My friends in Christ,
With God’s help – and yours – I have raised most of the funds. With God’s help someone showed up to rent my house for nine months. With God’s help, my 29 page (!) religious visa application got assembled and this week, approved. Most of all, with God’s help, I have sifted through years of life’s accumulation of stuff, tossed much, given away a lot, and stored the rest.
So now, I am trying to figure out how to pack for nine months in just a few suitcases. I am not sure I would make a good refugee. Compared to the families I will serve, who have fled for their lives to a strange, often unwelcoming land with just the clothes they are wearing (I think of the Holy Family as the model here) I am really dealing with what my son calls a “first world” problem. My precious belongings are stored in tidy boxes awaiting my return, and I have learned that Amazon delivery works great in Rome. Being on the backside of cleaning out my house, paring down to living with just the essentials (including of course phone and computer), I am beginning to sense how freeing it is, but the whole experience just hints at Jesus’ instructions in Mark 6:8-9.
Still, a hint is progress. I have been nourished by experiencing Christ in all who have helped me this summer. And I am looking forward to listening to what God is up to in the worlds and lives I will encounter on my journey. After a quick trip to see family, I will head to St. Paul’s Within the Walls in Rome on 13 September. Please continue to hold hands on me in prayer, as I continue to hold you in my heart.