All I know is that your heart changes. Your worldview changes. The way I like to think about it and relate it to is like the Grinch in “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”, when at the end his heart grows in size. It’s painful, but so satisfyingly good.
The first time I went on mission was the spring semester of my senior year of high school. I had the opportunity to go down to Honduras with the church I was a part of at the time. We worked with orphans and abandoned children, and I can remember that trip so clearly. It is a unique experience to be able to love someone who has never known what love is. And then to be able to receive love from that same person is a miracle. It’s hard to not grow attached to these kids even if you’re with them only for a few hours or a few days. I remember getting home just 9 days later, and the people around me would say “something in you has changed”. I couldn’t really pinpoint it at the time, but I had changed. The Lord was able to give me His heart for 9 days, and what a gift that was.
These past month I was able to go on mission again with my university. A group of 21 of us made the trip down to Nicaragua to do retreat ministry and orphan ministry. We worked with two different groups of people. Teens from the top 1% of the country and abandoned children and a girls home. What was so surprising to see is that both had the same need and craving for the love of God. Whether they had all they could ask for materially or just the shirt off their back, they all had the same hurt in their heart. It was the desire for authentic love, a love they might not have ever experienced.
It was an incredible, beautiful, and life changing experience to be able to see everyone we met to be changed by the love of God. Whether the love was shown to them in Mass, in Adoration, in their small group leader, in being prayed with, or the washing of their feet, they all experienced something different than they had before.
My prayer for each and everyone of them now is to not forget what they experienced, to not forget the love we had for them, to not forget that they are worth more people and nations.
“Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.”
– Isaiah 43:4
I’ve been blessed with many opportunity’s to go on mission. And with each time that I go and do the Lord’s work, He places in me a greater desire to do more. Whether that’s building an orphanage in Central America, taking a year off and serving youth, or serving in my church back home, I know that with every desire and dream He puts in my heart, He will guide me to do amazing things with Him.
My favorite Saint, Saint Therese of Lisieux, also known as the patron saint of missionaries says this:
“God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint.”
Praise God for the ways that He has been able to use me as a humble vessel.
I don’t know where the Lord will take me next, but I do know that when He puts a path in front of you, start walking the path and never look back. I look back and I am so grateful for the opportunity’s the Lord has blessed me with.
If you have never gone on mission before, I highly encourage you going at least once in your life. Find one where you will serve the best, but one that also stretches you as a person, and helps you grow.
Mission changed my heart, and will continue to. Maybe it will change yours too.
Peace and blessings,