My dear Newman family,
This has been the most impactful and life-changing summer of my entire life. I have gone though intense healing and spiritual growth. I have gained so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. This is all in correlation to my decision to be a part of the mission to Belize.
It didn’t start out as something I wanted to do. In truth, I never wanted to go to Belize. I was afraid of doing something out of my comfort zone. I told God, “If You want me to go to Belize, You better make it obvious because I won’t even think about it.” So, He being humorous like that, sent two of my closest friends, Elena and Sarah, one night to hijack my computer, hack into my password, and sign me up for Belize without my permission. In that moment I realized how much He wanted me to go. I heard His call loud and clear and I am so thankful for answering it.
Preparation was a difficult time. I had all of these struggles weighing down on my shoulders and I honestly didn’t think I could handle the missionary life. One of the most concerning difficulties that I would have to face was my sensitivity and allergies to so many things. From being allergic to different kinds of foods to consistently getting migraines from heat and dehydration, I was terrified of Belize. Still, God had lit this passion inside me to go on this mission and I gave Him my worries and fears to take care of. So, I went to Belize with great enthusiasm.
And what a blessing this mission was! The first day we met an extremely excited bus driver, Ernesto, who would be our guide and benefactor during our stay in Belize. Now, I can’t emphasize enough how much Ernesto did for us. From coordinating our meals to transporting us around the city we were staying in, He was God’s gift to us. He showed us to the school rooms we would be staying in where we first met the geckos that sound like birds and many interesting insects. That first day we prepared ourselves physically for our two week long mission to the people of San Ignacio.
There is so much that I wish I could share to everyone about this mission. Unfortunately, much of what I experienced there was a spiritual change that cannot be described in words. So, instead I will tell you all about my favorite moment. For most of the trip I was a part of Vacation Bible School for the children of the town. My heart aches with the memories of the dozens of bright enthusiastic faces eager to learn more about Christ. There was one morning when one of the youngest little girls was sad that I asked her what was wrong. She said that her sister was home sick. I asked her if she wanted to go pray for her in the church nearby. She looked up at me with big tear-filled eyes and said with a confidence I had never seen in her before “Yes”. She was four years old. Seeing her kneeling before Jesus, hands clasped tight in fervent prayer, I saw hope for the future. The children of Belize are what changed me the most. I saw so much child-like faith, innocent and pure. I wanted my heart to share in the same kind of faith. No doubt in His plan, only assurance that He will lead me always in ways of true happiness. I found that in Belize.
I close with two points that I learned and fully accepted in Belize. Before you can help others, you must fix your own personal faith and deny selfishness. Our call as Catholics is to mission to others. We must deny ourselves and desire His will because that will lead to true happiness. The second point I learned was this; sometimes the only way we can be charitable to others is through prayer. We must be prudent in the fact that sometimes we can’t help others in a physical sense but in a more powerful spiritual sense that is prayer. God will do the rest.