SPECIAL LENTEN PRAYER SERVICE
This past Sunday, February 28, many RJM’s from the USA- Haiti Province and several of our Companions in Mission came together on ZOOM at 6:15PM for a special Lenten Prayer Service. The following 4 Companions in Mission - Kim Hopwood, Matt Meglan, Kate Williams, and Enrique Morones each shared a personal response based on their reflection of the Bridge Story (see attached to Bridges) and to the four commitments from our Province Assembly:
We, as a province, commit to Youth; to the Vulnerable and Poor, especially Women and Children;
to care for Our Common Home; to efforts at eradicating the evil of Racism
in our society, Church, communities and in our personal relationships.
Below are excerpts of comments, which are attached to the Bridges email in full:
[As in the] story, “The Bridge,” one of the most important ways to humanize the impoverished, is building a bridge of communication to those in our society who are less fortunate than us. My most vivid experiences in which I saw Jesus in those economically different from me were high school volunteer outings and college service trips. Working the line at a soup kitchen while nice, isn’t the same as sitting with the poor, having a conversation, understanding who they are, and honestly not even getting bogged down on the intricacies of how different their life is but concentrating on the similarities you have, because of those we have much more.
In Haiti, I saw this bridge-building happening in real time. Growing food in Haiti is hard. It’s hot, the soil is deficient, and water is often inaccessible. Farmers build bridges out of necessity. They share experience, knowledge, and labor because farming would be impossible otherwise. My first memory of this bridge-building was at a workshop at the Grepen Center. Agronomers were working with local farmers to teach and share about keeping and breeding goats. This was a collaborative process. Everyone went away having learned.
I offer this reflection [at a time] when I was in the throes of presumptive judgement of the abilities of a 74-year old great grandmother who is the guardian for an 11-year old male student, who is struggling in school. We, the teachers and I, had seen such potential in the student and were working together to get the student on the right track. We had seen growth and then the client’s work and attention fell off. The teachers and I had been giving the negative reports of what was happening at school, but they all seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. When I finally called the guardian, she explained that she was following his doctor’s orders and did not know what to do with the barrage of negative reports, other than to tell the doctor. As she was speaking, my heart was being convicted of the judgment that I had passed about her care, abilities, and desires for the student. Before I knew it, the guardian apologized to me for not communicating what she was doing about the situation. She was apologizing to me and the teachers who had passed judgment on her. She built a bridge rather than widening the chasm.