Spirituality. Service. Community. Simplicity.

These Four Pillars Guide the Farm of the Child.

We discovered on our relatively short mission trip that a high priority of such a trip is to learn about other people’s lives, culture, and ministry. I could fill many bulletin articles about the lessons we have gained. This first has to do with the pillars of values that the orphanage maintains for all involved from missionaries to teachers and to the children. Please read more in depth on the pages for each pillar.

Below is a reflection on the Four Pillars by Fr. Mike Erwin, Pastor,
St. Alphonsus & St. John the Evangelist Parishes:

Spirituality. The orphanage encourages prayer and discernment in all things. Following our Catholic tradition, they begin the day at 6:00 a.m. with morning prayer or a communion service. Every day ends with a rosary and Thursday night includes a holy hour of adoration. Each Sunday they all get dressed up and go into town to the parish (in this case the Cathedral) for mass with the greater Catholic community. Individual prayer is certainly encouraged throughout as well.

Service. Not only do the missionaries from the Unites States live a life of service, but all at the Farm are encouraged to do the same. When visiting with one of their high schoolers I asked what service work he does and he quickly stated he helps feed the poor. We had extra pizza at our meal together and he felt we should give it to the poor on our way home in spite of others wanting to keep it for themselves the next day (quite honestly this was my natural inclination as I considered the high schoolers “poor”.)

Community. In living in tight confines one would expect like most people sharing a house this goal would be natural. But we all know that striving to be in community is different than sharing a house together. This means taking risks to have real conversations with each other and getting to know and love new people. Those who come through the orphanage continue to have a tight relationship with each other after entering adulthood. The missionaries become very close to each other and love gathering back together years later.

Simplicity. Perhaps the greatest challenge to us citizens of the United States is to choose to live with less as opposed to having most of what we want. This orphanage operates, as we see in number three, as one big family who need to share so all have what they need. We can grow in God’s love by expanding that circle and live simply so all on Earth have what they need including generations to come. Perhaps as we apply this not only to treasure but time and talent as well we will see a path to greater peace and harmony.