Editor’s Note: Former FMS Associate and Current House Manager, Amanda Saunders reflects on the lessons that have come from living in intentional community at Casa San Salvador.

I have been a member of the FMS family for three years. First, as a DC Service Corps volunteer, and then as the Casa San Salvador House Manager.

Living at Casa San Salvador has given me the opportunity to meet hundreds of people: DC Service Corps members, missioners in formation, returning missioners, individuals discerning our programs, and guests that stay with us through our ministry of hospitality.

When I finished my year of service working in the FMS office as the Programs Associate, I was apprehensive about the new community moving in. Living in a place that is often in transition has its challenges. I had formed beautiful relationships the year before and I never thought I could have that again.

But, as God usually does, He showed me that through His grace, my capacity to love can bloom.

Anne-Marie, Alessia, PJ, Rose, and Sam moved in, and together, we formed a community full of banter, small arguments, and passive-aggressive comments about people not doing their dishes. We also formed a community of dinners that were so full of laughter, praying for each other, moments of true vulnerability, and a whole lot of love.

The best part of living in community is coming home every day and knowing that someone will be there to celebrate the highs and commiserate the lows of everyday life. It is in these everyday moments where we accompany one another- we walk through life together- we watch each other grow. We grow by allowing our community members to teach us by their example of how to be a better person.

Rose has taught me that sitting in my emotions (positive or negative) is a good thing to do, and it has helped me process so many things that have happened in my life. Anne-marie has taught me to not take myself too seriously by always being able to laugh at herself when she makes a silly mistake. PJ has taught me that it is okay to be fiercely passionate about the things I believe in and to hold my peers accountable for their dedication to faith. Sam has taught me how genuine kindness can change the atmosphere in a room full of people. Alessia has taught me that not all of my thoughts need to be said out loud and sometimes that is a good thing.

It is through walking with each other every day for a year that we got to witness Christ work through each other and influence one another.

For me, love has bloomed in the everyday moments of life, and for that I am grateful.

Reflection Question: What have you learned from those you have lived with?