|Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 8, 2017 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 7, 2017 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I thought the sky would look so much different here.” (Spoken by a disillusioned migrant during his resuce on the ranch of a St. Andrews parishoner.)
Today we attended service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church here in Nogales, Arizona. We felt very welcomed by everyone in attendance. Even before the service started, we began discussing our journey thus far with the church members in the pew behind us. The Reverend Sean Carroll, S.J., a Jesuit priest who works for the Kino Border Initiative, gave the sermon. This week’s gospel was the Transfiguration story, and he discussed how we must open the eyes of our heart to be able to see God’s light in others. After the service, lunch and snacks were served and everyone sat down together to eat in the parish hall. We were surrpised and impressed to learn that this sitting down for lunch is their typical Sunday customm, and we loved the family feel of the time together. YLA members split up among different tables to interact with the church members and hear their stories while sharing what we have experienced here.
After lunch, The Reverend Ernie Galaz opened a forum with us and the members of the church about the Border. Val and Jenna introduced our group and our mission here and shared our (very positive) experiences in Nogales so far. A woman named Sigrid, whose family has lived in Nogales on both sides of the border for several generations, told us stories about what it was like living on the border as a child and how different the border is now. Another woman named Clair described how she has offered food and money to migrants passing her home. Others shared their stories as well. Almost everyone mentioned how Nogales on both sides of the border used to be one connected city, that relations were peaceful and the border was open and seemed more like a line into another town or state. They expressed dismay about the hostility that current protection of the border in Nogales has created. They also urged us to stress to the folks back home that despite the images often cast in the media, Nogales is a very safe, peaceful city--on both sides of "the line."
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 6, 2017 at 1:25 AM||comments (1)|
Quote of the day: “Juntos hacemos camino al audar (together we walk the way)”
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 5, 2017 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on July 29, 2017 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
As I am preparing to go on this pilgrimage with the Youth Leadership Academy (YLA), I remind myself that I will be with all of my friends and familiar people, as my biggest concerns are having to meet with new people and having to speak in public. I am looking forward to being able to see how others outside of my community live, discover all of their struggles and the journeys that they have had and to be able to experience all of these things with them. Their “best” may not be the same as what we perceive as being great. Our lives are not nearly as hard as theirs, but they feel happy and are grateful for what they already have. Many of us often do not feel the way that they do in the United States, and I feel that we expect too many things to be handed to us when others have to work hard so that they are able to earn what they need in order for them to survive. I am very excited to observe and learn about how people deal with the circumstances life throws at them. I feel that this will help me to become more grateful for what I already have and give me more strength and confidence to go outside of my comfort zone. Through this journey and with the support of my peers, I choose to let go of my fear of public speaking and know that I will be able find the right words and my use of my voice. One thing I will be keeping in the back of my mind is that “Happiness comes from Hopefulness”.
~Meghan, St. James, Amesbury
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on July 10, 2017 at 11:55 AM||comments (0)|
In order to respond to God's call on the Arizona/ Mexico trip, I need to let go of any nerves I may have. Worrying about small things in the craziness of traveling will not give me any help in connecting to God and the people of Arizona and Mexico. In fact, it will only bring stress to me and other members of the team, making the trip a negative experience. Any factor that could distract me in communicating better during this trip is one that I would like to leave behind. Nerves can result in feelings that I don't want the trip to be associated with. In order to make sure that nerves do not take part in the mission trip, I need prayers. So before the trip, it needs to be prayed that everyone will remain calm and happy (instead of nervous and stressed). Also, another prayer I would love for others to take part in before the trip is that our group will not get caught up in the panic of traveling and will try our best to communicate with others and God. Doing this will not only make our trip better, but affect us for the rest of our lives by giving us a better relationship with God and his people. All these prayers will result in a fun, educational trip that will stay with all of the YLA members forever.
- Emily, St. Paul's, Lynnfield
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on July 6, 2017 at 6:45 AM||comments (0)|
As I prepare to go on this pilgrimage I need to leave behind my anxiety. That will be difficult since anxiety is a mental illness and something I can not just get rid of. For this trip I want to fully embrace God's call for me by putting my anxiety to the side. I want to experience this trip in the best way possible without stressing too much about every little thing. I need to leave my overthinking and stressing in Massachusetts as we embark for Arizona. On this trip I want to listen and understand other people's stories. I want to spend time with these girls, who are the best friends I could ever ask for. I want to have a great time and understand others' experiences. I want my perspective on life to change in a good way. To do all these things i will need to try my hardest to manage my anxiety for this trip and give my all to follow God's call for me. On this trip I will not let anxiety restrict me or my experience in Arizona and Mexico. I want to let go of overthinking about getting sick, overthinking about speaking my mind, and overthinking about where we are going. I need to let go of these things and manage my anxiety to follow God on this trip and be my true self.I hope my friends and family can pray for me on this trip. I hope they pray for me while I battle my anxiety on the trip. I hope they pray and believe that I can get over it. I also hope everyone prays for the other girls and the struggles they are facing too going into this trip. With these things in mind i will experience this trip in the best possible way and live life to the fullest.
