It is impossible to summarize the amazing experiences that I encountered during the St. Lucia mission trip because there are simply no words to explain the joy, the love and the power of Christ that existed and that ran through my blood. The only way I can articulate all of the emotions is describing how it felt like an out of body experience; I, along with the rest of the mission team became the hands, feet and mouth of Christ and we spread his message through our words and actions.
As I mentioned in my testimony, I have waited two years to be called to serve the Lord through mission work. Each year that the Adelphi Newman club ventured out to bring the light of Christ to others, something always held me back. Now, as I reflect on the past years, I believe it was God himself keeping me at home until He felt that I was mature and confident enough to serve others and it was this January that He decided to let me go--with His guidance of course!
While I had listened to the life-changing stories of my friends and learned what life was like as a temporary missionary, I did not know what to expect in St. Lucia. I had to keep my heart and mind open and I decided that not only did I want to experience something amazing but I also wanted to watch my team members grow in their faith as well. Little did I know that I would receive more than I ever hoped for--a stronger faith, everlasting friendships and a passionate love for all of God's creations.
As the trip was coming to a close, we were asked to reflect on three questions: what blessed us the most during the trip, what did we want to take away and what did we want to leave behind. While there are too many blessings to count, I decided that one moment of prayer made me realize that I have chosen the right path. A long and grueling indecision about career choice had been weighing on my heart for a while and it was during prayer with a special woman named Emee and a two year old girl that I realized that I was meant to be a nurse. I sat on the porch of the Missionaries of Charity and began praying with Emee, a woman in her 80's and as I made the sign of the cross, this two year old girl sat next to me. I asked her if she wanted to pray with us and she nodded and made the sign of the cross. I paused for a moment to take in what I was in the midst of experiencing--women of all ages praying together in Christ. I was helping both the young and the old and decided that interacting with those in need is my passion.
To answer the second question, while I wanted to take all of St. Lucia and its beautiful people with me, I narrowed it down and decided I wanted to take home my new found confidence as well as the warmth that I felt after learning about the growth of my friends through their testimonies. Not only are they my friends, they are also my family and I am so proud to have shared in their growth as individuals in Christ.
Finally, what I wanted to leave behind is my worry of the future. While we served in St. Lucia, I lived in the moment and my heart was open to anything that came my way. I was never preoccupied about the next day or the next hour or even the next minute and I wanted to leave the stress behind that arises from unnecessary worry.
I would not trade the St. Lucia mission trip for anything and while I am back in the United States, I realize that I will always be able to call St.Lucia my home away from home and the stories that I have brought back will be forever etched in my heart and will be retold for generations to come.