The FOCUS spring-break mission trip this past March was one of the most beautiful adventures I've embarked on so far in my life. The trip was very challenging and filled with much sacrifice, tiredness, and suffering, but I would not have spent my spring break any other way. Spending Holy Week in New York with four missionaries and seven other students my age truly seeking the Lord was amazing.
Even though people my age are known for documenting so much of what we do on social media, I actually took very few pictures showing the service that our team carried out to those around us, because in all honesty, I came to understand the value of being truly present wherever you are. Then, you are able to see all the beautiful things the Lord is doing around and in you.
What did I do in NYC? Well, I scrubbed the walls of a kitchen, organized shelves, had wonderful conversations with a beautiful woman named Carmella, helped prepare lunch for a large group of men, and polished the pews of a church with my friends. I am so glad I was able to be a part of God's work in a few of the communities in New York and be of service to the sisters and others we interacted with. However, my favorite part of this trip was not solely the corporal works of mercy (those involving what is physical/tangible/temporal) but even more so, the spiritual works of mercy (those dealing with the heart and soul).
Jesus says that we will always have the poor with us, and we will never be able to fully alleviate physical poverty. Rather, it is infinitely more important to share the love of Christ with another person's soul, so no matter how physically poor people are in the eyes of the world, they have hope and joy in the sole fact that they are loved and cared for by the Lord forever.
I am so thankful to have been surrounded with teammates and now new friends that were and still are amazing examples of Christ's love. Though this trip was not even close to being easy, I will never regret any minute of it, because each talk, laugh, tear, and smile was an encounter with Christ.
St. Stephen's is home to students from UAB, Samford, and Birmingham-Southern.
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