An Unexpected Lesson

A difficult situation becomes a teacher.

Felicia GehrigDuring our first missionary year in El Alto, Bolivia, our house there was burglarized while we were away. It was devastating. I lost all my trust in people and even my own sense of safety.

When people heard what had happened, our neighbors—former miners and farmers who had migrated to the city in search of a better life—came to help us. They identified the thieves, some youngsters from the neighborhood to whom we had offered our friendship.

It was our neighbors’ care and understanding that helped me to open my eyes and see God’s presence in the community. Our neighbors knew how it was to go through this type of experience and feel violated because they themselves had suffered similar difficult situations.

This experience challenged my faith because I understood that the Christian vocation does not only call us to keep an eye on our own relationship with God but to be aware of the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are all connected regardless of where we come from. I thought that I had come to Bolivia to accompany my Aymara brothers and sisters, yet it was they who accompanied me in a difficult moment.

This type of bond that develops between people and the desire to be present to help each other will help us deepen our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ.

—Excerpted from Revista Maryknoll

Your turn:

  • Have you ever tried to help someone only to find out that you were the one receiving the help?

What a name!

With a name like Turibius Mogrovejo, he couldn’t afford to be mediocre. Turibius was a bishop, and he walked and walked and walked for thousands of miles to care for his diocese, which was based in Peru and extended all the way from Nicaragua to Argentina. And the worst part was there weren’t any roads, cars, planes, or helicopters yet!

Turibius fought for the people, governed with freedom, and defended the indigenous people, even though there was still a debate on whether it was worthwhile to evangelize them. When people said things had never been done that way, he replied that Jesus had said he was “the way,” not “the way it used to be.”

  • Have you ever left something undone just because it had never been done before?
  • Do you take risks and dare to think in different ways?
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