I grew up in Sacramento, California, the oldest of five children. I majored in Theology and Science Pre-professional Studies at Notre Dame, where my nose muff and my slippers helped me barely survive the winters. After I graduated in 2008, I stayed for another year to work in their Campus Ministry department. This July I’ll graduate from the Notre Dame Echo Program, which has blessed me with the opportunity to pursue my Masters in Theology while serving the wonderful people of Nativity Catholic Church in Indianapolis the past two years.
I find God in joy and in the timing, and both of these have led my journey to ministry with Heart’s Home. I’ve thought about international service for years, but the timing had never been right, so I’d kept it reserved to a back corner of my mind in the “really cool dreams” area. Then last spring, I came across the Heart’s Home website. I was struck by the profound simplicity of its mission: “To live compassion among the most suffering people, starting with the children.” As I continued reading about the organization, I kept repeating to myself, “Oh my gosh. IT EXISTS!” Its form of contemplation in action in solidarity with the poor seemed to put words and actions to the deepest desires of my heart, manifesting the things that have given me the greatest joy in the past few years.
Then the timing fell into place. Through phone conversations, a meeting, and my Come-and-See weekend in New York, I was profoundly affected by the radiating joy of everyone in Heart’s Home. Their genuine love of God and neighbor shone in all they did. This was something I wanted; these were people with whom I could learn the meaning of Christian love. And so, with a deep knowledge that I am going with God, I’ve committed to 18 months of service with Heart’s Home. In October of 2011, I look forward to letting go of the familiar in order to say to the people of Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum, “I recognize in you a divine presence. You are the Christ who comes to me in the stranger, the prisoner, the one who is naked, who is hungry. It’s not because of your needs, but because you have special gifts to share. Through you and your giving, I receive the gift of love and see the face of God. I am grateful. And I hope you recognize how beautiful you are!” (Henri Nouwen). Aware of my weaknesses and the great challenge posed by this simple mission, I am humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to answer this call. I know that I’ll receive far more than I will give, and that I can only do this with God’s grace and much support.