"How sweet it would be if we all could approach our Father in heaven with the same joy and trust despite our own sufferings."
This has been my fourth time down to Jamaica at Mustard Seed. Each year we have Mass on one of the days at Mustard Seed’s home Jerusalem. This apostolate is home to approximately 170 residents with disabilities who have all been rejected and abandoned by their families. During Mass, Father Chris opened up the prayers of the faithful to everyone in the congregation to share their prayer intentions. Every year for the past four years I have been coming, one of the female residents of the apostolate offers a prayer of thanks and praise to the lord and fervently prays for her, mom, dad, brothers, and sisters to come visit her. This resident has offered this prayer each year I’ve been coming and most likely prays it everyday. She thanks God and prays for her family who so outwardly rejected her because of her disability. Hearing this womans prayer yet again made me think about how often I stop praying to God for a specific intention because it seems he hasn’t answerd it. How often I stop praying because it seems like there is nothing in my life to thank God for. This woman and her perseverance in prayer has been so encouraging to me to praise and thank God despite my circumstances in life, despite my burdens. On the outside, it appears as if this woman has nothing to be thankful for, yet she returns to God each day in prayer, trusting he heard her and is with her. How sweet it would be if we all could approach our Father in heaven with the same joy and trust despite our own sufferings.
"Your support goes so far in not only allowing me so experience God's love in such a real way, but in allowing these kids to bring God's mercy to the world."
I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go on this trip two years in a row. Because this was my second year, I had certain expectations and, being honest, I wasn't sure that this second journey could live up to the profound experience that I had the first time around. But man, was I wrong. Rather than diminish my experience of all that this experience has to offer, returning this year gave me a sense that I was returning to a familiar place - that I was coming home.
This comfort allowed me to take a deeper look at what makes this experience so amazing. On the trip last year, I was intimidated and hesitant to interact with the kids for the first few days. Returning this year, I found that I was extremely more comfortable and began interacting with the residents the second I could. Through their suffering and the obstacles that they face, these children are united to Christ in such a beautiful way. This union with Christ allows them to be pure vehicles of His grace.
I was also reminded this year that the kids provide me so much more joy and love than I could ever attempt to give them. Through your prayers and support, we are able to support these children and let them know that they are loved so that they can remain the conduits of grace that they are. Your support goes so far in not only allowing me so experience God's love in such a real way, but in allowing these kids to bring God's mercy to the world.