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

yesterday, as you know, i endured a trip to the beach - however, endure is an accurate term. we departed banica at 0630: "we" being myself and 30 15-24 year olds. the four and a half hour trip is taken in a minibus which comfortably holds about 26 adults. the brutal part was the constant blare of bachata and merengue music overloading the tinny speakers accompanied by singing, clapping, and whistling (as in whistles that you stick in your mouth and blow on). by 0645 i had a headache. by 0800 one kid had already thrown up. by 0930 we stopped for our "pit stop", which consists of the men going to one side of the road and the women to another...

eventually we made it to the beach, where the wind was blowing a solid 18 knots. i spied a windsurfer lying on the beach and scanned the area for its owner. after a couple of minutes, i saw this fellow walk up, drag it into the water, try to uphaul the sail, fall, try again, fall, try again, fall, and then i waved him over to the shore. unfortunately, he did not own a harness, but i nonetheless shore started and made a couple of runs. i showed him how to shore start, for which he was grateful and told him to buy a harness. it was good to be on the water again. i am also motivated by the fact that he told me it blows like that every day. heck, i could make that trip in 3 1/2 hours in the truck...

i met the young domincan priest who came to give a talk to our youth. he did a nice job as we all sat under a small ramada and discussed his theme of "analzying what people say about you" later, i took out the fly rod and made some casts. i am certain that this beach will hold fish given the correct tide and time of day - it was loaded with some nice grass, coral heads, crabs, and clams. i only had a few needlefish follow the clouser minnow i had tied on, but it was good to lay out some casts.

the ride home was brutal - hot and loud. by the time we arrived home at 2000 hours my head was pounding, but by and large it was a nice day - it gave me some time to see these kids as they are when unencumbered by the restriction of adult society - they are different in one large way from their american counterparts - there is an intimacy of life which comes from humility that isn't always present in americans - there didn't seem to be any of the clickiness inherent in american teenage groups, they do, as mother used to always say "play nice together." they seem more like brothers and sisters than friends - it's an intersting dynamic that i need to continue to study.


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