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A Poem for Bolivia (and more)

Franciscan Mission Service file photo

A few thoughts from missioner-in-training Hady Mendez on Bolivia, her recent retreat, and scripture.  

I do not know you
Will you welcome me with a warm embrace?

Show me your people — I know how they suffer.
Injustice and racism take their toll.
Tears and sadness. Doesn’t anyone get it?

I want to learn and understand.
So that I might offer you faith, hope and love.
Lots and lots of love.

Until we meet dear Bolivia.
Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
For you are in mine.

I was inspired to write this poem while on retreat this past week. To share a few thoughts in anticipation of my time in Bolivia over the next few years. I usually write poems about my hometown of New York — so this is new for me. I hope you like it.

What else is going on, you ask? Well, we’ve been studying scripture as part of our mission formation. With four sessions behind me, I can honestly say that I’m grateful for it. But that was not always the case. The first class was a struggle for me as I was clearly not as versed as some of the others. Especially on the Old Testament.

Photo by Wikipedia

I also struggled because I firmly believe that you don’t need to be a biblical scholar to have a strong faith. I still believe that. But for me, becoming more familiar with scripture has helped me to understand my religion better and I really appreciate having the opportunity to go to Bolivia a little more equipped.

I’m not sure what mission life will bring and how many times I might be called to preach a word or story that could bring comfort to another. The good news is that I’m more prepared to do so because of this class.

For example:

  • If you want to hear a great story about how God never abandons people that remain faithful to Him, read the story of Esther.
  • If you want to understand and appreciate the virtue of obedience, read Ruth’s story.
  • And finally, if you need inspiration to push through moments of great difficulty and despair, read the book of Job.

Mission to others takes all forms. I am starting to appreciate that in addition to a warm heart, a shoulder to cry on, and a good sense of humor, I can offer the people I meet a lot more. Thanks FMS for helping me to become the best missioner I can be!

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.