Today was the first day of work with the missionaries of charity (MCs). Yesterday we arrived and joined them for orientation and holy hour. We are staying at a wonderful place - the Baptist Mission Society. It is less than a block from the MC motherhouse. Very quiet, friendly, extremely accommodating and really good food! This morning: Mass at 6:00am - chapel is packed with MCs and postulants...probably about 80 in total! Very beautiful and very moving. Afterwards, a simple breakfast (delicious chai tea!!!) then to the mission sites - today I was at Prem Dan, the home for very sick people. Walking in was striking – many, many people, disabled, open wounds, missing limbs, big tumors, blind, some scooting on the floor faster than I could walk, some can't get out of bed. After doing laundry by hand for about an hour (step one is stepping in big buckets of dirty clothes and soap like you’re smashing grapes for wine...) we went into the women's home and gave them water and visited with them for a little. It was intimidating because we didn't really know what to do - how we could help or cheer them up? But it got better bit by bit. Most of them were very happy to get their back scratched, and I was glad to find something I felt competent at!! We fed them lunch, then helped them to their beds. We came back for our lunch and a rest, then went to see mother Theresa's tomb, bedroom, and an exhibit about her life. One of the sisters asked us to help her prepare something for a celebration tomorrow - turned out to be a couple of skits, so we’ll see how that goes!! After praying evening prayer with the MCs, three of us went to a coffee shop to chat, relax, and process a very intense day and experience. Now home, showers (which don’t seem to do much since its still 95° at 9:00pm) and some glorious sleep!
For me, being here has made what you know about poverty and people living in slums or on streets (literally, every median, sidewalk, and patch of land is someone's home) come alive, and not just alive, but with a face, a name and families. It is impressive to see the sisters love and love and love...and serve without ceasing - all and only because they know they are loving and serving Christ in those faces. I have loved the challenge and being FAR beyond my comfort zone, which is pretty hard to do. I feel the need for God and time with him, because alone, I wouldn’t have made it through today, let alone the next two weeks...and actually, I'm already thinking about staying a third! Keep us in your prayers! I'm VERY happy, very tired, and very hot!! The end to a wonderful first day!