From the Field

These “God Moments” Keep Us Going

Cross Catholic Outreach President Jim Cavnar prays with a young boy during a recent trip to Kenya.
Cross Catholic Outreach President Jim Cavnar prays with a young boy during a recent trip to Kenya.

Over the last few years, some of our ministry staff have begun gathering to share “God moments” they’ve experienced in the course of their work. These sharing times are opportunities to set aside the stresses of fundraising and reflect on how the lives of staff, donors and beneficiaries have been touched in profound ways.

One staff member, Relationship Development Manager Tessie O’Dea, talked about how she was deeply impacted by people she met during mission trips to countries where we serve. She was moved, for example, by the incredible faith of a poor woman named Umbelina, who received a new home and clean water through Cross Catholic Outreach.

Tessie said, “Nothing has meant as much as the people I have met during my three mission trips. They have forever touched my life. In Guatemala, it was Umbelina and her beautiful smile that brought God to life for me. Here is someone who truly lives as a disciple of God, in humbled but graceful ways, totally in union with God’s love and living a life with purpose. A simple life full of meaning and joy. Lord, let me be more like her.

“In Haiti, Alexis reminded me that together, we can transform a community. She taught me to speak up and fight for the poor, to work hard and to believe, for everything that we do in his name is worth fighting for. I will never fear.

“And now in Belize, not only was the group of retired boomers an example of ‘60s are the new 40s’ and of the joy and purpose our lives can lead, but I met a truly remarkable woman. Her name is Cindy, and we met her while picking up a little trash that the school’s children had left behind. Her smile was beautiful and her peace palpable. Her message was simple. You see, we were standing before the open ocean, and the breeze was perfect. She asked us to close our eyes and be in the moment. She told us that although she couldn’t see God, she felt him all around her always. She encouraged us to always take the time to feel him in our daily chores and to be grateful for His presence in our lives. She said that we rushed too much, and although she realized that work had to be done and she thanked us for being there, she did not want us to return home without really experiencing the love we were there to share. Beautiful!”

As Tessie’s stories show, our relationship with the poor is not a one-way street. They bless us as much as we bless them — sometimes more! Their faith and joy gives us the inspiration to fight another day.