|Candice waiting for cow traffic to pass in Shambo|
When I look back and see what the Lord has done through me I am amazed because I know that there is no possible way I could have been able to serve anyone by relying on my own strength and natural gifts. Truly it has been his grace and divine help that have carried me through some of the biggest challenges that missionaries face such as illness, depression, loneliness, financial strain, home sickness, fatigue, discouragement and feeling helpless in the face of the great suffering that the poor must endure. I have learned so much from each experience and the last one taught me that suffering helps a soul to grow in holy wisdom. My last missionary adventure was the most challenging of all, the longest and the most beautiful of all because it required the most sacrifice and I believe that was necessary for it to bear great fruit.
It has been a year and seven months since I came back from my time spent in missions in Peru which was a year and half to be exact. In some ways it feels like just yesterday that I arrived from the jungle and in other ways it feels like years have passed since I have seen the people I love who became my family so quickly. Somehow being in a foreign country while still serving as a missionary made blogging seem much more important at the time and now that I have been back I have struggled with writer's block and did not know where to begin or how to pick up from where I left off. And honestly, I did not know if these simple words could help anyone in some small way. I have held memories of my time in missions so tightly as if they were sacred treasures that I did not want to lose or ever forget. But today I felt inspired to open up and share some of that beauty in hopes that it will help someone along in their spiritual journey. When I first imagined myself as a Catholic missionary in a foreign country, I thought it would be glorious and that I would be evangelizing and sharing the Good News with the multitudes on a mountain top. But boy was I wrong! When I arrived in Peru, the Lord showed me that in order for Him to use me, I had to be small, humble and obedient. So I was tried in every possible way emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. I was paired up with an amazing missionary that was my complete opposite in every way personality wise and that is exactly what the ministry needed! She was in her 20's and had trekked through the jungles of Ecuador the year prior and now had the task of leading and teaching a rookie that was old enough to be her mother (but young at heart) what it meant to live as a missionary. I was blessed to have such a great example in my mission partner Candice! Her dedication to the poor, faithfulness to prayer, inner strength and perseverance where some of the qualities that made her such a great missionary for the Lord!
|Candice and I exploring Shamboyacu|
|Children in Shambo having fun!|
"TRUST God that you are exactly where you are meant to be!"
|My view of Shamboyacu river during personal prayer|