“I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS” was the motto of our missionary experience in Ecuador this August. We were a group of 12 girls from Spain, Italy and Switzerland with two Servant Sisters. For 21 days we helped at the three communities the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother have in Chone, Playa Prieta and Guayaquil. Our destination was Ecuador, but our preparation began at Alcalá de Heneras, Spain. We spent two days together organizing games, activities, get-togethers and catechism while getting to know each other. Most importantly, we had to prepare our soul. Being so used to doing what we want and feel like doing, we constantly had to try to be open, docile and obedient to whatever the Sisters could ask of us. There was no turning back, the trip had already begun!
On August 7th our mission began full of excitement while we had no idea what we were going to run into. It was time to dedicate ourselves to the max and open our heart until it broke. All of this produced nothing more and nothing less than HAPPINESS in us. We were blessed to begin our mission visiting the tombs of Jazmina, Mayra, María Augusta, Catalina and Valeria (who passed away in the earthquake in April 2016) and asked them for the same willpower and surrender they had UNCONDITIONALLY up until the end of their lives. During our stay at the communities our work consisted in helped the sisters with everything we could: teaching classes at various biology schools, mathematics, religion, catechism for parents and children, painting, organizing get-togethers for girls, and giving out canastas with food and basic hygiene products to poor, sponsored families. The economic situations were very sad, but the family and social situations were even more so, even heartbreaking. “Blessed is he who considers the poor! The Lord protects him and keeps him alive” (Psalm 41).
We dedicated ourselves entirely to what we were doing, and because of that, Our Lady gave us the gift of going to a place where She appeared as the Guardian of Faith in the Garden of El Cajas, where we truly felt her presence. She made us aware that we were not in Ecuador because of our own merits, but because They— God and Our Lady— knew that THIS was the moment for us to be there to be purified, healed and to contemplate their infinite love for each one of us.
Daily—yes, daily—Mass was essential for us. It was a moment of prayer with the Lord to pour our hearts out to Him and tell Him everything we saw clearly, what we didn’t understand, to ask Him what we had to change or leave behind, and let Him speak to us and enter our hearts. You really discover the Lord’s mercy toward each soul, how much He desires our salvation and the immense love Our Lady! She is, without a doubt, the best Mother. She takes such good care of us!
Our THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU goes out to Jesus and Our Blessed Mother for allowing us to live this experience, for teaching us so much as well as asking so much of us at any moment. We assure you that we were the happiest young people in the world those 21 days. We sang, laughed, cried, worked, played… we didn’t stop!
Now it’s time to be witnesses of what we lived and received, but not just with our words; with our actions, unafraid of what others might say or think. We have to remember: “What does it matter if we gain the world if in the end we lose our soul?”
Pray for all of us so that we may keep the promises we made to Our Lady and Our Lord and so that this doesn’t end up being a mere experience but a RADICAL CHANGE in our lives.
Young man, young woman, we tell you: “Get up! Dedicate your time to others and convince yourself that HAPPINESS IS FOUND IN SURRENDER!”
-The missionaries in Ecuador 2019: Raquel Sanz, Laura Chiloeches, Laura Oliva, Clara Wagener, Ana González, Leticia Vuigner, Ana Iraburu, Iléana Bertoli, Belén Calero, María Aguado, Letizia Giacomelli y Blanca M.ª Carrasco.