by Amanda Woodman
Holy Week was full of many blessings. Going into the week, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had been on mission trips before, but I don’t think they prepared me for the changes in my heart I was about to have from this experience.
While in Mexico City, we encountered Christ in many ways. We spent time with street kids who lived on the streets and were essentially ignored by most people. We brought food when we visited them, which allowed for great conversation. We heard their stories, listened to their experiences, played soccer with them (who doesn’t love fútbol?) and offered prayers. Listening to what they had gone through would bring most people down, but their energy and willingness to overcome their obstacles was simply inspiring.
We also devoted time to a group of elderly women who either were abandoned by their families or had no family at all. Their joy was infectious when we saw them, and it was easy to see how our presence had affected them. They spent hours talking about their lives and asking us questions about ours. They loved hearing from us and sharing their stories. It was incredible to see the love they had in their eyes despite being where they are now.
One of the best parts of the trip was getting to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe every day. Our chaplain, Father Joe Taphorn, offered Mass daily in one of the many beautiful chapels in the Basilica; we were also able to pray in one of the several churches surrounding the area. We then visited the actual sites where Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego. The presence of Christ was felt nearly everywhere we went and within everyone we encountered throughout the week.
The graces that we received from this trip are forever ingrained in my heart. The people we met with and shared experiences with are people who will never be forgotten. The hardest part of this trip was leaving: leaving the beautiful city, the incredible people, and the experiences you can only get while on mission.
St. John Paul II said, “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ!” In response, I invite you to allow Christ to place you right where you are supposed to be, maybe even stepping out of your comfort zone to be with people in need of hope and love.
UNO Junior Amanda Woodman spent her spring break, Holy Week 2016, in Mexico City on a mission trip with fellow students and staff from the St. JPII Newman Center.