“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). These words that St. Paul remembered from Jesus’ preaching have been proven once again during the latest girls’ get-together in Guayaquil. If we have received a lot, we have also been given the opportunity to give a lot. Most of the girls had just one week off after the first five months of classes, but they wanted to use most of their vacation time to serve the neediest.
Two Catholic Institutions gladly opened their doors to receive our help: “Perpetual Help,” which takes in girls and young women who are orphaned or who have problems at home, and “The Suffering Man,” an institution that takes care of the sick and elderly without family or resources.
During these three days, we had a schedule, the mornings were dedicated to adoration, cleaning, and splitting up into workgroups, and then heading out. There was a group with the little girls that organized games, prayer time, and tutoring. This required a lot of patience and love. Another group went to the sick and elderly to help feed them, organize games, and entertainment. They talked to them and gave them attention and love. Other groups did physical work: preparing walls to paint in the rooms at the Loreto Parish and Our Lady of Montserrat’s chapel in Fortin.
Tired, but joyful, at lunch everyone shared their experiences. There was a short time to rest after lunch as well as time for a formation meeting with talks about charity and dedicating oneself to others.
Afterward, the workgroups reunited to plan the next day’s activities and to figure where they were going to be. To end the day, after Mass and Evening Prayer… we had a movie night! We learned a lot from the movies “Facing the Giants” and “Network of Freedom”. On the last day, we had a Holy Hour where we poured out our need to learn how to love at the feet of Jesus and entrusted all of our needs to Him.
On Wednesday, the last day, no one wanted to go home. But we had to leave because there was going to be another activity on Thursday. In the end, the girls, who wanted to continue with the work, won. On Friday we went back to work at the parish in Fortin to finish the unfinished work.
For most of the girls (there were over 30) who lived this experience, getting back into a routine is not going to be the same. They bear, engraved on their hearts, the faces of very needy people who they made happy for a few days and who have shown them the joy of forgetting about oneself to give in the Name of Jesus.