• March 17, 2011
en

The Chrismas Farm - a place to be reborn

Erica T. arrived at the Heart’s Home vil­lage in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, two months ago. She shares with us her dis­cov­eries and first expe­ri­ences with the fresh­ness of a child.

“I live in the Fazenda do Natal (The Christmas Farm) with 35 people: 2 priests, 3 nuns, 2 con­se­crated lay people, 2 French cou­ples, 1 Argentinean couple, 2 French mis­sion­aries, 1 Brazilian mis­sionary, 1 French baby, 1 Argentinean baby, 2 Brazilian mothers, and 14 Brazilian chil­dren. There are 8 occu­pied houses across the hilly land and 3 empty houses used for vis­i­tors and days of soli­tude. We have an incred­ible and simple church that sits at the top of the hill.It looks as I would imagine the Garden of Eden, lush with every shade of green. The sun shines, the leaves wave in the breeze, and the birds chirp. I stop and spend two min­utes during my morning run to stand in awe that I could be so lucky to live here.

My first month was made up of many graces and tiny mir­a­cles. It was like God was saying to me, “You said yes and fol­lowed Me and now I show you that I am here.” However, I tried to bring my American effi­ciency here. I expected myself to be able to speak flu­ently, to have many friend­ships, to have many tasks and impor­tance in the vil­lage. This was def­i­nitely not the case. I can barely do things on my own. During visits, I sit in silence because by the time I form a sen­tence to add to the con­ver­sa­tion, they are on to a new topic. I am like a little child learning the ways of the world once more.The chil­dren come from very dif­fi­cult back­grounds and do not easily warm up with a person. It takes much time and patience, some­thing I was not ready for. Imagine the shock this was for me when I had dreamed of all the things God would do with me right away.

Yesterday, I had the most incred­ible day. I noticed that the walls of our house were very dirty and I decided to clean them. Of course I have never thought of cleaning walls before, let alone actu­ally cleaned them. It was very hard work, but I real­ized the con­nec­tion with what I had just read in Catherine’s book. While I scrubbed and scrubbed the walls of my phys­ical house, I was also scrub­bing the walls of my heart. I wiped away all the spider webs and wiped away the black soot. I am finding myself able to be more hos­pitable, more kind, more loving, and more joyful. I can’t say I’m changing the world, but I can say I am changing my heart so that when God is ready, He can use me in the way He wishes.”

Erica T.


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