• February 24, 2012

Katie K. - Thailand and El Salvador

From Chicago, IL – Mission in Thailand 2010-2011,
Second mis­sion in El Salvador 2012-2013

After fin­ishing col­lege, I spent sev­eral years starting to build my career as a pro­fes­sional fundraiser, working and living in a city I love, spending time with my family, and vol­un­teering quite a bit. Even so, when I found Heart’s Home, I was moved so much by the joy I dis­cov­ered in the vol­un­teers in Brooklyn, living out com­pas­sion in com­mu­nity and prayer. Throughout my for­ma­tion, I dis­cov­ered the dis­arming power of a simple smile, and the rad­ical hos­pi­tality that calls us out of our­selves.

It was during my mis­sion in Bangkok that I dis­cov­ered an even deeper under­standing of this charism of com­pas­sion. I learned to stand at the foot of the Cross with Mary, in faith­ful­ness, freedom and hope. I learned this most pow­er­fully from our poorest friends, like Biw. He is about 8 or 9 years old and he often gets made fun of because he is a little slower than some of the other chil­dren. All of this is on top of the fact that his mom is almost never home because she is working, leaving him in the care of his teenage brother, who is usu­ally get­ting high with his friends. Our house became a safe refuge for Biw. His suf­fering often left me over­whelmed. I am pow­er­less in front of it – and yet, I can still hope. I can hope in the daily quiet mir­acle of God working in their lives and in mine.

Now that I’ve returned to the States, I’ve dis­cov­ered just how much this seed of com­pas­sion planted in my heart has been blos­soming in ways I didn’t expect. We want some­times to be asked to do “extraor­di­nary” acts of love, when it is usu­ally the very smallest signs of love that we are asked to give. Every day I struggle to do this in a “wired” society which con­stantly tells me that I am at the center of my own uni­verse. Yet I know I am called to be more atten­tive to the hearts of those around me, espe­cially the poor. I truly believe that this is how we begin to build a civ­i­liza­tion of love, here or any­where else.

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