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Be Not Afraid – The Power of Missions

April 11, 2007

Chers Amis,

Thank you so much for all your kind words and prayers yesterday. They were very much appreciated.  Bothmission youth my ‘boys’ seem to be doing well today.  Dh’s neck is quite sore and his forehead is scraped, but it hasn’t slowed him down.  A trip to the doctor/chiropractor might be in order, but you know husband’s – they have to be in severe pain to consider medical attention. A good soak in his newly repaired hot tub seemed to have been the ticket last night.   Patching the drywall will be another story 🙂  No complaints from me!!!

Before the tumble incident, I wanted to share some of our beautiful experiences from the Holy Week Mission.  If you frequent One More Tracy you might have heard about the Catholic door-to-door mission that took place throughout the Atlanta Metro area Holy Thursday-Holy Saturday. (Her husband was overseeing the missions in Atlanta). I had heard about these missions from friends for several years, but because of our location, we had never been involved. Until this year.

The last Sunday of Lent I noticed on our parish calender “Hispanic Evangelization – Thurs. – Saturday  9 am – 5 pm.”  Hmm, that sounded a lot like the Holy Week Missions, but I hadn’t heard anything about it being at our parish.  I zapped Tracy an e-mail and her wonderful DH put me in touch with Alejandro  who was in charge of the mission a notre paroisse.  I explained that I do NOT speak Spanish, but wanted to help out in some very small wimpy way i.e. w/o knocking 🙂 So Thursday morning my three chickadees and I drove to the church and helped make  lunch for the 35 volunteers – all but 2 Spanish speakers. When  Father  came  to pass out the crucifixes and  T-shirts to the missionaries  Alejandro invited us to join them for the ceremony.  The organizers asked us to come door-to-door with them and soon (much to my surprise) we were all wearing T-shirts and collecting materials to pass out and looking at maps of the area!  I am a shy person and this is not my natural default setting, but I could tell the Holy Spirit wanted this.  He said, “Be not Afraid,” and I wasn’t – nervous, yes, afraid, no.

So, we went door-to-door with two other families, one Spanish speaking and the other Anglo.  The two men paired up and took a small flock of our  little kids (5!) with them and I walked with the other mom and her three middle school/HS girls.  We sounded like a herd of giggling elephants as we tromped up and down stairs in the apartment complex.  The kids always wanted to run ahead, so full of  enthusiasm!  We knocked on every door and met people of many different faiths.  We were not there to proselytize, but to invite them on behalf of our Pastor to join us for Holy Week activities.  We offered information (if requested) on other activities, classes, etc. at the parish.  No one was mean.  A few were at best polite, but the great  majority were welcoming, and several invited us into their homes and moved our hearts. Here are two examples from Thursday.

The two men met one woman who was a parishioner at our parish, but she had  moved to Atlanta from Nigeria and was very lonely.  She had been waiting for months to meet people, but still felt like a stranger.  She was so thrilled with the mission that she and her two daughters dropped everything  joined us for the day, reaching out to her own neighbors!  Caddie and Scarlett spent the afternoon along the way talking and playing with her oldest  daughter who was their age.  The woman came to the parish Seder dinner and Holy Thursday mass that evening.  We exchanged names and telephone numbers so we can get the girls together again soon.  Did she need to learn Truths of the Church? No, she (and we) needed to meet Christ in our neighbor and to hear His call tangibly.

Mrs. M and I knocked on another door where a middle aged gentleman answered.  I explained who we were and he apologized that his English as not very good.  My partner spoke with him in Spanish.  He invited us to please, please come in.  He and his wife and children were from Venezuela and had no family in town.  He talked about his difficulties both in the US and Venezuela and how he and his wife were struggling and had not found a Church.  As he talked, his eyes misted up. He was so glad to have someone to talk to, someone who had come out of love for Christ and for him.  We prayed with him  and helped put him in contact with people at the parish. It may sound hokey, but it was genuine and very real and moving.

Many others told stories like this from their visits, of tearful or joyful meetings where the person/family told how they had been praying that someone would come, that someone would care.  We didn’t bring financial resources or food or solutions.  All we could bring was Christ’s love and an invitation to the sacraments and community.    Personally, it  taught me a lot about  getting out of my boat and  forgetting about myself.   The note in the bulletin said “Hispanic Evangelization.”  We didn’t ‘belong’ in the traditional sense to that group with our glow-in-the-dark Anglo-Saxon selves and broken Spanglish.  We felt so out of place at first, but we were also so welcomed and at home.  In the end, it was all about reaching out and meeting our neighbors in Christ and serving with them, for Him.   They were amazed that we would even consider coming to help them so chilly has the Anglo community been.  I think they did me a much greater service by their warmth.  Mucho, mucho gracias, mes amis!  We will be back next year and at the pot luck later this month!

I encourage you to participate in similar outreach programs at your parish and wish I could give it justice.  There are so many people waiting to come back to the Church, waiting for that personal invitation.  Maybe you are the one called to deliver it. Be not afraid, He’s waiting.

— Marjorie

PS – Please check out the slide show that Tracy and her DH put together from the Atlanta Wide mission  and her great post on some of her experiences! It helps to give you the  “big picture.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 18, 2007 12:40 am

    Your mission experiences are truly touching – it’a amazing what just reaching out to others can do. A great reminder for all.

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