The Missions: San Francisco and San José

Unless the mission is oriented by charity, that is, unless it springs from a profound act of divine love, it risks being reduced to mere philanthropic and social activity...Consequently, being missionaries means loving God with all one's heart, even to the point, if necessary, of dying for him. - Pope Benedict XVI

so there i was, riding the bike with my big packpack on, plus a 10 year old boy named martyr with his backpack. it rained for about three hourse last night and the road conditions were not, as martyr said in typical dominican understament, in good condition. i was driving from one Mass to another and giving him a lift home, plus i didn't know where i was going and we needed to cross some private property and open a few gates, which made it easier with him around. anyway, this one section of the road takes a 270 degree hairpin turn. there is a huge bank on one side and a 50 foot drop off the other. unfortunately the turn was also a drainage spot for the whole side of the mountain, and was complete mud. i mean deep, soft, wet earth that rejects anything which tries to adhere to it. we had to make the turn, so i shot the bike up the bank and decided to blast through the mud, otherwise we would have to get off the bike and try to push it through 6 inches of muck. i saw the fall line and took it. fortunately, as my left leg was hanging over the side of the 50 foot drop, the front tire stayed true, about 4 inches from sending us both to untimely deaths. after we got up the next hill i stopped and turned around to see how martyr was handling the situation, and he had this huge smile on his face, and said, again with typical understatement - "that was close"

here are some pictures to whet your appetites:

my bike and a school with haiti in the background
some local boys
from the chapel window
my room


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