Loving Until It Hurts: Alternative Spring Break Testimony

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For the past few years, Drexel Newman works with Christ In The City to organize an Alternative Spring Break to Denver Colorado. This powerful week provides students with the opportunity to serve alongside young missionaries who dedicate a year to love the homeless. Students experience the power of friendship rooted in Christ lived out in missionary life, learn to encounter and bring the mercy of Christ to the poor through street ministry, identify ways of living a spirit of poverty in your own life, and escape to the beauty of the Rocky Mountains for a day of hiking and reflection. Gina Quinlan, a current Drexel student who is studying dance, shares her testimony…

The 2019 ASB trip to Denver with the Drexel Newman community made an indelible mark on my life. I will carry with me always is the understanding that in order to love others through relationship, we must first come to compassionately understand them and see their world through their lived experiences; however, it is important to develop our own personal spiritual strength and fortitude so that we can love others fully and compassionately when going out and spreading the good news of the Gospel and love and light of Jesus Christ. We must be present with ourselves and come with presence to our friends by first BE – COMING present in order to fully encounter our friends on the street in their humanity.

As humans, we are constantly searching for meaning in our lives; St. Augustine poignantly and rigorously ponders “my mind burns to solve this complicated enigma,” but we will never fully know Truth unless we see it through the lens of faith that God’s grace gives us. His grace gives us the energy to serve, the endurance to suffer, and the capacity for Charity. To be in community is to be in relationship with one another which is inherently choosing to love. By accompanying our friends in their suffering, we are given the opportunity to offer up our own suffering to God and begin to understand that our suffering has purpose. Our suffering, while challenging, is a gift of grace to acknowledge our human frailty and our need for God and His loving mercy.

Our brokenness makes us beautiful because God has the power to fill us back up with His mercy and forgiveness. By opening ourselves up to striving to know, love, and serve our communities of neighbors experiencing homelessness we are opening ourselves up to potential hurt, but in that experience, we are able to encounter Jesus through the relationship we develop with our friends on the street.

Throughout this experience I felt constantly surrounded by the presence of the Holy Spirit and the God- given graces of love, gratitude, faithfulness, as well as suffering. It is only through our suffering, and in “loving until it hurts” that we can encounter and therefore truly be in relationship with our Lord.

Check out photos from our trip here:

Carolyn Shields