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October 5, 2011

Words from a Stranger and Some Dodgeball

by carrollministry

I have to admit that I thought I was pretty prepared coming on this trip to LA. I’ve had friends in the past who’ve come from this area and had shared stories with me. But seeing things in person? I don’t’ think any amount of training could’ve prepared for that. Last night we shared dinner with the men from the Guadalupe Homeless Project (GHP). It was such an amazing experience, and you could just feel the love and the sense of community emanating from everyone.
I ate dinner with a gentleman who probably was in his 50s. We were talking about heritage, culture and personal experiences-how they impact a person. He said something that really astounded me. He said this: “It doesn’t matter if you’re here, if you have no money or no job. It doesn’t matter how you’re living-undocumented or not. We are blessed just to be here; to be present.” Now, I’ve met a lot of people who I’ve thought were inspirational, but this man will definitely always stick with me. I don’t even remember his name. But I do remember what he said: “ I am blessed just to be in this country: in the present.” So often we forget that that just living here is such a gift and this is one thing that I will definitely take away from my spiritual journey in LA.
I also love the connections we’ve been able to build with the kids at the Dolores Mission School. Even when they don’t your name they will run up to you and welcome you with such enthusiasm. Today during dismissal I was standing outside and a group of second grade boys came up to me and wanted me to play dodge ball with them. I was super excited about this because I’ve always loved playing with little kids. However, whatever game they were playing before I joined turned into a game of “protect the girl”. Two the boys in particular latched onto me as they tried to hide from the incoming dodge balls. At one point I had a circle of second-grade boys surrounding me and keeping me from being hit. It was one of those experiences that made me feel so loved and adored as a role model by kids that I barely even knew. I can’t wait for more experiences like these. It has truly been humbling.

God Bless!
-Stephanie Johnson-

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