By: Sami DiPasquale
“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite that which has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”
– St. Francis of Assisi
This week I reflect on how thankful I am for the opportunity to be a part of the Ciudad Nueva community.
St. Francis of Assisi once said: “We have been called to heal wounds, to unite that which has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”
What an unbelievable vision for us to play a small part of. And yet this vision inherently entails that we come in close contact with real wounds, with families and systems that have fallen apart, and with people who are feeling lost and discouraged.
Here is a message from one of our staff to the Ciudad Nueva team a few days ago (names have been changed for confidentiality):
Some of you might not know Jasmine very well, but she & her sister (Yvette), who’s in high school, have been very involved over the years with us until recently. Jasmine & Yvette’s mom was no longer able to live in the U.S. this past summer & they were left without a guardian. They started living with their brother & his girlfriend’s family, & Yvette is still there. But last night Jasmine told me she ran away & is living with Brenda (who also used to attend our program). I’m just concerned about this family & ask if we can all keep an eye on them if they come to program. Yvette has lost 20 pounds & she was not heavy at all before. Yvette told me she ran away because they would never feed her. I appreciate your help with this! Thank you!
At Ciudad Nueva we are confronted with painful situations on a fairly regular basis. Some of us have known the young ladies mentioned above for over six years, and we love them dearly. My heart aches when I think of the wounds being inflicted on Jasmine and Yvette, the circumstances and broken systems that have caused their family to fall apart, and the knowledge that they must feel lost and without a home.
I admit some days are very hard, even heartbreaking. Some days the business of bridging divides feels too difficult to pursue anymore. Some days the pressures of continually trying to identify new resources to help meet the significant needs in our community and to pay the staff who are so committed to the community’s wellbeing threaten to overwhelm me.
And yet it is on the most difficult of days that I am often the most thankful. I am thankful that God has placed us in this place for a time such as this. I am thankful for the Ciudad Nueva staff and the dozens of faithful volunteers who strive to be a support for each other and for our neighbors who are hurting.
These are the same servants, many of YOU, who have taken the words of Christ seriously and attempt to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. Over the years, you have taken guardianship of hurting children, sought safe homes for them to live in or even brought them to live in your own homes. You have helped families access healthcare, food, clothing, household goods, rental and utility assistance in times of need. You have provided job training, helped kids obtain jobs, provided side work or even hired youth or adults for full time jobs. You have provided scholarships for camps and college, taught English, assisted with legal issues, driven to interviews, picked up from hospitals, attended birthday parties and celebrations, taken on outings, and picked up for church. You have supported our work financially to make sure all of these things can take place. Most importantly you have been friends.
I am so grateful for all of you who sacrifice time, comfort, space, emotional energy, and material resources to play a part of this vision that St. Francis articulated so well. Thank you for participating in God’s work of healing wounds, in uniting that which has fallen apart, and in bringing home those who have lost their way.