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A Missionary Heart
Midnight Run NYC: February 20, 2011 Print E-mail
2011 Mission Trip to Misahualli, Ecuador
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 13:07

- Kyle Blackmer

It has been about one month since our team returned from our mission in Ecuador and the fire is still blazing within us. We are continuing to spread Christ’s love, but now, to people in our own communities. As you have read, Tina recently spoke with her young students about missionary work. KK and Justin have attended several youth group meetings at Holy Name of Mary Church in Valley Stream, NY, to spread their missionary zeal. A small group of us are even kick starting an effort to encourage young people – junior high and high school students, youth groups, confirmation classes, etc. – to set Long Island ablaze and to do God’s work.

Last night we brought the love of God to the streets of New York City during our “Midnight Run.” A group of ten students and four adult volunteers (including Marianne and Matthew) packed a van full of warm clothes, toiletries, and hot and cold food and drinks, and trekked into Manhattan to care for the homeless of the city. This night would come to remind me so much of our work in Ecuador and really showed us all that poverty is very real in our own country.

We made three stops over the course of the night. Our first was near some midtown public housing buildings. There we served five very gracious and friendly men who had been waiting for us to arrive. We handed out “slammin!” hot soup, sandwiches, and drinks, as well as clothing and shoes – all of it generously donated by our university and local communities and sorted by several incredibly caring individuals from Adelphi’s Resident Student Association.

 
Being the Light Print E-mail
2011 Mission Trip to Misahualli, Ecuador
Friday, 11 February 2011 15:28

-Kristina Viscariello
-Photos by Caitlin Stamm and Kristina Viscariello

Mission work does not end when the mission trip is complete. We have all been called to be missionaries where we live. We have been called to be lights of Christ and to spread His word.

Being the Light I had the opportunity to be the light to a group of second graders this past Friday. I worked with a second grade class at the California Avenue School in Uniondale this past semester and when Mrs. Chaplar, the permanent teacher, heard I had gone to Ecuador she asked me to speak to the students about it. I had the chance on Friday to give a talk to 18 second graders about what I had experienced in Ecuador. I was not going to give up that opportunity. Since it was a public school, I was unable to talk about the religious aspect of our trip, but I showed them a world that they did not know existed. I made up a slide show of pictures of the school buildings we were in since Mrs. Chaplar’s class has recently read a story about schools around the world. Most of the students in the class did know that there were schools where there was only one classroom, there weren’t enough chairs, and there weren’t enough books. The second graders were silenced at what I showed them. Even though the students found that the children of Ecuador have very different things, I showed them that the children were also very similar to them. I showed them pictures of the mission team playing games with the children, and I told them stories of the children we met. I told them that the children of Ecuador still like some of the same things they do. They have the same wants and needs as them. 

After I finished showing the students pictures, I asked them, “How are the schools in Ecuador different from the schools here?” One student said, “We have more than one classroom.” Another student answered, “They don’t have desks.” Many others answered in similar ways. Then I opened it up to questions. I have never seen so many hands raised. The students were so curious about these kids who they didn’t even know. I got asked if the people had shoes, if the people had jobs, if they wanted to live where they did, and so many more. I had to stop them from asking questions because we ran out of time! Then one of the students asked if we could raise money for them. He immediately wanted to jump right in and take action.

 
Tres Hermanos Part I: The Journey Print E-mail
2011 Mission Trip to Misahualli, Ecuador
Thursday, 03 February 2011 17:40

- Kyle Blackmer
- Photography by Alyssa Smith and Claire Flynn
 

On Sunday I overheard our group leaders discussing our itinerary for Monday. I was incredibly excited to hear that we would be hiking to a remote village called Tres Hermanos (Three Brothers). This kind of work was what I had been waiting for! We were going to trek into the jungle, cross rivers, encounter some physical hardship, and bring Christ to a small village - this was what I thought missionary work was all about. Though I came to Ecuador without many expectations, in an attempt to be ready for anything, Monday's mission was beyond anything I could have anticipated.

hikingThrough my years adventuring in Upstate New York as a Boy Scout, I had done much hiking, climbing, and almost every other wilderness activity you can think of, and several of my teammates are avid outdoorsmen as well. Nothing in the U.S., however, could have prepared us for our journey to Tres Hermanos. It was an adventure like none other.
 
