hello friends! the time has come for another update! let me make this easy on you (which i think this will somewhat be how i begin my upcoming blog entries, for efficient and organizational purposes!) – SUBTITLES!
I MISO Reflection – not the soup
II Time between MISO and Now
III Countdown to the PI
IV Good Book – Praying Our Goodbyes
V “Lights On” Program
VI Quote on my Mind
I MISO – Maryknoll International Service Orientation – July 8-23 – Ossining, NY
Yes, i left new york on the 23rd of june, to make it ontime for my best friends’ wedding (to one another – love them) at USD, then headed back to NY on july 8th to attend MISO with about 33 other missionaries from various programs (Holy Cross Lay Missioners, Salesian Lay Missioners, Response Ability Volunteers, Mercy Corps, and of course, Cabrini!). We had sesssions on staying healthy overseas, we prayed rosaries at night in the tabernacle/choir loft, we held impromptu praise and worship sessions, we discussed lots, we voiced our opinions, lots, we learned about Inculturation, we saw different ways of approaching conflicts, we discussed the importance of community, we talked about maintaining and how to maintain healthy relationships, we talked race, we talked reality, and we talked mission. WHY are we doing what we are doing? when was it that we each received a call? what is driving us, motivating us, pushing us forward to do what we are about to do for 1-2 years?
many of the people i was with have indeed received a lot of negative energies surrounding their mission, whether it be from parents, friends, family, and we would discuss that. it was certainly a beautiful thing to be surrounded by other young adults who had hearts full of desire to serve as ministers the best way they can. i went into the training thinking that i would be receiving a cross-cultural experience, as i learned about other ethnic cultures and countries…however, i discovered something different. God showed me, as i was exposed to, different perspectives on the catholic church and the way that it was expressed by other young adults. growing up in southern orange county, i have found that my understandings, my practices, my understanding of faith, is different from others who grew up in different places. the range of opinions went all along the gamet from conservative to liberal on any given topic, and truly, truly, it called for a time to learn from one another, and yet, despite differences, appreciate each other, and what each person brought to the table/discussion. grace-filled for sure.
through orientation, i am convinced that each and every one of the people i met, WILL in fact, change the world somehow. if not in HUGE ways, definitely within their communities and in their ministries, and that itself, is HUGE. brazil, uganda, rwanda, india, ethiopia, chile, the list goes on…it is so great and it was such a blessing to meet remarkable individuals with such blessed journeys ahead of them!
it was definitely different attending orientation without my sisters, mary and michelle at my side, but it helped to be in communication with them, to have their support and prayers. gina, our director, came out for a couple of days, and that was one of the highlights of my time at orientation! familiarity and wisdom = best combination for where i was at in orientation (towards the end). it was perfect timing, if you will. during orientation we had a couple of free days, and one of the days, i got to visit Columbus Community (my community of sisters in NY), and got to have dinner and pray with them before heading back to Ossining. i would have to say that that timing was absolutely perfect. i was missing cabrini, i wanted to see the sisters, and that break for a couple of hours was exactly what my soul needed. i came back to orientation rejuvenated and ready to take on the next workshops. so thankful i was for that opportunity to head over to gramercy park, just one last time!
and in two and a half weeks, after hopping on the metro north down to grand central station, i was on my way to the airport. MISO was over. july 23rd.
II Time Between MISO and Now
after leaving MISO, i got home in the late evening around 11:30pm, packed my bags, because at 7am, i would be heading out to san francisco to hang out with some of my cousins. spent time in the city, hiked, and my cousin andrew found a labyrinth for me, because he knows i’m obsessed, we walked it, then later on, my cousin rochelle, also took me to another labyrinth – land’s end! that one was pretty awesome because it was overlooking the water and it was made of rocks. ironically enough, the man who created the labyrinth was there and he had a video guy with him. the video guy was creating a video on the labyrinth, and he interviewed me on my thoughts about it. soooo i went off about how i love labyrinths because of their meditative quality, and i talked about how it is such a great tool for contemplation! apparently he thought it was profound, while i thought i could have been way more articulate, but hey, it worked, and i got to enjoy the labyrinth 🙂 check it out: http://www.laberinthos.com/ – apparently it was ruined a couple of times, one time by an individual who was very angry at some personal events in his life, and then returned and met the creator of it. super interesting.
after my fun time in san francisco, that next weekend, i went with some of my girlfriends to las vegas, and we had a blast – dancing and enjoying our upgraded suite at planet hollywood. eating earl’s sandwiches and hangin’ out by the pool, and just having a good time, the heat didn’t stop us! after my time in vegas, it brought me to august 2nd. august would be spent in socal. no more trips for me. the next time i use my suitcase, it will be for the PI. and so here we go!
