Each year by the time spring break comes around everyone is ready for a break from school and work. Many people make plans to go to the beach or somewhere they can relax and take time not to worry about anything. Going on a mission trip last year to Mexico City and this year to Ecuador I have learned that spring break is the perfect opportunity to go and serve. On mission, you are put in a completely different environment where you often deal with discomfort and change of surroundings. You learn to adapt to these uncomfortable settings and make new amazing friendships during the week. Going on mission is the best way I have decided to spend my spring breaks in college, and I hope to do more mission work throughout the entirety of my life.
When preparing to leave for Ecuador I was very concerned that during my time there I would be distracted because I would be comparing it to Mexico City. I prayed that the Lord would allow me to be fully focused on the people in Ecuador, be open to building new relationships, and truly seeking Christ in everyone I met. The Lord fulfilled my heart and allowed me to have an amazing trip. In Ecuador life is very simple. The people live in shacks on stilts that are surrounded by rice fields. We walked around to different houses in the community to share the gospel and invite people to mass. Each day when walking to the different houses I learned that even when you might not have much your faith is the only thing that can truly satisfy you. The people in Ecuador were so giving and welcoming and appreciative of us being in their homes. They were always open to talking to us and learning about why we came to Ecuador. In Mexico City, the Lord taught me that the greatest poverty is being alone. I brought this lesson with me to Ecuador and was able to love everyone I encountered and see Christ in them. At times, I felt sad that I was unable to communicate with the people, but I knew in my heart that I was making a difference. In Ecuador I felt the presence of the Lord in the nature, in the people’s homes, and in the smiling faces of all the children. The children we played with each day radiated the joy of the Lord and I learned so much from them. They looked up to the boys on the trip and always wanted to participate in whatever activity we were doing.
I have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to serve in Mexico City and Ecuador these past two spring breaks. When my mom picked me up from the airport she asked me which trip I liked better. I laughed and said I could not put it into words and pick a favorite because both trips were so different but equally as fruitful. Going on mission in these two countries has changed my life more than I could have ever imagined. I think that if you have an opportunity to go on a mission trip you absolutely should. Serving the Lord in another country has taught me so much and helped me become a stronger Catholic. I have made some of the best friends, learned to respect other cultures, and most importantly I have been able to see how truly universal our Catholic faith is and that is so beautiful.