We set out bright and early, rising at 6:30 to eat breakfast and pile into a couple of trucks at the Church with the nuns and Mercy - the sister of one of the nuns who amazed us all by giving so much of her time and energy to the people of Napo. During a 45 minute truck ride, we passed through Pununo and Palmeiras until we were greeted by a small boy on horseback at the head of a sloppy trail. We should have taken the filth covered horse as a sign of things to come, but nothing was going to dampen our spirits this early. We got off the trucks, passed out lunches and gifts to be carried up to the village, and started on our way up the muddy path. We had rented boots from a shop in Misahualli before leaving - some of us doing so reluctantly believing that our own boots would suffice - and I can remember thanking God over and over again on the trail for those tall, tight, rubber galoshes.

The hike started out very pleasantly; we were laughing when Will fell, making jokes about Madre riding on the horse way ahead of us, and generally ignoring the mud as much as possible while still being attentive as to where we stepped. But soon those laughs would turn into gasps, the jokes into envy, and the ignorance into a preoccupation. There didn't seem to be a place to step where we weren't deterred by a sinkhole of mud, impenetrably thick jungle brush, or a rancher's barbed wire; yes, there are cows in the jungle.  Our hike was as mentally fatiguing as it was physically exhausting because as our bodies tired, it became increasingly important to watch our every step, lest we create more work for ourselves by losing a boot in the muck.

 
I Feel You Calling My Name Print E-mail
2011 Mission Trip to Misahualli, Ecuador
Thursday, 20 January 2011 10:09

Alyssa Smith

It's funny Lord how you show yourself to me
It's in ways I cannot explain
Your love penetrates my heart and my heart burns with your beautiful light,
my Lord.

Basilica Nacional EcuadorYou created me in your likeness
You created me as your own
You created me so that I can go out into the world and give my light to others who don't posses it.
That's what you want from me
You want me: As your vessel, as your instrument.

In this silence, I hear you. You are telling me to do, to be, to LIVE.
To spread your love.
How come my Lord, is it so hard back home? I search for you and, yes, I must say I'm the one at fault, but here, you are SO clear. Like a diamond in the rough.

Trusting you my Lord, is key. You will provide and I'm SURE of that. Can you tell me this? Are you calling me for something greater? To be greater than just your child of God, but to be one of your Saints?
I feel you burning my soul.
I feel you calling my name.
I feel you holding my heart.
I feel you on my lips.
I feel you everywhere.
You make me whole.

 

Complete.


You were nailed to a cross for me and looking up at your broken body,
my heart burns.
It burns for you.

 
Thank you for your prayers Print E-mail
2011 Mission Trip to Misahualli, Ecuador
Monday, 17 January 2011 00:00

Rosie, Matthew & the Entire Team

What an incredibly blessed couple of days we´ve been having here in Misahualli!

While your missionaries I´m sure will share so much more with you upon return home, we wanted to give you another update about what we´ve been up to.

Sunday evening´s Youth Night at the Church in town was beautiful. We had a good number of young people of all ages gathered to play soccer, have an egg toss, sing songs and pray together. Some of the missionaries put on a skit for the youth and Fr. Lachlan was able to lead adoration for a short time. Our Lord´s presence and our opportunity to adore Him with the Ecuadorian youth in this way was an incredible blessing. It is not something that any of the Ecuadorian people, reminding them it is a place they can call home.

Monday morning we awoke earlier than usual, as we had a long day ahead of us. We began our day in prayer and headed out to a very remote village called Tres Hermanos which had never before had Holy Mass celebrated there. To get there, we drove part of the way and hiked the rest of the way. The trek was a challenge, with a lot of mud and streams, but we rented the team tall rain boots and supported each other along the way.

What an incredible gift it was to finally arrive. Though we were full of mud and a bit tired, the faces on the people and their warm welcome was worth it all. Witnessing the very first mass of this village was overwhelming. It has moved us all to a beautiful appreciation of the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist and just how blessed we are to have the opportunity to receive Him so regularly back home.

We were able to play with the children, have a wild soccer game in the rain and speak with the men and women about our own experiences of faith through our testimonies. Some of the men of the village, in their incredible hospitality, guided us nearby to some caves and showed us some more of the beauty of their incredible country. We trekked back home and slept so soundly, with a greater understanding of how the Lord walks with us, loves us and gives Himself to us so humbly. We, in turn, are coming to understand more and more how all of us are called every day, whether on mission in another country or back at home, to give of ourselves and bring Christ wherever we might go, even when it is difficult.

 
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