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Cross-Cultural Living

Day 1: His Light Would Not Go Out

Editor’s Note: We begin our Advent 2022 blog series, “His Light would not go out,” with a reflection written by our Associate Director, Rose Hardwick.  Using an image from her mission experience in the Dominican Republic, she reflects on discernment as a process where God lights our way, step by step. Careening down the dark…

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When You Say YES to God

Editor’s Note: After two years of mission in the U.S.-Mexico border region, Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman shares her favorite memories of service and recounts the joys that come with saying “yes” to God.  Two years ago I said yes to Franciscan Mission Service and to a move to the U.S. – Mexico border taking…

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The Transient Southwest

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Julia Pinto shares glimpses, through poetry and prose, of the ever-changing nature of accompanying migrants on the U.S.-Mexico Border region.   Few people around, fewer things to do and see, Why do attachments here Seem to form so easily?   Neighbors, volunteer friends, confidantes, It all feels in vain. Mucho dolor…

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100 Days in Jamaica

Editor’s Note: Joleen Johnson reflects on her first 100 days as an Overseas Lay Missioner in Jamaica.  I’ve officially been in Jamaica for three months now. In fact, I calculated it, and my 100th day in Jamaica was June 9th, 2022. My time here has felt like it’s just flown by, and I really can’t…

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La Paz Sea Contigo

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Victor Artaiz reflects on the gifts of the Holy Spirit working in his life as he serves on mission in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I recently celebrated the Feast of Pentecost with men and families at El Abra prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Within the Catholic chapel, the celebrant priest, Padre Juan of…

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Discovering Our Common Tongue

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Julia Pinto shares how the gift of music created a moment of connection despite differences in language and culture on the U.S.-Mexico border. Just a typical afternoon in the Arizona May “springtime” – 94 degrees, 7% humidity, clear skies, and plenty of sunshine. I park near an abandoned shoe store…

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Hugs, Hugs, and More Hugs

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman shares a reflection on greeting strangers with hugs on the U.S.-Mexico border to convey comfort and love.  I have now been working across the U.S.-Mexico border for over a year, and one of my favorite customs is greeting a stranger with a hug. I watched in wonder as…

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The “Our Father” I Lived Yesterday Afternoon

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Mari Snyder participated in her first shift at the Migrant Resource Center in Agua Prieta, Mexico, just yards away from the U.S.-Mexico Border. She shares the Our Father in Spanish with a very personal English-language interpretation.   Padre Nuestro, Our Father,   Que estas en el cielo,  Who art in heaven, but…

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Appreciating God’s Creation in Jamaica

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Joleen Johnson shares a photo blog of God’s creation in Kingston, Jamaica.  As a way to appreciate God’s intricate creation, this blog post consists of photos of just a few flowers and plants (and one parrot) found in Kingston, Jamaica. Each petal is different than the next and has God’s…

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Night at the Art Car Museum

Editor’s Note: Julia Pinto, an FMS missioner on the U.S.-Mexico border, shares a story of meeting a retired Border Patrol agent and how he challenged her assumptions.  My fellow missioner and I were invited by one of our ministry partners to a dinner on March 22nd at Art Car World, a small, local museum in…

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Fasting, Ham Sandwiches, and a Gift

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman, who serves on the U.S.-Mexico border, reflects on a moment she will never forget during a time of fasting.  In the spring of 2021, I participated in a fast entitled “Fast for More Compassion from the People of the United States for the Migrants Coming to the Southern…

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One night in Mexico

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner serving at the US-Mexico Border Rhonda Eckerman recalls a time spent serving at the Migrant Resource Center. She candidly shares some stories from her first night.  The Migrant Resource Center is a small two story building located approximately 20 feet from the port of entry turnstile that rotates into 1st Street,…

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FMS Lifelong Missioner Feature: Tim Shelgren

Program Director Emily Norton had the gift of interviewing Tim Shelgren (Mission Class 33, Serving from 2018-2020 in Kingston, Jamaica) via a Zoom call. Below is the interview.  Q: How have you chosen to live out Franciscan simplicity since returning to the US? The day I left Jamaica, I remember standing in the airport on…

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A Time for Everything…

Editor’s note: Overseas Lay Missioner, Hannah Hagarty, reflects on her time of mission serving in Jamaica as well her time back at home, recognizing the beauty of Ecclesiastes within her life throughout this period of many transitions.  I just returned to Jamaica on September 20th from being home in the states for a 6-week stay.…

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Language and Culture: A Vibrant Relationship

Editor’s note: Overseas missioner, Anna Metzger, reminisces on her time in Bolivia while at home in Kentucky. She dives into the connections between language and culture, considering lessons learned from her journey into the Quechua language. Most simply put, being home is hard.  For years, I dreamed of living in Latin America, and just as…

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Convent COVID Retreats and What I’ve Learned…

Editor’s note: Megan Hamilton, an FMS missioner serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on her time during the pandemic, the many things she has learned, the idea of intentional luxury, and what it means to truly live the Franciscan charism.  I’ve spent most of the last six months self-quarantined in an historic building in Kingston, Jamaica…

