died.
We all have the opportunity to love others every day. Our opportunity to do so might seem bolder than yours but IT’S NOT! You can lovingly speak out against injustices that you see, you can pray throughout your day, and you can defend the Church. You can hold the door for someone who might feel invisible, smile at a stranger who maybe just heard horrible news, and compliment someone who may have low self-esteem. A radical, authentic witness of what it means to follow Christ is crucial in order to combat the spiritual poverty that exists in the U.S. just as much as it does here in Haiti. Be fearless!