Daniluz is a junior at Minnetonka High School. She is involved in our parish as a peer minister and with our Sister Parish ministry. She recently went with the delegation to Guatemala to visit our Sister Parish.
The first time I heard this reading, I thought it was inspiring how a poor woman could find the courage to give all that she had to a God she believed in. Jesus says that her gift was more valuable than the wealth the rich people offered to the treasury. This reading resonated with me and was a light bulb moment as it made me think back to this last summer when I went on a delegation trip with Sister Parish to Guatemala.
We experienced many things from Guatemala’s culture and reality, but one of the things that was the most powerful for me was going to Tierra Nueva Dos and visiting with residents there. TN2 is a a small community in the farthest district of the metro area of Guatemala City, it was labeled as uninhabitable by the government and yet people still made a living there on the land. Sister Parish has more than 20 year relationship with the people of TN2 and I had the chance to be part of that relationship on the trip. I got to stay with different families who would offer their best bedrooms and lavish dishes in order to make me feel welcomed in the community. They even created low sodium dishes for me when I was sick for a short time as a way to help me recover.
One of the people I got to know really well was a girl around my age named Jakelhin who was part of the first family I stayed with. She told me about her school life and taught me how to play a game she called “Sticks” and another one named “Dos” which was suspiciously close to another game “Uno” which I am used to playing here in the States. She made me feel welcomed in a different environment from my own and gladly shared stories of her life with me shrinking the distance between us and making it seem like we were not strangers anymore, but long awaited friends. What she offered me was so personal glimpses of her own life. That made me admire how much trust she put into me understanding who she is and how special it was for me to make a connection like that with a person I got to know within the 10 days I stayed in Guatemala.
Jesus says to his disciples that the poor widow’s contribution to the treasury is more than the other contributors because “she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had. Her whole livelihood.”, Jakelhin offered her home, food, and whatever she and her family could offer to make our stay more hospitable. The greatest gift the family gave was their passion to share their culture and what little they had for us which was not just valuable, but precious.
Thinking about who I am, I would say I am someone who is lucky enough to have a friend like Jakelhin who will cheer for me when I am in the final stages of playing Ninja with the Guatemalan Youth Group and who is my support when I feel that reality is suffocating me. She helped establish the person I am and helps drive me to the person I want to be.
In the end, I want you now to consider the best gift you have ever received from a friend. I also hope to leave you with the thought of what act of kindness you can do to strengthen the relationships you hold dear to your heart.
Our youth at SJA have amazing things to say. Our goal is to give them a platform to share their thoughts on topics they want to talk about. Their thoughts are uniquely theirs. From politics to faith, school issues to our church, this blog shares their voices with our community.