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Living Water and Light

Editor’s note: Overseas missioner Anna reflects on the past two months quarantined in Bolivia through the song “Springtime” by Chris Renzema. Like all of you, we have been living in quarantine for the last two months in Bolivia.  With that comes a lot of uncertainty and free time.  I challenged you in my last blog…

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Lessons From A Mandatory Retreat

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps member, Julia reflects on the changes brought about by this pandemic and the insights she’s found along the way.  It has taken me six weeks to adjust to the changes brought on by quarantine living. We shifted to working remotely; our community shrunk from twelve to three as members went…

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Raspy

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Becky Kreidler reflects on the different sides of God she’s encountered through recent trials and tribulations in her life.  I’ve been abruptly learning that my soul has some rasp to it. Despite my resistance, it has kept coming up, begging for me to acknowledge its existence, and making it known that…

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Nothing or The Best of Something?

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Anna reflects on these times of quarantine and how she’s spending it in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  As the whole world is asked to stop, us missioners in Bolivia also find ourselves cooped up in our apartment in downtown Cochabamba.  Now, I have to say, I am extremely grateful for where we live. …

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Ramblings from a Tropical Ramble

Editor’s note: FMS Missioner Megan Hamilton reflects on her new life in Kingston, Jamaica and her decision to stay and serve her new community throughout this pandemic.  I look out my balcony at an arching, rustling mass of green: palm and mango trees, a hundred-plus-year-old giant the Jamaicans call a French Peanut tree. The sun…

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Hannah’s Nature Vlog

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Hannah Hagarty has returned home from mission back to Iowa due to the Coronavirus outbreak. In this video, Hannah will take you on a peaceful journey of her childhood home sharing pictures and videos of the beautiful scenery that helps remind her of God’s presence even amidst all this chaos. We…

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You’re Not So Tough

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Sabrina reflects on vulnerability, friendship, and accompaniment.  I have always struggled with holding in and suppressing my emotions. I tell myself that I am just a very logical, level-headed person–one that doesn’t have emotions. It’s hard for me to express myself or admit what’s going on inside me. Most of the…

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The Ways Between Bethlehems

Editor’s note: Megan Hamilton, an FMS missioner serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on two Bethlehem’s: the first being the one that blossomed her love for catholic servant leadership, and the other being her new ministry site in country with FMS.  My second day in Kingston Jamaica I am at Bethlehem Home, an orphanage for kids…

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Rest In Our Past

Editor’s note: Becky, a current missioner in Cochabamba, Bolivia, reflects upon how her entire mission journey with FMS illuminates her present moment. She became a FMS missioner in 2018, and attended formation with class 34 in the fall of 2018. Upon discerning to be present to those in Guatemala, she left in January of 2019…

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Trusting In God’s Tomorrow

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Michael Broughton reflects on the ways trusting in God’s plan has brought him to FMS, along with new experiences, friends and passions for helping those in need. Hello! Since the last time I published a blog post, my life here in D.C. has transformed quite a bit. I have grown to…

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Peter

Editor’s note: Missioner Hannah Hagarty currently serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on 5 words that have become the foundation for her time on mission so far and the ways these words are exemplified in her friend Peter, a 15 year old boy from Jamaica living in a home for boys born HIV positive.  Presence. Love.…

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His Simple, Divine Provision

Editor’s note: Missioner Becky Kriedler adjusts to her new life in Bolivia where she will be serving for the next two years. In this piece, Becky reflects on the ways God continues to show her light, love and support amidst such a new and unpredictable journey. One of the things that made me so excited…

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God Leads the Blind

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna has just begun her journey in Bolivia and reflects on the ways her experiences on mission so far are teaching her how to really listen.  In my last blog post, I spoke of the true Spirit of Christmas, the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit prompts us to speak to others. While…

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Advent Day 22: Call

Editor’s note: Megan Hamilton reflects on a return visit to Shkoder, the city she volunteered in while in the Peace Corps (Albania 2015-2017).  A Balkan Call to a Caribbean Mission In English she is Shkoder. But if you come to know her, if she becomes yours, in Albanian, she is Shkodra, as she will always…

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Advent Day 19: Light

Editor’s note: FMS Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo currently serving in Cochabamba, Bolivia offers an Advent reflection ‘light’.  It is the rainy season here in Bolivia. In just a moment, a clear blue sky can be completely transformed as the dark clouds come rolling over the mountaintops. The sun can be covered in an instant as the…

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Advent Day 11: Forgive

Editor’s note: Missioner Hannah Hagarty currently serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on what it means to forgive after the injustices she’s witnessed while serving overseas so far.  Children born with HIV. Children that have been abandoned by their families because they were born with a physical or mental disability. Women and men in my close…

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Advent Day 9: Healing

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren serving in Kingston, Jamaica offers an advent reflection on healing by sharing some stories of the “extraordinary healers” he has encountered throughout his time on mission so far and his new found understanding of what Jesus might have meant when he used the term “greater works”.   “And Greater Works Than…

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Not Where You Go, But Who You Travel With

