Reflections from a Haiti Mission Trip
This past March I had an opportunity to leave my work and school projects to go to Haiti for a week long service trip, with a small group of people mainly from the Baltimore area. I took the opportunity, even though I knew it would be difficult managing my work before and after the trip. I gave it to God, as something told me it would be blessed and life-giving.
Unlike past Haiti service trips (I have gone twice before), this time around I felt like I was able to be truly present (not thinking of work or people back in the U.S.). I was given the grace to remain in the present, which enabled me to connect with people and pray in a much more tangible way. I walked into this experience with the prayer: “Lord, I am here, make of this what you want it to be.” What the Lord showed me blew me away.
Two weeks ago I participated in an event called “Encounter the Light.” The purpose of “Encounter the Light” was to provide the opportunity for people to have an encounter with the Lord by coming to spend time with him through quiet time, reflection, and prayer. This opportunity was made available because Holy Cross Church in Federal Hill opened their doors on a Saturday night from 9pm – midnight. I heard about this event through ChristLife, the young adult group I am a member of. The idea sounded neat to me and since I like new experiences and the faith I wanted to see what this “Encountering the Light” was all about. Continue reading
“Mike! How about her?” I point to a middle-aged woman sitting by herself on a grassy area in Baltimore’s inner harbor. “More than anything she looks distracted.” Mike replies as we notice how busy she was re-doing her makeup.
It is a Sunday afternoon and we are in the middle of street evangelization, approaching people to share how God has worked in our lives, to pray for them and to share the good news of God’s love. I stop and sense the Holy Spirit calling me to her and I turn to Mike “Ok, let us at least tell her she is beautiful.” I walk without fear into what would be the last and deepest evangelization experience of the day, one that would end with a kiss.
Two years ago I somehow found myself in the mountains of Haiti and my life was changed forever. One of my daily prayers since that trip has been “Lord, please get me back to Kay Mari.” Five weeks ago, that prayer was answered and our team of six missionaries began the journey to Kay Mari Manman Tout Timoun.
I have tried to write this reflection countless times since returning; struggling to find words that will properly communicate the experience. I haven’t been able to find the right words, so instead, for now, I’ll settle for a few good-but-not-quite-right words.
Thus says the LORD: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
This was the first mass reading from Isaiah chapter 58 for Sunday February 9th. It could not have been more appropriate as I and my brothers Zack, Vinny, and Joe hit the streets of Baltimore on a bitterly cold day to provide food to the homeless.
“And He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’” (Mt 13:52)
The Church celebrates God’s treasures – His new and His old. She celebrates the new lives He creates and new souls ready to view His creation afresh and love afresh. She celebrates Him who knits new lives in their mothers’ wombs – who makes all these lives wonderfully (c.f. Ps 139:13-14).
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth! Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted by the mouth of babes and infants, thou hast founded a bulwark because of thy foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.” (Ps 8:1-2)
“He comes.” Many of us went to Columbia Mall and Arundel Mills to share the presence of Jesus Christ with people during Advent. Advent comes from the Latin meaning “arrival” or “coming”. It is the Latin translation of the Greek “parousia” meaning “presence”, and as such, it was very appropriate to bring Christ’s presence into the world during Advent.
Below are some stories shared by people who went, bringing Christ to His beloved people.
On December 14, 2013, just days before Christmas, Continue reading