My name is David Casillas, I was blessed with the opportunity to lead a mission for a couple of weeks this summer. However, my time of service this year has sadly ended- as I prepare to start school in a couple days. But before I do I want to take advantage of this time to share with you my experience and the memories that will stay with me for a lifetime.
First, I met the rest of the CMT staff- Krista, Liz, Dominique, Alana, Allie, and Riley. Although we have just met, we all got along pretty easily, we accepted our differences and embraced our talents. We shared our Catholic Stories and learned how God has touched each of our lives- how He guided each of us here. I don’t consider these guys my friends… they are more like family now- united thru Christ for years to come.
The mission trip- my team traveled to the Dominican Republic for our first weeks of mission work. The community we went to help was that of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos- and by community, I mean family. The kids ranged from 1 to 20 years old and the older kids helped take care and guide the younger ones, not just in school and discipline but in Faith as well. The Deacon and the Sisters there helped us set up mass every day and many kids came willingly to hear our Lord’s words at the dawn of day. Moreover, the kids all had such a happy heart, and a sharing attitude- the ones that had toys would share and take turns playing, sharing the little they had with the rest of them.
When it came to the work projects the group of teens worked incredibly hard to help on the building and plastering of an Agricultural Building, as well as digging a trench for a fence. Our hard work showed, not only by the callouses and blisters on our hands, or the sweat dripping from our faces- but by the progress we did on these two projects. It was incredible to see how inexperienced teens were empowered by Jesus with the energy and the perseverance to work hard hour after hour. And at the end of the day, still have the love to push themselves to go play and run with the kids.
Even more than the freezing showers, the reptiles and spiders crawling in the house, and the hard hours of work- the goodbyes were the hardest. The relationships we have built with the people in this community made it incredibly hard for the teens and our CMT team to say goodbye. But saying goodbye does not mean we will forget- as we will cherish these relationships, these memories throughout our lives. I know when the kids at the Home look at that building and at that fence, they will think about us- about the games we played, the laughter we shared and the love that united us. And just how we may have changed their lives, they have most definitely changed ours. We will learn from this experience- grown in our values of Faith, Humility, Love and brighten up our lives to be good examples of God’s love in this world.
I guess this is another goodbye- sorry if the blog was lengthy but my heart had much to express. I will continue to pray for team Guadalupe, team Juan Diego and all the groups of teens that this summer will help us bring a smile to the world and share God’s love.
John 15: 12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”