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Julia reflects on the unexpected, beautiful discoveries she made during a work trip to Chicago. Julia touches on friendship, self discovery, and Franciscan values throughout her writing.  Work Trip in Chicago? Sign Me Up!  This blog idea comes to you by courtesy of Mrs. Nichole Petty. When my site supervisor, Dr.…

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Transitus Speech — Honoring the Life and Death of Saint Francis

Editor’s note: Executive Director Elizabeth Hughes shared the Transitus Reflection at the Franciscan Monastery.  Liz focused on St. Francis’ message of humility, fraternity, and trust and how we continue to live that today. Good evening.  Thank you for the invitation to share with you tonight.  My name is Liz Hughes, and I am the Executive…

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God’s Language of Love

Editor’s note: Former missioner Erin reflects on her time in Guatemala and the many ways love broke all barriers during her time on mission as she readjusts to her life back in the states. After being back from Guatemala now almost three months, I have found myself taking the time to  re-read my journals, blogs,…

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Honestly, a Continuous Work in Progress

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane reflects on her personal privileges and what that means while serving others in a different part of the world.  “We don’t go to the margins to make a difference. We go to the margins so that folks at the margins make us different.” “We want to bridge the gap that exists…

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Faces of Jamaica

Editor’s note: missioner Hannah Hagarty reflects on the people and experiences she’s encountered in Jamaica through a series of photographs.  Here is a collection of photos of people who I have connected with so far during my time in Jamaica. These photos show my typical week during my time on mission in Jamaica.  [unitegallery Augblog1]…

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A Journey of Love

Editor’s Note: Missioner Erin McHugh reflects on her mission in Guatemala at Valley of the Angels school and the relationships she has built within the community. I have recently been reflecting on my original call to mission, and specifically my call back into mission after my first experience in Jamaica.  When I discerned to be…

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“Loosening the Choke on the Development of Young Children”

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren shares some of the progress he has seen in his 3rd grade classroom in Kingston, Jamaica, and reflects on the source of overactive behavior in the young boys. Since I arrived in Kingston, Jamaica four months ago, I have been serving as an assistant in a unique 3rd grade classroom…

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Come to the Table: Kinship

Editor’s note: Missioner Maggie Van Roekel continues a three-part blog series on how kitchens and cooking have become important to her on mission. In part three, Maggie shares her relationship with her host mom, Anita, and how they first bonded over baked goods. There have been many times during my lifetime where a kitchen has brought…

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Learning Humility and ‘The Sacrament of the Present Moment’

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo reflects on her ability to be present to those she serves in Cochabamba, Bolivia and the graces God has given her to do so. “If you have come here to help me… you are wasting your time. But, if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine,…

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Gangs, Gunshots and God’s Grace

Editor’s note: Missioner Cindy Mizes expresses hope for the children she is serving in Jamaica after she reflects on a difficult experience in the classroom. On my first day in my new ministry as a Teacher’s Assistant at St. Francis’ Primary School, I gingerly walked into the classroom of 21 young boys (ages 8-10) not…

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Feeling Welcomed in DC

Editor’s note: DCSC Volunteer Anne-Marie Elsinger, describes her experience becoming familiar with DC from an African perspective. I have always considered DC a big city with a small city feel. It has a population of almost 700,000 people, yet people still greet you on the street. I came to DC because I deeply desired immersion…

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The Incarnate Christ in All I Meet

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo shares “an experience of letting go of my controlling nature, and learning to depend on others. Christ presented Himself to me in those who helped me along the way in my travels [to Cochabamba, Bolivia].” Lord, I am a stranger traveling in a brutal, yet wondrous land — far from the…

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My Adventure Through Guatemala

Editor’s note: Missioner Misty Menis-Kyler shares her recent experiences traveling around Guatemala. Since the school year ended and Camp Angel’s is over, I was invited to travel for three weeks with two of the volunteers who had come to help at Valle. I have never traveled just to travel before, but I felt it was…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: The Feeling of Hospitality

Editor’s note: As a part of FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, missioner Anna Klonowski reflects on the moments of hospitality she’s experienced in Bolivia. I have experienced hospitality this year on mission in so many new and unexpected ways. This makes me think of a quote from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said,…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: Aymara Hospitality

Editor’s note: As a part of FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, returned missioner Lee Lechtenberg shares an experience of hospitality while adventuring the Inca trail with fellow missioners in Bolivia. Our journey began in the falling snow at the top of a mountain, trying to find the beginning of the Inca trail that would take…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: Open Doors, Here and Abroad

Editor’s note: As part of FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, missioner Janice Smullen shares her experiences welcoming refugee families with open doors. When the churches in my area first met with Catholic Charities to hear specifics about the Refugee Resettlement program and to decide if we wanted to participate, Catholic Charities brought a man from…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: “You Must Stay!” An Experience of Not-So-American Hospitality

Editor’s note: Fr. Brad Milunski, OFM Conv., is an FMS Board member and serves as Vicar Provincial of his Franciscan Province and Director of PostNovitiate Formation. As a guest blogger for FMS’ Advent blog series, Fr. Brad recounts a time he was generously welcomed into a friend’s home in Jordan. It was the spring of…

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