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Mission of Hope

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Daily Journal: Sunday, July 31, 2011

By Bonnie Black
This is it – the last day of projects for Mission #42. It doesn’t seem like we have been so long. For A Team, it has been exactly 1 week ago today that we began cleaning and sweeping and scrubbing in preparation for the rest of the group.

This morning’s assignment board looks a little different than others as everyone is on it multiple times. There are lots of short tasks to do in addition to our major painting jobs at the Children’s Hospital and here around the house.

Our last morning meeting (for tomorrow half of us head out very early to Mombacho) began with Sister reviewing the assignment board and the concept of Team. All of us need to be consistently asking what needs to be done – until ALL the jobs are done, none are done.

She reminded everyone that if anyone wants to be sponsored, they need to go to Magaly and then tell Sister; for a home shelter or repairs, they come to the clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the application which is available and turned back into Mauricio.

There was a question about ‘the container’ which is still being held up by the government. Sister explained that it is sitting at the Customs warehouse (they saw it the other day). Once it is clearer and processed, it will be shipped to CARITAS and will begin to be unpacked. By designation, our partners will go there to pick up their goods. Anything designated for us (a small portion of the container) will be brought here and stored for distribution in February.

Liz and Sister shared various local news items on the exploitation of the poor that seem to be in conflict with the Church and Archbishop Brenes’ philosophy.

This morning may be a difficult morning for some – a Mass was said for family members who have been lost over the four moths – most of us are realizing we will be leaving part of our heart here as well as home. Some have had some difficult moments in our experiences – many not having processed what we have seen and heard. “But, we must remember that God always walks with us – in our pain and in our joy,” said Sister.

She continued, “The mission is about recognizing our blessings – not feeling guilty. It starts with us when we go home – wasting less water and electricity, being kind to our neighbor, caring for what has been provided to us.” We then listened to Lori Ture’s “What Have We Done for the Poor Ones?” It was a poignant song, emotionally bringing a few to tears. Sister closed with a prayer noting how we bring our joys and hopes as well as our failings, asking God to continuously ask us the questions of what we’ve done.

The variety of tasks today included a team out early to paint at the Fernando Velez Paiz Children’s Hospital: Bill M., Charles, Stefanie, Colleen and Brendee. Darcy and Ross joined them after Mass this morning allowing Bill M. to return here for a walkthrough of the facility with our contractor, Chico.

Off to Pajarito Azul for the last visit of this Mission were Josh, Stephen, Chris, Sam and Mary.

Everyone was working like a hive of bees today – scurrying around getting everything back in place and then inventoried.

We removed the plastic from the windows along the sides of the house we had painted; cleaned the breezeway of items to accept the 4 remaining bunkbeds we needed to move from NiCarlos. 170 health fair kits were prepared while most of us went to Mass. The Moore Suite rooms and bathrooms were painted today with just the border area in one of the rooms left to do tomorrow morning.

The remaining 2 rockers that were purchased by people on this Mission for our gathering area (a total of 4 were purchased this time) were assembled as were the beds for the Moore Suite.

We even strung the CAT cable through the walls and ceiling to prepare for the day that the internet will work…longer than a couple of hours!

Our Home Depot has a great look now with a bunkbed moved in to hold the ECO gardening equipment. Heather and Lou did the large moving then Alex, Josh and Heather did the actual inventory. Perfecto!

Connie and Bev along with Anna and Alex began working on the Shutdown Checklist; Connie and Bev coordinated the returning suitcases for Tuesday morning assure that we could nest whatever possible getting more suitcases back to Plattsburgh than we have people returning.

Today as she didn’t have meetings scheduled. So, Alix, Dan, Judy and Missy got their chance to see Managua from a different perspective than when they came in from the airport on Tuesday.

Tonight’s meeting began with a rundown of the itineraries for tomorrow which will include a morning meeting with the Archbishop, a venture to Mombacho and another to Masaya National Park.

Bev distributed the Continental tags for everyone’s suitcase and we got Goldfish or peanuts as our evening snacks.

Sister asked us to center ourselves. We are all at a different moment in our experiences and life, so there are many different emotions

You are it – you will always be it.”\We all have one goal in mind – to serve the lives of the poor. So, as we begin this evening - A Team stood and received thanks for all….then the 3 point persons for the kitchen - Bev, Steph and Joan – received their applause. Members of the Leadership Team stood and Sister explained what LT is and how we each have the heart of the Mission year ‘round to keep it all going. LT members here this time were Bill M., Joan, Sister Steph, Sister Debbie and myself.

Sister then commented that the dream that began with Yamilette Flores, Eve McGill and herself never could have conceived of a Mission #42. Sister said, “The mission is better because of each of you – it is whole because of each of you.” She spoke with Oscar and Yami today via phone and they wanted to express their thanks for all that each of us has done for their people.

Sister asked us to take our balloons and reflect on where we were, what we were doing and thinking a week ago. Two days later, we blew up these balloons – symbolic of our breath, our one life. She spoke of how we are one human family and then asked us to open the balloons and slowly let the air in our balloons out. As we released the air from our balloons, we held the empty one in our hands. We are now comingled with the people of Nicaragua – our breath, our rhua, our spirit is connected to all of the people you served this week. And each breath will return to each in time.

Some serious thoughts were shared and Sister asked us each to turn to the person on our left and mention something about that person that they learned about that person. Sustained commitment to being true to self and the disabled, caring for babies at the orphanage, dedication to the Mission – the grunt work, an amazing person who has become a friend who is reliable, a glow and smile beaming brightening each day, inspired by the goal and visions, patience and going with the flow, having the well-being of the people here prominent in her mind, learned how to be patient and have stamina while inspiring others, expertise is remarkable bring a myriad of talents to the Mission, humility in expertise and follow-through, the quiet worker who only has to be told once and goes on with a smile, lightens the mood and made the Mission fun, steps up to the plate and is upbeat, a smile that glows in its genuine way taking on whatever was assigned, serene through it all-even at the beginning of the turmoil at the airport, the funniest person who can make any situation a joy, caring for the kids and getting children to smile, lightening up any situation and good listeners, amazing with the kids and able to handle whatever is thrown at her, animated and playful, extremely dedicated and willing to work through any situation, a wonderful helper willing to do whatever was asked, foresight and maturity, compassionate and creative about us and everyone we encountered, hands that ease suffering, a great laugh and sense of humor who works as just hard, foresight and relaxed through difficult situations, energetic and outgoing, sweet and kind and down-to-earth, dedication with a sense of humor, genuinely optimistic with sincerity, a happy person who is enjoyable to be around, a dynamic force who is straightforward getting things done in an exacting manner, a hard worker who never stops even when physically challenged, an integral part of the mission making children smile and motivating to others, a role model who is task oriented yet lightens the mood, complementary to others, tenacious – and resourceful with water bottles, dedicated to serving the poor.

Sister acknowledged we are like a mosaic – unique to ourselves yet making a wonderful picture…of Mission #42. We then moved into our closing prayer which was Celtic Woman’s song, “One World.” The chorus singing: We’re all a part of one world, We all can share the same dream…And if you just reach out to me, Then you will find deep down inside – I’m just like you.”

Many memories of this past week sped through our minds as we sang the words as visions of situations we encountered were captured so well in song. With that we ended our last evening meeting together looking forward to our day tomorrow.

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