Untill the 21st i will be staying with Padre (father) Jorge and his wife Esmeralda in Bucaramana (check out a map to orient yourself). Audra is in California for a couple of weeks representing the YASC missionaries at the General Convention that is being held at this very moment in Anaheim. So, since I was already planning on paying a visit to this city the timing worked out well.
Since arriving Jorge and Esmeralda have been dear hosts. They have shown me around parts of the city amd I accompanied the father and a family of the parish to the churches mission center at a carring facility for elderly. This was a marvelous experience.
Truth be told, the elderly and such care facilities normaly give me the heaby-jeabies. The last time I was in a `retirment home` was when I went with my family to visit my grandfather Tidwell who suffered from Alsthimers. That place made me so uncomfortable. It smelled of sick people, and despite the staffs best efforts, it always smelled of urin. Some of the people were practically comotose others loud and then there were the obvious sick. I do remember a number of very kind and loving individuals and meeting with them was nice though sad because hovering over everything was a since of lonleiness and forgotteness.
However this mission was quite different. I walked through the doors to find myself once again outside...I was disoriented for a moment untill I was told that the building is under construction to build a second level. There are rooms everywhere, this place is probably the most ample one story building I have walked into since arriving to Colombia. I was told that there are some 80 individuals who reside at this mission. There are not only elderly who live here, but also individuals who cannot care for themselves independently. There are a score of personalities to take not of amonst the residents and atendents.
We were there to have a Ecaristic service. My first task was to hand out suckers that the family had brought. My first instinct was to freak out a bit. You want me to walk around this place by myself and hand these strangers suckers? Thankfully I bucked up and started on my task and to my surprise I found myself really enjoying making a connection with the men and women. A few were dispondent, others hardly connected to the same world and then there were others who were able to look me in the eyes. Some responded with a smile a few engaged me in conversation. There were a few who looked looked upon me with the character and spirit of an innocent little child. It was really quite extrodinary. This time, those that were sick did not scare me, they moved my heart. I was able to look them in there eyes and take hold of their hands.
The most powerfull moments passed as we went through the Eucarist. I had a genuine Christ moment durring the giving of the Peace. It was like my eyes were opened and I saw Chirst in them. I heard the message that these are my children, love them. As I took hold of their hands to pass the peace they looked up at me with a pure joy. As I touched the cheek of a fragile tiny woman I realized that this is the work of Christ in action. I looked around and felt my heart swell with love for these people. I have requeted to return next week and this time I will remember to take my camera to share with you there faces. I cannot pass up the oportuinity to encounter Christ again, now can I.
1 week ago