We received some great words of reflection from each of our Travel Team members last night in an e-mail. Hearing their thoughts and feelings at this point in the trip is really special, and it's great that we can celebrate with them all the ways that God is moving during their trip. Continue leaving comments to show your support and encouragement and praying for all of our missionaries as well as our partners in Haiti!
During the last three days, I have witnessed God at work through our young animator leaders. They each travelled a long distance on a rough road and made sacrifices. Their energy and drive and love of God's children shine through every minute. They guide with a firm gentle hand, and always, somehow know just when to respond to the group's need with just enough discipline. Each
morning they begin with prayer and scripture. They know too well that these children suffer from material poverty, but will leave camp renewed in spirit and faith; having witnessed God's love for them through these chosen disciples. They also are the light that shines down upon St. Anne's during summer camp.
Now at the halfway mark of our voyage, I find it hard to put into words all that I am feeling. Haiti shows us so much beauty and so much suffering, all in the same moment. Fr. Wilner spoke in his homily on Sunday of God's light within us, leading us to to a place where our differences disappear and we all are one. In so many ways I have seen this over the past few days. In watching and interacting with the children, the animators, and the members of the St. Anne's community I have seen so much that is familiar. The love of two siblings, the joy of song and kids acting silly, the beauty of a sleeping child in the arms of someone who cares, the exuberant energy of a child after a good meal. I have seen a remarkable community of faith lifting their souls up to God in song and prayer. Again and again throughout the day I am reminded that these two distant communities share the same heart -- the heart of Christ. In the face of poverty that is hard to describe, hunger that is omnipresent, and daily challenges that our children will never know, these beautiful people of St. Anne's and of Haiti move forward with Grace that can only come from God. I pray the we may respond to their needs with the same heart of grace.
This week has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life so far. The people here at St. Anne's are so full of life and rich in their faith, and I feel truly blessed to have had the chance to meet them. They put in so much effort into worshiping God, which is something that has caused me to reflect on my own faith life. They welcomed us the minute we entered their home, and have shown us great hospitality and kindness since. The children are so sweet and loving, and are so beautiful in the way that they sing and dance. Their contagious smiles can brighten you're day instantly, and their laughs fill your heart with joy. Fr. Wilner has been a very gracious host, providing us with comfortable living arrangements, delicious food, and interesting conversation. So far, we have been able to enjoy a week in paradise away from home, and we are so thankful of God for making all of this possible.
Seeing the people of St. Anne's Church, I can truly feel the presence of God: Fr. Wilner, the women who have taken such wonderful care of us, the staff of the camp and the people who cook meals in the blazing Haitian heat. It is amazing to see the smiling faces of the children and the hear the joy in their voices as they sing songs. I can feel God's presence through them all. This verse comes to mind, Blessed are they that hunger and thirst, They shall have their fill. Seeing the children eat, reinforces the importance of the lunch program provided by Nativity. Fr. Wilner prays for Fr. White and Brian each day at Mass. May we continue to grow a closer with the people of St. Anne's.