• March 25, 2014

New country, New life!

Isla Trinitaria, Guayaquil

by Brittany K., Missionary in Guayaquil, Ecuador

"So much of my life has changed as I have been living this mis­sion life in Ecuador for one full month now. I would like to paint a pic­ture for you of what I am living and expe­ri­encing here:

We are pre­sent in our neigh­bor­hood, avail­able with an open door policy. We offer our­selves. The kids call to us from the door, “Give me water, give me water.” And we always bring them water. Our doors open at 3 p.m. for all the kids and teens to come play inside. They color. They jump rope. We play Banagrams and Dominoes. We watch over them and their inter­ac­tions with one another. Every day we go 2 by 2 into our neigh­bor­hood and visit. There are hun­dreds of fam­i­lies we have a friend­ship with after being here for many years. While vis­iting S. after her surgery, she began telling us of her con­cerns of the path her teenage daughter is taking. Through tears she told us that we and 2 other people are her only friends and the only ones she can share her strug­gles with openly. Her words helped me fur­ther under­stand the pur­pose of our visits. Consolation: “to be with” (con) “the lonely ones” (solus). To con­sole does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there and say “You are not alone, I am with you. Together we can carry this burden. Do not be afraid. I am here.”

We go to Missionaries of Charity House of Peace -a home for the sick, elderly, and home­less. We hold lots of hands and kiss lots of cheeks. We help feed those who cannot feed them­selves. Mario, who I had not met yet, kept looking at me as I was talking to some others. I ven­tured over, unsure of what his gaze meant. Mario could barely hear but we talked for about 30 min­utes at above normal vol­umes. He told me about his kids and grand­kids and what growing up was like. When it was time for me to go, Mario said “Thank you for taking time to visit with me. A lot of people come and give some­thing and leave. It’s good that you visit.” Mario helped me fur­ther under­stand the pur­pose of my being here as I have often ques­tioned if I am doing enough. The charism of com­pas­sion through pres­ence was ini­tially hard for me to swallow. I want to paint a house, teach a non­vi­o­lence class, build an orphanage, do some­thing that really makes a dif­fer­ence. I want to see tan­gible fruit and imme­diate results to know I have been suc­cessful. My American value of being suc­cessful bat­tles with my Christian value of being faithful. “He has not called me to be suc­cessful. He has called me to be faithful” (Blessed Mother Teresa).

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