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Can I Get An Amen?

From The McKenna Center

Missioner-in-training Hady Mendez talks about meeting the men at her Wednesday morning service site.

As I think about social justice, children come to mind. And women. But I hardly ever find myself thinking about the men that need help on their journey and what I could be doing to accompany them.

Problem solved. Since starting formation here at Franciscan Mission Service the first week in September, I have been spending Wednesday mornings at The McKenna Center in downtown D.C. The location serves as a drop-in center for men and a place where they can eat, sleep, do laundry, and take showers.

I’ve been involved in serving coffee and breakfast and then working with the chef in the kitchen on miscellaneous things like washing dishes, re-organizing the pantry, and cleaning the shelves.

After I’m done with my kitchen duties, I’ve had the opportunity to attend the “Eleven O’Clock” meeting. It takes place right before lunch and their attendance at the meeting is their meal ticket. More than that, it’s where the men join together to talk about issues and concerns, be inspired, and pray together.

At last Wednesday’s meeting, I had the opportunity to introduce myself to the men. It was great! I told them my name, where I’m from, and why I am volunteering at the center. I told them about my upcoming mission trip to Bolivia and my desire to live and work with the poor.

Lastly, I told them the reason for leaving my corporate job, moving into a community house, spending Wednesdays with them, and wanting to go to Bolivia all came down to one single thing: MY LOVE FOR JESUS. I got some cheers from the crowd. I must not be the only one ☺

It felt amazing to be a witness for God among men who might have needed to hear something positive. And I am in awe about how I’ve already been put in a situation to share God’s love with others. I am soooo feeling good about my decision right now!

A self-described “Hija de Brooklyn y Puerto Rico,” Hady Mendez is the youngest of four daughters raised by Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, NY. A proud Jasper, Hady graduated from Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY, before starting a corporate career in technology that lasted for more than 20 years. Hady has a true passion for world travel and social justice and recently returned from two years of mission in Cochabamba, Bolivia.