Chantel Ellis, Fundraising Associate visited MSC Jamaica for the first time in March. These are her reflections on that experience.
The team trip to Jamaica helped me realize that you have to be called to do a job like this because so many lives depend on what we do. If God calls you, He will equip you if you trust in Him. You have to have a heart of service because that is essentially what we do, we serve these amazing individuals. There is a saying “What the heart is full of the mouth will speak.”
During a conversation Msgr. Gregory said, “If you love something, you will think about it. The more you think about it, the more you will talk about it. Talking about it will lead to action. LOVE IT - THINK IT - TALK IT - DO IT!”
Before we left for the trip I asked God to give me the strength, and to not allow my emotions to overshadow what He was trying to teach me. My heart was so full during the trip and when I got home I tried to put the experience into words. My recollection of our visit to Jerusalem! is the only way that I could explain my whole experience.
As we were walking on the tour we passed an area where some of the residents were doing what looked like the dishes. I turned around and saw Jody-Ann with her arms outstretched running towards me. She hugged me so tightly and would not let go. All she said the entire time while holding onto me was “You and me... Me and you… Us... Together, you and me, me and you.” I responded by saying “Yes! You and me, us, together forever.”
I could not stop thinking about that encounter with Jody-Ann. When I got home it was still on my mind. It reminded me of a word I used to hear so many times while growing up in South Africa. “UBUNTU”. Ubuntu means “HUMANITY TOWARDS OTHER”. It is sometimes translated as “I AM BECAUSE WE ARE”. Jody-Ann reminded me that my humanity is tied to hers. Ubuntu is a quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity.
The spirit of Ubuntu is essentially to be humane and ensure that human dignity is always at the core of our actions, thoughts, and deeds when we interact with others. That is what I experienced at Mustard Seed Communities.