Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pre-Mission Glory

Sunday, 8/19
Jesus loves me through the sky.  I see His love and His beauty most clearly through the way He illuminates the heavens for us to view from earth.  A beautiful sky always points my heart toward heavenly glory, always draws me into prayer through wonder and awe.  If he cares enough to create a flawless masterpiece across the dome of creation for me to gaze upon and enjoy for one particular moment, He cares infinitely more for my little life in the great and small happenings of each day.  

Two weeks ago, I arrived home from the month-long Salesian Lay Missioners orientation in Port Chester, New York, preparing myself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally for the adventure that is about to unfold.  The community of SLMs that joined me were some of the most lovely and inspiring people I have been privileged enough to meet.  The whole experience was a gift.

Saturday, 8/18
So God loves me and called me to mission in South Sudan.  If I had any doubts before, which I really didn't, let me tell you why my heart is now swollen with God's sweet peace.  In the past 14 days that I've spent at home in Perkasie, PA preparing to leave for Africa, there has not been a day that has passed without a perfect masterpiece in the sky.   They have been intensely intricate, some days with the puffiest, pure white cotton-ball clouds, other days with a thousand different shades of blue and white in brush strokes across the sky.  Each day has been exquisite, memorizing, and jaw-dropping.  Look at these pictures for proof!  Two of mornings last week, I woke up to an overcast, gray sky and was disappointed that the trend I had noticed had finished.  But no!  Undoubtedly, by 10 am the sun would break through and the sky would transform into a scene that would cause my heart to unravel in awe.  I honestly teared up one afternoon as I stared out at the grandeur of the majesty He portrays in the heavens for my simple pleasure.   

Monday, 8/27
I find myself this morning en route towards the adventure of a lifetime, to the place I will call home for the next year-- Maridi, South Sudan.  For those who are interested in the back story, here's how this whole mission endeavor began: For as long as I can remember, God has been whispering, "Africa!" into my heart.  With absolute certainty, for more years than I can recall, I have known that no matter down what path my life leads, one day I would be a missionary in Africa.  I never knew when or where or how it would happen, I just knew it would.  I diligently studied nursing for four years at Franciscan University with the intention of being able to share this much-needed skill with the suffering people of the third world.  As post-college life handed me a challenging, though greatly rewarding nursing experience at Lehigh Valley Hospital, I knew my heart desired more. 

Friday, 8/24
As I began to pursue this far-off dream to become a missionary nurse, I stumbled upon a Catholic mission organization called the Salesian Lay Missioners.  After my first meeting with the organization, I was sold.  Never before have I made such a life-altering decision so instantaneously or with such peace.  The Salesian ideals parallel perfectly with my ambitions in the mission field.  They work to serve the youth and the poor through being a simple, present, steady Light of love and joy.  The excitement, zeal, and profound joy of this order is simply inspirational!  I cannot wait to live and work more closely with these holy men and women. 

While in South Sudan, I will work as a clinic nurse alongside several Salesian religious sisters.  The healthcare shortage in this country is extreme, and I know my limited skill will be greatly valued.  While some tension still exists between the North and the South at this time due to their oil-rich borders and Southern Sudan's newly obtained independence from the Sudan in July 2011, I feel called to take a leap of faith and trust in God's perfect plan for my life.  I ask for your vigilant and continued prayers each day as I live and serve in this new capacity.  On my own I can do nothing, but with and through Him, all things are possible.  
Monday, 8/27
Through these skyscapes, I feel St. Therese showering her little flowers upon me in her promise to lead souls to Jesus.  In the most glorious of sunsets, I sense my dear friend and patient, Amy, who died of cancer in late July, sweetly shining down from heaven.  In the vastness of the sky, I see Jesus, my best friend and greatest love, calling me to boldly and radically serve His people in Africa.  If He cares enough to offer me the single gift that gives my heart the greatest peace-- a perfect mid-afternoon, glorious sky scene for fourteen consecutive days-- I know He cares enough to provide the graces to see me through every need and hardship I will face in South Sudan.  Here I am, Lord, to do Your Will.


  1. Hey Gracie! Just got a chance to read your post - thank you for sharing such a beautiful and moving reflection with us! I concur: the Hand of the Lord is visible everywhere and ever more vividly in the majesty of the sky! Many prayers as you embark upon your first days of mission! I hope the heavens over South Sudan bring you much joy this year :-) Love, Miss Rondon

  2. Grace your blog is such a representation of you i felt like i was with you once again. Lots of love and prayers, Eliana