“It has awakened my heart in a new way, to a new vitality and life in Christ.”
For just a moment in time, I was able to work alongside one of the most jovial and Christ-filled individuals whom I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. A man with a heart of gold, Br. Dave quickly became a dear friend.
Starting out his Belizean journey simply as a missionary such as I, he worked as a teacher in the high school. Recognizing a pull on his heart to stay and discern, to stay and answer, he returned every year and eventually entered into the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, the community serving the mission. Through the Society he continued to come to Belize when he was able, and most recently was sent here to help with the orientation program for John Paul II Junior College. It was during that two-week stint that I met this beloved man.
While I could write pages about our time during those two weeks preparing and executing the orientation program together, I want to simply give you a touch of an insight into his heart through a short conversation we shared.
Sitting down to talk on his last day in Benque, he explained to me that that which makes him happy can be said in one word: relationships. As I said, he’s a beloved man in this town. Former students would yell out “Maestro!” as soon as they spotted him. Others would invite him to their homes for dinners while still others would walk the town trying to locate him simply so they may hold a conversation with this man. Perhaps the most striking display of his impact on the lives of these people came when two former students asked him to come to their ultrasound. The woman was having her first child and they couldn’t think of a better person to accompany them during this time than their cherished maestro. I still remember his face when he returned and through the most humbled and honored smile one has ever encountered, said “It’s a girl.” Thus, his stating that he finds authentic joy in these genuine relationships with friends and family and then bringing those into that relationship with God is merely a declaration of what I have already witnessed.
I find it to be no coincidence that I met Br. Dave at the beginning of my journey abroad as now a beautiful example has been laid out before me very early. Because I have been so graciously shown, I now have a duty to continue to live that example.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with one last moment that took place during our conversation. Looking up with incredible intention in his eyes, Br. Dave shared how Belize has changed his person. “It has awakened my heart in a new way, to a new vitality and life in Christ.” He paused. “It reminds me why Christ has called me and the joy that comes with that call.” That new vitality and joy in the life of Christ? Yeah, I’m starting to understand it better with each day.
Thank you for being such a presence, new friend.