Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bienvenida Elizabeth... Isabel... Courtney... uhhh...

It has been almost 3 weeks since my arrival here in El Salvador. I received nothing but warm welcomes, smiles, and gracious acts of hospitality from the people here.

On the day I arrived in San Salvador, my community patiently waited for over 2 hours for me to get through baggage claim and customs. It took so long because my 1 checked bag was left behind in the United States with pretty much everything in it. My suitcase, along with about 20 others was left behind due to the plane not being able to hold all our weight with a plane full of passengers and an excess of baggage. I had a feeling something was going to happen as I was packing last minute several hours before my flight. And still I didn´t pack a change of clothes in my carry-on. So, when I found this out all I could do was laugh and think - TOTAL ABANDONMENT. Alright, truly starting off my mission on the right foot. At that moment I actually felt free. I literally have nothing. As Father Thierry de Roucy, founder of Heart´s Home writes:

"Putting into practice the experience of God is often putting into practice the experience of God´s proximity in the most concrete things, in the most meaningless events, in the most unexpected coincidences. The fact that our hairs are calculated is for us more revealing of God´s existence and tenderness than the the fact that all the stars in the sky and all the sand of the seashore also are well-known. Man has got such limited sight that he can more easily see God in the microcosm of his existenc than in the macrocosm which surrounds him. Nevertheless, we cannot make this experience of God without accepting a real abandonment: in order for God to act in our lives we need to let things go, we need to ask Him to be our good manager, we need to hand Him over our purse. The more we trust in God, the more His power can be effective in us.
As soon as she entered teh cloister of Carmel, Therese (of Liseux) wanted to possess nothing. She wanted to decide nothing anymore. To pass from the world to Carmel, she took only a few steps but those steps meant for her will to entirely belong to God. From then on, her ideal no longer was to decide but to say "yes"; it was no longer to manage but to abandon herself; it was no longer to invent but to correspond. The result has been immediate: her fecundity becomes a great one, her goods limitless. Her wealth becomes that of God. In Heart´s Home, such a secret was revealed to us. That´s why more than looking with trepidation and anguish for the ways to achieve our mission, our constant worry is to marry God´s will, to abandon ourselves to His Love, to correspond with the call He sent us. We want to put our confidence in God more than in a strategy.¨ (Fr. Thierry de Roucy; Therese, a worthy model for Heart´s Home)

Like a child, I was well taken care of by my community. They clothed me, fed me, called the airport to arrange the drop-off of my suitcase the next day and then let me sleep for several hours.

I am truly thankful for the patience and understanding of my brothers and sisters in community. I made things complicated with my name and they are always helping me clarify and explain to our friends.

When my community heard of my name back in the beginning of the summer, they tried with great difficulty to pronounce it correctly. Then, my sister in community, Analía (permanent missionary with Heart´s Home) met me for a short visit while she was visiting Heart´s Home in Brooklyn in August. She explained the difficulty my community was having with my name and asked me what my second name was. I said Elizabeth, but preferred to be called Isabel because I have a lot of friends with the name Elizabeth and I like the name Isabel. The message was not completely received and when I arrived here some people knew me as Courtney, others as Elizabeth. Now the list is endless... Courtney, Isabel, Elizabeth, Isa, Chavella, Gringa...

Sorry for the confusion! I answer to all of these names though! :)

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