World Mission Sunday is February 15! To prepare ourselves to celebrate the many ways in which The Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world, we present these blogs from our missionaries.
Guest Blogger: Kirsten Lowell from the diocese of Maine, serving as a member of the Young Adult Service Corps in the Diocese of Uruguay.
Over the past month I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the globe.Each day I enter into the cathedral, unlock the gates, turn on the lights, gather my informational pamphlets, and wonder who I will meet that day. Since the New Year, I have encountered people from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Thailand, Canada, the US, England, Wales, Germany, Holland, Italy, and people from right here in Uruguay. I have met people who attend an Anglican Church back home, and those who have never been in an Anglican church until right then. Each of these people has a story. Some are traveling together with friends staying in hostels or are on business trips; others are on cruises and only have a few hours in the city while others live just a few blocks away but have never been inside the cathedral, and some people who simply want a quiet place to pray for a few minutes in the midst of their hectic day. Some days I answer questions about the building itself, some days I answer questions about what Anglican’s believe and how it differs from other denominations, and sometimes I end up answering questions about where I am from and how I ended up in Uruguay. As I open those doors each day, I am opening a window into the Diocese of Uruguay, as well as to the Anglican Communion as a whole and letting God’s light shine in.
I had a light bulb, an “ah-ha” moment this week. I’ve been on short term mission trips before (granted all within the US but still away from “home”), and I was so eager to love, and continue to love, everyone I met, and just as eager to return home and share my stories and photographs. It was incredible because it wasn’t in my own backyard. It was different.
What I realized this week is that Uruguay IS my backyard (and just as incredible), and loving people in my backyard is different (not easier, not harder, not more important, not less important, just different). I am learning to love the good, the bad, the sweet, and the grumpy. It’s another one of those continuous learning processes. It also made me think of my previous backyards and all the people I never took the time to love (believe me, it’s a lot easier to love a child who is reaching for your hand than to love the man who is reaching for your purse). Starting now and Uruguay, and wherever my next backyard may be, I want to learn to love everyone in it. And I think with Jesus as my teacher of loving people (and I think he is pretty stellar), I’m on the right path
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31