|By flickr connerdowney via Creative Commons|
Missioner-in-training Brittany Koepke reflects on her experience volunteering in D.C. for mission formation.
During group prayer the other night the question was proposed, “In what moment of today did you glimpse the Kingdom of God?”
I immediately thought of my volunteer site with the Missionaries of Charity that I had been at earlier in the day. The Missionaries of Charity house and serve an elderly, homeless community, and the residents are all terminally ill or require a high level of care due to their age or illness.
During lunch at Missionaries of Charity, I looked around the lunch table and saw young and old, religious and laity, healthy and sick, Hispanics and African-Americans, Caucasians and Indians and I thought—this is the Kingdom of God. It was a beautiful image for me of how all our beings are stamped with the image of God. All are welcome at His lunch table.
There are 39 men and 13 women residents at the Missionaries of Charity house. Two of the thirteen women residents cannot feed themselves. I was feeding a resident, I will call her Stephanie, and a thought flickered in my mind-“what is the purpose?” I am helping to nourish her body that cannot function, but only be sustained.
It was honestly hard for me to look at the infirmity of Stephanie’s condition as she was unable to sit up straight and completely dependent on others…and then I saw myself in her and if I were her I would want to eat and live. A second thought flickered in my mind-“this is why I believe in the dignity of every human being.” This is the Kingdom of God. Life. Our God is a God of life, no matter how frail the life’s condition.
With one spoonful of chicken soup I thought, “What is the purpose of what I am doing?” and with the second spoonful I thought, “Because I see the dignity of a human being before me.”
The residents of the Missionaries of Charity have helped open wider my heart to the truths of God’s Kingdom on earth. Superior ability, status, color, and contributions to society do not factor in His Kingdom. We are all His. And that is the only Kingdom in which I want to live.
“Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them….Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.” -Mother Teresa
Brittany Koepke grew up in the rolling hills of Tennessee and is a lover of nature, dance, learning, and laughter. Previous service trips to Mexico strengthened her passions for truth, social justice, and the dignity of every human person, and she is excited to embody these passions during the mission ahead. With an International Studies degree focused specifically on Latin America, and a minor in Spanish, Brittany is thrilled to be headed to Bolivia!