Doug Garofalo, Bolivia (2003-2004)
As we hear in the Gospels, faith and trust in our loving God is paramount to living out our Gospel call. The people I encountered during my time in Brazil, whether rich or poor, in good health or not, always had strong faith. This strengthened my faith and enabled me to overcome the struggles of mission life.
Loretta Murphy, Carmen Pampa, Bolivia (1998-2000)I worked setting up a cataloging system for the library and managing computer lab at the university. I also taught English and Religion in community school and established and coordinated a child sponsorship program and artisan cooperative. I developed a deep appreciation and important, valued, hopefully lasting relationship with people in Carmen Pampa and at the university. I hope I will remain aware of the abundance in my life and continue to grow in learning to simplify and share, perhaps someday approaching the level of generosity and simplicity of my Bolivian sisters and brothers.
Debbie Ludwick, Sacabia, Bolivia (1999-2006)
While in Bolivia, I taught English in the jail of Scaba and the Wasinchej girls home that is run by an Italian sister. I also taught two English classes of Karate (in Sacaba and Villa Busch). It made it less strict with religion practices, but more appreciative of God. It increased my awareness of politics (local and world). I have learned to use individuality instead of groups and stereotypical words like Bolivians, North Americans, them and us.
Judith Caraballo, El Salvador (2001-2003)
I had a calling from God and a desire to live among the poor. To live simply and humble. To want to give of myself to a God who has given so much of Himself. Throughout my stay, I was coordinator of the pastoral program and coordinator of home building projects.
The impact it made on my life was that I have discovered leadership and management skills in myself. My personal relationship with God has deepened.
Patrick O'Neill, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil (2001-2003)
I can't think of a time when I was more challenged in my faith, emotionally and mentally. I learned much from poor Brazilians but what stands out most is their hopefulness- there’s a saying in Brazil that the poor often use “hope is the last to die” Through their struggle for a dignified life this saying is lived out and because of their faith in God and indomitable spirit of hope they can continue to struggle. I find myself very hopeful for the future of the organizing poor and for my own future, and much more rested in the faith in God as a loving and concerned creator.
Katie (Eberhard) Mulembe, Zambia (2004-2006)
My mission experience opened my eyes and my heart to so many things I had never known before. After walking with the poor and experiencing the presence of God so vividly among them, I can no longer overlook injustice in the world. I have to do something about it, I have to be a vessel for God's peace and justice.
Kimberly Hopwood, Jamaica (1995-1998)
My mission experience has affected my attitude toward material things; it cured me of the American preoccupation with having lots of stuff! I still live simply and my family is okay with that. Mission has expanded my capacity to love.
Mission included the best and most trying experiences of my life. But God does not call the equipped; God equips those He calls.
Kristie Raney, Guatemala
It is going to take the rest of my life to fully understand the impact of Guatemala and its people on my life. At the border of Guatemala and Mexico, I climbed into the bus heading North to the USA after having said my farewells to the people I LOVE SO DEEPLY. As the bus drives away, a man approaches me an obviously having witnessed the dramatic separation at the border asks me, “Are you a nun?” I dry my tears and smile, “No, but I AM a MISSIONARY!”
Dan McNeil, Russia (1992-1995)
Working for a social service organization in Siberia was a time of immense challenge and growth. I have never been so stretched in my life. The experience continues to challenge me, to make ideals real and my faith alive, to trust in the Gospel message, to live simply, and to give of myself in the spirit of service.
My mission experience inspires me today to serve, to try to live with others in mind, and to use my income as an expression of my faith.
Claire M. Dignon, Guatemala (1991-1994)
My life has been altered forever. I have an undying love for the simplicity and humbleness of the Latino population; I now see God in small and basic ways and know that the true path to Him is filled with struggles and small joys.
Megeen White, Zimbabwe & Zambia (1991-1993)
These three years changed me in many ways. My faith became more central to my life (dependence on God); I began to live more simply; I became much more aware of how global issues impact local communities and the new friendships formed changed who I was as I entered into the stories/life of many wonderful, hospitable and loving people.