Wow, our third consecutive summer of sending missionaries to Gallup, New Mexico and we couldn't have asked for a better start to our summer of missions. Our mission team as always consisted of a very diverse group of students. A mix of graduate students, first year college students, and non-denominational missionaries brought a lot to the mission.
This year we also extended our time of serving from 5 to 10 days of actual mission work! Thanks to all the feedback from CMC’s past missionaries, it was evident that the desire to serve longer was present so we decided to extend our mission. As director of missions that’s a dream come true!! With our past experience we have created a great relationship with the Diocese of Gallup which enabled us this year to reach many groups of people that have not been served. A few places in particular was the Hopi Reservation, a place of slow, but consistent growth of Catholic faith. Our missionaries helped restore the Catholic Church on the Hopi Reservation and also built relationships with the people who later invited us to lead a Bible study in August! Praise God for his answer to our prayers to help build relationships with the youth! What I have learned in missions is that my timing is not always in line with God's timing. We tried desperately to serve the youth the past two years but couldn't get anything started. As I look back I can see God preparing all of us for the perfect timing this year to serve the youth.
Another blessing this summer was to serve in Lukachukia, Arizona this summer (Officially our third state of mission work!). We simply joined in a Sunday mass and a pot-luck gathering afterwards. There was nothing extradionary in this visit, but what I learned is that sometimes our presence in the ordinary is the most powerful. Many of the parishioners were overjoyed of us joining them. Afterwards, one of the parishioners actually took us to visit 2 National parks in the area! Thank you Jesus for creating such an amazing church!
Besides the new missions we volunteered our time with, we kept great relationships and served much of our time with the Little Sisters of the Poor, Missionaries of Charity, Diocese of Gallup, Saint Bonaventure Mission, Daughters of Charity, and just missed our Benedictine Monk friends as they were on a month long retreat.
We hope to continue to grow as a mission company with the growth Jesus has in store for us. So much to share working with each individual religious order, but I will leave that to the blogs we will post shortly from our missionaries.
God bless, Janson
From Kaitlin, Mountain Village Mission
Our first mission for Alaska 2018 was a great success. The church in Mountain Village is called St. Lawrence, and the community and us were blessed to be a part of a wedding there the day after we arrived. We were able to make good connections throughout the village and from there plan the ministry work we would do. We had times for young children to learn their prayers, learn and act out Bible stories, and to be at Mass with us. We were also blessed to have a consistent group of young teenagers and pre-teens for Bible study. It was humbling to see their sincere desire to go deeper in the faith. A few of them even began helping us lead community prayer such as the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. We saw a lot of growth in many of the kids as they grew to have a disposition and desire to pray. A few are even prepared to begin classes for First Communion!
Also in the village, our times of outreach were very fruitful in how we were able to pray with people in the midst of their suffering and truly experience being vessels of Jesus’ mercy to them. Over the ten days, we saw an increase in adults coming to Mass and praying the Rosary with the community. We pray that this sense of unity will continue to grow between adults and children alike throughout the village.
As for the missionaries themselves, we experienced the joy of loving the community that we were becoming a part of, and also experiencing the love of the Heavenly Father while we were there. We made great connections with people in Mountain Village who we can stay in touch with and continue to encourage their growth in the faith and to remain in prayer with their village and church community. It was hard to leave Mountain Village behind, from its natural beauty to the beauty of the souls we encountered.
Please keep our remaining mission to Kotlik, AK in your prayers!