What inspired you to become A Simple House missionary? I wanted to devote some time to service before I pursued a career. I had a specific desire to serve the poor, a desire that began in high school and blossomed in college. I liked that A Simple House served the poor, particularly in the local Kansas City area.
What have you been up to since leaving ASH? After leaving A Simple House, I served as a full-time missionary with a Catholic ministry called LAMP (Lay Apostolic Ministries with the Poor) for about a year. I then moved back to Kansas City and have lived here ever since. I have held various job positions in Kansas City, including a long-term substitute, a store associate at Panera, and an English Language Learner aide at a couple of local elementary schools.
What’s your favorite memory from your time at ASH? This might sound strange, but I think my “favorite” times at A Simple House were two times when I was with friends who were facing difficult situations with which I could not help them. A friend of ours who was homeless and struggled with alcoholism had suffered a stroke. Some time after, I remember standing with him outside his camp while he began to tear up. I stood with him and tried to offer him words of comfort but, in reality, could not solve his deepest problems. Another time, another missionary and I went to visit a woman who was facing financial problems. I had no idea what to say or how to comfort her, but, as a fellow missionary pointed out, we were with her nonetheless.
People have told me this before, but I appreciate these times because they remind me that sometimes all we can do is be with someone when they’re suffering. It also reminds me that we are not the one with the solutions: Jesus is. I have learned from others that we must accompany the poor to Jesus and let Him lead them to a place where they are able to let Him in and really encounter Him, to bring Him into their deepest poverties.
What effect has your time at ASH had on your life? Where to begin…I will forever be grateful to all the people I met and am still meeting through A Simple House. The spiritual structure taught me the importance of daily prayer. The beautiful women I lived with taught me how to truly love and introduced me to the gift of Christ-based, intimate friendships which I had not known before. The voluntary poverty revealed to me how simplifying our lives leaves more room for God to communicate with us. A Simple House’s call for poverty of spirit taught me that I am the poor and that we are all the poor. I went to A Simple House to befriend others and instead realized that I was the one who needed to be befriended! And God has done so through many faithful people in my life. So most importantly, my friendships with those we served and were served by planted within me the conviction that it is through friendship that God opens our hearts and the hearts of others to receive His love. This is a conviction upon which I want to live my life.