III Countdown to the PI
Leaving on the 18th. follow-up dentist appointment next week, went to the doctor’s, got all the tests done, got all the shots, got my eye appointment, ordered my year and a half supply (they wouldn’t let me order more!) of toric lens contacts, started sifting through the books that i absolutely need to bring with me to baguio, and no, i have not yet started packing. the countdown is on, and it will be the 18th before i know it. and that, my friends, is where i am at, with this whole “physically getting ready” process of the move on mission. it’s a struggle. 🙂
this weekend i have been given the awesome opportunity of speaking at my parish about my past year of mission with cabrini mission corps in new york. i’m doing one mass on saturday, four masses on sunday, and i made this huge posterboard with fun pictures and different images that have guided me this past year. i’m excited to share my story, and that excitement led me to email the monsignor at my church to see if this would be possible. ask, and you shall receive! woohoo!
and before you know it, it will be next week, which is when my sister is coming into town, it is more cousins coming into town, it will be my cousin’s birthday party at the park, then i get to give a talk at a young adult gathering at my church, again, talking about mission! woohoo! THEN, it’s my goodbye party, then it’s goodbye, for REAL. uh oh. ok, …moving on. 🙂
IV Good Book – Praying Our Goodbyes
one of the greatest joys in coming home to california, has been in being reunited with some of my best friends out here. it is perfect timing to have united with everyone at andrew and lena’s wedding at USD because right now, we are all going through some crazy life transitions. one was a teacher and joined JVI and is now in micronesia, another graduated with a masters from BC, and is also now with JVI and will be going to chile, i am going to the philippines, another will be starting a BFA requiring a new move, another is moving to louisiana to get her MSW, there are crazy, crazy, transitions going on amidst everyone in our close group of friends, and so this theme of transition, and goodbye has been individually on each of our hearts, and so, of course, we would collaborate and talk about the fact that we knew or at least understood how the other person was feeling.
because it has been so difficult to say goodbye to new york, to mary and michelle, to the sisters, and i myself, am in deep transition, gina gave me praying our goodbyes by joyce rupp. this book, is remarkable. so profound, and so perfect, really, just so appropriate to this time in my life. despite any physical distances, joyce is able to bring together the importance of prayer, kinship and the drawing of souls to one another, in the spiritual sense. sure it sounds hoakey, but joyce points out how jesus too, experienced being called to bring his ministry elsewhere, and to leave his friends, the disciples. jesus had emotions, but there was also the presence of God, and acceptance, and faith, that helped jesus to thrive through it all. this book, is just, that good. so good!
V “Lights On” Program
one of the priests at my church, said a mass at Mission San Juan Capistrano, and because i have been meaning to check out the life teen program at the basilica, i was able to make it out there. in the bulletin, i read about the “lights on” program, which was a program that served inmates immediately released from jail. as soon as i read that they needed volunteers, i immediately jumped on the opportunity because i wanted to find out more.
well, that’s where i was tonight.
this is one of the coolest programs i have heard about, and basically “lights on” is an RV that parks outside of the jail (about 30 minutes from where i live – via freeway!) and it operates between 10pm-4am, which is when inmates are generally released, usually onto the streets with little or no resources for re-entry. i was talking with the deacon i had been in contact with, and he told me that these late hours are the prime time when inmates are released, all because of funding purposes. i was overwhelmed with awe that this program exists, because as i thought about it, how beautiful it is that this service is provided for immediately released inmates. it’s true, sometimes inmates are not given sufficient notice prior to their release, to arrange for family members/friends to pick them up, and the next thing you know, they are stuck in a dangerous situation a couple miles down.
the mere presence of an RV, providing clothes, supplies, licorice, hot coffee, cold water, pizza, cookies, and candy, is a strong enough safe haven, if even for a little while. spending a small amount of time at the RV reminded me that, no, crystal, you may not be busy each and every minute of your time outside with a released inmate, but just in providing this presence for others, that is more than enough. i just am such a big fan of this program already, and i wish others would jump onboard with this. this also got me looking forward to my mission in the philippines, whatever is to come with that. 🙂 i’m open.
…and there you have it. i’m doing well. mother cabrini has her eye on me, for sure. and jesus, well, i feel like i have given Him many reasons to laugh lately. all is well, and wow, still can’t believe new york is done. for now. 🙂
VI Quote on my Mind…
Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on men’s dreams. More serious still we may forget that God was here before our arrival. ~ Raymond Hammer // I find so much comfort in this, because it just relieves so much stress and any expectations that we may place on ourselves anytime we enter a new place. God is already there. As a missioner, God is inviting me into that space. How awesome is that. Enough said. 🙂