Franciscan University of Steubenville offers mission trips to its students who want to sacrifice their time and effort on spring break to help the less fortunate. Some are romantic, like the mission trip to Ecuador that everyone wanted and some less romantic, like working with the working poor in the depressed steel town of Steubenville itself. But my 19 year old Gabbi did the most sacrificial mission trip of all, she stayed home with me and did paperwork, housework and anything I needed.
Before she came home she asked me, "Mom, what do you need me to do?" It wasn't in an "I want to get it all over with so I can see my friends" request, because she said, "I want to make a list to make sure I get it all done". I was very edified to hear that, it was a balm to my tired soul.
I try to do my best without complaining, but taking care of Christina with Down syndrome who is unhappy at school because she is not learning to speak or read has become overwhelming. I need a change, and to get the school district to send her to a different school involves a staggering amount of work, paperwork, evaluations, documentation, legal work, etc, etc. It is not fun to say the least. Or glamorous. And the pay stinks. But Gabbi cheerfully helped me and we got a lot done. I no longer feel overwhelmed.
It was boring, exacting work, but she was cheerful and efficient. Thanks to Gabriela Velasquez 11 year old Christina will have the opportunity to learn to speak and to read. And she celebrated her 11th birthday in style, with lots of fun gifts and her two sisters and aunts and uncles present.
As Mother Teresa said, sometimes your greatest mission work will be with your own family.