This summer several young Spanish women participated in a missionary trip to Ecuador with the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother. The missionary group from Spain made this trip to evangelize in the three communities that the Servant Sisters have there as well as in the Amazon Rainforest. For 20 days the missionaries lived in complete self denial in order to give themselves to others and they consequently obtained the profound joy that comes from that. Below, two young women write about their experience:
“My name is Beatriz Fra Amores, I am 18 years old and I am from the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares (Madrid). I have had the immense gift of participating in the missionary trip to Ecuador for two consecutive years. For me the mission has been a dose of mercy, because the Lord took me there to speak to me, so that I could realize that I need Him, that I am nothing without Him; and also of simplicity, for there, without the comforts or conveniences of life, you discover that loving God and showing His love for souls is what is truly important. This is what I lived, or tried to live, with His help on the mission trip.
We spent about 20 days there and the only thing that mattered was to obediently fulfill God's will and to go wherever He took us, whether it was to a family, to a school, to an encounter with young people, or to communities in the jungle. As the days go by, you discover that you need strength from the Eucharist and rest in prayer. The material aid that you can offer is not as important as bringing God’s love to others. No matter how hard you try to be generous, good and pleasant, you will only be all of those things if you let the Lord work in you and put your whole being at His service. This teaches you and helps you to live the mission well, so that when you return home, to the place chosen by God for you, you can live with the same simplicity and joy as in the mission, giving yourself totally to the Lord and not only with the 'leftovers'. That is why we like to call the mission 'the School of God' because in every act, word, situation ... the Lord guides you, teaches you, and helps you to fulfill what He wants, learning to love and serve Him better. It is wonderful how you can see the Lord so easily in the people that live there, and how He accompanies us at all times, looking at each of those who suffer with immense love and mercy.
That is why I encourage all of you to have a missionary experience and, of course, to make your life a Mission, to abandon yourself totally to God and let Him work in you, because the Lord never lets Himself be outdone in generosity.”
Myriam tells us:
“For me, the idea of going on missions has always been something that I had in mind, something that 'when I grow up’ I should try. But it was not until this summer that the Lord put in my heart the desire to leave everything and embark on an adventure with Him as the captain.
The truth is that it has been an unforgettable experience. For me it has meant a lot. It has been a necessary bend in the road in my life. Before I went, I considered myself a happy girl: I had great friends, a family that loved me, a great boyfriend, I was doing well with my studies and my social circle was quite large. Imagine the mental shock I suffered when, after a few days of missions through Ecuador, I discovered that in Alcalá I was not as happy as I thought I was. I limited myself to living comfortably, to having a series of things or experiences that allowed me to feel fine, satisfied, but not happy. It was not until I was in Ecuador, surrounded by all those children and the elderly that we visited, that I had the joy of finding myself, of feeling how a heart, that before only knew how to beat, was moved inside of me, overwhelmed by a love and a happiness that I had never experienced before. I felt useful to others, with the assurance that what I was doing was what He wanted for me, and, honestly, I believe there is no greater joy than that which is achieved by walking the path that God has dreamed for you. Have things changed in me? I sincerely believe that neither I nor the other nine girls, with whom I shared the trip, are the same girls as before.
The mission has helped me to come out of myself completely, to give myself to others, and to be able to see in them the face of God. It has also made me aware of everything we have here and how little we value it. [Now I] see what things really are problems and what is just nonsense that we complicate our lives with.
Spiritually it has helped me a lot. If anything is clear from the whole trip, it is that God never forgets us, that He is there for each and every one of us. He is waiting anxiously for us to take His hand so that He can save us. We can always, always find Him in the smallest, in the humble, among the simplest of people. This is, apart from being beautiful, extremely hopeful especially in the times that we are living. Another thing that amazed me was the joy of the children there. Their laughter was different than those here. They were able to enjoy life, every day, despite what little they had... and that made me realize that we, surrounded by thousands of luxuries and comforts, were really poor on the inside.
Now I am back again in my city. After having thought about all the experiences and graces received throughout the trip, it’s not that I have the desire, but I experience the need to continue the mission that started in Ecuador here, in my environment, with my family, friends and acquaintances. So let’s get to work; there is still so much to be done!'