This is Meaningful: Dorm Living (with a baby)

We have been living in a dorm for 5 weeks with a baby.

I wonder what all the reactions to that statement were.

FOCUS has their training at the University of Illinois in Champaign. There is a big and beautiful Catholic Newman Center that hosts us with housing, food, a chapel and some classrooms. It’s pretty incredible.

Besides the building, the atmosphere is also incredible. The first week we were here, around 300 missionaries and their families joined together for an all staff retreat. After that, around 250 remained. I think training must be at least a little bit like a soldier rejoining his fellow comrades after a battle. We have all been through experiences only other missionaries can really understand: battling exhaustion, learning humility, raising our support, growing in prayer, rejoicing in conversion. The list goes on and on. We share our battle wounds and triumphs over a drink at the pub right down Sixth Street.

Training always reaffirms how much I love working as a missionary with FOCUS.

(below is a picture from a daily mass at training)


Now, however, it’s the last week, and it’s time to go.

A dorm is nice in college. However, not having a kitchen of my own and a carpeted floor for Georgie is not ideal. The schedule is rigorous too. By now, I just want to go swimming all Sunday and end my day on my own living room floor with my son and my husband.

I don’t say these things to complain. Only to paint a picture of what this mission means to me. As a mom and a missionary, I have to sacrifice a lot of comfort at times. It really stinks some days. BUT those are the days when I forget what the sacrifices are for. Those are the days when having to eat cafeteria food seems like a meaningless and unpleasant experience. I think most of what we are doing with evangelization can be like this when I forget what we’re doing it for.

When I remember, when I spend time in prayer, these experiences are transformed. I feel privileged to place Georgie’s food on top of the microwave instead of a pantry…for the kingdom, for our students, for our culture. And, knowing I’m paler than my friends, since I haven’t laid out yet this summer, well, I’m offering that up for the women I worked with last year. Even my vanity has allowed some meaningful sacrifices here and there.

I know this applies to any mom working for the good of her family too. I’m learning to make sure I eliminate meaningless from my inward vocabulary to prepare for my silent days at home with G Man.

Pray for me that I won’t let Week 6 in a dorm be a meaningless case of missionary senioritis.


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