NOTICE: After January 31st, the only way you will be able to reach me is through WiFi (Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, email, etc.). My number will NO LONGER work with cellular data.
Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed holiday time with your friends and family. Let me catch you up on the past month and the upcoming excitement.
At the beginning of December, all of Intake was officially commissioned to go out to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel and serve the poor. This consisted of a Mass, getting our missionary crosses, and having a meal together. After we were all commissioned, everyone was able to take time to go home and visit family. I spent the first week at home enjoying the company of my dog and taking long, hot showers (something that will not be available in Peru). In the weeks that followed, I went skiing with my dad and brother, visited family in Ohio, and went to the SEEK conference.
If you’ve never heard of SEEK, I strongly encourage you to look up some of the talks. SEEK is a conference put on by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) that occurs every other year. This year, over 17,000 students and young adults attended the conference to grow in faith and community. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend SEEK as a “sponsor” representing Family Missions Company. This means that Family Missions Company had a table where any of the participants could stop by and learn about what it looks like to be a foreign lay Catholic missionary (something not commonly heard of).
Along with manning the booth, a big blessing was being able to see lots of college friends. Many of them have gone on to become FOCUS missionaries to create community with and to evangelize college students (I’m SO PROUD of you all!). Some are still in school and others were even from my trip on the Camino. Knowing that I was leaving soon and wouldn’t be able to see many of these wonderful people for a long time was harder than I thought it would be—something that would later hit me as I looked down at the Rocky Mountains one last time as I flew down to Louisiana. Seeing people at SEEK, in Ohio, and in Colorado offered closure. It wasn’t a goodbye, but it was a “see you later,” that I needed. (I’m sorry if I didn’t get to see you while I was visiting home. Time goes too fast but know that I love you all).
After returning to Louisiana, Intake officially came to a close, and people have been leaving over the past week for their mission post. The craziness that I first experienced when visiting Big Woods at my Come and See (the process of visiting for a weekend to discern) initially overwhelmed me. Now, however, as newly commissioned missionaries leave for the field, I find myself missing the chaos, the crying children, and the beautiful family we’ve all created. Often, on my way to the chapel or when sitting in another room, I’ll think I see the form or hear the voice of someone who has already left. I’m mistaken by the way someone walks or a person’s seemingly all too familiar laugh, that carries the movement or the sound of a particular person. It is a bittersweet realization when I remind myself that Big Woods is a couple people emptier every few days. It is bitter because I miss them, but it is so sweet and glorious to know they are at their mission post, doing what we have been training to do all these months.
As for me, I will be leaving the United States on an airplane for Peru on the very last day of January with my team (4 days from now!!). Then, our team will be the ones that leave Big Woods a little emptier to make the world a little fuller.