“The little miracles and signs that have reached me through these people who are now part of me.” Neuza Francisco, a Portuguese Comboni lay missionary working in Peru tell us her experience among poor people on the outskirts of Arequipa.
Many lives are already part of me, and many are the smiles that belong to me, the hugs I do not avoid and renew my strength. With the intention of just dropping in, I spend hours to no end conversing on the doorsteps. For me, mission is timeless.
The doors of our house are open, doors that open to receive the greatest joys of passers-by and welcome the sufferings of those who seek refuge from us. They ask of you the only thing you have to give, yourself.
When night falls, that is when I like to revisit my day and, even though often I fall into tears, they are tears of contemplation of the marvels God is working in me and, through me, it’s impossible to ignore it, and not thank God for it all. Many a times I see, countless times, the little miracles and signs that have reached me through these people who are now part of me.
Mission is hard, and you would lie if you said otherwise. Mission is arid, here, where the landscape is covered with the roofs of what is left of homes close to be disintegrated by the strong wind.
In August, part of a year’s work falls apart, when nature blows so strongly that it is impossible to resist. Without fear, they roll up their sleeves, without giving up, and even though what they have is little, nothing is stronger than the will to move onward. I am not lying, mission is hard. At time it becomes cruel, it hurts. You see the suffering in the eyes of these brothers of mine and the helplessness in the face of what they have to bear with.
Many are the times when I simply listen, give a hand, my shoulder. Many are the times when we smile together, as we share this love of God so concrete and free. Many are the hugs, the hands shaken. Many are the moments of silence and mutual commitment, in the simplicity of sitting on the ground and be one with them.
Yes, mission is hard. It is in this hardship that I met the deepest meaning of my presence on Peruvian land. It was in this arid land that I placed my dreams and my hopes. In this little corner of the world that I pray daily for the integrity and the rights of people similar to me, created by God. It is a constant state of being fragile and be integrated in the simplicity and humility of those who have nothing. Without expecting anything in return.
Mission is hard, but this is the mission I always dreamed of, this constant discovery of who I am and of what I am doing here. It is to know that I am nothing and often see how miracles just happen, naturally. It is trust that makes us flesh of the same flesh. A little at the time everything falls into place, a little at the time everything happens simply, not in human but in heavenly times.