by Kari Stender, from Tulsa,Ok - Alumni 2011-2012
This past month I was graced with the wonderful opportunity of sharing my mission and the entire Heart’s Home movement with many people in Tulsa and St. Louis. These encounters I had with Natalia caused me to really reflect on the beautiful mission I lived in Peru. I’ve been back for a year and a half now and hadn’t really opened up and made myself vulnerable to sharing what I lived. I wanted to keep it to myself. Through sharing with various priests, campus ministers, families, and students along the way, I remembered just how beautiful my mission was. I shared about the many pieces of gold I discovered while living in the “mud”. For me, this was just one more way to love my friends in Peru, by sharing with others the beauty that I found amidst the suffering and poverty.
Through all of this, I realized just how possible it is to live the same experience I lived in Peru, here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsans, St. Louisans, Americans, have the same desire to be loved as my Peruvian friends do. Each person’s needs are different and it is by loving them that we become aware of these. I may not be able to find somebody a job or take a friend’s test, but by spending time with them (phone and internet free and just being with them) I come to know their needs. I am able to take them and their intentions to prayer and ask Him to love them and bless them with the necessary graces to get through whatever it is they are facing. Rediscovering this has shed a new light on my friendships here, a light which I hope never burns out.