Wow! It has been a major blessing to be down in this country and to have the opportunity to immerse myself in this culture. I have never been in a third world country like this and the experience is truly eye opening.
I could go on and on about the things that have touched my heart, troubled me, given me joy and impacted my life but in this short blog I want to touch upon just a few of these experiences.
On Thursday we went to the small village of Palacal to celebrate mass with the people. These people have absolutely nothing and live in little shacks and yet when we walked into the church I saw a simplistic but beautiful church. The church had amazing tile floors and was by far the most beautiful building in the village. It was obvious that these people had put their priorities into their church. Celebrating mass with these people put a whole new meaning on mass for me. In America mass becomes a habit, an afterthought, something we do every week and take for granted. Never does it seem like we put Mass and our parish at the top of our priorities. I know this rings true for me and I found that having mass every day at Carroll has been something I have taken for granted. It was a beautiful reality check for me to see what Mass and the celebration of the Eucharist means to these people.
After Mass was over these people brought out tons of home cooked bread, pop and bottled water for us. This is a luxury that no one in this village ever gets. I also know that these people really couldn’t afford what they gave us but they put us first, not thinking about themselves but instead their only desire was to give us the best they could. How many times do we in America drop everything for complete strangers? How many times are we willing to give strangers the best we possibly can, maybe even more then we can afford, simply because they are another human? These are two of the many questions I have been reflecting on the past couple days.
Over the last month I have been reflecting on this scripture passage and I think I finally hit a true understanding of it when I spent time with these villagers of Palacal. “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but [also] everyone for those of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 These people who have nothing, many living off of a dollar or so a day, gave us a meal that they themselves would have never had. They are true examples of what it means to love as Christ did.
I have seen a lot of problems and a ton of need here. These people really can use our help. To send a kid to school it costs 300 dollars for the entire year, this includes room and board for the kid. They need our help but in the midst of the poverty and issues I have seen beauty. I have seen Christ and thanks to these people I have had my own life put in check.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Pray that our hearts may continue to love as Christ does and that our eyes may continue to be opened to the realities Christ wants to teach us. More importantly keep the Guatemalans in your prayers. These are beautiful people who have blessed and touched each one of our hearts. If you find you haven’t given everything, consider giving to these people and this mission… trust me when I say it’s worth it!
Talk to you all back in the States!!