- Autumn, Grace Church, New Bedford
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on July 3, 2017 at 10:10 AM||comments (0)|
As our trip is coming closer I am beginning to worry about many things; like what should I bring, what clothes, will I pack too much, what if I forget something, what if I pass out,etc. I am the type of person who likes to control everything and I get very anxious when I am not. This is something I'm trying to work on because being a leader doesn't mean you're in control it's about being able to listen to and help others. When we go to Mexico and Arizona my main goal is to leave all my worry and stress behind me, also to let others lead me and just enjoy our trip. What I am hoping to gain from our pilgrimage is just being in the moment, I like planning everything and when that happens to me I tend to not enjoy my time instead of being happy about where I am and who I am with. But something that I must remind myself while we are there is that I am a guest in the places of worship we are going to and my service is to listen and just observe what is going on. I'm very excited to go to a place where I have not been before. It's also very exciting to go with a group of girls who are the strongest, smartest, sweetest people I have ever met. Being able to travel with people you truly love and care for is such an amazing thing. And I can't wait!!
- Val, Christ Church, Medway
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on July 3, 2017 at 10:10 AM||comments (0)|
Mis esperanzas y oraciones para el viaje de YLA: I am EXTREMELY excited for this trip. Learning about the world is my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE thing to do. I listen to hispanic pop music and watch Telenovelas in my free time to learn about the spanish language and the culture. I live for historical anecdotes, and our founding fathers (especially Alexander Hamilton) are my heroes. I enjoyed learning about the details of the U.S. government this year through my amazing history class in school. I now appreciate being able to understand the conversation, however frustrating it can be, in the current hostile political climate of our country. I have also learned about Native American history this year, and shed tears at the horrific ways people of my own beloved country have treated an entire race of people, who are and should be considered as a valued part of our nation. Additionally, in the past year I have learned and grown so much spiritually because of the Youth Leadership Academy. I am ecstatic to travel as a member of this incredible group. In a nutshell, I feel this trip is perfect for me.
However, I still have much to learn. Learning at home or in a classroom is one thing, but truly experiencing is quite another. In my life, I have mostly stayed on the East Coast of the U.S. I live in a safe and sheltered community where I receive a great education and have a good home life. On this trip I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone. I’ll be seeing areas of our country and Mexico which I do not know very much about and have never been to. I will be experiencing new temperatures (Arizona in August!), people, and places. My goal for this trip is to immerse myself fully in the experience- to take everything in without making judgements or assumptions, expand my knowledge, and gain a new appreciation for experiences that are different from my daily life. I don’t know what God’s call for me is yet, but I know the only way it will appear is if I keep my eyes, ears, mind, and most importantly, my heart open to the world. I so appreciate everyone who has supported me to be able to go on this trip. Having my friends, family, and congregation behind me encourages me to make the most of this wonderful opportunity. Pray that I may reflect on my experiences but never focus inward so that I may aid others in their journeys and stay connected to the present moment. Pray that God may keep my fellow missioners and I safe in our travels and guide us and those we meet. Pray that doors may be opened, bridges built and conversations started between our country and Mexico. Lastly, please pray that we may serve as an example for those in Arizona and Mexico as New Englanders, Americans, Christians, and as caring souls who are eager to learn and help in whatever way we can.
- Alison, Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton
|Posted by H. Mark Smith on July 3, 2017 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
God has blessed me with the wonderful gift of talking. However, while I am in Arizona and Mexico, I am going to have to try to leave my chitter chatter behind and tap into another gift that God has given me: listening. My job on this trip is to listen to the stories of the people I will be meeting. It will be different for me to be on the other side of the conversation but it might be a breath of fresh air for the person on the other side doing the talking, sharing, and storytelling. I think it will also give me a breath of fresh air to hear what the people have to say. I have a feeling we’ll be talking more with adults who will be more experienced with many more things than I, and therefore, have a lot more to say than I. Because of that, I am very excited to turn off my voice and turn on my ears. I am eager to hear what they have experienced and bet they will be excited to have such a focused audience, me, to tell their stories and share their experiences with. I do hope they will share because I am very willing to come forward and look them in the eye and incline my ear to them ready to go on a new adventure with them through their magnificent and wonderful stories. I am excited to embark on this journey bringing with me my blessed gift from God: listening.
- Libby, Trinity Church, Concord