A Letter to Men Striving for Holiness (Mission Trip It!)

I wrote a letter to a student at NYU, giving reasons why we need more men striving for holiness to attend mission trips. After talking to him about the letter, he said that I should share it with more guys. So, here goes nothing…

Dear J,

I want to begin this letter with an apology. I have been asking and asking and ASKING you to come with us to Haiti for a FOCUS mission trip. However, I have failed to really explain why I would like you there. I am so very sorry. This is entirely my fault, so I’d like to set things straight.

This July, I will be helping lead a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) mission trip to Haiti. We will be working with the Missionaries of Charity, the order Mother Teresa started. We’ll be spending most of the day working in their children’s hospital, which serves around 125 kids a day. We will begin (6:30am) and end (6:30pm-8pm) each day in mass and prayer with the sisters.

We’ve been told that this trip is going to be intense. Some nights, it is going to leave our hearts heavy. It’s going to truly test our ability to turn to the Lord for humility and strength. I have never been on a mission trip, but I have been told that these trips, these opportunities to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, truly open our eyes to the world around us. They remind us of what we are called to do each day of our lives, with every single person we meet. We are called to imitate Christ. To share his love, his genuine love. To give back, and to serve those in need.

When I met you at the beginning of this year, you blew me away with your faith. I was left thinking, “This boy is a FRESHMAN?!” Goodness, I had not a clue what I was doing, or who the Lord truly was, at your age. When you shared your testimony with me, I was humbled at how the Lord was loving all of NYU by placing you there. You have continued to inspire me, with your commitment to prayer, mass, and to our Lord, even though you are busier than ever at one of the best/biggest private schools in America. New York City is a tough place to stay grounded in your faith, but you my friend, make it look easy. I know you have had hard times in the city, but you continue to stay joyful and to grow stronger.

To be honest, I would LOVE to see all of NYU go on this mission trip. Truly, I think any FOCUS missionary would say the same about the university they are serving at. But, the Lord has really placed it on my heart to bug you about this trip. Maybe it’s because you have been the most “resistant”. I’ve bothered a few students about this trip, let me tell you, however, they all gave me a definite no. But you didn’t. You keep asking why. So, here I am, writing a letter to you, finally explaining it.

Those children would be blessed to know you, to get a glimpse of your faith and your genuine love. And I can guarantee that you will be changed in meeting and serving them as well. The same goes for the other students and missionaries on our trip. FOCUS needs more students like you, who are willing to step up and give back. NYU is blessed to be sharing a trip with students at University of Southern California, as well as Cal State Fullerton. We are at opposite ends of the country! And the Lord is working in their lives as well. Just think of the wisdom and friendships that would be placed right in front of you.

I’m not writing this to guilt you into going on a mission trip. That is this last thing I want. I’m writing this to let you know that we would be blessed to have you.

A problem nowadays is a lack of strong men in the faith. When it comes to women, we have an overflow of amazing girls applying to be missionaries, attending Seek, as well as attending mission trips. But for some reason, men seem to be buying into what the world has to offer, more than what the Lord’s will is for their lives. Our trip is currently full on the women’s side and almost empty on the men’s side. With that in mind, I’d like to also invite you to think about the crazy amount of women who have never encountered a truly good man, like you.

There are girls who have never met a boy who hasn’t tried to hit on them, or use them. They’ve never met a guy who puts the Lord before anything else. They’ve never met a guy who has treated them with dignity and worth. They’ve never met a guy they can truly call their brother. Not only do you have the opportunity to serve the children of Haiti, but you also have the opportunity to serve your sisters in Christ. Had I had the courage to go on a mission trip as a Freshman, and had I met a boy like you, a boy who is so humbly striving for holiness, you would have given me so much hope. And it honestly would have steered me away from a lot of the hurt I experienced in college. The Lord is giving you a truly beautiful opportunity to be a light.

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel, but on a stand, that those who enter may see the light.” Luke 11:33

I can guarantee you that the children of Haiti aren’t hiding their lights. They are shining, and they are waiting to share that light, that joy. I challenge you to be a little more like those children. I challenge you to thank God for your light and to see what He wants you to do with it this summer. Maybe it’s coming with us on mission, or maybe it’s sharing it at an internship, or at home with your friends. You are a gift and your light is oh so bright. Praise Him for that, and then see where He is calling you to shine.

Praying for you, little brother,