Thoughts from Emily D.

Hello! My name is Emily Dunn, and I am an incoming senior at Flower Mound High School. This week, I have the privilege of working in El Cenizo with an awesome core team member, April, and one of our fantastic interns, Luke. They have been absolutely great, and it has been incredible getting to work with them and getting to know them.

This week, we have been assigned to rebuild the roof on the “Cactus House;" as you can probably guess, there are A LOT of cacti on the site! The woman who lives there, Sra. Yolanda Castillo, speaks only Spanish, so it has definitely been a challenge to communicate with her; however, you can see how appreciative she is when we try to talk with her through her wide smile, and that in itself is encouragement enough to keep on trying. Thankfully, by the grace of God and a couple of years of high school Spanish, I have been able to learn a few things about her, such as the fact that she came over to Laredo from Mexico at the age of 5, she was married to her husband for 50+ years until he passed away at the age of 91, and she has lived in a variety of places from San Antonio to Minnesota! We have only worked on her house for one day so far, but I can’t wait to continue to get to know her throughout the rest of the week.

This morning, we had Mass at our work site’s home parish, St Monica’s. Again, the Lord put my communication skills to the test, as it was mostly in Spanish! However, it was a beautiful Mass, and I am SO grateful to have been apart of it! We then spent the afternoon at TAMIU — lots of people swam or played volleyball, but I enjoyed just getting to sit and talk to a ton of different people!

So far, my favorite part of Mission Laredo has been the time of silence we had after adoration. Last night, after session and small group, we went into the church and had a short time of adoration. Afterwards, Joey challenged us to remain silent until breakfast in the morning. It was not an easy task, but was absolutely incredible to take part in. Through the silence, I was able to really process all that had happened — not only during adoration and small group, but all throughout the day, and was able to truly appreciate the little blessings that God had intricately placed around me throughout the day that would have otherwise been overlooked. I am so thankful to have shared in this experience last night, and hope that I am able to do more things like this in the future.

These past few days have been absolutely wonderful, and I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us during the rest of the week!