Weekly Reflection, Sunday, February 16, 2020
By: Wayne Dementi
Picture this activity by the St. Mary’s Mission Team while in Ecuador –
Greg and Allison Dunaway educating children and parishioners on the practice of recycling. Linda Rose providing health check-ups, complete with a stethoscope, to over 60 children. Ashley Cameron delivering a beautiful sermon during the regular Sunday service at Emaús Episcopal Church before a standing room only congregation. Wayne Dementi and Chris Ritrievi tilling the soil through a sifter to produce the sand that would become concrete for a church room addition at Romerillo Church. We were blessed with meaningful and very rewarding work.
On another level, we shared another remarkable experience. It seemed that for the entire week I could describe our time as a perpetual “God Moment.” Everywhere we turned it seemed that God’s hand was guiding us, personally and collectively. I wish I had the words to describe this feeling better.
I was the rookie on this trip. The other five had been there before. They knew many of the people, had experienced the parish life of Emaús, and had an appreciation of how totally present the Holy Spirit is throughout the week. All of this was new to me, and I could have been knocked over with a feather with the true joy of this time.
When people ask about this mission trip, I share the three things I experienced. First, the simple adventure of being in another country (on another continent) highlighted by the opportunity to straddle the northern and southern hemispheres while standing on the Equator. Second, the experience of participating in a church mission trip by doing God’s work in two communities. And third, a very real growth in my personal faith. My ratings – 10’s across the board!
It might come as no wonder that I am still living our week in Quito. Every day my mind’s eye visits the people we met and the things we did. Every day I remember time specifically spent with Pastor Blanca of Romerillo, Reverend Nancy of Emaús, Mission leader Cameron, and my fellow mission mates. The inspiration lives on.
Last thought to offer in this reflection – Ashley Cameron has led this mission to Emaús for four visits in three years. We learned that St. Mary’s Episcopal Church is in the regular prayers of Emaús and we have added them to our Outreach Cycle of Prayer. We have a very real, and lasting, relationship with this church family now, and Emaús has certainly become a sister parish for us. Let us continue to nurture this relationship by going again next year, and by continuing to recognize Emaús as part of our outreach program.