Tag Archives: Anchor Intern

My time in Honduras: Encountering Holy and Humble Hearts

Megan Wilson, Senior Anchor Intern – Compass

The metal gate creaks in the same distinct way it always does as I step outside the towering fence and begin a walk that has become comfortingly familiar–the vast expanse of mountains and trees adorned by dozens of clouds in a clear blue sky to my left, and the barbed wire fence protecting my second grade classroom shaded by a gorgeous flowering tree to my right. I can still hear the sound of gravel crunching beneath my sandals along the path and feel the repetitive tap of my water bottle against my thigh as I walk up a small hill in front of the entrance to the nearby village church. I am welcomed by the rancid stench of a large pile of horse manure on the cement floor nestled alongside the wooden planks resting atop stacks of cinder blocks that serve as pews for the congregation. Large sheets of tin and a tarp serve as temporary roofing, and papel picado affixed to a white bed sheet hanging behind the wooden altar. The church itself looks and smells nothing like any church I had ever been in before coming to Honduras, but it is exactly in the humility, poverty, and simplicity that is so explicitly represented by the structure itself where I was able to encounter Christ in incredible ways this summer.

I spent my summer serving as a missionary at a children’s home and school in rural Honduras through the Center for Social Concerns’ (CSC) International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP). When explaining my experience of serving as a summer missionary in Honduras, I often find myself describing my experience as both the most difficult thing I’ve done in my entire life while also simultaneously the most wonderful and rewarding thing I have ever done. The hardest, most heartbreaking moments were always so full and abundantly anointed by the presence of Christ in that suffering, and I found myself time and time again surprised by joy and beauty when in my own weakness I was tempted to lose hope. I was constantly gifted with glimpses of God–in the children, in intentional conversations, in moments of learning, and in the natural beauty of sunsets and the sound of rolling ocean waves. My heart was brought closer to Christ’s suffering heart when hearing stories of great hardship and trial, or in the more taxing moments of living in community or in the detachment required to live out a radically simplistic lifestyle. Above all else, my daily experiences and encounters drew me closer to the humble heart of Christ, leading to a transformation within my own human heart.

A glimpse of God in the calming ocean waves at dawn after a challenging week.

Jesus humbled me to trust through the child-like hope of the smallest student attending the school where I taught classes, who couldn’t sleep at night because her bed was infested with biting ants. Jesus humbled me to trust through the judgment-free love extended by a 12-year-old to her absent mother, or from a pair of siblings to their negligent family. Jesus humbled me to trust in His divine plan and deliverance through the vocation story of a religious sister and through the examples of the seven long-term missionaries who had put their lives on hold to serve at the children’s home and give up all worldly comforts. Jesus humbled me to trust through the radical hospitality of members of the neighboring village who repeatedly opened their homes and what little they had to us with no hesitation.

Teaching second grade math, which became a daily practice of humility in the classroom during my time in Honduras.

The poverty and experiences of true suffering of each of these people, (and many more who I encountered and shared life with over the course of my 10 weeks abroad) allowed them to connect with Christ in a way I couldn’t, with true humility and through sharing in His humble state. These people know intimately the suffering and pain of the Cross, but they instead choose to live in trust and in the hope of the Resurrection and new life beyond the Crucifixion. My comfortable reality was effectively flipped–suddenly I was face to face with my own spiritual poverty of heart in the light of the material poverty right in front of me. In what ways was I the poorest one among us all?

When comparing my own life and spirituality to that of the people I met this summer, in many moments I came away feeling poor in new ways. These Honduran disciples have experienced so much loss, pain, and suffering on TOP of significant material poverty and still cling to God and to their faith above all else in their lives. I found the Church and the hope of Christ’s Resurrection incarnate in the stories and lives of the poor when I oftentimes could at first only find hopelessness. I was called deeper and deeper into trust through the example of humility and faith exhibited by so many people around me and in places where I always least expected to be drawn closer to Christ.

In Honduras, Jesus taught me to grow in humility and in appreciation of the virtue of humility through the power of encounter with others and in the example of the poor who I served and lived within Honduras. Jesus drew me even closer in love and understanding of His own holy and humble heart through the example of the humble hearts of the people I grew to love during my time as a missionary. In my experience, encountering humility, learning to trust amidst great uncertainty, and facing feelings of hopelessness can all be incredibly scary and uncomfortable things.

But, it’s important to recognize that at the same time, God is always gifting us with so much to learn and new ways to grow when faced with these feelings and difficulties. It is only through running towards these feelings and ultimately to Christ in the feelings and moments when we encounter difficulties which humble us (and not running away in fear) where we can allow Him to transform our hearts to become more like His. I’m grateful to have learned this summer that whether I’m serving as a missionary in Honduras, spending time at home in the Philadelphia suburbs, or attending classes and working in Campus Ministry in South Bend, the same God of the universe calls me to true humility and desires for all of us to know the poor and to know how we are poor and humble ourselves.

