I wrote this post on the plane on my way back from Mexico. Since I've been back, I've become immersed in life and details here and I'm just now getting around to posting it. It provides closure to the last Casa trip, so I want to document it here and share it with you.
Written on July 8, 2010:
Yesterday, all of the mediano and grande children gathered for a time of prayer on the Casa patio. This is a weekly practice with the children, led by Lupita. She recited a prayer aloud, a phrase at a time, and the children repeated after her. There was then a time when she called on individual kids to share prayers for their families, for the Casa, for loved ones in the extended Casa family who are ill. I then read a story of Jonah from a Children's Bible and Lupita questioned the kids about the message of the story. You can never run or hide from God. They closed the prayer time by reciting Padre Nuestro, the Lord's Prayer, as well as other Catholic prayers. Many of the kids prayed for us (Matthew, Jen, and me,) in their individual prayers and I told them that we also pray for them every week at church.
In closing out this visit, we had some special time with Casa staff. Lupita wanted to treat us, so she took Matthew, Jen, and me, along with another wonderful staff member out to eat. We enjoyed fresh fruit smoothies and Mexican fare: quesadillas, enchiladas, sopes, guacamole. It was a lovely time, full of laughter, story telling, and sharing how much we cared for one another. Lupita informed us that they would not be having a large goodbye celebration for us because we were Casa Family. She knew that we would be returning.
After the prayer service, we went out with another staff member, the Academic Coordinator. We learned that she has been employed at the Casa for two years and had volunteered there as a university student for four years before that. She is excellent with the children, cares so much about them, and really loves her job. It was personally really nice for me to get to know her better because she is just two years older than me and I believe that we'll become friends as well as co-workers when Pete and I live at the Casa. She says that she is already looking forward to working with me.
When I bought the ticket to Mexico for this trip, I was initially reluctant to tell my mother. I feared that she would be worried about me going to Mexico again, this time more independently, with a much smaller group. To my pleasant surprise, she said she thought it was a good idea for me to "test the waters," to make sure that I wanted to commit to living there for an extended period of time. This trip certainly served that purpose. I am sure the Casa is where I want to live and serve. It just feels right; where I'm called to be. This is the way I feel called to love and educate children at this point in my life: regularly and compassionately reading with them, sharing spiritual stories, talking with them about their lives, participating in a loving, caring community created for the sake of those who have been abused and abandoned. I feel amazingly at home at the Casa and in Colima. People are real, kind, and down to earth. I know there will be ups and downs. I know I will not always be happy. I know I will get frustrated, upset, and disappointed at times. That's life at any stage of the journey, right? I am so excited to be embarking, with my beloved, on this path.
Yes, this is right.