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World Youth Day

Day 1 - Monday

The first day has been a whirlwind of airplanes, buses, airports, and pilgrims from all over the world. One of our pilgrims, Michael, has collected signatures from every continent, and that's just at our accommodations site! We arrived in Rio with many other pilgrims from around the world. Making bonds by helping them practice English and them helping us learn Portuguese. 

When we arrived at our accommodations site we learned that most of our group would be hosted by individual families in the area. The remaining are at the school where our Daily Catechesis will be. This evening was filled with gathering pilgrim packs from the Church in Santa Cruz and attending the party hosted by our hosting church. 

As we traveled to the Santa Cruz for the kit distribution we were able to see Campus Fidei all lit up and ready for the Vigil on Saturday night! While in line we found some pilgrims from San Francisco and another group from here in Brazil who was able to translate the many directions for us from the volunteers!

This day has been another lesson in trust and patience, like most of my life to be truthful. At one point we had no idea if we would be in Rio today or be spending the night and day in Atlanta due to weather. Four of our pilgrims learned trust as they flew for the first time. A turbulent flight followed by an international one is the best way to Baptize one as a frequent flyer. 
Another experience is being fully immersed in the language. I don't understand them and they don't understand me, but yet we communicate somehow. As I type this on my phone I am listening to instructions being given in Portuguese regarding the pilgrim packs and the delay, but I have no idea of even one word she is saying. A kind soul in front of me who speaks Spanish was able to relay the information. 

Seeing the entire body of Christ together is beautiful. There are many things we don't understand and may never understand. Learning languages isn't my strength so being able to follow directions in Portuguese will probably never be an experience of mind. But yet I am where I need to be, getting done what I need to get done. Working together. 

A reflection for our lives I think. The only thing of the path we are on that we know is our goal is Heaven. How we get there is a profound mystery! We may have a 3-year or 5-year plan about our future or even further than that, but it's about being obedient to the instructions even if they're in Portuguese. The Lord will place us where He needs us to be. We just need to be obedient. 

I'm reminded of the passage in Genesis when Abram is told by the Father that he will be the father of many nations, he will have many sons. As numerous as the stars in the sky. The Father points to the sky to illustrate. Abram wants to trust but it is difficult; he's almost 100 years old and Sarai is the same. Times may have been different then but even hey knew that having children at that old of an age wasn't natural. It would take something supernatural for this to happen. 

All of that is a beautiful story with an amazing lesson, but there's one even more profound in my mind. A few sentences later this is what the scriptures say, "and then the sun set." 

WAIT. The sun wasn't down before? When the Father said that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky?

No, Abraham had to trust that the stars were there just as The Lord had said. He couldn't see it, but he trusted that what the Father said was true. He lived in the truth of the Father. 

As pilgrims we are trying to do just that today, and hopefully every day until we reach that final goal of Heaven. Taking it one line of obedience at a time trusting we are where The Lord desires for us to be. 

Jesus, we trust in you!

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