The mission trip to Guatemala departs on July 12th with 26 members making up the team from the Archdiocese of Omaha. I will be traveling with the group this year, and I invite your prayers and support for the success of the mission project. We will take up a second collection next Sunday to help with the work projects in the village of San Miguel Acatan in the diocese of Huehuetenango. The major part of the work project this year is building a water purification plant that will produce between 1,500 and 2,000 gallons of pure water each day for the villagers to use for cooking and drinking. We will also have a medical team operating a medical clinic. During a part of our time in the village, the medical team will be linking up with a group of doctors from Spain and we will run a joint clinic. We will also be visiting several schools in the area and teaching some of the classes.
While you are praying for us, I invite you to consider joining our mission team at some point in the future. The trips happen each year in either June or July. Preparation sessions take place monthly from January through June to prepare people for the experience of cultural exchange. The preparation is important because while we are in the mountain village we live with the local parishioners in their homes.
The Archdiocese of Omaha began the sister relationship with the diocese of Huehuetenango in 2003. Since then, there have been annual mission trips and several hundred people from the Omaha area have experienced the trips. While we go there to do charitable work and develop a better relationship with the people of Huehuetenango, the major change that happens occurs in the hearts and minds of the people who go on the trip. The encounter between people brings about an inner transformation that endures forever.
If you are feeling God tugging at you to join us in Guatemala or to do some other charitable work in the Omaha area, then, at the same time, you may be feeling an opposing feeling. One that says “be afraid.” It is the tool that the evil one uses to keep people from doing good things for strangers. It keeps people from reaching out across their fences to greet others. Fear and lies are the primary tools of the evil one. He uses them to keep people from doing what Jesus asks us to do.
Which is why Jesus has to keep saying repeatedly in the gospel, as he does in today’s gospel, “do not be afraid.” Today he says, “Fear no one…Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Jesus invites us to trust him in all things and not to be afraid. We are to love heroically. Give witness heroically.