Friday, September 6, 2013

I'm still alive! Humbled, but still alive...

Well, at this point I wouldn't be surprised or offended if this blog post finds you almost beyond hope of reading it. Let's just say it's been a while…but it certainly isn't for lack of activity--that's for sure. I've gotten accustomed to telling everyone that I've been "busy but blessed," which definitely holds true, in addition to being humbled. 

Summer Team 2 in El Transito
So now that you know I'm still breathing Honduran air, here's a little bit about what's happened over the past few months…the North American summer months (June-August) are by far the busiest months of the year, without question. The reason being, of course, that gringos (the endearing and rightful term Hondurans use for those from the U.S.) are on vacation and ready to do mission work. So starting in mid-June up until early August, we had three different teams come and spend 12 days with us doing various missions and ministries. The participants from the first two groups were between the ages of 18-25, and the third was a group of high school youth. The groups came from all over- Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina…one of the teams was actually a group of missionaries that do ministry on various college campuses throughout the U.S. They're called FOCUS (Fellowship Of Catholic University Students) missionaries, if you were at all curious. Everyone I met over the past few months, gringos and Hondurans alike, were incredible witnesses of joy, passion, and humility. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to serve alongside them.  

Hanging out with kids at the Missioners of Charity
All in all, it was a beautiful summer of missions, ministries (usually with children and/or elderly), and mountains…lots of mountains.  In the midst of the craziness that was the past three months, there were certainly times I was wondering, "what am I actually doing?" And why am I doing it?  Has the 'awe', so to speak, of my missionary endeavor already worn off? Well, no. Do I lose sight of the big picture sometimes? Most definitely. But God, in His gentle and subtle way, whether in spiritual direction, holy hour, mass, or daily activities, beckons me forward, leading me slowly but surely closer to His Holy will. Sometimes it's easy to lose eternal perspective and settle for the temporal…what's gonna get me through today rather than recognize the gift of the day God has given you and the opportunity you have to grow. I need look no further than those we serve locally to remember why I'm here. Noe, who's in his early 20's and lives right down the street, was shot randomly a few years back and no longer has use of his legs. It would be really easy for him to be bitter and resentful towards God and feel sorry for himself, but he has chosen to be grateful for what he is able to do, for the life he still has to live. He's one of the most joyful people I've ever met…despite his circumstances, he simply chooses to see the good in everything, a grace which I know is divine. 

On another not-so-related note, I've also had ample opportunity this summer to improve my stick-shift driving skills, as manual is the recommended vehicle of choice in hilly Honduras…and it's all we have. What makes driving in Honduras (really anywhere in Central America) more interesting is that there really are no laws on the roads…two solid yellow lines means nothing except 'pass at your own risk.'  Mountain driving is a little different and always an adventure, but people do drive with a little bit more caution in the mountains, especially this guy. I actually like to drive, but a few of the disadvantages of driving is not being able to marvel at the natural beauty this country has to offer…AND everyone asks you for rides. The latter doesn't bother me as much, but sometimes I do miss sitting in the back of the truck and just witnessing the vastness and beauty of God's creation.  
Princess Party at Mercy House-
home for intellectually disabled girls

And if for whatever reason you were thinking, "Man, I'd really like to support you, Joe…how can I do that? Well, you can put your worry to rest. Besides praying (if that's your style), you can also help support me financially by clicking the link on the bottom of the page. Shameless but necessary plug :)

More to come soon…I hope! Now that the summer mission season has officially ended, I'm hoping to give more frequent updates of my happenings. Thanks for your patience and thanks for reading!

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