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.”