South Africa is on our hearts and in our minds as we lead seven college students on a Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trip this week. By engaging with locals, the students will learn about nation’s history of apartheid as well as current realities faced by some of its residents, including HIV/AIDS and poverty.

Each day will include prayer and reflection as the students think critically of their experiences abroad in order to better appreciate God’s work and to better discern their responsibility as Christians in building the kingdom of God on earth.

Join in solidarity with our trip participants this week by using the words of these South Africans to pray for peace and justice in the world:

Peace for the Children of God

O God, all holy one, you are our Mother and Father, and we are your children. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we may be able to discern Your work in the universe
and be able to see your features in every one of your children.

May we learn that there are many paths but all lead to you. Help us to know that you have created us for family, for togetherness, for peace, for gentleness, for compassion, for caring, for sharing.

May we know that you want us to care for one another as those who know that they are sisters and brothers, members of the same family, your family, the human family.

Help us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, so that we may be able to live in peace and harmony,
wiping away the tears from the eyes of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. And may we know war no more, as we strive to be what you want us to be: your children. Amen.

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African activist and recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.

Instrument of Peace

Make me, O Lord, the instrument of your love, that I may bring comfort to those who sorrow and joy to those who are regarded as persons of little account. In this country of many races make me courteous to those who are humble and understanding to those who are resentful. Teach me what I should be to the arrogant, the cruel, for I do not know.

And as for me myself, make me more joyful than I am, especially if this is needed for the sake of others. Let me remember my many experiences of joy and thankfulness. And may I this coming day do some work of peace for thee. Amen.

— Alan Paton, author of “Cry the Beloved Country,” the apartheid of his native South Africa. This prayer was a favorite of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

For more on the guiding principles of our Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trips, and to see a sample itinerary, please visit our website,www.franciscanmissionservice.org/shorttermtrips