Lots has happened in the past few weeks! Although we had all hoped I'd be writing this blog tonight in anticipation of taking off for Honduras, it has become instead the anticipation of a new adventure - in Mississippi.
Most of you probably know by now that this year's group will be unable to serve in Honduras this spring. However, we're not letting that stop Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras. We've channeled our energy elsewhere and are heading to northern Mississippi tomorrow, March 20, to work with Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Walls and Holly Springs, MS. We're trying to keep the mission as similar to Honduras as we can. For example, tomorrow the missioners will climb aboard our vehicles without their iPods and cell phones! That alone makes the mission trip an adventure. Most of these students do not remember what it's like to not have those appendages at all times.
Our service will be a bit different. Instead of digging trenches, laying pipe, carrying bricks and sand, we'll be tilling and planting a garden, painting, building, tutoring, and removing rotten boards. I like the similiarities of the garden to the Honduran water projects: In Honduras we provided clean drinking water to keep the villagers healthy. In Mississippi we'll be planting vegetables that will be used to feed hungry people in Mississippi. They are both important for those in poverty.
Each night we'll meet to discuss the impact of the day, using the prepared 'junta' booklet' questions. This year our group will be split into smaller teams, giving us different views of poverty in the United States. That should make for some interesting conversations during 'junta' as each group will want to let the others know what was happening to them.
Our showers will be limited to 90 seconds to keep everyone aware of the importance of water and to remind us that we must conserve it. It'll keep us in tune with the hardships of what many Hondurans face each day.
Having to cook for ourselves this year will put an interesting twist on our meals. The missioners will need to sign up for a cooking shift at least twice during the mission trip. Janet Klein has prepared the menus for the week and will oversee the kitchen. With novice cooks in the kitchen we might be happy to have lots of peanut butter with us! However, with Janet supervising the whole thing, I'm counting on some delicious meals. We ARE going to limit the portions somewhat, though, to remind us of those who never have a full stomach.
I know we'll miss the Holy Week celebrations of Honduras, but we'll count on Fr. Ries to provide us with some spiritual guidance in Mississippi. He'll add some excitement to those homilies.
Please keep us in your prayers during our mission trip. We hope you'll read our blog to keep up with our latest adventures. We LOVE comments so please write to us. All messages will be shared at our nightly 'junta.'