A Letter of Humility

Nathan Miller, Senior Anchor Intern

Humility is not thinking less about yourself, it’s thinking about yourself less.

The amount of time I spend thinking about myself every day is frankly astonishing. When will I wake up in the morning? Have I studied enough to pass my Accounting test later today? Should I go for a run this afternoon so I keep myself looking good? I wonder if the new people I met today think I was funny? …You get my point I’m sure. It is in light of this self-centeredness that Jesus speaks in Matthew 16 –

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?

This is where humility enters. As a virtue, humility is meant to be our aide, God’s free gift to us, to overcome the tendency of pride. Seeing as, however, it would be against the spirit of humility to stand up (digitally speaking) and tell you why you should be more humble, I simply wish to offer you this open letter to myself. In my own reflection over the past few years, I’ve been drawn to this prayer called the Litany of Humility. It is a challenging prayer – I’ve learned that when we pray for humility, God gives us opportunities to practice it! Still, it has been a blessing in my life and I hope my own struggles with it can be of some benefit for you.


Dear Nathan,

Now that you’re reading this letter, it means you’ve made it to graduation! As I write this now it is hard to imagine, but I’m sure senior year flew by for you. I hope you look back on this final year at Our Lady’s university and feel you have been a good steward of the blessed education you’ve been offered. It took so many people to get you to this point – I know you couldn’t have done it on your own! That’s why I hope, above all, you kept your promise to pray the Litany of Humility each day. Such a simple prayer, yet possibly even a greater challenge than graduating. There are 3 lines in particular that stick out. I hope they’ve stayed at the front of your mind amidst all the excitement of this year.

From the desire of being loved: Deliver me, O Jesus.

I remember the first time you heard that line and the initial shock that accompanied it. It’s the first one in the Litany and it gave you worries. “If God is love, isn’t it good for me to seek love?” Thankfully faith isn’t a solo ride and you had great role models who helped you wrestle with this. They helped you realize that love is inherently good, in fact, the greatest good (1 Cor 13:13), but like any good thing, it can be misused. Love is freely given and freely received. They helped you realize that the crux of this prayer is that you actually deserve love so much that when you reach for it, you sell yourself short. Trust in God’s timing.

I remember the times throughout college when you believed you needed everyone to “love” you. When you met new friends or even with your best friends, you judged every interaction by how much the other people laughed at your jokes, listened intently to your stories, and whether they wanted to hang out with you again. If people didn’t think you were the most interesting man in the world, you felt you did something wrong. Actually, it’s unfair for me to write that in past tense because even now I still struggle. That’s why I’m writing this to you Nathan – I hope you’ve learned to bring humility into every interaction you have. I hope you’ve accepted the grace of this first line in the Litany to realize you don’t need to be the center of attention. I hope you’ve learned to spend more time laughing with other people, more time listening to their stories, and freely given your time to all the inspiring people you’ve met here.

From the fear of being humiliated: Deliver me, O Jesus.

Excuses are an addicting thing. A brutally honest friend once told you that you’re always making an excuse when you mess up. If you’re not right, it’s because of this or that or something else. It’s never genuinely your mistake because that would be a sign of weakness – that you aren’t smart enough or athletic enough or convincing enough.

As much as you didn’t like to hear that at the time, I hope you’ve taken the lesson to heart. I hope you’ve learned to own up to your faults and stop worrying about how others might perceive a little failure. You are not defined by your successes or failures. I hope you accept every little embarrassing moment as a reminder that Jesus was humiliated too, and he endured it patiently out of love to win your heart.

That others may be preferred to me in everything: Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Sophomore year was difficult when you applied for numerous internships and didn’t hear anything back for months. You wondered if you had become less “valuable” because suddenly you weren’t being chosen for the opportunities you wanted.

But there’s been countless little moments too. You’ve been offended when people seemed more interested in what others had to say than you. You’ve felt hurt when you didn’t get the leadership position you felt you had worked the hardest for. You’ve felt threatened when someone was more entertaining than you.

In all this, I hope you’ve recognized the futility of desiring preference. You spent too much of your life trying to impress others to gain favor. Yes, it’s wonderful to be chosen and to feel special, but that only brings out a feeling for something that is already imprinted on your soul. God gave you incredible talents, wonderful friends, and a plan only you could fulfill. Why? So that you could serve others, just as He did. I hope you never forget His example. I hope that every day you spend less time thinking about your worries and more time thinking about His presence in the people around you.

I’m sure you’re still working on it, but I hope this year and this prayer have brought you peace!

In Christ,