Creighton Catholic Student Organization Mission Trip
Organized by: Nic McDonald
Helping the poor is one of the most profound experiences a human being can have. Having been to Peru twice to help the poor in Lima, Peru, I have been interested in sharing this expeience with as many people as I can. The trip focuses on the importance of helping and establishing a relationship with the poor, as well as looking to answer questions that are dwelling deep within the human person. I remember laboring in the hot, humid air in Lima, wondering if I would really change anything by working so hard to help a few people. It seemed that what I was doing was so small compared to the sea of disheveled, makeshift houses that surrounded me. We labored for days on end, growing tired of the difficult work. We felt good about what we were doing, yet we did not understand the meaning.
The trip also includes times for prayer and reflection. During these times, consecrated lay brothers, who belong to the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (The Sodalicium of Christian Life), guided conversation to help us focus on the questions that we were eager to have answered. What did this trip really mean? Why are we here? Who are we really helping? The answers were not what we were expecting. However, beauty tends to crop up in places you least expect. The religious brothers, having been formed arduously in the Catholic faith and devoting most of their life to serving the poor, knew that these human questions needed to be answered, and knew how to engage and challenge us to fnd the answers.
By the end of the trip, we understood that by helping the poor within the shanty towns we came to know each other and ourselves better. Not only were we able to serve those that lived far away, but also our neighbors, the ones we already knew and had already pledged a devotion of love to as friends and family. We encountered a love far greater than ourselves, and knew that by exercising our charity, that the love conquered the hearts of those we helped as well as our own. Conversion is the goal of this trip; conversion into a life filled with honest questioning and deep pursuit of the answers, the truth, especially the truth about love. This is what we, as a Catholic Student Organization at Creighton University, seek to do in order to form truth seeking, and more importantly, truth loving, individuals. As Pope Francis elegantly stated, "To love God and neighbor is something abstract, but profoundly concrete: it means seeing the face of the Lord to be served, to serve Him concretely. And you are, dear brothers and sisters, in the face of Jesus."